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Old 04-07-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
Sumleilmus
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bizarre ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT behavior

The ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card in my Mac Pro has very unreliable behavior.

Apple replaced it 36 days ago under this program, after the original one went dead, and it had a suspect serial number. I did what the web page said, and 5 different Apple Store employees told me they “never did anything like that,” without reading the printout I brought. I politely but firmly asked for the store manager, who looked everything over, and despite it being 9 months after the program ended, gave me a replacement graphics card.

I left the country two days later, without installing or testing the card. 27 days after receiving the card, I installed it and it seemed to work fine.

Two days later, I could not get any local graphics performance (the card would not deliver an image to the display via DVI-D or VGA).

Sometimes, I could connect to the Mac Pro through the network using Screen Sharing. The story gets odd here. The original failed card did not show up at all in System Information when I connected via the network. When I use System Information after connecting through the network, the new card sometimes shows up looking like this, and sometimes like this. In any case, the output of System Information was completely blank with the first failed card.

After loosening the screws that hold the PCI-X cards in place, I pushed the card into its slot with a bit more force. It did not seem to move. I retightened the screws. It began to work, more or less. Locally, it sometimes delivered a DVI-D image to the display. Only the DVI-D1 cable is connected to the Mac Pro, only the DVI-D1 cable is connected to the display. Through the network, what I see is bizarre. It seems to think it has both DVI-D and VGA cables attached (VGA requires an adapter, and it was connected via DVI-D2 on the card.) It shows me both images, side by side, through the network.

Images via network: login screen desktop

There is nothing wrong with the display. It shows the output from the graphics cards of other computers just fine.

I tried to find out from the Apple Store if the card they gave me had any sort of 30 day warranty - I went on day 29. Wow, were they unhelpful. This time they said they “could not even talk about the problem unless the machine was here.” It is very troublesome to do that for an out of warranty machine, possibly incurring unexpected expense as well as predictable inconvenience.

So, have you any suggestions? Would SMC reset, or NVRAM reset be useful? Is there some cache that needs to be flushed to get the false display (the little 800 X 600 one off to the right in the last two links) to go away?

Gulp, should I just buy a new graphics card, or should I continue to try to be sure it is the card that is bad?

Since the Apple Store has behaved so oddly, should I just call Apple? It's a bold act with an out of warranty machine . . .
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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The warranty on service replacement modules (such as your replacement vid card) is 90 days.

However, I suspect that you did not get a service replacement, but a 'good-will' part swap. The difference is that the part swap is simply swapping out the card, and the service shop never tested either your old one, or the new one. You did say that you did not install the card until some time later.
The service-part replacement would involve a couple of things, like the service shop recording the part replacement in Apple's service system (known within Apple as GSX). If that part fails within 90 days, you should be able to get another replacement.
I suspect that the failure is not the card itself, but is a logic board/chipset glitch. Could still be a vid card. That's in warranty (or should be, I think) However, nothing else about your MacPro IS in warranty.
Call AppleCare (have your MacPro system serial number at hand), and explain what happened. they SHOULD be able to tell you that your card replacement is in the system, and that you should take your MacPro to an Apple store, or an Apple Authorized repair shop. Feel free to take the opportunity to ask about a repair exception.

Last edited by DeltaMac; 04-07-2012 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:41 PM   #3
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Aht

Thanks, DeltaMac. Because of the oddly different informaition I get from System Information on the Mac Pro, I too have wondered if this problem is perhaps not the same problem as the one a month or so ago.

Now, I have intermittent function, and before, I had no function.

I thought about trying to run AHT, but it strikes me as a bit of a challenge to do that on a machine with no local video output. AHT probably does not permit one to see what it is doing through the network. I won't try it unless someone can suggest a clever way to do it.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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The AHT does not provide a network connection of any sort, as it is an EFI boot - and I suspect would not provide any error code result for a failing vid - the vid would either work, or would not work. The AHT would simply use the default vid, as there's no specific card support in that test (like a VGA default vid in Windows), and only a local output (no access through a network for any purpose during that test, AFAIK. In fact, to assure best test results, you would normally unplug from any network when you boot to AHT.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:06 AM   #5
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Apple Store vs Applecare, service replacement vs goodwill vs illwill

DeltaMac (or other knowledgeable person) – Since I experienced both pronounced goodwill from the first "lead" person at the Apple Store (early March) and pronounced illwill from another individual at the same rank at that same store (late March), I decided to present all the findings to Apple Care. It was interesting. They asked me three times if I understood that no part of my machine was under any sort of warranty, and I replied each time that they had not permitted me to detail the circumstances. I spoke to five people at steadily escalating levels. I emphasized the differences I had observed between the intermittent behavior of the local graphics with the "new" card and those of the definitely failed card (although perhaps that GPU was never tested independently). I also described what I could see through the network as of now.

