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Portions of Screen Pixelating, Becoming Blocky

Nova Sky
Nova Sky
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Zeni, et al.:

This just began for me early this morning (Friday, March 20, 2015). Small portions of the game screen seemingly flicker at random, with "bits" of it pixelating and/or becoming blocky. It doesn't seem to interfere with actual gameplay, but it makes it hard to concentrate on, well, playing.

It does this both in full-screen and windowed mode. It does *not* flicker/pixelate/get blocky outside of ESO. I tested this right away to make sure it wasn't something with my iMac monitor going out, but, no, it's limited to ESO.

It's happening in The Rift, where my toon is at, and in Avunchel (the dwarven dungeon). I logged out and back in, and the issue continues. Prior to this, I had no issues with screen quality ... but now, now it's difficult to play.

My specs:

• iMac purchased in June 2013; processor is a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7; 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 memory; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2048 MB; OSX 10.9.5.

Please, is there anyway this can be rectified? I've tried adjusting settings within the game, but nothing works; heck, it even persists when I put everything into the "low" category. Current settings are "high."
"Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky
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    If it helps, here's a screenshot ...
    "Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
  • chris.dillman
    chris.dillman
    ✭✭✭
    Hi Nova

    We are not sure what is going on, we have never seen this.

    Can you post some more in game screen shots of this bug?

    Also if you start a new toon and run around some other section of the world do you still see this problem?

    This will help us figure out if it is a GPU Hardware issue or just part of the game world.


    Edited by ZOS_TristanK on March 24, 2015 8:04PM
    -- ESO -- Lead Mac Programmer...
    Staff Post
  • Attorneyatlawl
    Attorneyatlawl
    Community Ambassador
    That looks like artifacting from your GPU, usually the kind where it's starting to die and be unable to keep its clocks stably and begins showing visual issues like that screenshot shows. Assuming you didn't overclock it, and your temperatures are normal, you very likely are starting to see it on its way out :(. Lowering the clocks using a utility may help it for now, but if that's the issue, degradation will continue until it just doesn't work without artifacting. If you have a service plan (it's called AppleCare, I think? not a mac guy myself) I'd recommend bringing it in. You may be able to be sure that this is the problem by running a different game that loads the GPU heavily, but it won't necessarily show right away in every 3d game you try running for a little while.

    -First-Wave Closed Beta Tester of the Psijic Order, aka the 0.016 percent. =P
    Exploits suck. Don't blame just the game, blame the players abusing them!

    -Playing since July 2013, back when we had a killspam channel in Cyrodiil and the lands of Tamriel were roamed by dinosaurs.
    -Order of Mundus, Nightfighters, LoM, and Mostly Harmless founding member, "DPS: We Deliver."
    ________________
    -In-game mains abound with "Nerf" in their name. As I am asked occasionally, I do not play on anything but the PC NA Megaserver at this time.
  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I spent two hours on the phone with Apple, and it seems the issue is more than likely with my iMac (sadly enough). I do have an AppleCare plan, though, so that's the good thing. Bad thing is, nearest facility that is Apple-approved is 1.5 hours away.

    Attorney, quick question: The GPU, that's the motherboard, yes? After working with Apple, we narrowed it down to either a failing graphics card, or the display itself undergoing a failure.
    "Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
  • Attorneyatlawl
    Attorneyatlawl
    Community Ambassador
    Nova Sky wrote: »
    I spent two hours on the phone with Apple, and it seems the issue is more than likely with my iMac (sadly enough). I do have an AppleCare plan, though, so that's the good thing. Bad thing is, nearest facility that is Apple-approved is 1.5 hours away.

    Attorney, quick question: The GPU, that's the motherboard, yes? After working with Apple, we narrowed it down to either a failing graphics card, or the display itself undergoing a failure.

    Heya :). The gpu in an iMac is integrated onto the motherboard, as a discrete chip, much like with many notebooks. So that would be a yes. Sorry to hear I turned out to be right :(, but glad you have a recourse! This type of artifacting is 100% not a monitor issue, for two primary reasons: A.) A display issue can't be captured by a screenshot as those are taken prior to sending the picture to the display in the first place, and B.) the type of artifacting if you had for example used a camera to show it here, isn't the kind that displays themselves cause when having a defect. Display issues usually are various colored flashing dots, particularly in darker parts of the image, lines or scanlines, or extreme corruption that affects the majority of the picture :).

