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2006 Mac Pro Video Card Dies

A few years ago I replaced the piece-of-shit ATI Radeon X1900 XT in my Mac Pro. Lately, following reboots and other things which cause the display to go black (I've not tried sleep), the display will remain black. The white LED is on, the computer boots normally, and the display simply remains dark.

Rebooting a few times seems to fix the problem sometimes, but basically, I think the ATI card is dead again.

There are numerous threads about the quality of this card on Apple's discussion forums (here's one, another, and there are plenty more) as well as on third-party sites. I found some other discussions earlier today that I can't find again. The latter one is particularly interesting.

I called the local store to see what they had available - they're an Apple authorized shop - and was told that the GeForce GT 120 would work in my machine, despite what I read and what Apple says. Perhaps this update will help?

I remain unsold. I guess I'll find out in 3-5 days. Given the machine's age, I don't know what I'll do if the GT 120 doesn't work as I suspect it won't.

Any ideas? The machine's behaving great except for the lack of video output. The display works on my MacBook Pro. I've tried different PCI slots. I've reset PRAM and the SMC, etc. I'm 99% confident it's a video card issue… for a machine that's just about to hit its four-year anniversary.

7 Responses to "2006 Mac Pro Video Card Dies"

  1. The video card that came in my Mac Pro is the ATI Radeon HD 2600 and when restarting, the screen remains black (but on) until it reaches the desktop. It has done that since day one and I always thought it real strange. Not sure how to fix that.

  2. Our MacBook has an issue where, when it gets turned off, the screen brightness will reset to the absolute minimum (which has the effect of making the display look like it is off). Does adjusting the brightness when the monitor appears to be off help at all?

  3. No, the screen is black. No picture. It's not a matter of the backlight or anything like that - there's just nothing there.

    I've got a monster setup going right now with my MacBook Pro powering the screen and the Mac Pro booted in Firewire disk mode (thank $DEITY that's still available on older Macs) just so I can get some work done.

    The display works fine (since I'm using it right now), but connected to the Radeon card… it has maybe a one in fifty chance of working? Maybe I'll let the computer sit overnight without power. Might have a chance then. Once it works and I get a picture, it's fine and will stay running for weeks.

  4. No good ideas, but I also have video issues with my third 1900XT in the Mac Pro 2006. Artifacts and locking up (again) which has gotten to the point of making the machine unusable (again). Regular cleaning on the last two hasn't seemed to help much at all. Searching for a good alternative so I feel your pain.

  5. Mike said on July 28, 2010:

    No good ideas, but I also have video issues with my third 1900XT in the Mac Pro 2006.

    Unfortunately, that card is just a DOG. The sad thing is the machine's great - mine's still humming along quite nicely (knock on wood).

    1. I've run a GeForce 8800GT in my 2006 Mac Pro for a while, and am currently running an ATI Radeon HD 4870 it the same machine. I still have my x1900 and 8800GT cards lying around somewhere (dare I say, still functional).

  6. [...] an external Drobo with 3 TB on it, and it's hooked up to a 23" Cinema Display (remember those)? I've replaced the video card, but otherwise, it's served me [...]


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