Apple swapping out defective x1900 XT cards for (some) Mac Pro owners - Macenstein

Apple swapping out defective x1900 XT cards for (some) Mac Pro owners

And this is why I love Apple…

A while back I lamented how ever since upgrading to Leopard, my Mac Pro had been exhibiting some odd graphical glitches, mainly in the form of odd lines that would run across various windows in the Finder and apps. I eventually found that the problem was somewhat widespread, at least for owners of the quad-core Mac Pro model I ordered, and who, like me, had splurged for the $350 ATi x1900 XT card.

Above: That ain’t right… Click to embiggen.

Numerous discussion threads can be found by confused users such as myself whose machines were working fine under Tiger, but began experiencing graphics corruption since upgrading to Leopard.

Well, even though I bought my Mac Pro on September 15th of 2006, and did not purchase AppleCare, I figured what the hell, let’s call Apple Support and see what happens. Well, what do you know, Apple was nice enough to send me out a brand new replacement card, free of charge (minus shipping). I didn’t even have to threaten them with Macenstein‘s legendary bully pulpit – Apple Support just rocked all by itself.

Above: Out with the old…

Above: …and in with the new.

In looking at the two cards I can’t find any discernible differences, and they appear identical in Apple’s system profiler. So while I’m not sure what is different/fixed in this batch of cards, I have had my first “graphics glitch-free day” since installing Leopard, so it looks like the new card has done the trick.

Above: I’m not sure what the difference is between the 2 cards, but the new card seems to be doing the trick so far.

So if you are a Mac Pro owner experiencing x1900 XT card troubles, give Apple a call, even if you don’t have AppleCare. It could save you $350.

15 Responses to “Apple swapping out defective x1900 XT cards for (some) Mac Pro owners”
  1. Allan says:

    The Genius who swapped mine out indicated that the dust on the cooling fins was so thick, it looked like felt. He indicated that this wasn’t the first card he’d seen in that condition; curious if your old card has any evidence.

  2. Zorin says:

    I had similar issues; graphics corruption and crashes while running Second Life, etc. Oh and you need to fix the layout of this page, there’s ads that overlap the window I’m typing in, making it impossible to se what I type at times. Anyway, they replaced my card with minimal hassle and I have been trouble-free since.

    Apple support sometimes rocks. 🙂

  3. Mike says:

    I called Apple a couple months ago when my X1900 died in the same fashion. They refused to replace it since my machine was no longer under waranty. I wish Apple was more consistant in their repair policies.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I was having the same problem, so I cleaned out the dust that had collected on air intake. That helped for awhile, but I would still get random artifacts and an occasional screen freeze. So I installed SMC fan control ( and increased all minimum fan speeds. You can actually hear a tiny bit of fan noise now, but the machine runs several degrees cooler and no more graphic glitches.

  5. JustFYI says:

    This is a big issue for WoW players, see the info on their Mac Tech Support forum ( to learn more about the issue and how to talk with Mac Tech Support about it to get a replacement card.

  6. Steve D says:

    I have the same problem with the Radeon X1900 XT in my first generation Mac Pro 2 x 3GHz Dual-Core Xeon, running Mac OS X 10.5.2. My computer is no longer under warranty. I called support today as per your suggestion, but no free replacement was issued. Support merely echoed concern about having the latest firmware updates installed, which I have installed.

    Looking at the comments and keeping score, that’s a -1 (2 ticks against Apple versus 1 tick for).

    I have installed smcFanControl as well, and have significantly minimized issues for now. I find that setting the minimum PCIe/HDD fan speed to 1000 RPM does the trick.

  7. Hey Steve D,

    I would suggest calling again. I actually spoke to 3 reps before getting my replacement, although the first 2 did not actually shoot me down, they merely asked me for information I did not have handy, as I called from work and this was my home machine witht he problem.

    First they wanted my serial number. When I called back with that info, the next rep wanted to know whether I had a x1900 XT or x1900XTX, which I couldn’t remember for some reason (it’s the XT).

    Anyway, try again. They are definitely aware of the problem, and they are likely your only hope, as ATi’s site doesn’t mention the x1900 for Intel Macs, and actually doesn’t seem to know that Apple even released 10.5 (their support lists drivers only for Tiger and below).
    Good Luck.

    -The Doc

  8. I had the same problem. Took it to the Genius Bar in Orlando, where they decided to keep the computer over night. I finally got it back ten days later with a new card, replaced under AppleCare. No problems now.

  9. I had the same problem. Blowing dust off card did not help. Computer was crashing frequently (1-10x/day), especially with graphics-intensive aps like FCP. Apple phone reps had me do a bunch of stuff like erase & reinstall of Leopard before bringing it in. I still had active AppleCare, so no problem with $s. We have several Apple stores in our area – one had them in stock and fixed it overnight. No crashing or graphics problems since.

  10. English Teacher says:

    This sentence makes no sense.
    “…users such as myself who’s machines were working fine…”

    who’s = who is or who has, you mean whose. It’s just like it’s vs its. Check the Front/Back matter of your Oxford Dictionary included in Leopard.

  11. Thanks, English teacher!

    – The Doc

  12. macrobat says:

    It took a 1 hour conversation with two people from apple, but i got it replaced!! The wonderful thing is I probably would not have even tried if it wasn’t for this website. Finally a silver line in the cloud that is my mac pro

  13. necz0r says:

    This glitch began happening to me ever since the 10.4.11 update (yeah, I’m still on Tiger) on an iMac Core Duo bought right before they replaced them with the C2Ds.

    Graphics have all been running great until this particular update.

  14. hey guys! so i saw this article and called apple about my video crashes. apple is sending me out a replacement card ASAP. this article saved me buying an 8800 when UT3 FINALLY hits. i have been putting off getting this issue fixed ‘cuz i thought it was gonna cost me $350 and my real justification isnt here yet. led me here, so alltop rocks.

    this site saved me at least $350 , so you guys rock.

    apple is making good where they didnt have to (out of waranty), if they didnt want to (general dicky corporate behavior that seems so prevalent these days). so APPLE rocks.

    ….and eBay rocks just because!

    thank you very much,


    ps. now back to lurker mode……

  15. Pete says:

    I had the same problem, defective X1900. Noticed it building up over the months. Cleaned it, but would still give 3D errors and artifacts, and card would crash itself or whole computer. Took me a while to report it, cause I wanted to believe it was maybe drivers or software or something else.

    Called Apple, they wanted to charge me since it’s outside of guarantee and Apple doesn’t officially recognize the problem. Insisted I wanted a free replacement of rev. 2 card since it’s a known design flaw. Few phone calls later I am getting a free new card delivered by courier.

    They know those cards are faulty. They will try to trick you to avoid a massive hangover from having to pay to replace all these cards. Many people will pay for the repairs. But if you insist, they will help you out, because they know you’re right.

Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.