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New iMac owners see Radeon HD 4850-related lock-up issue

post #1 of 183
Thread Starter 
In a near-repeat of an issue that plagued the aluminum iMac early on, owners of new iMacs equipped with the ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics chipset are encountering frequent system freeze issues.

Various buyers reporting back to AppleInsider, as well as those in Apple's support forums (one, two), describe an issue where iMacs custom-ordered with the faster video hardware will hard-lock at random, forcing the user to reboot.

The freezes occur regardless of what software happens to be running and aren't even connected to whether or not the user is running Mac OS X; some testing the issue note that it happens when running Windows in Boot Camp, where Mac-only drivers wouldn't be a factor. None of the typical troubleshooting steps have an effect on the flaw, including resets for the PRAM or the SMC unit that are often used to diagnose hardware-only problems.

What, exactly, is rendering these systems unusable remains a mystery, though the symptoms will be eerily familiar for early adoptees of the aluminum all-in-one desktop. In the fall of 2007, owners (and AppleInsider) reported an interface freeze issue where the interface would become virtually unresponsive, even while some tasks would continue to run. The new issue is more severe as it appears to halt all activity, though in the previous situation Apple ultimately still needed to fix the freezing through a firmware update that modified the behavior of the video chipset itself.

Apple may already be aware of the issue. Some of those calling the company's support line have heard from technicians that there are numerous reports and that a fix is in the works, possibly arriving along with the looming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update. Some are being offered replacement systems after unsuccessful troubleshooting.
post #2 of 183
Maybe more thermal paste needed?

And people want fast CPU and gpu. It's too cramped in rherer as it is. Things running to hot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In a near-repeat of an issue that plagued the aluminum iMac early on, owners of new iMacs equipped with the ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics chipset are encountering frequent system freeze issues.

Various buyers reporting back to AppleInsider, as well as those in Apple's support forums (one, two), describe an issue where iMacs custom-ordered with the faster video hardware will hard-lock at random, forcing the user to reboot.

The freezes occur regardless of what software happens to be running and aren't even connected to whether or not the user is running Mac OS X; some testing the issue note that it happens when running Windows in Boot Camp, where Mac-only drivers wouldn't be a factor. None of the typical troubleshooting steps have an effect on the flaw, including resets for the PRAM or the SMC unit that are often used to diagnose hardware-only problems.

What, exactly, is rendering these systems unusable remains a mystery, though the symptoms will be eerily familiar for early adoptees of the aluminum all-in-one desktop. In the fall of 2007, owners (and AppleInsider) reported an interface freeze issue where the interface would become virtually unresponsive, even while some tasks would continue to run. The new issue is more severe as it appears to halt all activity, though in the previous situation Apple ultimately still needed to fix the freezing through a firmware update that modified the behavior of the video chipset itself.

Apple may already be aware of the issue. Some of those calling the company's support line have heard from technicians that there are numerous reports and that a fix is in the works, possibly arriving along with the looming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update. Some are being offered replacement systems after unsuccessful troubleshooting. In spite of this, some are questioning how such identifiable problems can continue to exist.

"This is my 3rd Mac and only my original (oldest) white 15" iMac G4 has been problem free," one user says. "I worry that the inferred brand quality is fast getting diluted for sales as my loyalty is further tested."
post #3 of 183
And yet Apple continues to offer the broken video card as a $50 upgrade.
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post #4 of 183
This REALLY is bumming me out! I had held off buying an iMac because I wanted to order it with the 4850 card and now I keep hearing about these freezing problems with the 4850 iMac. I was planning to order mine this coming Friday too... what should I do? I wanted the 2.93GHz with 4850 option.
post #5 of 183
Speaking of new stuff, one of these days I'll get my MacBook Air back from Applecare.
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post #6 of 183
I've had problems with my 1900 as well. I bought the 8800GT and Things are working much smoother, not only gaming.
post #7 of 183
As much as I support Apple and am the first one to side with them on most of their strategies (i'm really one of the most vocal Apple supporters), this is getting ridiculous. LCD issues, Nvidia problems, ATI problems of the past and more ATI problems now.

These issues have to stop. This isn't Dell, HP, or any of the other junkbox makers that run that broken OS, Windows. This is Apple. But for some reason these days, their quality control isn't exactly in line with their lofty mission statement. And this is especially troubling in light of the premium people pay in order to use OS X on supposedly high-quality hardware.
post #8 of 183
ok so now that the 4850 sounds like a bad idea...

