Please help! How fix GT120 Graphics Corruption?

SteveJobzniak

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 24, 2015
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Asking in case anyone else has experienced this and knows how to fix it or what I should do to troubleshoot it?

I get these kinds of artifacts (not my video but looks the same) and graphics corruption, where the whole desktop image "explodes" into distorted graphics and after a while it often freezes completely and stops refreshing the screen at all...


I have a Mac Pro 4.1 with nVidia GT120. The card is probably 8-10 years old so it may be the graphics card. Other sources have said that it may also be the RAM ("bad ram causing the desktop to draw corrupt graphics"). I have no idea...

It happens randomly after startup, especially if I do graphics-intensive things such as browse the web.

Also, every time I start up, the login screen only renders the login-background on the top half of the screen; the bottom half is black and just has the shut down/log off buttons but no background image. Almost as if the GPU RAM isn't able to store the whole background image.

Has anyone encountered this and knows anything more about it?

I have tested 3 OS versions and all have the problem: 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12.6 Sierra and 10.13.4 High Sierra.
 
Last edited:

bsbeamer

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Sep 19, 2012
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That looks like a failing GPU or monitor. You can test RAM with memtest (terminal) or Rember (GUI app). Might be best to login remotely and test if you can.

Does this happen just with Lightroom, or all the time?
 

DearthnVader

macrumors 65816
Dec 17, 2015
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Red Springs, NC
Is the GT120 supported in 10.11+?

Are you using the Web Drivers or the Apple nVidia drivers?

I've noticed a JPEG bug creeping up the food chain with the Web Drivers. Graphics card can't properly render JPEGS.

I think it first appeared in 10.12 with a Quadro 600 and the web drivers, then it moved up to my GTX460 in 10.13. I don't use either anymore, but I'm sure the bug persists, as neither would be tested by nVidia in a Mac.

If others are using GT120's in 10.11+ and not having this issue, then I would say your GPU is overheatng, you may want to refresh the thermal paste between the GPU and the heatsink.
 

SteveJobzniak

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 24, 2015
489
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I am about to sleep after this post (11:30 PM), but will answer first:

That looks like a failing GPU or monitor. You can test RAM with memtest (terminal) or Rember (GUI app). Might be best to login remotely and test if you can.

Does this happen just with Lightroom, or all the time?
- The video isn't mine but my error looks 100% identical (mine is a Mac Pro with GT120 GPU).
- The monitor works on a PC so it's not the monitor.
- Corruption happens shortly after bootup, after I run any graphics intensive task for about a minute, including App Store (uses lots of graphics), Safari.
- At the login screen there's always some semi-corruption: Half the login screen background is gone. Just black.
- After a while it often stops redrawing the desktop at all and my only choice is to power down with the power button.

I will do the RAM tests with Rember or memtest. I will also try to do the Apple Hardware Test (pressing D at startup apparently).

Is the GT120 supported in 10.11+?

Are you using the Web Drivers or the Apple nVidia drivers?

I've noticed a JPEG bug creeping up the food chain with the Web Drivers. Graphics card can't properly render JPEGS.

I think it first appeared in 10.12 with a Quadro 600 and the web drivers, then it moved up to my GTX460 in 10.13. I don't use either anymore, but I'm sure the bug persists, as neither would be tested by nVidia in a Mac.

If others are using GT120's in 10.11+ and not having this issue, then I would say your GPU is overheatng, you may want to refresh the thermal paste between the GPU and the heatsink.
- I don't know if GT120 is officially supported in 10.11+. That is a good question...
- I use stock Apple drivers.
- Corruption also happens (very rarely) even during the boot screen.
- I was about to test the nVidia Web Drivers just to see if that improves things... are you suggesting I skip that?
- About thermal paste: I re-pasted it about 2 years ago, because the fans were whining. It stopped overheating and the fans went normal again. But maybe I did a bad job and it has dried out now. Good question. I should get a GPU temperature measurement program for Mac...

Haha. This is my only EFI GPU for reinstalling OS etc, so I can't ruin it totally. Baking in an oven is not a permanent fix. xD

I am mostly curious if others have had this issue and if the problem was the GPU, RAM, CPUs or logic board.
 

DearthnVader

macrumors 65816
Dec 17, 2015
1,152
5,746
Red Springs, NC
Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I am about to sleep after this post (11:30 PM), but will answer first:



- The video isn't mine but my error looks 100% identical (mine is a Mac Pro with GT120 GPU).
- The monitor works on a PC so it's not the monitor.
- Corruption happens shortly after bootup, after I run any graphics intensive task for about a minute, including App Store (uses lots of graphics), Safari.
- At the login screen there's always some semi-corruption: Half the login screen background is gone. Just black.
- After a while it often stops redrawing the desktop at all and my only choice is to power down with the power button.

I will do the RAM tests with Rember or memtest. I will also try to do the Apple Hardware Test (pressing D at startup apparently).



- I don't know if GT120 is officially supported in 10.11+. That is a good question...
- I use stock Apple drivers.
- Corruption also happens (very rarely) even during the boot screen.
- I was about to test the nVidia Web Drivers just to see if that improves things... are you suggesting I skip that?
- About thermal paste: I re-pasted it about 2 years ago, because the fans were whining. It stopped overheating and the fans went normal again. But maybe I did a bad job and it has dried out now. Good question. I should get a GPU temperature measurement program for Mac...



