No HDMI for me

And now suddenly my Mac has lost the ability to puke HDMI out of the Mini DisplayPort adapter. But if I plug an HDMI-to-DVI adapter into the Mini DisplayPort adapter, it works. When I plug the monitor in through HDMI, I don't even see a "monitor changed" message in system.log, but I do with DVI. I also tried a new Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter; same.

Given the other video bullshit I've been dealing with, does this suggest my video card is dying?

The Mac is a Mid-2010 27" iMac11,3, and the current line of iMacs aren't all that different, having not been updated since mid-2011, so I was hoping to put off upgrading it until they got around to releasing a new batch. Maybe that's no longer an option.

(That would also mean either downgrading from a 4TB drive to a 3TB drive, or cracking open a brand new iMac, since Apple won't sell you one with a 4TB drive in it.)

Arrrgh.

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15 Responses:

  1. Tim says:

    "the current line of iMacs aren't all that different, having not been updated since mid-2011" -- that link's out of date. Apple did a major revision in 2012, and a refresh in late 2013.

    Unfortunately I am the bearer of bad news: one of the changes is that they're now far more difficult to crack open than the 2011/2010 design. You need a special knife to insert between the cover glass and aluminum frame to slice the double sided foam tape that holds glass to frame, and when you reassemble you have to peel the original tape off and put new tape on.

    iFixit will happily sell you the knife and tape, but... yeah.

    • J. Peterson says:

      I actually forked out the ransom for a trash can Mac Pro for this very reason.

      Just in time for Apple to switch the Mac line to ARM, no doubt.

  2. CJ says:

    I've had AMD Radeon cards crap out on older iMacs as well, but NVIDIA graphics are now standard on the latest 27" models, optional on the 21.5", and have been that way since 2012. Try those.

  3. Glaurung says:

    There are no lack of resellers who will sell you an already-upgraded imac. Be prepared to fork over extra for the convenience, but considering how much harder the new line of Imacs are to take apart (thanks to the ultra-thin laminated screen), it may be worthwhile.

    Or you could just say fuck it and get a low end mac pro or a high end mac mini, and plug it into the matte screen(s) of your choice (your eyes will thank you).

    • Glaurung says:

      I've just remembered that new Imacs use special hard drives with integrated thermal sensors. In order to upgrade one you need to fuck around with the SATA connector (can't find the link now) or the fans will be perpetually maxed out: cf http://gigaom.com/2011/05/12/imac-drives-not-meant-to-be-replaced-and-i-hate-it/

      So, unless they introduce 4tb hard drive options with the upcoming refresh, you have to stick with 3tb, or switch to an external storage solution. :(

      My approach has been to stick with buying slightly older macs that predate Apple's recent fetish for making it impossible to service their machines.

      • Karl Shea says:

        There is a fan control menu tray thingy you can get (it's not free but it's not super expensive) that controls the fans based on the SMART data.

    • jwz says:

      The current high-end Mini has less CPU and half the RAM as the 2010 iMac I have now. Also you can only put laptop-form-factor drives in them, which I think again means "no 4TB".

      • Glaurung says:

        The mini can take 2 laptop drives, and IIRC nowadays they top out at 2tb, so 4tb is possible, I think.

        Sadly, Apple doesn't make computers with desktop-class CPUs that don't come attached to thousand dollar glossy screens. I content myself with a mini because specs aren't all that important to me, and I do care about my credit card and power bills (hence not a mac pro).

        Another approach would be to limp along until the WWDC refresh and see if they have something that meets your desired specs then. Like 4tb drives as a BTO option in Imacs (going to happen sooner or later), or who knows, they might come out with a trashcan style mini with full size storage options and desktop class CPUs. And I could find a pot of leprechaun gold buried in my lawn.

      • Karl Shea says:

        MacRumors also has it in the "don't buy" category since it hasn't been refreshed in over 550 days.

  4. gryazi says:

    That actually sounds sort of like a HDMI cable problem (heyyyy didn't we just do this?) if the "to HDMI" adapter is a constant and what changes is [HDMI cable] or [HDMI-to-DVI-adapter][DVI cable].

    Do those run to the same input on whatever is playing monitor? Because TVs and monitors like to go batshit or suffer ESD on ports from time to time too. In the race to the bottom consumer hardware is no longer well-consumer-proofed.

    Someone at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2180106?start=645&tstart=0 accidentally points out that faffing with "Mirror Displays" might be one way to check for a "driver works one way but broke the other" issue, of the sort the X.org world is fond of.

    [I'm also having a personal might-just-be-faulty-hardware or-might-be-firmware/driver-for-new-chip adventure with a DVI port in ATI land right now, so it's possible some sort of disgusting driver regression is slowly propagating back into the 'supported' platforms. More likely coincidence, but famous last words...]

    • gryazi says:

      P.S.: Further unlikely because I'd think it would still report something before not_working, but I'm used to TVs reporting completely wrong things in the EDID or whatever the DDC ROM is called now (like a 1080 set repeating figures from a 1024x768 desktop LCD because why bother reprogramming the ROM before you ship the TV?). So option 255 on the list is that some driver update sucked down by OS X decides to fail to detect a HDMI display if the response isn't sane enough.

      [The "why is this port completely and utterly dead and not detecting anything?" is similar to the coincidental DVI experience I'm having, but the manufacturer just wants me to tear the computer apart and RMA the motherboard in case it's hardware, without confirming that it 'must' be the hardware because you can't trust OSes and their own firmware isn't very reliable about what it will bother trying to initialize. Yes I'm grumpy. Here in the future the Apple tax at least gets you an output that worked at one point.]

    • jwz says:

      No, as I said, I tried a different adapter. I also tried different cables, because this is not my first rodeo. And two different HDMI devices (a monitor and a projector) are no longer working.

      • rs says:

        Does the way Mini DisplayPort -> DVI -> HDMI work?

        • jwz says:

          "DVI to HDMI" implies forging DRM, and anyway, I've never found one of those that worked right.

          • rs says:

            A single link DVI signal also is a valid HDMI signal. DVI/HDMI Adapter are usually dumb, like a "gender changer", just connectors and wires. I don't understand the DRM comment, HDCP is more or less orthogonal to HDMI vs. DVI. In HDMI, it's implementation is, in DVI it is not.

            So if your setup works with DVI, it should also work with a dumb DVI to HDMI (provided your resolution is "only" 1080p) dongle.