What would be a better 24" iMac purchase? a new 130 or a refurbished 8800GT.
post #9 of 183
So why does apple score an 80 in overall customer experiance?
post #10 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrENGLISH View Post

ok so now that the 4850 sounds like a bad idea...

What would be a better 24" iMac purchase? a new 130 or a refurbished 8800GT.

Check out www.barefeats.com they do a very comprehensive video card shootout in the iMac. I think you could make an educated decision about which card to choose after checking out all the benchmarks.
post #11 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post

So why does apple an 80 in overall customer experiance?

Because the few that have the problem make a LOT of noise, while the vast vast majority don't experience the problem. Doesn't mean it's not a problem, but the complainers get noticed while the satisfied customer, not so much. And with Apple's typical fans, complaining is taken to a new level. The end result is that a casual reader of a fan forum starts to feel like Apple sells the least reliable hardware, which is a documented fallacy.
post #12 of 183
well...

I have an iMac with the Radeon 2400 HD and freeze all but TS audio playing CoD4... leaving me only with a Hard Reboot to fix the problem. Apple gave me a new machine and once again got the same problem.
No matter if it was the windows version or the mac of CoD4.
post #13 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post

So why does apple an 80 in overall customer experiance?

Apparently hardware problems are not widespread enough to seriously dent the average user's satisfaction levels.

Or perhaps user satisfaction would be even better, but hardware problems are enough to drop the overall rating somewhat.

Or bunnies. Hard to say.
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post #14 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Because the few that have the problem make a LOT of noise, while the vast vast majority don't experience the problem. Doesn't mean it's not a problem, but the complainers get noticed while the satisfied customer, not so much. And with Apple's typical fans, complaining is taken to a new level. The end result is that a casual reader of a fan forum starts to feel like Apple sells the least reliable hardware, which is a documented fallacy.

Also known in economic theory as Olsen's Theorem...those who are satisfied don't need to participate in hardcore users' forums like this...so while there may be issues here and there, Apple users are BY FAR the most satisfied ones in the world. There is no comparison with the rest, and all customer satisfaction surveys show this.
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post #15 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Because the few that have the problem make a LOT of noise, while the vast vast majority don't experience the problem. Doesn't mean it's not a problem, but the complainers get noticed while the satisfied customer, not so much. And with Apple's typical fans, complaining is taken to a new level. The end result is that a casual reader of a fan forum starts to feel like Apple sells the least reliable hardware, which is a documented fallacy.

You make a good point, actually. I still stand by what I said, but you do make a good point.
post #16 of 183
Man, what a fanboy site! Nothing but Apple ball washing and worship here. It's like you're all living in a perfect little wonderland, never reporting on anything negati...

(Oh, wait a sec...)
post #17 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by brlawyer View Post

Also known in economic theory as Olsen's Theorem...those who are satisfied don't need to participate in hardcore users' forums like this...so while there may be issues here and there, Apple users are BY FAR the most satisfied ones in the world. There is no comparison with the rest, and all customer satisfaction surveys show this.

This is true, and I admit that perhaps all the loud negativity by those few dissatisfied users might be getting to me. Perhaps it's because the tone of the article makes it seems like there are widespread issues when there simply are not.

Just to expand on this point as well as cameronj's, most Apple customers are the most vocal when problems arise because they (as in *we*) aren't accustomed to issues. Windows users expect problems, and they usually don't squawk as loudly when something happens. They're used to fixing things and have much lower expectations of both MS and the PC box-makers. When you live in the Microsoft/PC world, you don't get pampered. You don't get companies loudly proclaiming their level of excellence. You get the Wal Mart experience from the get go and learn to live with it.

So there is certainly something to be said for the argument that it's only a few Mac users that are the most vocal. When something goes wrong with a Mac, it's quite an anomalous event, and the problems might be unduly magnified as a result.
post #18 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiimamac View Post

Maybe more thermal paste needed?

And people want fast CPU and gpu. It's too cramped in rherer as it is. Things running to hot.

