10.5.1 and still no fix for the ATi X1900 MacPro display issues - Macenstein

10.5.1 and still no fix for the ATi X1900 MacPro display issues

Time to once again exploit our readers for help on an issue I am having…

One of the things I was personally most looking forward to in the 1st Leopard update was a fix for a seemingly widespread display issue affecting MacPro owners, myself included. The two screenshots below show my symptoms (odd tearing lines across windows), which seem to be similar to those experienced by other Mac Pro users, as outlined in the Apple Discussions Forum.

Above: Click to embiggen.

Above: Click to embiggen.

Alas, 10.5.1 has come and gone, yet my display issue has not. Considering the problems are for the most part affecting Apple’s professional graphics and video clients, I would have hoped this issue would have received top billing. From the forums it seems that many of the affected systems are running 2 displays of different resolutions and brands (as am I) off the ATi X1900, yet there are reports of systems running 2 Apple displays, as well as single display systems also experiencing problems, and I have confirmed I still have the problem when running only one monitor. Running the latest ATi X1900 firmware has done nothing to fix this issue.

I never experienced this issue under Tiger with the identical setup, and oddly taking a screen grab of the problem will not work with Apple built-in screen grab utility (the lines do not show up). I am able to capture the problem using Snapz Pro, implying, to my mind at least, that the problem is perhaps occurring at the display card level, not the OS (although I suppose I could be wrong). Has anyone else experienced this problem and successfully fixed it, or have any suggestions?


29 Responses to “10.5.1 and still no fix for the ATi X1900 MacPro display issues”
  1. Paul Walker says:

    I had this, or a least a very similar issue with the safari 3 betas on Tiger on my Macbook. It would happen when scrolling – small sections of the content would turn into random parts of other windows, the desktop, or pretty much anything else… No suggestions though, sorry.

  2. Hammer of Truth says:

    How about issues with front row? I have a MacPro with a Geforce 7300 and it looses sync with the monitor when I try to use Front row. It’s at 1280 X 1024 on a 27″ Viewsonic HD TV using DVI @ 60Hz. The weird thing is that I never have any other video issues.

  3. sldkfjlf says:

    I have recent evidence that the lines disappear if Safari’s Status bar is hidden. (This is on a system with dual 30″ Cinema displays).

  4. Nicholas Post says:

    I have Mac Pro (the one I purchased from Apple online discounted store) 2 x 3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon with Radeon X1900 XT, and Apple Cinema display, 20″.

    I don’t have any problem like the one you mentioned about.

    I hope yours will be resolved soon.


  5. Nicholas Post says:


    One more thing, I still use Tiger OS X, completely latest upgraded so far.
    Is this problem happened with Leopard OS X only?


  6. Craw says:

    I have this exact display issue on my Mac Pro, with the ATI 1900 card driving a single Apple 30″ Cinema Display. I never experienced this with Tiger, and 10.5.1 did not help either.

  7. rand says:

    I had the same issues in Tiger, till we got the vid card update, after that, clean windows.

  8. Nicholas Post says:

    So, Leopard OS X issue is the only problem?


  9. sldkfjlf says:

    Leopard, not Tiger, is the only OS where I’ve seen X1900 graphics problems. Like I wrote before, hiding Safari’s Status bar (which is the default configuration) has so far eliminated the thin black lines in Safari windows. Since the latest Quicktime & iTunes update, I see distracting (actively changing) thick lines when playing videos in iTunes.

  10. Clarus says:

    Isn’t it completely obvious that the new Apple Inc. doesn’t care about pros any longer? They’re selling millions of consumer consumer electronic gadgets and mid-price laptops to a new generation. They’re acting like they don’t need their high end customers anymore. It shows on the software side where Lightroom is overtaking Aperture and it shows even more clearly on the hardware side.

    The Mac Pro hasn’t had any updates (except a new high end processor option) in 15 months. It still ships with a video card that was low end the day it was introduced and the only practical upgrade is an equally ancient card with buggy drivers. There just isn’t anything pro about a machine that ships with 1GB of RAM and a 250MB HD when HP is shipping bargain priced consumer boxes with 3GB RAM and 500GB HD.

  11. rp says:

    I have Leopard 10.5.1 on my Quad Core Mac Pro with a new ATI X1900 2 monitors – Wacom Cintiq 21 Tablet Monitor and Envision 22 inch – works beautifully now – had to replace NVIDIA 7300 due to video problems – green dots and staggered lines.

  12. Andy says:

    The fix for my iMac didnt helped me, look at my nice exploded desktop:
    my iMac is now in repair and they want to replace the video card – an ATI RadeonHD2600

  13. rorol says:

    Myself and a friend of mine also had problems with artifacts after installing Leopard. We have Mac Pros with x1900 xt, 30″ cinemas. What we did was to remove dust from the air intake on the graphics card. If you have had your Mac Pro for a while it is bound to collect dust on the air intake of the card. It is like a blanket covering the air intake. We removed this dust blanket and haven’t had any problems since. It is worth a try for you guys that have this problem. It seems that Leopard is more sensitive to the temperature of the card (just a guess).

