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  • cmanderson - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    They may be the same chip, but that doesn't equate to the same electronics or PCB, and definitely not the same ROM image. All iMac's have an Apple compatible ROM flashed on to the MXM graphics card. Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    This proves Apple makes crap products in shiny boxes¡ Reply
  • nFrost - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    Even though the issue is with a component that isn't produced by Apple. Good to see you read the article. Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    Note I didn't accidentally use an inverted exclamation point.

  • Gandalf90125 - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    Instead, you purposefully used a mark which most people know nothing about. Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    Which is why I responded, noted it, and even supplied a link. Or are you doubting my original comment wasn't made ironically. Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    Since when is that a thing anyway... For a large chuck of the audience out there it may just look like a typo made by someone with a Spanish layout on their keyboard (that's where the inverted ¡/¿ come from, they're used at both ends of the sentence in Spanish). Reply
  • bobbozzo - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    re Spanish:
    Left ends, not both ends.
    'Normal' !/? are used on the right ends.
  • valinor89 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    re Spanish too:
    To clarify:
    "¿Que hora es?" or ¡Anandtech mola mucho!
  • thesavvymage - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    for sarcasm just use /s at the end. It is more widely known Reply
  • ol1bit - Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - link

    oh my... Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    I love it when people apply double standards to Apple. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    There have been a lot of 6970M and 6990M card failures occurring actually. This is across all models like clevo and alienware. Reply
  • Naxan - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    I have an HP with a radeon 7690m tx with a I7 2670qm processor. From nearly day one I have been having the same video display problems.; lines through the screen, text appearing garbled like code (ie. ÿÀÿþ^Ïíø¾ûyá6x‰ñ#‰eÂRŸÿÑàø), display driver failures, bluescreen because of display driver failure. HP support was pretty worthless, but now I realize the problem.

    I think this is a much more widespread issue than people realize and given more investigation I'm betting that AMD will find it is affecting many more devices than previously realized.
  • Bob Todd - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    Yes, I'm sure the problem you are having with a 7690m is the exact same problem Apple ran into with the 6970m. After all, it's all the same part numbers just jumbled up! Or you know, you could just have some faulty hardware that isn't related to this at all. I wouldn't assume any issues with Blackcomb are the same as you are seeing on a Whistler part. Why on earth didn't you return or exchange your laptop? Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    Where's a moderator when you need one to kick the FUD to the kerb? :| Reply
  • Laststop311 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    I have 2x 6970m's that were only used 4 months in my alienware m18xr1. I replaced them with gtx 680m's in sli. Also added a triple pipe upgraded heatsink based on the r2 extreme cpu heatsink Anyone with issues that wants a cheap replacement. $175 each will include the heatsink assembly as well incase you can use it. daovermindbrood AATT hotmail(dot)com Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    So what are they being replaced with? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    The technical notice doesn't say. But the only practical answer is a new 6970M. Reply
  • Simon42 - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    These things feel like they're always running over 50C when you touch them (and sensors confirm it IIRC). Cramming such powerful hardware into such a tight package is asking for trouble, no matter how clever they get with cooling and using the whole aluminium body as a heatsink. When I worked in a computer store, 2 out of 3 Macs in for repairs were iMacs. But of course, they'll blame AMD if they can get away with it... Reply
  • solipsism - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    It could be poor cooling just over the GPU but there are other components in the chassis that seems to have less issues. Whether this is an Apple design flaw or not we can't determine but I do know that powerful GPUs have had longterm use issues long before the iMac was around. Reply
  • nerd1 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    Cramming powerful hardware into tight package? Come on, 6970m is a god damn LAPTOP GPU!
    We now have 2x more powerful GPUs (675m) in 13 inch laptops like 230ST.
  • RussianSensation - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    AMD & NV GPUs have no problems running at 85-90*C 24/7 for 2 years in a row. I tested plenty just for fun. Never had any failures with either brand. It has to be some component related issues, not temperatures. Reply
  • Kevin G - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    If I had to guess, I'd say it was simply over heating in the iMac chassis. For reasons I cannot fathom, Apple has been chasing the whole concept of thin for their iMac line like they do their laptops. Some one should tell Apple that few extra milimeters of depth for an all-in-one desktop isn't the end of the world. I dread to see how the late 2012 models are going to last long term.... Reply
  • solipsism - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    I don't see how adding a "few extra millimeters of depth" would help. I could even see an argument for how it could hurt using Simon42's comment about the chassis acting as a heat sink.

    If it is an issue with heat and that issue can be solved with better cooling then that should be the resolution, not simply making the chassis a little bigger. If the improved cooling requires more room in the chassis then that should happen but that a circumstance of the solution.

    It seems to me Apple would have done plenty of testing on these iMacs to see how hot the internals got under load and yet they've moved from using mobile-class chips to desktop-class chips and continued to make it thinner so I have to wonder if the problem isn't simply not enough attention given to proper cooling.
  • David_K - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    The CPU always were "desktop class" , but the GPU's are still mobile chips and not desktop ones. Reply
  • geok1ng - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    AFAIK, iMacs use laptop cpus, in laptop mobos, with laptop graphics, if any. That over course never stopped apple from charging server-grade prices for them. Reply
  • plewis00 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    It sounds like you've done stunning little research on what is actually inside an iMac... They use desktop CPUs, on custom-designed mainboards (just like a SFF desktop or laptop) and discrete laptop graphics (in the past low-mid range desktop chips were in use).

    It's a premium computer where most of the cost is probably in the LCD panel and chassis actually - not a lot different to Dell XPS or high-end HP all-in-ones that also cost more money...
  • solipsism - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    I don't get what you mean by a "laptop mobo" since it's a custom design. All I can think of is that only have having a bunch of PCIe slots on the mono means it can't be used for a desktop PC. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    They use desktop CPUs in their iMacs. My late-2009 model has an i7 860 Reply
  • solipsism - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    The iMac has used mobile-class processors for much of its existence. The most recent usage with the desktop class processors appears to have arrived at the same time as the unibody aluminium enclosure.

