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Ask Max: 2.66GHz MacPro problems

Asked on 02/07/2011:

Well, my trusty 2.66GHz MacPro failed two months out of AppleCare warranty. Right before it failed, the screen image developed a very faint herringbone pattern of thin horizontal yellow rectangles which look to be about 1/4" x 1/16" rectangles. The computer gets through the chime and through the Apple screen and to the blue screen with mouse pointer in the upper left. The drive is being accessed, but nothing happens on-screen though the cursor does track mouse movements while leaving a fixed mouse pointer at the original position. The yellow pattern is consistent through multiple reboot attempts. I pulled the drive and hooked it up to my Intel Mac mini and it mounts to the desktop and I can see all files in the Finder.

In the past, the video card failed and was replaced under AppleCare. I tried the usual tricks individually with reboot attempts between checks (checked 3v lithium battery, PRAM reset, pulled extra memory, reseated video card, move drive to different bay, disconnected all external devices except keyboard/mouse/DVI. Same result on all counts. Checked for dust build-up on memory and video heatsinks. Not much there. I installed a brand new WD Caviar Black drive and tried to install the OS (Discs supplied with MacPro) on a new drive. It makes it through installation Disc 1 to the RESTART button. When it reboots, I get a grey screen in multiple languages saying to restart. Can't make it to Disc 2. Tried re-installing with drive in 2nd bay, same thing.

Hardware Details:

  • 2.66GHZ Dual Xeon Macpro 2006-7 unit bought from Power max

  • 4GB memory installed (1GB x 4)

  • Mac OS 10.5.8

  • Monitor: Dell Ultrasharp 24" using DVI

  • Boot Drive: 7200.10 Seagate 750GB


I apologize for the long e-mail. It is frustrating when stuff breaks right out of the warranty period.

I would appreciate any advice on further diagnostics and options for repair.


The symptoms you're describing do seem to relate to a video card failure. The Kernel Panic on restart may also point to a video card failing to identify correctly. How long ago was the video card replaced? If it was recent enough, it would be worth checking with the repair center that performed the replacement. In some cases, the repair on the video card, has it's own warranty, and may qualify you for a replacement. I hope this information has been helpful for you.