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New iMacs plagued by interface freezing issues

post #1 of 139
Thread Starter 
A growing number of users have reported that Apple's aluminum all-in-one computers suffer from a flaw that locks up the interface, rendering the system all but inert until a reboot.

Customers participating in Apple's official support discussions (one, two) have reported that the new iMac will technically continue to run when the freeze occurs, but that it becomes impossible to control or switch to programs without a hard reset.

"Whatever was going on at the time continues, so if you were listening to music it continues to play," one user wrote. "The mouse pointer moves but you cannot select anything. Tabbing through apps doesn't work."

Significantly, some can still control basic functions from the keyboard, such as pausing music or activating the Caps Lock key.

The issue appears to be related to the ATI Radeon HD graphics hardware and its drivers, but has proven unpredictable. While some customers have said they can reliably trigger the freeze by running games, iTunes, or other programs that push the video chipset, others have had the lockups occur at seemingly random intervals or after running the iMac for a long time.

Those who have contacted Apple for help have found that the company is aware of the issue, but hasn't yet responded with a permanent fix. Both the 1.0 and 1.1 iMac Software Update packages released since the iMac's August launch have included "important bug fixes" which users later discovered were almost exclusively centered around video drivers, but none of these included a fix for the freezing issue.

Some users' systems even appear to have been made worse by the latest of the updates. AppleInsider's own review unit, while stable during the review period and for weeks afterwards, now suffers from the same issue since the 1.1 update and will occasionally refuse to respond regardless of what was running at the time.

A handful of users claim to have repaired the issue by manually reinstalling earlier drivers, though this unofficial fix has not been successful for AppleInsider as well as other users. However close Apple may be to a fix, the widespread nature of the problem is making some prospective buyers think twice before purchasing the system so soon into its release cycle.

"I would hate to get a new iMac, and then experience problems with it right out of the box," said one visitor to Apple's discussions.
post #2 of 139
This issue is certainly not limited to the new iMac, my MacBook Pro 17" Core 2 Duo is having the same symptoms. Sometimes it is possible to get it to go responding again, but only 1 in 10 times or less.

No firmware update has yet been released for the MacBook Pro 17" (ow, the bootcamp one last week was, but my MacBook Pro is already in for repairs as the paint is letting loose...).
post #3 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zokdok View Post

This issue is certainly not limited to the new iMac, my MacBook Pro 17" Core 2 Duo is having the same symptoms. Sometimes it is possible to get it to go responding again, but only 1 in 10 times or less.

No firmware update has yet been released for the MacBook Pro 17" (ow, the bootcamp one last week was, but my MacBook Pro is already in for repairs as the paint is letting loose...).

Same for my Macbook 2.1

/Adrian
post #4 of 139
I have the same problem with my new imac alum. It freezes with 1.1 after using it for a long time, then continuously freezes on subsequent restarts.
post #5 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zokdok View Post

This issue is certainly not limited to the new iMac, my MacBook Pro 17" Core 2 Duo is having the same symptoms. Sometimes it is possible to get it to go responding again, but only 1 in 10 times or less.

No firmware update has yet been released for the MacBook Pro 17" (ow, the bootcamp one last week was, but my MacBook Pro is already in for repairs as the paint is letting loose...).

Is this one of the new crop released in June, or a previous model?
post #6 of 139
Well i never knew about this. it's probably in part that i have a G3 iMac. hahahaha. Anyway, this does delay my purchase of a new iMac until Apple gets this issue fixed.
post #7 of 139
My new iMac 20" 4GB ram and 2.4 GHZ c2d runs nice. NO problem at all.
post #8 of 139
A friends iMac has all kinds of freezing issues, especially while running Second Life. People are quick to blame Second Life, but that's not the problem. I run it on my Mac Pro with Radeon X1900XT and it runs for hours without a problem.

Apple has been flaking out in the video driver department. Big time. There are problems especially with the latest Macbook Pros (Nvidia 8600) and iMacs (Radeon HD). I think the worst thing about this is they REFUSE to admit there's a problem. They refuse to say "we're working on it". They just let people crash and freeze and wonder what's goign on.

Come on, Apple. You can do better. Fess up to your mistakes. Tell us they'll be fixed in 10.4.11. I understand that we are not perfect and we do make mistakes. Sometimes new systems have issues. But sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la" while we wonder what's going on is not the way to treat your customers.

Telling us there is indeed a problem, and that it's being worked on, is the right thing to do. Unfortunately Apple would rather alienate their user base than fess up to the issues. Customers are frustrated when there's a problem, but the frustration can be eased when the manufacturer admits they know about it and are working to fix it. Not knowing if your problem is being fixed is ten times as frustrating.