    • (pre-unibody) (post-unibody)
  • name99 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    I've no idea how you define a "mobile class processor" but my 2012 iMac has an quad-core i7-3770 at 3.4GHz turboi'ing up to 3.9GHz.
    Intel classifies this as a Desktop CPU, and the only way you're going to get anything faster is by going to a Xeon (or one of those crazy "enthusiast" CPUs).

    As far as I can tell, Apple does exactly what you'd expect them to do. They design the system to support a what is generally the highest powered (non-Xeon) Intel CPU available at the time, and users who want that can pay for it. But by default they ship the system with a lower performance/lower power CPU which is both cheaper and probably a better match for most people (who will appreciate a cooler running system, and will never use require the maximum performance of the more expensive chip). Whether that default chip is classified by Intel as Desktop or Mobile is probably irrelevant to Apple's calculations, what is relevant is the cost/performance/power tradeoff, with different decisions being made for different models.
  • solipsism - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    You either didn't properly read what I wrote or you meant to reply to someone else. Reply
  • Kevin G - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    My implication is that the extra room would be used for larger heat sinks, taller fans and generally more room to move air around. Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    (a) The iMacs in question are 2011 models. They are NOT the current thin models. They are a lot fatter than a laptop, and the GPU has a hulking great heat sink on top --- you can find tear-down pics at iFixit.

    (b) A persistent problem with ATI GPUs which I've noticed over the last five years or so is that ATI seems to constantly bin these things too aggressively so that a non-negligible fraction of them run very hot and eventually degenerate to displaying garbage. It's common enough that there's even a cottage industry on the internet telling you how to detach an ATI card or daughterboard and bake it in your oven for a few minutes in the hope that you'll repair minute solder breaks (which are one of the failure modes but not the only one, resulting from these constantly running so hot).
    I've not noticed the same pattern in nV cards, but I've never looked at this scientifically, this is just seeing the pattern of complaints in forums over the years.

    The very newest iMacs (the ones that ARE thinner) have (nV) GPUs soldered on board, not daughter cards, with no huge heat sinks, and the GPUs seem to run a lot cooler. Certainly nV seems to have taken seriously the realization that the previous model of continually cranking the things hotter and hotter was unsustainable. I've no idea whether ATI has seen the light on this point with there very latest GPUs.
  • Kevin G - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    One of the changes since 2011 has been the move to 28 nm GPU's. There is a bit of power saving there. The other change with GPU's, in particular nVidia's more recent Kepler parts is that they are throttling based upon temperature which in the case of the iMac, prevent failure in most cases.

    As for AMD, the Radeon HD 7000 series was binned a bit lower than what they could get out of the designs (ie Radeon 7970 -> 7970 Ghz edition). I would expected better thermal controls with the next batch of GPU's due later this year since they'll be produced on the same 28 nm as the Radeon HD 7000 series.
  • ShaftedByHaswellAnand - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    I really regret buying such integrated iMac....phenomenon has not occurred yet....not sure if that is good news or bad news.....Is the 3 year limit geographically inspired (applicable law)? Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    Tsk, tsk. AMD, for shame. I pretty much expected it from Apple, though. Reply
  • Rob Sims - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    I know, terrible customer service from Apple, giving their 'out of warranty' customers the option to have a free video card replacement, and offer refunds to those who already had to pay for it. I expect nothing less from such a ruthless company.

    It reminds me of when they made me replace my defunct 5 year old 1st gen iPod nano (1gb) (free of postage) with a brand new 6th gen (4gb) version due to a battery issue they discovered.

    It's a good thing other computer manufacturers (Dell, HP, Clevo...etc) using the same broken AMD chipset don't offer such an appalling free repair policy¡

    (I just learnt that ¡ thing from an earlier thread!)
  • Spunjji - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    We don't know that the chipset itself is actually broken. Reply
  • Rob Sims - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    Yeah sorry, I added that in for effect! Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    Is there any proof that AMD a) knew about this, and b) are trying to avoid paying out? From your "tone", I could presume that you meant c) AMD knowingly supplied faulty GPUs.

    Until this article came out, I had no idea that there was an issue with a small number of 6970Ms.

    Good on Apple for offering to replace these cards. Never thought I'd hear myself say that.
  • Rocket321 - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    If you have an impacted S/N I would suggest running your GPU 24x7 until it fails for the replacement. I had a HP with a known defective GPU (probably the "bumpgate" referred to in this article) that got an extended warranty on the GPU due to very high failure rates. Unfortunately mine didn't start to fail until about a year after the extra warranty had run out. Lesson learned, fire up a game demo every night and kill it while you can still get it replaced for free. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    "But given just how rarely we see large scale video card longevity issues, this is somewhat worrying."

    Not sure on which planet you're living but on this planet the dGPU is one of the most prominent failures one can have in a laptop though often it is related to the dGPU overheating and/or desoldering itself. Apple has often been plagued by this with it's laptop; I've had to fix^Wworkaround multiple desoldered GPUs in iBooks and MacBooks. Even my Core2Duo MBP 17" has had GPU problems for at least two years now.
  • omaudio - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Hah- first YOU have heard of it-

    My friend bought the top of the line and had issues from day one- could not play any Flash video without machine freezing or crashing. Years have gone by before Apple took action. Total BS customer service.
  • FrankeeD - Thursday, June 12, 2014 - link

    Those of us with 2011 MacBook Pros with defective logic boards are hoping this is the start of a trend.I'm on my 3rd logic board. Reply

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