    Good luck with having it serviced smoothly... after the hassle, at least, you'll be running well again :D.

    -First-Wave Closed Beta Tester of the Psijic Order, aka the 0.016 percent. =P
    Exploits suck. Don't blame just the game, blame the players abusing them!

    -Playing since July 2013, back when we had a killspam channel in Cyrodiil and the lands of Tamriel were roamed by dinosaurs.
    -Order of Mundus, Nightfighters, LoM, and Mostly Harmless founding member, "DPS: We Deliver."
    ________________
    -In-game mains abound with "Nerf" in their name. As I am asked occasionally, I do not play on anything but the PC NA Megaserver at this time.
  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Attorney:

    Thanks for responding.

    If I may ask, how much work does it take to replace an integrated GPU/motherboard? Also, does replacing both affect the computer's hard drive? (In other words, am I going to have to reinstall all of my software after the repair is completed?)
    "Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
  • KhajitFurTrader
    KhajitFurTrader
    Community-Botschafter
    Nova Sky wrote: »
    If I may ask, how much work does it take to replace an integrated GPU/motherboard? Also, does replacing both affect the computer's hard drive? (In other words, am I going to have to reinstall all of my software after the repair is completed?)
    If the spare parts are available on location (shouldn't be a problem with the latest an next to latest models), I'd guesstimate a work day or even less, depending on their work load. Try to get an appointment with the service rep, he should also be able to give you a quote on duration.

    The HDD should by all means be left intact by the repair procedure. But to be on the safe side, make sure your Time Machine backup is up to date, you can then restore it in one go if something went awry. If you don't use TM, imaging programs like CarbonCopyCloner can quickly and easily backup and restore whole volumes to/from external drives.
  • Attorneyatlawl
    Attorneyatlawl
    Community Ambassador
    No problem Nova. And thanks for adding in that info @KhajitFurTrader . Spot on.

    -First-Wave Closed Beta Tester of the Psijic Order, aka the 0.016 percent. =P
    Exploits suck. Don't blame just the game, blame the players abusing them!

    -Playing since July 2013, back when we had a killspam channel in Cyrodiil and the lands of Tamriel were roamed by dinosaurs.
    -Order of Mundus, Nightfighters, LoM, and Mostly Harmless founding member, "DPS: We Deliver."
    ________________
    -In-game mains abound with "Nerf" in their name. As I am asked occasionally, I do not play on anything but the PC NA Megaserver at this time.
  • davedesigns
    davedesigns
    ✭✭✭
    This same issue just happened to me this weekend - 27" iMac 11,1 Late 2009 - Radeon HD 4850 512 MB

    Screen would flicker intermittently while playing, then the pixelated blocks appeared, then the game would totally distort and freeze the whole system, forcing me to power off the computer.

    What's worse after I restarted, THE SCREEN DISTORTION ARTIFACTS ARE NOW PERMANENT ACROSS THE SYSTEM AND THE COMPUTER CONTINUOUSLY REBOOTS ITSELF TO RECTIFY THE PROBLEM. I CAN'T USE MY COMPUTER AT ALL NOW!

    Had to take it to a repair shop to have the GPU reflowed. We'll see if that fixes the problem, but if not then I'll be forced to buy a whole new computer...
    Edited by davedesigns on March 26, 2015 12:08AM
  • chris.dillman
    chris.dillman
    ✭✭✭
    Nova Sky wrote: »
    Attorney:

    Thanks for responding.

    If I may ask, how much work does it take to replace an integrated GPU/motherboard? Also, does replacing both affect the computer's hard drive? (In other words, am I going to have to reinstall all of my software after the repair is completed?)

    Hi Nova.
    You will need to ask apple this.

    When laptops are sent into Apple they sometimes erase the entire drive.
    They warn users of this first.

    You should probably back up any important data.
    -- ESO -- Lead Mac Programmer...
    Staff Post
  • chris.dillman
    chris.dillman
    ✭✭✭
    Nova Sky wrote: »
    I spent two hours on the phone with Apple, and it seems the issue is more than likely with my iMac (sadly enough). I do have an AppleCare plan, though, so that's the good thing. Bad thing is, nearest facility that is Apple-approved is 1.5 hours away.

    Attorney, quick question: The GPU, that's the motherboard, yes? After working with Apple, we narrowed it down to either a failing graphics card, or the display itself undergoing a failure.