  14. Bill says:

    I have this problem with Tiger. I assumed it was the same problem I’d been having when running very demanding 3d games at high resolutions. My understanding was that the video card was overheating. Playing at lower resolutions allowed me to continue playing. But as time passed, more anomolies appeared. It seems that the fan cover gets clogged with dirt and the card overheats. I haven’t known what to do except to run at lower resolutions and use a utility to run the fans at highest speed. Yech.

  15. Nicholas Post says:

    Sounds like gaming is the major cause for display problem than others.

    Have anyone solve it. How?

  16. Matthew says:

    I am experiencing this in Safari and iPhoto. I see it in safari when i switch spaces, and in iPhoto when dragging adjust sliders… Strange thing is, I am using a macbook with an Intel GMA, not an ATI card. So people must be experiencing this across the board.

  17. OS2Guy says:

    I did have this problem when I first installed Leopard but then was advised to install smcFanControl raising the RPMs of the fan on the ATI1900 from its default 500 to 1500. Now, with a 30″ HD Apple Cinema monitor display I have the most glorious color, no distortions whatsoever.

    I was also experiencing system freezes. With a cooler ATI1900 graphics card I’ve had no system freezes. The problem is with the card – it simply gets too warm and when that happens, your Mac Pro will freeze to prevent damage to the card and the system. Cool the card down with the fan regulator above. You’ll see a big difference.

  18. OS2Guy says:

    BTW, Clean your fans and vents. Buy a can of compressed air, open your Mac Pro case and blow out all the dush and debri that has gathered in all your vents and fans. That will make a big difference. Then add the smcFanControl program. It is free and your Mac Pro will sing with happiness! Honest.

  19. Mac Guy says:

    I have a Quad G5 with a X1900 and have had this pixel streaking problem too. It happens on both monitors in Tiger and Leopard, in and out of windows. It is very annoying. These G5’s run cherry hot and I have had Apple replace 2 yes 2 dead hard drives because of heat and I had a complete computer replacement when the coolant leaked all over the place. Luckily I was covered by the warranty. I think Apple should have a less expensive upgrade path/price for G5 owners because I know my computer WILL die again because of the heat. I have literally strapped on a whisper fan near the hard drives vents for extra cooling.

  20. Nicholas Post says:

    Re: Comment #17 and 18

    Will it work on Mac Pro with Tiger OS X?

  21. ben greenfield says:

    I have the same issue with a first gen iMac 20″ ATIRadeonx1600 256MB vram.

    I have tracked it down to the ati opengl drivers. If I boot in safe mood or remove the extensions everything is fine but I can’t use front row.

    Otherwise I have the strange vertical tearing and distorted 3D rendering in front row.

  22. Ascanio says:

    I have the same problem here. I was hoping that 10.5.1 was addressing it, but it didn’t! 🙁

    Mac Pro 4GB/2TB OS 10.5.1 ATI XT1900 20″ Apple Cinema

    I had once a videocard dead and it was giving me artifacts like those…but the thing which lead me to think that it was a system bug was that you can actually move this “video noise lines”!

    I hope Apple is aware of it…

  23. ROBERT says:

    I have exactly the same problem wıth my quad pro 3. (odd tearing lines across windows),since I downloaded Leopard

    a) multiple crashes while using Photoshop and Strata 3D,sometimes leaving me with a vertically striped blue and white screen,

    b) accelerating fan noise before a crash,

    c)no way to check ‘disc permissions’..it gets blocked…try it,you will see,

    d) when the computer crashes,I have to force restart (wıth the on-off button) at least three times until I get the startup screen,

    e) I even got these lines on the screen while I was downloading
    Leopard from the original DVD!

    Hoping that Apple will solve this ridiculous problem.

  24. Horst says:

    ATI X1900 XT, Rev. 1 = problems under Leopard,
    ATI X1900 XT, Rev. 2 = no problems under Leopard.

    Call Apple for Rev. 2 of the card.

  25. ROBERT says:



  26. Bmengstrom says:

    I am running XP MCE and having a problem with safari I think it has to do with the ATI X1600 Video card I have, I Did a fresh install of XP and Safari worked Great!… Then I updated the driver for the X1600 and Safari now frezzes and locks my whole pc up. 🙁 any help would be appreciated

  27. Robert says:

    You must clean – blast of air – into the air intake on the back on the X1900. I can’t say it’ll solve all problems, but by goodness, everyone, you’ve got to do monthly cleanings of the fans, etc. They’ll wear our otherwise.. simple mechanics. Best of luck to all.

  28. Norm says:

    I have the same problem ever since I upgraded to Leopard. I’ll take Horst’s advice and see if it works for me.

  29. Bruce Ide says:

    Probably overheating. It appears the X1900 will happily cook itself and result in a variety of system oddities along the way, including graphical tearing (I’ve never seen it outside a 3D app but I don’t run the 30″ monitor with my card, either) and random system crashes. Download a temperature monitor for the various sensors inside your system and prepare to be horrified at the results. And the ATI never seems to want to spin its fan up, even when it’s at 140 Farenheit. Neither ATI nor Apple appears to provide any way to spin the fan up either, although you can do it if you want to run Windows on your Apple.

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