I'm a "PC" from way back to the days of DOS 2.0. I'm self taught, and fairly competent as a computer Mr. Fixit, both with hardware and with software. I don't get down to soldering, but right up to that line. Still, I thought it was important to learn something about Macintosh computers. It was a glaring hole in my resume, and my reputation as a techie was suffering for it. So, when we wanted to replace our underpowered Celeron laptop--always our "extra" computer anyway--I decided it was time to dip a toe into the iUniverse.
|I have this one.|
The newer system had some flaws, notably that the lid wouldn't latch, there was pitting to the aluminum case, and some bright splotches on the screen. Nothing I couldn't live with though, and otherwise I have really liked it. Other than a tenancy to get very warm, I had little complaint with the system. Programs opened with reasonable speed, everything worked fairly well, crashes were few (though they do happen), and "force closes" usually solved any issues. Until this weekend, when the screen flipped out.
|Here's the craptastic screen when this happens.|
As I said before, the store itself was chaotic. First, it's enormous, and was filled with people, both employees and customers. Even though I had an appointment, there was no obvious place to queue up, no one seemingly in charge, no "take a number," no list of customer names. No one asked me if I had an appointment, or even acknowledged that I was on this physical plane. After sitting frustrated at the "Genius Bar" for a few minutes, I and some other customers made enough noise to suss out the girl with the appointment list. After that, I was waited on right away, and just as quickly told my computer would cost more to fix than it would be worth. Totaled, in other words. They gave me a list of authorized service centers, and I tried one with the same answer.
My self diagnosis of the graphics card was accurate. But it is such a weird problem. The card only fritzes out when the computer gets hot. And sometimes the screen comes back, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it will reboot normally, sometimes it won't. When I had it at Fry's for the second opinion, the screen did something new, acting like it had a short or something. And now that I have it home? Random issues still, though I got it to stay up longer. The situation is far weirder than any graphics card issue I've ever had on a PC.
My suspicion--which I asked the Apple Genius about, but he dismissed--is that I have either bad fans, or bad instructions being sent to the fans. I say this because that fan used to make a crapload of noise sometimes, and now the Mac is utterly silent. I don't think the fans are running. The question then is, can I replace the fans? If I do, is it already too late, has the graphics card been semi-toasted?
|Working fine now? What?|
So, again, don't believe them when they tell you Apple products are trouble free.
UPDATE: Guess what? I turned the Mac on to get some stuff off of it (handy that I can do that, of course), and everything's peachy. No kidding, it's been up and running for--at last check--1 hour, 32 minutes. Without error. WTF? Is it having a last hurrah?
UPDATE: And then it gave up, about 2 hours in. Fuzzy again. I closed the lid, opened it later to a black screen, seemingly nothing. Then I noticed the perfectly clear spinning "beach ball." Which I can move around the screen. But I can't do anything else. Apple, this is a freaky, weird issue you've got going. I've had flawed hardware, but nothing that acts like this.