    Hi Nova

    We think it its a GPU failure,

    did not want to say anything before seeing some more screen shots.

    But now that you are are already down that rabbit hole…

    Anyhow GPU can fail from lots of use, to much heat, sometimes issues with manufacturing.
    Failures tend to show up as spots or later on static as the GPU continues to fail.

    It is possible that the GPU only starts to fail after say 20 minutes of game play when it has had enough time to fully heat up.

    The local apple shop may have to send your iMacs motherboard into apple for repairs.
    -- ESO -- Lead Mac Programmer...
    Staff Post
  • chris.dillman
    chris.dillman
    ✭✭✭
    This same issue just happened to me this weekend - 27" iMac 11,1 Late 2009 - Radeon HD 4850 512 MB

    Screen would flicker intermittently while playing, then the pixelated blocks appeared, then the game would totally distort and freeze the whole system, forcing me to power off the computer.

    What's worse after I restarted, THE SCREEN DISTORTION ARTIFACTS ARE NOW PERMANENT ACROSS THE SYSTEM AND THE COMPUTER CONTINUOUSLY REBOOTS ITSELF TO RECTIFY THE PROBLEM. I CAN'T USE MY COMPUTER AT ALL NOW!

    Had to take it to a repair shop to have the GPU reflowed. We'll see if that fixes the problem, but if not then I'll be forced to buy a whole new computer...

    [snip]

    [Moderator Note: Edited per our rules on Bashing & Slanderous Comments]

    Hi dave,

    Sorry to see that happen.

    The other option is bring the iMac to apple and paying for them to repair it or replace the motherboard
    Not just do a GPU reflow on it.
    Might be cheaper then buying a new one.

    Also you might want to Ask Apple if there are any known defects on your model of iMac.
    GPU issues have happened before and Apple may just repair it out of warrantee if its a common enough failure.
    ATI 9200 GPUs in all Apple and PC laptops burnt out after 2 years for example.




    -- ESO -- Lead Mac Programmer...
    Staff Post
  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Chris:

    Thanks for the responses. I will be taking my iMac in to be repaired Wednesday afternoon. Tech said it'd probably take a day or two, so I hope to have my iMac back sometime Friday afternoon.

    As for backing up data, I plan to have the shop do that. It'll cost me $90, most likely, but I never invested in Time Machine because, frankly, I don't have that much important data on my machine. It serves primarily as my gaming and Internet machine, with a dollop or two of word processing.

    Weird thing is, as I type this, there's no artifacting taking place. It comes and goes. I do notice an odd dark gray screen that pops up when I wake the iMac from sleep. That lasts 5 to 10 seconds before transitioning to the normal desktop screen.

    Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers, opening the pocketbook a bit and hoping for the best. This is the first time I've had an Apple product fail on me, and I've owned Apple comps since 1995.
    "Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky
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    Everyone:

    The artifacting stopped shortly after I applied the latest ESO patch. I can't duplicate it anymore in other applications — such as Civilization 5 — or on the desktop, either. Same with video playback via the web browser.

    It's just gone. All gone. I don't get it. What the heck would cause this to happen?
    "Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
  • davedesigns
    davedesigns
    ✭✭✭
    Nova Sky wrote: »
    Everyone:

    The artifacting stopped shortly after I applied the latest ESO patch. I can't duplicate it anymore in other applications — such as Civilization 5 — or on the desktop, either. Same with video playback via the web browser.

    It's just gone. All gone. I don't get it. What the heck would cause this to happen?

    I feel it was the game that caused it - the distortion happened to me while playing in windowed mode, then I restarted and was able to resume normal work on my desktop. Tried to log back in game a little later and after about 20 minutes of normal gameplay the screen goes all garbled and would not recover.

    Just got my machine back this evening because the reflow was unsuccessful at fixing the problem. Might be a motherboard issue like Chris suggests. Who knows? Going to a SECOND repair place tomorrow morning...

    DEFINITELY NOT WHAT I WANTED TO BE DOING OVER THE WEEKEND AND INTO THIS WEEK...
    Edited by davedesigns on March 25, 2015 12:36AM
  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky
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    Good news: My iMac has been returned from the shop with a new GPU and logic board installed (the elements were integrated, it seems). Work beckons now, so I'll test ESO and other apps later tonight!
    Edited by Nova Sky on April 2, 2015 7:12PM
    "Wheresoever you go, go with all of your heart."
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