Urgent - Has Starcraft 2 fried my iMac GPU?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by 50548, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. 50548 Guest

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    #1
    I am gonna need some assistance here, as it seems like SC2 has absolutely fried my video card. I am talking here of my Intel iMac 2.8 C2D, nvidia 8800gs, 4gb of Ram.

    Whenever I try to boot it up now, it either goes into an endless bong loop or shows screen artifacts. This has never happened before, but only after playing SC2...i was still able to check some crash reports that mentioned nvidia as the main cause, so I am pretty sure this is about sc2's uncapped frame rates affecting the gpu.

    I would GLADLY welcome any assistance or advice, as I can't even start up my computer anymore...and I repeat: this has only occurred after playing sc2 a couple of times (both times leading to a hard crash and artifacts).

    Thanks in advance!

    Sent from my iPad
     
  2. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #3
  3. clientsiman macrumors 6502

    clientsiman

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    #4
    You can see from iFixit how to open it but I think that should be your last resort.

    http://www.ifixit.com/Browse/iMac_Intel
     
  4. Cougarcat macrumors 604

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    #5
    Sounds like you need to take it into apple. Do you have a backup? If not, and you have access to another mac, try using Target disk mode. You should be able to reinstall os x, but it definitely sounds like your gpu is fried.
     
  5. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #6
    Just sent an email to blizzard, as i see that this problem is not unique...they've actually acknowledged an overheating bug that may fry gpus...I have time machine backups, so the damage may not be that horrible in terms of content...but I won't accept to lose a computer just because of a video game; this is utterly ridiculous.

    Edit: how much does such a repair cost normally, does anyone know?
     
  6. Cougarcat macrumors 604

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    #7
    I think that if it isn't accidental damage, Apple charges a $300 flat rate.
     
  7. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #8
    Well, it would be normal out of warranty repair I presume...unless blizzard agrees to reimburse me.
     
  8. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #9
    Anyone else facing similar problems or at least aware of the costs involved in replacing or repairing an iMac's gpu or mobo? Thanks!
     
  9. Zortrium macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Sounds like the problem is a faulty GPU, not anything related to SC2. My last machine was your iMac and developed a bad GPU that led to hard crashes and screen artifacts when playing games -- Apple replaced my GPU, then my mobo and powersupply when that didn't fix it. Unless you're a technician, I don't think you can really do any relevant repairs yourself. As mentioned previously, I think GPU replacements will run you ~$300, mobo replacements probably double that or so.
     
  10. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #11
    Considering existing reports of sc2 overheating gpus and the fact that I've never had any problem with my graphics card before (even when playing cod4 at max settings for hours), I find it hard to believe that it's NOT sc2's fault...tks for the info, though..!
     
  11. doh123 macrumors 65816

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    #12
    a game can only overheat a GPU if its not properly using APIs and doing things directly... or the GPU has improper cooling.

    If your GPU is fried, its not the games fault... Blizzard doesn't write that bad of code.

    Every forum for every game out there has people complaining about frying GPUs.. this is because they have bargain basement laptops that are too cheap to keep cool right, or they have desktops that have dust caked up heatsinks and fans... or there is just something faulty with the GPU.

    If you machine is under warranty, just take it in and tell them its not working and they need to fix it.

    that said.. i have heard of other people complaining about overheating and frying 8800 cards in iMacs before.. but not in a large number... just a couple.

    Apple is most likely to blame.. the SMC might be screwed up and the fan wasn't spinning up to cool enough.

    gaming... I'd suggest using SMCfancontrol and manually changing your fan speeds up to max just to keep it as cool as possible. its cheaper to replace a fan in 3 years than to replace a logic board that dies cuz of consistent high temps. Apple has a bad history of running machines near max temps when they are pushed, which shortens their lives.
     
  12. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    But Starcraft 2 DOES fry GPU's.
     
  13. Zortrium macrumors 6502

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    #14
    No, Starcraft 2 exposes GPU conditions that already exist (such as poor ventilation or inadequate cooling). When my iMac's GPU started acting up, it was when I was playing Warcraft 3, but that didn't mean Warcraft 3 fried my graphics card, it just means that Warcraft 3 taxed my GPU in some way that brought out my problems. Similarly for Starcraft 2 -- if other games don't cause problems, then great, but that still doesn't mean SC2 fried your hardware.
     
  14. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

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    #15
  15. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #16
    It's MORE than that for the whole Mobo
     
  16. Megadooomer macrumors newbie

    Megadooomer

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    #17
    Well it fried mine

    C2D Macbook 15" 256mb nVidia, and now even worse I blame it for causing issues (memory or otherwise) on my brand NEW MBP 13, which began to show memory and display issues after an extended (2-3hr) multiplayer session on a 20" external with the default graphics settings.

    My 15" was FINE for months of intensive work (digital audio, video editing, compression, and live 3D composite using Modul8). 3 days after installing and playing SC2 around its release I had to take it back to Apple, which they diagnosed as an (out of warranty) fried GPU. Now, perhaps the GPU ventilation wasn't optimal or the thermal grease wasn't perfectly applied or whatever; the bottom line is it was functionally perfect UNTIL I INSTALLED AND PLAYED SC2. So, SC2 effectively fried the GPU.

    Now my 2010 MBP 13, also with an nVidia gpu (320m) is displaying similar symptoms, (internal or external display blacked out, artifacts after extended gaming session, etc.) This is ridiculous. SC2 is obviously VERY poorly coded for nVidia gpu OSX, look up the original performance discrepancy between the Windows and OSX versions (under Bootcamp/XP it was >100% faster, which was only recently 'fixed' with the SL graphics update.) Even when its not frying stuff it forces my Macbook to high temps and basically freezes any other program running, so it can't be run windowed with (for example) safari, VLC or other programs. Very disappointed in Blizzard, WC3 and D2 both worked wonderfully on Mac, and they had SIX YEARS to code this one!...