Sigh.
post #9 of 139
... but it's hard to tell for sure. I was (stupidly) running P'shop CS3, iTunes, InDesign CS3, maybe Preview, too, and MS Remote Desktop Connection (beta) to my PC laptop. Pretty freakin' dumb with only 2gb RAM.
post #10 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

A friends iMac has all kinds of freezing issues, especially while running Second Life. People are quick to blame Second Life, but that's not the problem. I run it on my Mac Pro with Radeon X1900XT and it runs for hours without a problem.

Apple has been flaking out in the video driver department. Big time. There are problems especially with the latest Macbook Pros (Nvidia 8600) and iMacs (Radeon HD). I think the worst thing about this is they REFUSE to admit there's a problem. They refuse to say "we're working on it". They just let people crash and freeze and wonder what's goign on..

I wonder if it is because Apple Snubbed radeons new owner AMD?
post #11 of 139
I was so excited when I got my 24" iMac "Extreme" I don't spend nearly $2800 very often unless it's for a car, rent or a mortgage payment. Nonetheless, it really got to be a drag when I was trying to work and have the system totally freeze with out any particular reason. I did all the updates including the Software Update 1.1 only to find that it made it WORSE! After reading some of the threads in the Apple Discussions board, I decided to reinstall my System without the 1.1 Update. This helped a bit: Now the System crashes only about 4 or 5 times a day. Sometimes, while working in Aperture, the System just stops responding. I can't even Force Quit. Sometimes, without doing anything (but often after waking from sleep) the screen goes gray and I am advised in fourt or five different languages to hold the power buttton down and force a shut-down.

There is a lot to like about the new iMacs. I hope Apple get this sorted out soon. In the mean time I have to go back to my old PowerBook G4 if I need to get anything done.
post #12 of 139
I remember when this happened to me when I bought my first mac three years ago. I got myself a dual G5. Everything was working wonderfully until an update was run. There were updates to the ATI video drivers which proceeded to randomly lock up the interface. Music still played, but the mouse wouldn't move. Luckily, I had an extra computer lying around that I used as an SSH client. I would just send a "halt" or "restart" to my G5 and things would go back to normal. I tried to take it into the shop for repair, but the problem couldn't be recreated. It was too random, I guess. After an update to the video drivers (a few months later) the computer ran perfectly and I haven't had a problem with it since.

Needless to say, I know how these new iMac owners feel. It was frustrating. But at that time, Apple wasn't getting widespread locking issues reported to them. Now it is more widespread, so something will be done about it in a quicker manner.
post #13 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpm16601 View Post

I wonder if it is because Apple Snubbed radeons new owner AMD?

That wouldn't explain the Nvidia issues.

We're talking major issues, like a huge memory leak in the driver that locks up the entire system when you've been running certain 3D apps for just a few minutes.
post #14 of 139
I had this problem, although rare occurrences, with my PowerMac G5 (2004, dual 2.5 GHz watercooled). Now I have an aluminum iMac and I haven't experienced it yet (knock on wood).
post #15 of 139
Is this only related to certain apps? Because I haven't had this problem whatsoever with my new 24" iMac, though I haven't done much 3D stuff outside of Boot Camp gaming.
post #16 of 139
I have the same issue on my 17" 2.4GHz MBP. I usually leave Safari, iCal and Mail open, then after a while of inactivity I would be able to use the mouse but have a beachball on Safari and Mail, Finder would respond but freeze when I go into the [apple] menu (so, no force quit), no tabbing between apps possible. Closing the lid to force it into sleep most of the time helps (can't do with an iMac...).

I feel it came with one of the recent updates, but there were so many lately I would know which (I don't have boot camp, but I have iLife, iWork and pro apps).
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post #17 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontlookleft View Post

Well i never knew about this. it's probably in part that i have a G3 iMac. hahahaha. Anyway, this does delay my purchase of a new iMac until Apple gets this issue fixed.

All,

This looks like an ATI issue rather than an Apple/OS X issue.
I have the same chipset/card in my PC, and I am having
a very, very similar issue in Linux.

I'm running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu and it will lock up
every now and then. I've also had this happen in XP, but
only once or twice. It has happend quite often in Ubuntu.
It has only happened in XP when a game was involved. I
don't play any games in Linux.

I'd like to know if any folks that dual boot their iMacs are
having this issue in XP or Vista. That would be interesting!!

Regards,
Ocriss
post #18 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerothecat View Post

Sometimes, while working in Aperture, the System just stops responding. I can't even Force Quit.

Hey! This has happened to my previous generation iMac 24" (you remember - the white one) about eight times in the past four months. It's always when I'm using Aperture.

