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

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 182
    hiimamachiimamac Posts: 584member
    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."



  • Reply 2 of 182
    And yet Apple continues to offer the broken video card as a $50 upgrade.

    http://store.apple.com/us/configure/...mco=NDE4Mzg5OQ
  • Reply 3 of 182
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 182
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Speaking of new stuff, one of these days I'll get my MacBook Air back from Applecare.
  • Reply 5 of 182
    lungalunga Posts: 23member
    I've had problems with my 1900 as well. I bought the 8800GT and Things are working much smoother, not only gaming.
  • Reply 6 of 182
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 182
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 182
    So why does apple score an 80 in overall customer experiance?
  • Reply 9 of 182
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 182
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 182
    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.

  • Reply 12 of 182
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 182
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 182
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 182
    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...)
  • Reply 16 of 182
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 182
    gamafugamafu Posts: 4member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 182
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 182
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 182
    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
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