Strange and worrying iMac error--advice sought!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by InsertName, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. InsertName macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Morning, All,

    I'll dive straight in:

    I have a late-2009 27" iMac. It's the more powerful quad core model.

    Since purchase it has run without problems. To be fair, the HDD has always been loud (and, frankly, seems to be getting louder--though that may just be paranoia) but I was aware that this was an "issue" with certain model HDDs.

    Around a month ago a strange error started creeping in during normal useage (possibly, and I only mention this for full disclosure, around the time I ripped 20 or so DVDs practically back to back--prior to learning that this kind of thing can make a HDD feel unhappy).

    The error is as follows: without warning, the machine appears to go to sleep--screen goes blank, doesn't respond to mouse or keyboard, but fans still on and HDD idling. The only way of dealing with this appears to be a hard reset. However, rather than causing a restart this, in fact, just seems to kick the machine awake--there's no load screen of any sort, and it fires back up with all previously open programs still running.

    At this point, one of two things happens: it either immediately seems to go to sleep again (which is when I start playing tag with the reset button in the 3-4 seconds of operation I have every time I hit hard reset), or it carries on happily as if nothing has happened. Which of these results occurs seems entirely random. Also seemingly random is the frequency of the error--sometimes several times in an evening, sometimes not at all.

    Using the disk utility, I see that no problems are reported.

    I've searched the web for this problem and have found other users reporting it (although the threads I've seen on the Apple site all seem to be from last year and have no definitive resolution) and suggesting that resetting the PRAM and SAC are the first things that should be done. However, there's plenty of posters that say this does nothing. As a result, it's to Macrumors I go...

    1. Has anyone else had this problem?
    2. If so, how did you resolve it?
    3. Are there any tech types that may be able to tell me exactly what's happening?
    4. Dear god, please don't let this be my logic board...I am sans extended Applecare.

    Any and all advice MOST appreciated.


  2. soco macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    Wow, I'm shocked that anyone would have this issue right now, because ironically enough, my best friend's iMac (same model) just took a crap because of the same thing. Except she started expriencing this issue after encoding a ton of video, not ripping/burning DVDs.

    I know this isn't what you want to hear, but the resolution was Apple replacing her HDD 4 times and then telling her she's SOL.

    She just bought a MacBook Pro and she's pretty pissed.
  3. InsertName thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Hey, thanks for the swift reply! Frankly, the HDD replacement thing is one of the answers/suggestions that I'm not too worried by--I'm fully backed up, archive all my media on external drives, and am currently thinking that it's about time I get an SSD...
  4. InsertName thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Anyone else with any other thoughts/theories/ideas--has anyone else even experienced this problem?
  5. palatinate11 macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2005
    I had the same exact problem with my new 27" i7 iMac. After 3 calls to support I had to take it to the apple store. They gave me a replacement as I was still under warranty.

    The new one is now back at the shop because it randomly went to sleep one night and I had to power it back on then the following night it went to sleep and wouldn't power up - nothing. Was plugged into a surge protector, no nearby lightening storm then and no other electronics in the house bothered. Apple store geniuses trying to figure it out now.

    I did some research and found this:

    Wish I had seen that in software update before the second one failed. Try that.

    Best of luck.
  6. palatinate11 macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2005
    ...Just got back with my 2nd replacement for my new iMac 27" so I am now on number 3.

    They worked on it and the only thing they said was that there was "a legitimate power issue" with it so they were replacing it for me. Guess that means testing showed it wasn't a power surge fry up that I should have prevented.

    Called support and let them know I was disappointed to be having all this trouble and not able to work effectively + losing work time etc. while sorting this out.

    Here's hoping no more problems.

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