Haha. This is my only EFI GPU for reinstalling OS etc, so I can't ruin it totally. Baking in an oven is not a permanent fix. xD

I am mostly curious if others have had this issue and if the problem was the GPU, RAM, CPUs or logic board.
Really sound like an overheating GPU or bad Vram, just replace the card.
 
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bsbeamer

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Sep 19, 2012
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The latest NVIDIA web driver DOES support the GT 120 and should be eligible for NVIDIA support.

QUADRO & GEFORCE MACOS DRIVER RELEASE 387.10.10.10.30.106
Version: 387.10.10.10.30.106
Release Date: 2018.4.18
Operating System: macOS High Sierra 10.13.4
CUDA Toolkit: 9.1
Language: English (US)
File Size: 60.96 MB

http://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/133627/en-us
http://us.download.nvidia.com/Mac/Q...0.10.30.106/WebDriver-387.10.10.10.30.106.pkg

SUPPORTED PRODUCTS
GeForce 600 Series: GeForce GTX 680
GeForce 200 Series: GeForce GTX 285
GeForce 100 Series: GeForce GT 120
GeForce 8 Series: GeForce 8800 GT
Quadro Series: Quadro K5000 for Mac, Quadro 4000 for Mac
Quadro FX Series: Quadro FX 4800, Quadro FX 5600
 
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SteveJobzniak

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 24, 2015
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Really sound like an overheating GPU or bad Vram, just replace the card.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll borrow a modern PC card and test. I hope those can still be used with High Sierra and nVidia's web driver.

bsbeamer: Excellent, I will first try that web driver before trying another card!

Tomorrow. It's now 11:50 PM :)

Thanks a LOT, everyone, for so many suggestions. RAM tests, apple hardware test, GPU temperature, drivers, etc. Great ideas! I felt so hopeless today. With these ideas I hope to find the issue in the coming days... and I pray it's not the CPUs or logic board.
 
Last edited:

Darmok N Jalad

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Sep 26, 2017
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Tanagra (not really)
It is most certainly NOT a compatibility issue. I had no troubles with a GT120 on High Sierra or Sierra.

Do you have Macs Fan Control installed? See what kind of reading you get on the PCI slot to eliminate the possibility of overheating. Another thing you might do is take the outer housing off and clean the airway and check the fan for dust. Just remove all the outer screws on the card to do so. The 4 around the GPU don't need to be removed for this procedure.

Also, have you eliminated the cable as a potential problem?
 
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kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
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- I don't know if GT120 is officially supported in 10.11+. That is a good question...
I have a GT120 on my 4/5.1, and it works as well as can be expected with 10.13.x (slow, but no other issues). I should add that this setup saved me in doing a recent FCPX project. While my 2013 15-MBP with GT750M can perform better than the GT120, driver issues associated with 10.13 caused performance issues, and corrupted clips.
 

tpivette89

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2018
525
277
Middletown, DE
My GT120 works just fine in High Sierra on my flashed, early 2009. I would remove the heatsink on the card, clean everything out with compressed air, and re-apply thermal paste to see if that clears up the issue.
 

grooby

macrumors newbie
Mar 1, 2018
16
0
Interesting. I have similar issue and was thinking about cleaning the card today.
 

grooby

macrumors newbie
Mar 1, 2018
16
0
Just took the card apart and re-apply the thermal paste. Also noticed that one of the ram's heatpad wasn't fully in contact so applied a thin layer of thermal paste to make full contact. So far I am not seeing any graphical artifact.
 

jarrahbalsa

macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2019
2
0
Asking in case anyone else has experienced this and knows how to fix it or what I should do to troubleshoot it?

I get these kinds of artifacts (not my video but looks the same) and graphics corruption, where the whole desktop image "explodes" into distorted graphics and after a while it often freezes completely and stops refreshing the screen at all...


I have a Mac Pro 4.1 with nVidia GT120. The card is probably 8-10 years old so it may be the graphics card. Other sources have said that it may also be the RAM ("bad ram causing the desktop to draw corrupt graphics"). I have no idea...

It happens randomly after startup, especially if I do graphics-intensive things such as browse the web.

Also, every time I start up, the login screen only renders the login-background on the top half of the screen; the bottom half is black and just has the shut down/log off buttons but no background image. Almost as if the GPU RAM isn't able to store the whole background image.

Has anyone encountered this and knows anything more about it?

I have tested 3 OS versions and all have the problem: 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12.6 Sierra and 10.13.4 High Sierra.
I understand this is over a year later but I have an IMAC 9,1 with a GT120 NVIDIA card. The problem is the driver, not the card. MOJAVE and CATALINA run fine with this card (using a Dosdude1 GPU patch) as they use an updated driver. Linux Debian, Bodhi and Deepin run perfectly with this card as well.
 

sonbai

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2019
9
0
I understand this is over a year later but I have an IMAC 9,1 with a GT120 NVIDIA card. The problem is the driver, not the card. MOJAVE and CATALINA run fine with this card (using a Dosdude1 GPU patch) as they use an updated driver. Linux Debian, Bodhi and Deepin run perfectly with this card as well.
Hi there, I just installed the Dosdude1 Catalina Patcher on my iMac 9,1 but the GT120 issue is still present. Which Dosdude1 GPU Patch are you referring to? All I see is a GPU patch for the MacBook Pro.
 
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