Testing for broken/failing GPU?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro' started by mig, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. mig

    mig Active Member

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    Is there any way to test for a broken/failing GPU? Every now and then my screen flickers, or it goes black for a split second. One time I got artifacts (pink and green box-ish blurs) stuck on the screen while watching a 720p video.

    It never happens for a prolonged period of time though. I'm starting to think my GPU is still in the process of breaking. :confused:
     
  2. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    ....mmm.....none that I know of. There are some websites that offer "diagnostic" tools but none of them really work. To discount the possibility of content malfunction, you can load dozens of sample videos and watch the playback to see if the artifacts are isolated cases. If the artifact rendition is consistent, then you do have a failing GPU. There are some stopgap measures that you can employ including reducing the load itself on your GPU itself by scaling down your videos to sub-HD quality or even lowering your monitor's default resolution.

    Is this for your late 2008 MacBook Pro? Hope you have Applecare
     
  3. suavecito

    suavecito PhilMUG Addict Member

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    If you have an Apple Care, then its time for you to bring it to Apple service centres. Sounds like a failing GPU to me, thats what happened when i toast my PCs GPU long ago.
     
  4. mig

    mig Active Member

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    Late 2008 running on the 9400M under 10.6. The 9600GT seems to be fine because I game on it through Boot Camp and I've never had any graphics issues.

    I don't want to bring it to a service center just yet because I can't really replicate the problem. It just happens on random occasions. The first two times it flickered, I ended up with dead pixels on the screen. This was about 2 months ago. The dead pixels, along with a bluetooth issue, led to the lid being replaced. I've had it "black out" on me post-replacement last week. The one time artifacts popped up I was watching a 720p video a few days back. I've watched another one without any artifacts coming up though. Just now I was chatting with a friend on YM when it "blacked out" again.

    It doesn't happen often and neither is it prolonged. It just...happens. No real pattern to it. It kind of looks like when you turn of an old TV. The screen goes black and the image kind of "eats/collapses" onto itself. Its only for a split second, and then it goes back to normal again.

    EDIT: Might not be the only one either. Quick poke around the net shows me these:
    http://discussions.info.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1807105&start=0&tstart=0
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=592413
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=360538
     
  5. mindless

    mindless Member

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    Same model. exactly the same problem. looks like a glitch on either the 9400m chip or its drivers because this doesn't happen when I use the 9600gt chip. I havent had mine replaced because after reading some posts it seems that it just maybe a driver issue because some of the units that had their MB replaced still showed the same problem.

    Also among the improvements in 10.6.3 are new graphic card drivers so I'll just wait for that now. If after 10.6.3 the problem still persists, I'll probably send this in for repairs - but right now I just can't afford not to have a laptop to use for work.
     
  6. Mad Mac

    Mad Mac Active Member

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    It will be next to impossible to diagnose an occasional hiccup. All you can do is wait for it to reach terminal stage and bring to an Apple center.

    Next time it happens, flex the lid or vary its angle. Hopefully it responds so that you can isolate the problem to the display.
     
  7. skinhead

    skinhead Active Member

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    could be heat issue? an app for osx to stress test that i could think off is mprime (32/64bit) or run a dev null in terminall but it's mainly for cpu.. you could also try loading a few tabs of HD video in youtube.

    worth a try though - run it as long as you want and maybe you can replicate the issue.. or as suggested, you can bring it to an AASP but im not sure what the technician would do.. tengka lang unit mo dun :D
     
  8. mig

    mig Active Member

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    I could be wrong, but as far as I know Nvidia drivers are built to be universal. One driver for all cards, isn't it? At least thats how it is for Windows releases. Are you able to replicate the issue? I've got a 2 week break before my summer sem starts so I can bring it in now. I just have to find a way to prove the issue.:mad: Also, would you know what screen panel you have? I've got 9C84.

    I hope it doesn't need to arrive at the terminal stage. :confused: The flicker is too short for me to do anything about it. By the time I even touch the lid, the flickering would have stopped already. :slanted:

    Doubt its a heat issue. The 9600GT runs hotter than the 9400M and yet I have no issues with it under both OS X and Windows 7.

    I'll try running multiple HD vids in the morning and see if that does anything.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  9. mindless

    mindless Member

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    Not able to replicate the issue unfortunately. Its random. Its not the screen panel too I'm sure of it. Apple makes its own hardware drivers so while it may be based on NVIDIAs drivers apple customizes it to work for OS X.
     
  10. skinhead

    skinhead Active Member

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    multiple HD tabs wont make your CPU at %100. run mprime or dev null instead and you'll see the meaning of HOT with all your fans on full blast.. if you have HD videos then run it simultaneously via VLC/Plex on multiple player to stress test your GPU..

    that's all i could think off, if it didnt replicate your problem then good luck - hope Apple can find a fix for that..

    also cant help but notice all your started threads. all these from the same unit?

    - Testing for broken/failing GPU?
    - My Magsafe adapter just blew up
    - Testing MBP speakers?
    - Unaligned case?
    - "Hard" MPB keys?
     
  11. Mad Mac

    Mad Mac Active Member

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    Holy cr_p! It is time to rethink owning the MBP.
     
  12. mig

    mig Active Member

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    Its annoying that there doesn't seem to be any pattern to it. How often do you get the blinking?

    No idea what mprime or dev null is to be honest, but I tried encoding a video with Premiere and iStat showed both CPU cores at 100% for much of the process. No blinking whatsoever during that time.

    Are there any easy apps I can use to stress my GPU? Maybe a benchmarking app of some sort?

    And yes, all those issues sadly came from the same unit.
     
  13. skinhead

    skinhead Active Member

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    dev null is just a terminal command (screen shot below of all 4 cores at 99%)

    [​IMG]


    while Mprime/Prime95 can be downloaded here: http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/

    take a look at this: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/33632/smallluxgpu

    there's an option for GPU benchmarking.. tested the app and it seems you can run the test as long as you want.

    Hope you can find a fix for (all) your MBP issues.. good luck ;)
     
  14. mig

    mig Active Member

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    I updated to 10.6.3 the morning after it came out. Didn't get any flickers from then until today. Now I've just gotten 2 flickers in the past 30 minutes.

    I've run the dev null command as well as the GPU benchmark posted above. No flickering. And yet I was simply reading through Wikipedia and it flickered AGAIN.
     
  15. turbosubaru

    turbosubaru Member

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    Got some good new for you. Your MBP might qualify for an out-of-warranty repair here:

    http://www.apple.com/support/exchange_repair/macbookpro.html

    I already took 2 of my MBP's that were late-2007 models, which had the NVIDIA 8600 GT GPU's and they replaced the logic board for FREE.

    It seems NVIDIA made poor quality GPU's during those years and Apple completed their own surveying and approved a massive recall on these. Don't know about the Apple Stores there in the PI, but I didn't have much problems getting it fixed here in the US. Best of luck to you.
     
  16. slick_nick

    slick_nick New Member

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    Good thing I chose the 2.4Ghz Black Macbook back then. My black macbook haven't had any problem since I bought it. :)
     

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