MacBook Pros with ATI Radeon X1600 graphics cards still experiencing issues

MacBook Pro users with models that have the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics cards have been reporting issues such as horizontal lines of noise and other display artifacts. These issues seem primarily affect early MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo machines as described by

MacBook Pro users with models that have the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics cards have been reporting issues such as horizontal lines of noise and other display artifacts. These issues seem primarily affect early MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo machines as described by MacFixIt user Andres Araneo:


"There are several threads in apple discussions related to display problems (horizontal lines of noise and other artifacts) that have arisen in early Macbook Pro Core Duo 2.0Ghz models which have the ATI x1600 chip. Several people have been complaining about this in apple discussions for some months now. This seems to be an early degradation issue possibly related to heat. Symptoms are very consistent between all reports but apple has not recognized a problem (recall or extended warranty) yet. People with apple care had their mainboards replaced. It would be great if you could help us raise the exposure of this so maybe apple will tackle it."

Apple's OS X update to 10.5.6 was supposed to fix issues related to graphics on some MacBook Pro models (as described in its update details). However, many users found that the graphics problems still existed after installing the update.

Another e-mail from MacFixIt user Mark confirms the issue:

"10.5.6 didn't fix my game graphics problem on my MacBook Pro with ATI Radeon X1600."

Several users support the possibility of these issues being heat related.

From Apple Support discussions user StevanE:

"The other thing I suspected is the GPU heat. Temperature Monitor says the GPU Processor Chip is in the high 60C range as well as the Graphics Processor Heatsink. The behavior seems to start as the temperature rises from the mid-50C range to nearly 70C."

Other symptoms including "yellow squares" have been reported, but could be related to a Leopard install as opposed to the graphics card.

From Apple Support discussions user Lastonius:

"I was a long time Tiger user. And there was no problem with video on my MacBookPro.
But after installing on clean device Leo I have random yellow squares on my display now."

Possible fixes
Currently there is no official fix or solution for this issue from Apple. In some cases, Apple will issue a recall or automatic repair for known issues across a certain serial code set or a particular model. The issues surrounding the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card have not qualified for any such program to date and Apple is treating these issues on a case-by-case basis.

Some users have come up with a work-around for this issue.

From Apple Support discussions user lvargasf:

"I solved this problem by cutting some excess Kaptop tape that was blocking the fan exhausts. This got me a serious temperature drop and that misterious line of pixels, the lockups and all the graphical issues just dissapeared. 
Hope this helps at least a few of you."

As with any hardware-related fixes, if you are under warranty and believe you may have a hardware issue, set up a Genius Bar appointment or take your computer to a local AppleCare Authorized repair technician. If you open your own computer and repair something internally, you run the risk of voiding your warranty and permanently damaging your computer.

Resources
Apple Support discussion thread regarding the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card issues.
Apple Support discussion thread regarding the "yellow squares" issue.
Apple Support discussions thread regarding more graphics issues.
Apple KB article regarding graphics issues in MacBook Pros.

Experiencing problems? Have feedback? Let us know!

Resources
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  • Apple Support discussion thread regarding the "yellow squares" issue.
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