It's not overheating that's causing the problem. I have one of these, and at the time it crashed, the GPU temperature is around 50 to almost 60 Celsius. CPU stays around 40s. Looks pretty normal to me. It's either hardware or driver/firmware that's causing the crash/freeze.
post #19 of 183
It's strange to see these kinds of problems passing through all the testing they do.

As someone who designed electronics for a number of years, I always found that odd glitches could pass inspection, but other more major problems would not, assuming that enough testing was being done to all systems.

With this being a problem easily seen externally, I find it to be puzzling as to why it escaped. I can't believe that Apple is doing insufficient testing.

All I can think of for now is that there are very few machines affected, or that there is a run of chips or subsystems, with a problem that came after internal testing was completed.

Machines are taken off the assembly lines for testing during production, but those are few, and problems that only affect some machines can slip through.
post #20 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrENGLISH View Post

This REALLY is bumming me out! I had held off buying an iMac because I wanted to order it with the 4850 card and now I keep hearing about these freezing problems with the 4850 iMac. I was planning to order mine this coming Friday too... what should I do? I wanted the 2.93GHz with 4850 option.

Buy 2 PCs instead.
post #21 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Buy 2 PCs instead.

Only way I'd do that is if I planned to make them into Hackintosh's
post #22 of 183
Can anyone with a screwy 4850 iMac check the Console? See if there are any panic.log/Panic Reporter entries or if there's anything screwy in the system.log at the time of the freeze.
post #23 of 183
This is the sort of thing that is making me hesitate upgrading my iMac 24" next year. I love the machine and the form factor, but I think the heat management is not quite there and it's only gonna get worse as the video cards get better. Shame, I really though having a Radeon 4850 on an iMac was nice. In my case, I'm getting image persistance issues, or better known as "burn-in". Unfortunately there is no decent alternative at that price point.
post #24 of 183
I bought a 2GB dual G5 in mid 2004 (PCIX model). This computer has a serious lock up/crash problem with the ATI 9600 card that Apple sold me with the computer. Apple has never fixed the problem, although there are many users in the same situation as myself. The only way to avoid the crashes (1-3 times/day) is to disable the ATI card via terminal commands. Kind of useless?

The moral? - never buy an Apple computer model until (at least 6 months?) it has been thoroughly tested by other users.

rzzz
post #25 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwervel16 View Post

Man, what a fanboy site! Nothing but Apple ball washing and worship here. It's like you're all living in a perfect little wonderland, never reporting on anything negati...

(Oh, wait a sec...)

And you are posting here why exactly?? BTW I only wash my own balls, thank you very much!!
post #26 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckh1272 View Post

And you are posting here why exactly?? BTW I only wash my own balls, thank you very much!!

I'm pretty much certain he was kidding.

Notice the "(oh, wait a sec..)?
post #27 of 183
I'm holding buying a new iMac until Snow Leopard is out. Maybe new hardware will be available when that happens too.

I do wonder about the issues that have been plaguing Apple. Are quality issues becoming more apparent now that Apple is selling more machines to formerly Window's only users? Are the suppliers that provide the components having QA issues? Is there a problem with heat-management in the iMac design that is propagating the problem?

I wonder what the percentage of users this is affecting. If it is less than 1%, I would surmise that they are just very vocal (but no less insignificant). Or is it a sign of bigger problems down the road?

At the moment, I tend to lean on the supplies (in this case ATI/AMD) perhaps either using more substandard components sliding between Apple's QA radar or the Chinese makers of ATI's components being the usual self and trying to get cheap after-the-fact to raise their bottom line.

However, what really sets Apple aside compared to the other PC makers is that if there is a problem, they will work on it and do their best to not leave the users out in the cold. That is a reason why Apple has one of the highest consumer satisfaction ratings. That's the mark of a good company. Taking care of their customers when something DOES go wrong.

I'm not ready to point the finger at Apple just yet... while they design everything, they (like most companies) are at the whim of the suppliers and hope they don't try to slip something in through the cracks.
post #28 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I'm holding buying a new iMac until Snow Leopard is out. Maybe new hardware will be available when that happens too.

I do wonder about the issues that have been plaguing Apple. Are quality issues becoming more apparent now that Apple is selling more machines to formerly Window's only users? Are the suppliers that provide the components having QA issues? Is there a problem with heat-management in the iMac design that is propagating the problem?

I wonder what the percentage of users this is affecting. If it is less than 1%, I would surmise that they are just very vocal (but no less insignificant). Or is it a sign of bigger problems down the road?

