Oh god the screen is flickering

macmee

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Dec 13, 2008
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Every several minutes the screen will go completely black and then come back on, just as if I'm turning a monitor completely off and on again.

My specs:


I have the ATI Radeon HD 5750 in my iMac. I've been using it since December 2010 and I have never had this problem before up until about an hour ago. It just randomly started happening. I also don't live near any Apple stores. Oh god what am I going to do :(
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
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Is your system still under warranty?

If so, your first move is to call AppleCare.

Sounds like a backlight issue more than a GPU-chip issue.

Are there any other misbehaviors or oddities?
 

macmee

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Well my mighty mouse starteed going nuts the other day for the first time ever too, the axises were inverted and the movements choppy - on full battery too.

Also sometimes when it's flickering I see bits of white, and sometimes it scrunches into a horizontal line in the center of my screen, sort of like turning off an old CRT monitor looks like.

I got a year warranty from Future Shop. If I bring it into them will they fix it in store?
 

ShamrockSolace

macrumors member
Dec 4, 2010
63
2
You might have some electronic interference there. Check, if you placed anything new around your computer. Magnets interfere too.
 

macmee

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The only new items around me are my iPhone 4 which I got yesterday. I thought that was what was actually making my mighty mouse not work but bluetooth is disabled on it.
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,145
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You have a 1 year AppleCare warranty, and sometimes there's a little wiggle room if a major failure occurs shortly after the anniversary date.

So, your first call is to AppleCare, not the store.

It's not clear from your post what the 1-year store warranty you purchased provides. Is it a warranty extension? (That is, to two years?) Or is it some sort of supplementary service that runs in parallel with AppleCare?

In any case, if it's within (or near) warranty, call AppleCare right now, before another day elapses, to get this issue on-record on their calendar. If they say "Sorry, it expired two months ago, can't do anything about it" then start working on the store.

The store may or may not be able to fix it on-site. It sounds like you're having a cascade of issues. I presume you've done the usual: checked that cables are well-seated, rebooted, updated?

In any case, your two first steps are:

1) Call AppleCare. Get all these issues recorded. The fact that you're having more than one problem and it's escalating is important for them to know.

2) Ensure you're fully updated. Click on the little Apple logo in the upper left corner, select Software Update, and let it run.

3) Back it up!!

...Actually, do (3) both before and after (2). But get the issues recorded at AppleCare straightaway. Don't waste another minute.

Good luck!
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
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The only new items around me are my iPhone 4 which I got yesterday. I thought that was what was actually making my mighty mouse not work but bluetooth is disabled on it.
It's nothing related to your iPhone, and I'd really imagine nothing to do with interference either, unless you've set up a Van de Graaf generator on your desk.

Call AppleCare. Now. Get this issue on-record. Now. http://support.apple.com/kb/HE57
 

aliensporebomb

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2005
1,841
218
Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
Agreed.

Agreed. Even if the issue stops call and get it documented.

I see it time and again "oh it stopped" then they let it go and never call it in and then after the warranty expires you end up with a dead machine out of warranty (read: expensive).
 

macmee

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I booted into Windows on bootcamp and it wasn't flickering on Windows. I then ran FSX on full settings, streamed on livestream and played Wallee in 1080 with VLC player. My cores all hit around 84C and no flicker occurred.

I'm back on OS X now and it's not flickering at the moment. I called Apple and opened a ticket. They told a case number and to call back to run some sort of diagnostic once Time Machine was done.

I'm at a loss here now. Was it a software issue after all? Did it only occur when the CPU / GPU was juggling lots of things and therefore will happen again? Should I send this guy into an Apple repair shop? Blahh :(
 

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
Jan 11, 2007
4,056
187
North Central Florida
Our mini does this on occasion - often limited to one account. It is truly going blank in the video area - not collapsing, just going off and on.

I think it is a thermal problem, but can't pinpoint that either. I guess i could load iStat on it to check when it happens. However, it's hard to buy the thermal thing when it is only in one account too. It does happen in others, but one account can really get going at times with it.