Am I pushing the video chipset? (Whatever that means.)
I've loaded all the updates. Should I unload one?
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
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Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
post #19 of 139
I have the new iMac but have not experienced this problem.

The worse thing about it for me in the glare on the screen. I thought people who were ranting about the glossy screen were idiots but I was wrong. I will try to buy some anti-glare spray and see if it works.
post #20 of 139
Just happened to me - on my MacBook Pro original edition! Coincidence?
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post #21 of 139
Are you sure this happen to Nvidia as well?
post #22 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

Is this one of the new crop released in June, or a previous model?

It's the previous one, the october 2006 series (bought it in december 2006), so it must be that one
post #23 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocriss33324 View Post

All,

This looks like an ATI issue rather than an Apple/OS X issue.
I have the same chipset/card in my PC, and I am having
a very, very similar issue in Linux.

I'm running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu and it will lock up
every now and then. I've also had this happen in XP, but
only once or twice. It has happend quite often in Ubuntu.
It has only happened in XP when a game was involved. I
don't play any games in Linux.

I'd like to know if any folks that dual boot their iMacs are
having this issue in XP or Vista. That would be interesting!!

Regards,
Ocriss

It should be ATI issue. I'm running XP in new iMac. In XP, the screen is first freeze and then turn dark completely!

Regards
Terence
post #24 of 139
This is the new aluminum imacs with ATI HD 2600 that are having problems with freezing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zokdok View Post

It's the previous one, the october 2006 series (bought it in december 2006), so it must be that one
post #25 of 139
have been trying frantically to diagnose the problem on my new 24" 2.8. glad to know it's a real issue with others as well. apple needs to get this resolved immediately.

a related question: is it my imagination, or is apple QC slipping?
post #26 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

Are you sure this happen to Nvidia as well?

I would have to say that I have had this exact problem on my last two laptops - a PowerbookG4 15" hi-res (last PB), and a new MBP Santa Rosa 17" (with nVidia).

The machine freezes while doing a Command-Tab to switch between applications. The cursor moves in response to the mouse, but nothing else. The power button/closing lid can sleep the machine and also wake it. But the only solution is a hard reboot. The console logs show no apparent or obvious problem!

It is not frequent - perhaps every month (its happened just once on the MBP).
post #27 of 139
Happens for me too on new 2.0 ghz iMac. WoW will freeze on occasion, but music keep s playing and mouse cursor still moves, but still have to do a reset nontheless. Turning down the shader effects seems to have solved that issue. Visual glitches and artifacts still persist in predictable places, so it tells me this is definitely a driver/hardware problem with the ATI chip. Playing games in XP via bootcamp gives similar problems, regardless if the computer is cold or has been runing for a while. Also, finder and the dock rising from the bottom edge of screen will freeze upon first startup (less often but it happens).

edit: I'm running smsFanControl so most heat issues should be mitigated while in OS X.
post #28 of 139
Just got a 20" Alu iMac on Saturday. All updates applied. No problems yet, and my boy plays Lego Starwars II constantly on it too.
post #29 of 139
My 2.8 Extreme 24" iMac with 4gb and 1TB has frozen many times, usually while I'm working on something important! My next step is to try a format and reinstall but, eugh, I just got it set up right and moved 500gb of files. Putting it off until the weekend and hoping for a better fix. Glad to see it finally making news though. Each time I've called apple care they claim to know nothing about it...
post #30 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by nethawk7 View Post


a related question: is it my imagination, or is apple QC slipping?

I think it is.

My Macbook Pro had the battery just stop working (on a business trip), my daughter's macbook has been in the shop 3 times in 9 months (bad HD, bad charger and bad keyboard), her iphone has been changed 3 times (4 iphones in 3 months!)... and one of my iphone rebate certificates didn't work at checkout buying our new imac (had it restored, but wanted to use it for that purchase... oh well, Leopard, here I come!).

The good thing is, Apple has fixed everything ASAP and free of charge. A+ service, but you need to use it more often.
post #31 of 139
i doubt that this is a wide spread issue. havent seen that many posts and users complaining...
post #32 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Apple has been flaking out in the video driver department. Big time. There are problems especially with the latest Macbook Pros (Nvidia 8600) and iMacs (Radeon HD). I think the worst thing about this is they REFUSE to admit there's a problem. They refuse to say "we're working on it". They just let people crash and freeze and wonder what's goign on.

Come on, Apple. You can do better. Fess up to your mistakes. Tell us they'll be fixed in 10.4.11. I understand that we are not perfect and we do make mistakes. Sometimes new systems have issues. But sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la" while we wonder what's going on is not the way to treat your customers.