Apple Care personnel said they were surprised by the behavior of the Apple Store lead at my second visit, and finally said they would send me a "new" graphics card, refunding the hold on my credit card when I return the GPU I have now.

Would running AHT after the new card is in place, assuming it delivers output to the display, help me understand if there is a logic board problem? I understand what you said about it not being useful for testing the graphics card.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:13 AM   #6
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There's no harm in running the AHT, and report here what happens...
You might get a failure code of some kind - or it simply passes with no problem.
There's no way to tell before you run AHT.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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Hopefully new video card helps or the AHT give some info. If not perhaps it would be worth a trip to an apple store and perhaps they can pin down whats wrong. You certainly could try some other card too Radeon 5770 for around $250. Here is a link from mac sales for $269. http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/6615718/).

Last edited by anthlover; 04-08-2012 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:39 AM   #8
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5770

anthlover - If I have to spend the money, that's the card I was looking at. It's available with the same model number GPU but on different boards - all PCIe - from other manufacturers, such as Visiontek, for much less, and with more ports.

According to the OWC blog, which cites testing by BareFeats, the Apple branded card works with my MacPro 3,1.

Does anyone know if the Visiontek card would also work, as it looks cheaper and more convenient in terms of I/O?

If the ATI card Apple sends acts flaky, I'll definitely have a shop look at the Mac Pro. Logic boards look expensive at $800-900 USD, but, in the context of a machine like this, they are very much cheaper than a new Mac Pro.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:27 AM   #9
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Used

You might consider used. I look on Amazon and saw one listed for $99 if it was indeed the same. I believe the firmware, drivers, and potentially the ports are different on the Apple specific Card. *** I still think it would be worth a trip to the Apple Store with the whole Pro for their diagnostic if the new new card from Apple does not help, they do not charge to test it.

Considering you situation if your going to buy, I would buy a new card with a return policy though since your trying to make your system work, figure out whats up. That said it would be extremely unlikely for every card you have to be bad.

***You might also try a clean boot off say a the Install DVD which would help eliminate weird system issues if you have not already.

***If its your motherboard is toast I think its time to compare your particular 3,1 machine everymac.com to a current Imac that starts at around $1199 with a 21.5 Inch or $1699 with a 27 inch screen. And of course new machines are do out in the next month or so supposedly. I did peak since there are actually 4 different 3,1 systems the range of performance was 5000-1100 geek bench. Well within the range of Current Quad Cord Macbook Pros and Imacs.

Good Luck.

You could always sell your existing system for parts.

Last edited by anthlover; 04-09-2012 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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clean boot

A clean boot is a good suggestion. Will try it soon.

For an iMac to replace this machine, the iMac would need to have three open PCI-e slots, alas.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:58 PM   #11
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Let us know how it goes. May i ask what 3 cards? Current Video card in imacs are pretty good and thunderbolt can do a lot (even connect to esata arrays). Hopfully will not come to that.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:05 PM   #12
Sumleilmus
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late update

Despite the gruff rebuff from the Apple Store, when I called AppleCare, they studiously informed me of how many years my Mac Pro was out of warranty, but then they attentively (!) listened to my story.

After I talked to a three-levels-up supervisor, they sent me a "new" graphics card. I have had no problems since then.

DeltaMac, I wonder if there is such a thing as an "ill will" parts replacement? (But, I was so polite.)

So, the key words are firm but polite, and if rebuffed by one arm of Apple, approach from the other side.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:28 AM   #13
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Glad the card finally fixed it, sorry about the guff given.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumleilmus
DeltaMac, I wonder if there is such a thing as an "ill will" parts replacement? (But, I was so polite.)

So, the key words are firm but polite, and if rebuffed by one arm of Apple, approach from the other side.

As your experience shows, you sometimes do get what you ask for. I can't say that will always happen. It likely depends on who you talk to, and what day of the month it happens to be (or some other "fuzzy" criteria)
Or, there's the old saying "It is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!"
There's a narrow distinction between holding your ground, and just being annoying, eh?
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