Random Triangles on Display

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PsychoBoarder, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. PsychoBoarder macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    I have an iMac from mid-2006.

    Lately random triangles have appeared on my display, they look like this:

    (It's a little hard to tell because the portion being distorted is white on white).

    My iMac:
    Mac OS X Version 10.6.8
    2 GHz Core Duo
    1 GB RAM
    ATI Radeon X1600

    I have no idea what might be causing these problems or how to fix them. The only thing that I've had changed on my computer since I bought it was having the harddrive replaced when my original one kicked the bucket on me.

    Any one have any info on what might be wrong or how to determine what the problem may be? (While I am technically inclined, it's been a long time since I've ever done anything with computers, so I may need a little help if anything requires some direction)

    Thanks for any help.
  2. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    It's probably the GPU. If it is an insignificant thing that happens very rarely, I wouldn't worry. :)
  3. PsychoBoarder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    It started off as happening very rarely, but now it happens often.

    I was watching something on my iMac last night and it happened three times across half the screen.
  4. bender0069 macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2007
    I had something like that happen to my iMac one and the graphic card was going bad
  5. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Looks like a failing GPU or artifacting.

    Does it happen on a cold boot? Or only after the machine is hot?

    If it's related to heat - you may be able to clean up the fan ports - increase fan speeds using SMC Fan control to keep temps down.

    You might even want to consider applying fresh thermal paste to the GPU heatsink.

    If it's happening at cold... ehhh, sounds about time to back everything up and look into a repair...
  6. sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    Did it happen before 10.6.8? If not, you could be lucky as it may just be a driver problem.

    Otherwise, I think your graphics card is dying or it's a temperature-related problem (see Big-TDI-Guy's post).
  7. PsychoBoarder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    Seems to happen only after it's been running for a while/while I'm doing something I guess that's graphically intensive (videos and such).

    I figured it would be something associated with the graphics card.

    I'm going to try the suggestion about new thermal paste, as well as fan control. What is an optimal temperature/rpm to run the fans at?

    @sth I can't recall exactly when it started. It happened a couple of times and then nothing and only has become more prevalent as of late.
  8. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Don't put it off, the longer it runs at higher temps - the more damage being done. The video card is not easily replaceable - even for those of us that have access to the equipment and parts.

    Get iStat Menu and check your temps where the problem occurs.

    I'd then open it up, remove the heatsink and cleaned the hell out of it and the GPU / CPU with Acetone to remove anything left behind. Get some decent heatsink compound, Arctic Silver or something thereabout. Apply it, don't use too much / too little, assemble and be sure to check that it's secure and flat.

    Blow out any dust from the fans / fins with some compressed air, don't forget that tiny fan behind the stand piece.

    Power it back up and check your temps, they *should be* lower now. As an added safety, fire up SMC Fan Control - and I'd increase your fan speeds (mainly the one feeding the CPU / GPU) by a couple hundred RPM. So things are still quiet enough to tolerate, but airflow is just a tad higher. I increased my main fan to about 1600rpm as a minimum speed, and so far things are kosher.
  9. CorvusCamenarum, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011

    CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    The ATI Radeon x1600 is a faulty chip. It's very similar to the problem Apple had a little while back with NVIDIA, the only difference being that while Apple acknowledged the NVIDIA problem and offered repair/replace/refunded repair costs on models with that chipset, those of us with the Radeon have basically been told go to eff ourselves. Also note that iMac users that had a Radeon x1900 installed (same family as the x1600 IIRC) were also given the same level of support as the NVIDIA 8600 users, but those that bought a machine with the 1600 are left out in the cold.

    You can read about it here:

    I was just at my nearest Apple store today dealing with this issue. They were incredibly condescending and basically told me I was out of luck and would I like to buy a new machine. You can find a documentation of my experience toward the end of the first linked thread.

    Not that it's likely to help, but I emailed Steve, too. Better than nothing.

    The graphics card is soldered onto the motherboard, so the only real option is to replace the motherboard. The problem lies in the fact that even if you did this, you'd be replacing a part that's dying for certain with a part that is practically guaranteed to die at a random point in the future. Could be 3 months, could be 4 years, with no real way to tell.

Share This Page