At the moment, I tend to lean on the supplies (in this case ATI/AMD) perhaps either using more substandard components sliding between Apple's QA radar or the Chinese makers of ATI's components being the usual self and trying to get cheap after-the-fact to raise their bottom line.

However, what really sets Apple aside compared to the other PC makers is that if there is a problem, they will work on it and do their best to not leave the users out in the cold. That is a reason why Apple has one of the highest consumer satisfaction ratings. That's the mark of a good company. Taking care of their customers when something DOES go wrong.

I'm not ready to point the finger at Apple just yet... while they design everything, they (like most companies) are at the whim of the suppliers and hope they don't try to slip something in through the cracks.

I haven't read about any issues on the PC side with 4850's, other than them running hot, but people have already posted a fan fix for them (like when they came last summer):

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/25...-heat-problems

There could be a good chance, that these chips just run really hot, and the iMac can't cool them well enough. Most of the PCIe versions have HSFs the size of small leaf blowers.
post #29 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

... This is Apple. But for some reason these days, their quality control isn't exactly in line with their lofty mission statement.

let me fix that for you

This is Apple. But for some reason these days, their quality control isn't exactly in line with their lofty price points for the flawed devices.

I would expect any car from GM to break down right off the showroom floor, but not a Bentley
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post #30 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

I haven't read about any issues on the PC side with 4850's, other than them running hot, but people have already posted a fan fix for them (like when they came last summer):

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/25...-heat-problems

There could be a good chance, that these chips just run really hot, and the iMac can't cool them well enough. Most of the PCIe versions have HSFs the size of small leaf blowers.

The desktop 4850s run hot mainly because ATI equips them with a poor single-slot cooler with a fan tuned toward quietness rather than cooling performance. I haven't heard of any stability issues resulting from this, though, just worried users.
post #31 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

let me fix that for you
I would expect any car from GM to break down right off the showroom floor, but not a Bentley

Not quite. While I too would not expect a Bentley to break right off the showroom floor, I would expect Bentley to do everything and anything they can to resolve the problem. Bentley's, just like Ferraris, BMW's, Aston Martins, etc. do break down too. Not too often, but they do.

A premium brand is more than just a cool product. It's what you get after you leave the showroom that sets them apart.
post #32 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

I haven't read about any issues on the PC side with 4850's, other than them running hot, but people have already posted a fan fix for them (like when they came last summer):

There could be a good chance, that these chips just run really hot, and the iMac can't cool them well enough. Most of the PCIe versions have HSFs the size of small leaf blowers.

I'm leaning more to a heating issue too. Those iMacs are pretty thin and they have to do some ingenious cooling voodoo to keep the components from overheating. It's the same thing about people complaining about Apple not putting cutting-edge video options in their laptops. While it's possible, people will just complain about why their machines run hot. Can't have it both ways.

I am curious how Apple will resolve the problem.
post #33 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

let me fix that for you

This is Apple. But for some reason these days, their quality control isn't exactly in line with their lofty price points for the flawed devices.

I would expect any car from GM to break down right off the showroom floor, but not a Bentley

If Apple's products cost twenty times what other comparable computers cost, I wouldn't either. But they don't. They cost about the same as a comparable machine.
post #34 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I'm pretty much certain he was kidding.

Notice the "(oh, wait a sec..)?

I agree. Some of the statements here just trip me out sometimes (even the sarcastic ones) though.
post #35 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I'm leaning more to a heating issue too. Those iMacs are pretty thin and they have to do some ingenious cooling voodoo to keep the components from overheating. It's the same thing about people complaining about Apple not putting cutting-edge video options in their laptops. While it's possible, people will just complain about why their machines run hot. Can't have it both ways.

I am curious how Apple will resolve the problem.

Again, the heating is unlikely the problem here. At the time my iMac froze, the GPU temperature is relatively low, around 50 to 60 Celsius. The 4850 in iMacs is the mobility variant, not the desktop version. Also, before some people start blaming this on Chinese workers, my iMac is assembled in the US. Based on people's report, customers in north America will get their iMacs which are assembled in the US while others' assembled in China. However, the lockup problem isn't limited to those of us in north America.

