Why graphics card keep failing?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by WTF_Appl, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. WTF_Appl macrumors newbie

    WTF_Appl

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    Ok, so a little background information first:

    I originally bought this Mac Pro V 1.1 in the second half of 2014 at a Goodwill computer store. I paid just over $300 for it and took it home. The specs are as follows:

    OSX 10.6.8
    "Quad Core" 3.0 (two dual core Xeon 5160 CPUs)
    32 GB RAM
    250 GB WD Caviar 7200 rpm HD
    ATI X1900 GT graphics card (dual DVI)

    So, I bought this computer because the specs were amazing for the price and it suited my needs to video editing/rendering, torrenting, media entertainment, and internet browsing needs very well.

    Now for the problem:

    The Mac worked well for a good 6-7 months, though it ran hot, loud, and kind of smelled. Then this past May the card began to act up and I decided to replace it in July. So I hopped on Ebay and found a super cheap replacement; keep in mind I bought the same card that came out of almost the same type of Mac.

    So then I take my Mac and replacement GPU to a computer repair location downtown and have the cards swapped and an overnight diagnosis run. The tech said the card was a plug n' play swap and run all night no problem. So I paid the $135 bill (labor & diagnostic) and took the Pro back home. It ran fine - a little quieter and no more smell. The repair took place at the end of July and then I moved to new apartment, so use had been minimal to moderate over the last 8 weeks.

    Last night, the replacement card decided to crap out - all of sudden my monitor goes black and the blue no input screen comes on. Now my Pro will not even boot up. The fan to the graphics card will just whirl away until I manually shut it down again.

    So this morning I decided to buy ANOTHER GPU card on Ebay. This time I sprang for a refurbished ATI Radeon HD 5770 Sapphire card (1 GB VRAM, dual DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort). According to the forums here and online reviews, this was the best option for an upgrade. I also found out that the X1900 GT has a serious overheating problem and is a poor card to work with.

    After buying the refurbed card, I called a couple local computer repair places to get a quote on installation.

    The first place (Mobile) said installing the new card would run $89 and $45 for a diagnosis. The guy on the phone said that he knew a guy with a similar problem - his friend had an iMac and was eating card after card. He suggested that my board was feeding the card too much power and burning it out. So basically he said my motherboard might be faulty now, but he has "experience" to deal with the problem; either replace capacitors or the whole board. I have been to this location before, back when my external HD broke, so I kind of trust this place.

    The second place I called (A & G) said the installation would only run $40 and he would also inspect the board while he was in there. I mentioned the possible board issue but he said it sounded more like a card problem. I decided to run down the store and show him the first card that came out. He took one look at it and said nothing on it looked blown-out or damaged. He explained that graphic cards are designed to deal with power variances from the board and unless the amount is under like 10 volts, it should be fine. He also said that if any of the capacitors on the board were blown, they would looks "stringy" and that a board is either good or bad. We got into a discussion about the replacement (which he swears by and said a stock 5770 would work instead of the "Apple" flashed version) and repair options. He said that installation was no biggy and suggested I switch the card to a different PCI slot.

    Then I came back home and mentioned the problem to a friend on Skype and he automatically responded that the board was overfeeding the card.

    So I'm at a total loss here. My next replacement card will be here in a couple days and I don't know if:

    a) I need to just swap the cards myself and hope like h3ll.
    b) I need to have the board repaired/replaced.
    c) Get the Pro running and dump it on Craigslist for any $$$ I can get for it.

    HALP MEH, PLZ!!
     
  2. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    #2
    There's no need to pay anyone for swapping the PCI cards. They're user replaceable, a monkey could do that. If your uncertain about something, watch a Youtube tutorial.

    Those X1900 cards are crap, it's no big surprise they fail, the HD 5770 should be much more reliable. For 10.6.8 you'll need a flashed card, stock PC cards won't work.

    It's rather unlikes in my opinion that your board is killing your GPUs. The mainboard doesn't have anything to do with the power supply of your card, it just connects the +12V and +3.3V rails of your PSU directly with your card. You can check the voltage of those rails yourself directly in OS X, e.g. with iStat Menus (shouldn't exceed 10% tolerance).
    It's not completely impossible that your board is shorting something on your GPU causing something to burn through, but IMHO unlikely (never seen something like that before).
     
  3. flowrider, Sep 17, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015

    flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #3
    Number 1. The XT1900GT is an extremely old card, and over the years has proven to be failure prone. AFAIK, this card was never OEM in a 4,1 Mac Pro but was an option in the 1,1 and 2,1 Mac Pros.

    See this, written NINE Years ago:

    http://barefeats.com/quad15.html

    I suspect the problem is with the GPU and not your logic board.

    Slot one, the most bottom slot is the correct slot for a GPU.

    Installation is extremely easy:

    See attached PDF File:

    Pages from mac_pro_mid2010_ug.pdf

    The 5770 will work if not flashed with a Mac EFI, however you will not get a boot screen.

    Any reason why you still on OS 10.6, Snow Leopard? That's a SEVEN year old OS.

    Lou
     

    Attached Files:

  4. WTF_Appl thread starter macrumors newbie

    WTF_Appl

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    You don't have to be harsh about the labor :(

    I had it installed and had a diagnosis run the first time at a computer repair center just to be safe. They ran the computer all night and ran like 5-6 programs through it and nothing came up bad. I'm not much of a tech guy, so I don't like to fiddle with hardware and such. However, if the installation is that easy, then I'll do it myself.

    The 5770 I bought is refurbished and was tested on a Mac Pro like mine, so I know it has the flash on it. I bought it because it was an affordable upgrade over the X1900 I have in the Pro now.

    I also had doubts about the board being bad, as if it was there would be other problems besides the video card going out...

    Ok, so I'll install the 5770 and use iStats to monitor the voltage for anything over a 10% variance.

    However, let's hypothesize that something IS wrong with the board, what do I do then? Also, do I need to insert the replacement GPU into a different PCI slot?
     
  5. flowrider macrumors 601

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #6
    ^^^^From my Post above:

    No, install you new card in slot one!

    I didn't think I was being harsh nor do I think Fl0r!an was.

    Lou
     
  6. WTF_Appl thread starter macrumors newbie

    WTF_Appl

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    Yes, I know the X1900 is a heap - I'm already on my second one. This is why I bought the 5770: it's more modern in design and a moderate upgrade that's more reliable.

    The reason I'm still using 10.6 is because it came with the Pro when I bought it and I don't feel like buying an upgrade disk just to move up to 10.7, which is the highest OS my Pro will run without hacking it. OS 10.6 received regular updates until 2011, and it can still run current versions of Chrome, Skype, uTorrent, VLC Player, etc. I have installed previous versions of Final Cut and Adobe Premiere, but they work just fine for my needs. Until Snow Leopard is totally obsolete, I'm going to stick with it.

    However, thanks for the installation PDF and slot info, that's very helpful :)
     
  7. WTF_Appl thread starter macrumors newbie

    WTF_Appl

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    Dude, chill out. You're responding way faster than I can reply to you or Fl0r!an.
     
  8. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #9
    No worries. Flowrider and Florian are only trying to help you save some money in troubleshooting. They have extensive experiences with the classic Mac Pro and GPUs. Just continue observing your cMac Pro's performance and hope everything's fine.
     
  9. WTF_Appl thread starter macrumors newbie

    WTF_Appl

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    So basically install the new card to get the Mac running again and watch the voltage to the card?
     

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