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Incorrect colors in Mac OS X 10.3

Incorrect colors in Mac OS X 10.3

Yesterday we covered a report from MacFixIt reader Dave Besade describing odd onscreen colors and artifacts that only began after installing Mac OS X 10.3. Apple actually replaced the motherboard on his Mac due to another issue, but that didn't solve the video problem, which occurs with at least two different monitors.

Dave has since provided more information about his efforts to try to solve the problem. He's tested both monitors with other computers (both Mac and PC) and they work fine. In addition, he's done clean installations of various versions of the Mac OS (9, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3), and the problem only occurs under Mac OS X 10.3.x. Finally, the problem also occurs when using the S-Video out of his Radeon video card to drive a TV.

We've received a few similar reports from other readers, most of which suggested that the problem is due to particular combinations of ATI video cards, the ATI drivers installed with Panther, and particular brands and models of monitors. Reader Michael Langlois notes:

"I've experienced this exact phenomenon. One of the labs I managed consisted of various flavors of Quicksilver G4s, some with one monitor and some with two (all had dual-head video cards.) They were all being used for FinalCut and Photoshop work. Several machines exhibited the color distortions and after some difficulty I narrowed it down to specific brands/models of monitors in both dual and single monitor set-ups. This lab used Sony and Viewsonic CRTs of various models. When certain Viewsonic monitors were connected the weird pastel colors showed up. This happened with either connector on the cards (VGA or DVI w/adaptor.)"

We're investigating this issue further, including trying to determine which particular monitors seem to be exhibiting the problem. If you've seen this issue, please drop us an email at with your hardware and software information.

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