There's a huge delay for the iMacs with Ati 4850. It just started shipping two weeks ago, by the way.
Hope Apple will respond to this fast.
post #36 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I'm holding buying a new iMac until Snow Leopard is out. Maybe new hardware will be available when that happens too.

I do wonder about the issues that have been plaguing Apple. Are quality issues becoming more apparent now that Apple is selling more machines to formerly Window's only users? Are the suppliers that provide the components having QA issues? Is there a problem with heat-management in the iMac design that is propagating the problem?

I wonder what the percentage of users this is affecting. If it is less than 1%, I would surmise that they are just very vocal (but no less insignificant). Or is it a sign of bigger problems down the road?

At the moment, I tend to lean on the supplies (in this case ATI/AMD) perhaps either using more substandard components sliding between Apple's QA radar or the Chinese makers of ATI's components being the usual self and trying to get cheap after-the-fact to raise their bottom line.

However, what really sets Apple aside compared to the other PC makers is that if there is a problem, they will work on it and do their best to not leave the users out in the cold. That is a reason why Apple has one of the highest consumer satisfaction ratings. That's the mark of a good company. Taking care of their customers when something DOES go wrong.

I'm not ready to point the finger at Apple just yet... while they design everything, they (like most companies) are at the whim of the suppliers and hope they don't try to slip something in through the cracks.

Thank God the voice of reason! We are ALL Apple supporters here just stuff like this isn't their fault. They assemble the computers the same way I feel like it's ATI not Apple. iMac are desktops but they are next to MacBook Pros. Hopefully their be a Update or something. I got the 2009 Mac mini with 4GB DDR3 and it works like a champ!
post #37 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Buy 2 PCs instead.

Yeah, and use the money saved to buy more of that medicated kool-aid you keep drinking.
post #38 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by GamaFu View Post

Again, the heating is unlikely the problem here. At the time my iMac froze, the GPU temperature is relatively low, around 50 to 60 Celsius. The 4850 in iMacs is the mobility variant, not the desktop version. Also, before some people start blaming this on Chinese workers, my iMac is assembled in the US. Based on people's report, customers in north America will get their iMacs which are assembled in the US while others' assembled in China. However, the lockup problem isn't limited to those of us in north America.

There's a huge delay for the iMacs with Ati 4850. It just started shipping two weeks ago, by the way.
Hope Apple will respond to this fast.

Things get mighty hot under the hood of the iMacs. I know the iMac uses mobile-version of graphics chips since they would have to in order to address the heat issues. Nonetheless, I would think it will still run hotter than a notebook would.

Your iMac may have been assembled in the U.S., however I will bet money that the components used were predominantly made in China, Malaysia, Taiwan, etc... They have a very good track record of cutting corners behind the scenes only to do damage control when they get caught.
post #39 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Not quite. While I too would not expect a Bentley to break right off the showroom floor, I would expect Bentley to do everything and anything they can to resolve the problem. Bentley's, just like Ferraris, BMW's, Aston Martins, etc. do break down too. Not too often, but they do.

A premium brand is more than just a cool product. It's what you get after you leave the showroom that sets them apart.


the acuras and lexuses are OK, but brands like bentley's and ferraris break more often than the cheapo cars most of us drive. pretty much every "luxury" brand is owned by one of the mass market manufacturers and is a name to pay for
post #40 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by LE Studios View Post

Thank God the voice of reason! We are ALL Apple supporters here just stuff like this isn't their fault. They assemble the computers the same way I feel like it's ATI not Apple. iMac are desktops but they are next to MacBook Pros. Hopefully their be a Update or something. I got the 2009 Mac mini with 4GB DDR3 and it works like a champ!

I'm not coming from an Apple Fanboy perspective though. This is in general when companies purchase products from other companies and expect them to perform as advertised.

Remember the Nvidia chip defect from last year? That wasn't Apple's fault or any PC maker than bought their video cards. It was a 3rd-party provide (Nvidia) selling a product they very well know may be defective.

Going waayyy back to the early 90's when Intel made the flawed Pentium chip. Again, not the PC-makers fault but a supplier.

What I believe a lot of suppliers do is on the initial batch, they make sure the quality is right up to spec. And then as time goes on, they try to cut corners without telling the buyers thinking if they cut corners and no one notices, they make more money at the buyer's expense, ultimately hurting consumers.

So I wait and see how this resolves itself.
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