    I gave Apple a hard time and they replaced the GPU, which was out of Applecare warranty, at no cost. Heck look at the front page, they just recalled ANOTHER (although ATI, this time) GPU. This seems to be an endemic problem, so perhaps you could dig up some doc or plea your case to avoid out of pocket expense. I would absolutely explain that it was a heating issue with an nVidia card specifically after installing SC2. Apple needs to hear how terrible this problem is and either FIX THEIR COOLING (if that is, actually an issue,) or pressure Blizzard to publicly acknowledge the issue and issue an immediate better fix.

    Edit: There was a known cutscene frame cap issue being thrown around in the forums (in the first week following release) that basically maxed the GPU/fps during under 10.x; which is apparently what one of the replies mentioned above. That was revealed to not be the problem, however, as reports continue to come in of fried gpus following the latest (mandatory) patches. Personally, I applied the fix, and it still over-heated my MBP even while avoiding the cutscenes or campaign.So, I feel your pain. Go to the G-bar and give 'em hell!
     
  17. bmwman4life11 macrumors member

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    #18
    blizzard said there was a bug that would not stop the fps at the main menu. this is the reason your gpu is fried. people were getting 300+ frames a second and that was killing peoples gpu's
     
  18. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #19
    Megadoomer, thanks a lot for sharing your experience; I've just got another message from blizzard, where they simply said that my config was supposed to run sc2 in "low" video settings, something that is astounding given that my machine and VRAM easily surpassed the recommended settings.

    Besides, the game itself said differently when referring to the graphics quality options, depending on available vram (512mb should allow for higher detail modes). And EVEN if i tried the game in higher quality modes (high, never ultra), how could this possibly lead to gpu-meltdown instead of lower frame rates, for instance?

    Finally, they gave me their legal dept's address in case i wish to escalate this further.

    As suggested, i will try to talk to the genius bar and request due rectification of my situation since it could be a factory issue; but it's incredible that a single game can cause such hardcore problems in relatively high-end machines such as mine...not even cod4 in max settings has ever caused a crash; Blizzard is definitely to blame here as well.
     
  19. rbarris macrumors 6502

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    #20
    System integrity is the responsibility of the driver, OS, underlying hardware design, and component manufacturers. Apps don't even get on the list.

    If some scene drawn by a game can lead to hardware failure, there was something wrong that was not possible for an app to anticipate or detect.

    Keeping things from melting down can't be the OS&hardware's job for 80 or 90% of the time, it has to be 100% of the time.

    This class of discussion (blame the app, sue the developer, etc) has cropped up every time there's been dodgy hardware out there. Whether it was the X1900 in the first Mac Pros, the NV7600 in the 24" iMac, or the 8600M in the 2007 MBP's...

    There is no API for an app to participate in thermal management, nor IMO should there be.
     
  20. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    #21
    Not if he gets the depot repair program, which he should get in this case. I wonder though, how will apple handle this? It's clearly a heat issue, probably due to bad circulation and/or case design.
     
  21. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #22
    Sorry, what's the depot repair program?

    And Barris, tks for your opinion; however, it seems clear that Sc2 caused something that no other app did, don't you think? Even if the game doesn't change gpu settings per se, it may lead to undue overheating due to bad coding...this is where the nexus of causality becomes blurry...
     
  22. rbarris macrumors 6502

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    #23
    If one app could cause it to happen, any app could cause it to happen.

    This is a platform problem, maybe unique to your model or perhaps even a production run.

    To reiterate, no API exists for applications to take part in thermal management.

    No one complains about high frame rates when everything works right.
     
  23. skyrick macrumors newbie

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    #24
    @BRLawyer,

    I've some trouble with my iMac (2008) too, see my post here :
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread....38139#12338139

    I don't know if SC2 or a bad snow leopard update is the cause.

    But I've a 8800(M) GS GPU, and the actual class action for MBP is a 8600(M) : it's so close !
    Maybe this is the same kind of problem because the iMac & MBP components is very near, and my purchase date is the same that actual "class action nVidia" (2008).

    Do you tried to connecte a external monitor at your iMac ?
     
  24. 50548 thread starter Guest

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    #25
    Tks all for your feedback; I really appreciate it..!

    I actually have some good news to report; even without acknowledging full responsibility, Apple has agreed to fix my iMac for free (as it's out of warranty) through a MOBO and GPU replacement. This is why I love Apple - its service is second to none!

    But in fact, it seems like both NVIDIA and Blizzard are to blame here. The former for devising unreliable cards, and the latter for releasing its games with such a bad coding that revs up GPUs to the point of no return...

    I also got an explanation from Apple that SC2's problem is seemingly that each AND every game unit is rendered individually with no frame limiters, something that is most probably taxing the card in the same way as if you kept your own car at a constant red line speed...no graphics card is able to survive that long unless it's perfectly cooled and operated under perfect power conditions (no power surges)...

    Besides, Blizzard has ALREADY issued a manual code "fix" to limit menu frame rates. This means that they DO acknowledge a problem, even if skeptics continue saying that a game cannot per se affect GPUs...and the 8800gs is close enough to those other g92 and g94 types of gpus.

    Bottom line:

    - badly coded software can lead to hardware failure, or at least accelerate it;

    - a closed design may help in causing such disruptions if operating conditions are not optimal;

    - NVIDIA GPUs are not seeing their best days.

    You may also check MacFixIt's article about it...it's definitely an issue worth investigating.
     

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