Telling us there is indeed a problem, and that it's being worked on, is the right thing to do. Unfortunately Apple would rather alienate their user base than fess up to the issues. Customers are frustrated when there's a problem, but the frustration can be eased when the manufacturer admits they know about it and are working to fix it. Not knowing if your problem is being fixed is ten times as frustrating.

Sigh.

My feelings exactly, they really need to get work done on their drivers - not just in terms of stability but performance too. I hope that Leopard brings better drivers with its debugging tools.
post #33 of 139
I think Apple's quality control is seriously slipping. I won't go into the many issues that I have had with my MBP17" (as well as problems that a colleague of mine has has with is 17" as well), and a couple of iPods.

I think it has got to a stage where Apple seems to be rushing half-baked (relative to the past) hardware and software out the door. Part of the QC problems no doubt stem from the ubiquitous, relentless outsourcing to lower- and lower-cost manufacturers in countries further and further away (all electronics being guilty of that).

But I sometimes feel that it may have something to do with Apple trying to do too many things, too soon.

I wish they would slow down or pause a bit, catch their breath, and work on eliminating the quality and service issues in their current product offerings, before putting anything else new and significant out there.
post #34 of 139
The same thing's plagued my PM G5 2.3 (ATI 9600) for about 2 months. The system becomes unresponsive after 24-48hrs. My damn mirror raids are being rebuilt 3-5 times a week. Needless to say something OS X wise has upset ATI (if that's really the cause). Major friggin headache.

I'm just praying Leopard fixes all this nonsense...
post #35 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by eeff View Post

i doubt that this is a wide spread issue. havent seen that many posts and users complaining...

You forgot to add the <sarcasm> tags on your post. That or you haven't been on Apple Discussions since August.
post #36 of 139
I see the same thing on a 2.2GHZ MBP (NVidia), and I have found a "sort of works" solution.

In general, it seems to be the loginwindow process (this is from memory, it might also be the WindowServer process...). If you have another computer available, and SSH running on the affected Mac, you can ssh in, kill loginwindow (or WindowServer...), and you'll be thrown back to a login screen. If you have fast user switching on, the other user should remain logged in (again, this is from memory, and doesn't happen consistently enough for me to remember exactly). When loginwindow is killed, you'll get back to the normal login screen.

That being said, there may be a more elegant solution. Perhaps sending a signal other then TERM (such as HUP, USR1, USR2, ARLM, INT) would wake WindowServer back up instead of stopping the process.

Killing loginwindow has the side affect of killing any of its children, which are any of the graphical applications you had running. So this doesn't save your work, but it does save any other user logged into the system (and your uptime )
post #37 of 139
I purchased a 2.8 new iMac the day they were released and have installed all the updates. I have not had any experience of lock ups or freezes but this is troubling to say the least. One would expect that when you pay $2800+ for a new iMac there would be NO issues and Apple should be reading the video card people the riot act. This is not good for a brand like Apple
post #38 of 139
I've been saying this for the past two years, and it looks like the mainstream blogosphere is finally catching on:

Apple's manufacturing and software quality is fck'ng terrible.

We tend to look at these things as one-off events. (Remember the MacBook heat issue, or the iPod touch screens or Safari for Windows crashing non-English versions etc., etc., etc.,)

But when you look at things as a trend, Apple has some very serious quality issues.

It is only a matter of time before the main stream media jumps all over this.

I bought the top of the line iMac fully loaded. For the first time as a long-time Apple customer, I didn't install a patch because it bricked my buddy's iMac.

Apple needs to get their act together. It would be an utter shame for this amazing turnaround which has been great for employees, shareholder, customers, and frankly the whole tech industry if Apple were to screw this all up now.
post #39 of 139
Quote:
Apple has been flaking out in the video driver department. Big time. There are problems especially with the latest Macbook Pros (Nvidia 8600) and iMacs (Radeon HD). I think the worst thing about this is they REFUSE to admit there's a problem. They refuse to say "we're working on it". They just let people crash and freeze and wonder what's goign on.

It's about time Apple started to take 3d alot more seriously. This just seems to be part of a much broader issue at Apple.

They don't take gaming seriously, seem laid back about the 3d market (despite being a 'workstation' vendor...) and the drivers seem to constantly underperform their windows counter parts.

And the Ati iMac part? Look at the barefeats.com benches and it's the driver, the card or even both. A real side/backwards step in performance.

Disappointing. Especially when you look at all the hard work they're doing with the rest of the OS.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #40 of 139
Quote:
and Apple should be reading the video card people the riot act. This is not good for a brand like Apple

I'd say. I hope Leopard sorts this out and quick.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
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