Keep the case open, run the tests they have you do.... You aren't close to an apple store at all? I'd not be excited about shipping either.
 

Dare007

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2010
1
0
Yep i have a similar issue with my 11,3 imac 27 inch 2.8. At first i thought the screen was going dead, but what is actually happening is that at random intervals the screen is dropping to minimum brightness and i then have to sleep the display and wake it to get it back. Happens about once a week and normally 3 times in a row and a restart is necessary. Have logged with Apple care and i am "Monitoring" :rolleyes:
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,145
482
I booted into Windows on bootcamp and it wasn't flickering on Windows. I then ran FSX on full settings, streamed on livestream and played Wallee in 1080 with VLC player. My cores all hit around 84C and no flicker occurred.

I'm back on OS X now and it's not flickering at the moment. I called Apple and opened a ticket. They told a case number and to call back to run some sort of diagnostic once Time Machine was done.

I'm at a loss here now. Was it a software issue after all? Did it only occur when the CPU / GPU was juggling lots of things and therefore will happen again? Should I send this guy into an Apple repair shop? Blahh :(
You're doing everything right, and judging from the echoes others have posted by now you may even be illuminating an unusual but widespread issue.

There's no point sending the machine in for repair until a fault is spotlighted. Right now it's not clear what to fix, and most likely you'd be without the machine for a week or more, only to receive it back with "No Fault Found".

My wild guess at this point is something going haywire in the power-control logic, which is indeed in software/firmware. Some combination of inputs (CPU/GPU temperature, fan speed, processor load, ambient light, time of day, phase of the moon... who knows-- and not necessarily extreme values) results in some sort of bogus logic state, and ergo: display blinks out, etc. Apple's power-control logic is unusually sophisticated and fine-tuned to the hardware, and with sophistication comes the opportunity for subtle bugs. The fact that you didn't observe the problem when running under Windows (which can take only a generic approach to managing power on the Mac) is suggestive, too. Not quite a slam-dunk, but illuminating.

(I presume you're NOT using some utility like smcFanControl. If so, let us know, and then remove it, please.)

Keep it up. If the folks here on the thread could try different tricks that might identify one or more causes, who knows, this thread might just serve to crowdsource the clues that Apple needs for a solution.

And keep backing up!
 

montycat

macrumors 6502
Mar 19, 2007
437
121
Florida
I had the same thing happing to me. It turned out to be a graphics card crapping out. Thank God I had apple care:)
 

macmee

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Dec 13, 2008
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Canada
Thanks for the help here everyone. I ran a hardware diagnostics from my OS X DVD and it was unable to find any hardware faults. The Apple employee told me on the phone to bring it into an authorized Mac repair shop should the problem persist which reaffirms what a lot of you have said to do :)

I think I'll spend the $200 bucks on extended Apple care for 2 more years come this December 23rd just to be safe. An unfortunate annoyance considering the price and that there's no Apple stores where I am, but something I think I should do to be on the safe side!
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,145
482
I think I'll spend the $200 bucks on extended Apple care for 2 more years come this December 23rd just to be safe. An unfortunate annoyance considering the price and that there's no Apple stores where I am, but something I think I should do to be on the safe side!
I highly, highly recommend AppleCare-- and I'm otherwise knee-jerk in opposition to extended warranties.

There are just too many things in any computer which can crap out in three years, no matter how high the quality. Batteries, keyboards, hard disks and display backlights have been the most common, but assorted faults grouped under the heading of "bad motherboard" are another high-scoring item.

AppleCare is just plain worth it--especially for laptops--and has my wholehearted endorsement. So make yourself a calendar alert to sign up by, oh, say the 20th. It's a simple process that can be done online; you'll receive an official package in the mail once you do, but your coverage is active the moment you pay. Just don't set your alert for the day your warranty expires... just in case.

Meanwhile, please keep us informed on this thread of any updates.
 

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