imac

Apple has opened up one of its rare replacement programs for the graphics card in some mid-2011 iMac configurations, according to a notice issued to Apple Support employees. The iMac in question is the model released in May 2011 with Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt ports. This iMac was sold between that month and October 2012 when Apple launched thinner models with new internals. Apple says that AMD Radeon HD 6970M cards (both 1GB and 2GB configurations) in select versions of these 2011 iMacs could fail:

Apple has determined that some AMD Radeon HD 6970M video cards used in 27-inch iMac computers with 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processors may fail, causing the computer’s display to appear distorted, white or blue with vertical lines, or to turn black. iMac computers with affected video cards were sold between May 2011 and October 2012.

Apple says that the issue is connected solely to 27-inch models with 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processors. AppleCare, Genius Bars, and Apple Authorized Resellers have been given a series of steps to verify if a customer’s iMac exhibits the graphics card issues.

The problems have been documented over the past couple of years on Apple’s own Support Forums. Above is a YouTube video demonstrating some of the noted issues. Additionally, the iMacs must fall in the following serial number configurations:

The last four characters of the serial number must contain one of the following groups (for example, xxxxxxxxDHJQ):

  • DHJQ, DHJW, DL8Q, DNGH, DNJ9, or DMW8

  • DPM1, DPM2, DPNV, DNY0, DRVP, DY6F, F610

If the iMac falls within one of the above the serial number categories and is confirmed to have the graphics card issues, Apple will replace the AMD card free of charge up to three years from the computer’s purchase date. Additionally, if an affected iMac user had their graphics card already replaced at cost, the customer is said to be eligible for a refund.

This is not the first time that iMacs have seen component issues worthy of a replacement program. Late last year, Apple announced a replacement program for certain hard drive components in iMacs sold between 2009 and 2011.

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29 Responses to “Apple opens graphics card replacement program for some mid-2011 iMacs”

  1. I have been in this situation and replaced my graphic card for US $600. Is this program for USA only?

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  2. Just had the card replaced last week, so I’m very happy with this news!

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  3. Reblogged this on Subcritical and commented:
    My late-2008 24″ iMac had a very similar issue, but never got a recall. The one and only Apple product that I’ve bought that I would call a complete dud.

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  4. I have an iMac that falls into the group, including serial number, but have never seen an issue with my display.

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  5. I got my graphic card replaced 2 times, and my logic board 1 time, but I still have the same issues. Called AppleCare (yes, I have APP) and they’re replacing me the entire iMac with a one, the 2012 model. These issues are really annoying but Apple sure does know how to keep their customers happy :)

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  6. Joel John says:

    If you have already had your video card replaced you can call Apple care at (800) APL-CARE (800-275-2273) (make sure you have your repair number) and let them know that you are aware of the video card replacement program for your system and you are looking to see how you can get a refund. I got a Senior tech that just found out about this issue and said my ’27 iMac fits the model that has the issue and he is going to call me back before the end of the day with an answer as to how I go about getting my refund.

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    • BrianForbesColgate says:

      0700-2200 Central Time, 7 days a week, or post your request at Support.Apple.com at any time, and schedule a call-back at a time of your convenience. Click on iMac, then on Contact Support in the left column. After Accessories, etc., you’ll have to choose The topic is not listed, and then enter Video Card Replacement program as there is no option for it, and when you get further on to Schedule a call, you’ll have to fudge it because there is no entry there either … I chose I recently purchased Mac OS X, which is true, then go on and select a date and time for Apple Care to call you back. Good luck!

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  7. Ste Ric says:

    When it will start? Nothing yet at :http://www.apple.com/support/exchange_repair/ website.. Can u post a link please!

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  8. My 21″ mid-2011 iMac with AMD Radeon 6770M also has a bad graphic card. So, it’s not just the 27″ that has this problem.

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  9. cavalheiros says:

    I have the same issue with my MacBook Pro i7 2011 too. I let it on the authorized store here in Brazil in 7th of june of 2013 and still waiting for the logical card replacement… They are waiting for the third logical card… They said that the others two presents the same problem…

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  10. Joel John says:

    Apple care is sending me a refund check for $265 . I don’t know why the Apple store just could not refund my money. They were the ones that took it from me. I hope it does not take 4 weeks.

    If your computer has not been effected as yet I would call customer support and schedule it because there will be a dead line. So you will have to pay later.

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  11. Gaby Lastman says:

    I have the same problem. They replaced last week the graphic card and it failed again, then the replacement program appeared.
    Can anyone tell me if the new graphic card that they are putting is the same model (AMD Radeon HD 6970M) or is it a different one?

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  12. Paul Leclair says:

    I brought mine in Thursday to get the new card since I was experiencing the “black screen” issue a couple of times a month and they told me (after 2 days of diagnostics) that there wasn’t anything wrong with the card and that they wouldn’t replace it. They also said my “black screen” issue on wake up from sleep mode was likely a software issue and they reloaded the OS. I call bullshit. They should have replaced the card.

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    • BrianForbesColgate says:

      Alternating white and black 1-pixel high vertical lines filling the screen is a video card issue.
      Black screen is a different issue related to a failing LCD, and is quite separate from the video card problem.

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  13. ravisirsi says:

    I had the same problem, but I must say that Apple was very helpful and they replaced the Graphics Card as well as the board, I mean I was really surprised by the way I kept getting calls from Apple to updating on my issue. The drawback is I suffered a lot for nearly 4-5 weeks. My GPU replacement happened just before this replacement program announcement, so I guess I was lucky not to go through the cycle of claiming back my money as the replacement was done free of cost for me. Here is the link to my previous problem if it helps everyone, if you see something similar to this please take you iMac for a replacement.

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  14. My 27” inch iMac was repaired three times in a row (1 replacement of LCD-panel en 2 replacements of de graphicscard 2GB) by a APP until they finally had a stable system; Now is the big question if this graphics card is any better then the previous one. I was hoping that this high end computer would have a longer lifetime then only 3 years.

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  15. Same problem here with my 2011 27″ iMac. While I was working on it last week, it broke down with the exact same symptoms. Having read your article, I made a Genius Bar appointment with the local Apple Store (I live in Amsterdam). I just came back with a bad headache and with the same bad card in my system. According to the employee I would have to wait for 2 weeks for repairs (not possible as I’m working towards a deadline) because the GPUs weren’t in stock, and he also refused to make the replacement for free. He said my iMac is not eligible, and when I told him my serial number indeed ends in one of the above configurations and showed him your article as proof, he immediately discredited it as an unreliable source. What’s more, he couldn’t do it for free because my 1 year warranty is over -well, duh, it’s the ***2011*** iMac and the replacement program has just been issued in 2013. He basically sent me home packing with his foul attitude. May I ask what are your sources for the above S/N configurations? Is there anything else I can do now? All in all, it’s a VERY bad day to be an Apple consumer.

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  16. Ray Green says:

    I have a 2010 27 in. imac which has white screen death problems. I took it in to IC Super computers (authorized dealer) and was told it was either a software or hard ware problem. My cost would be approx. $200. (software) or $500. for hard ware. If the problem is hardware there only be a 90 day warranty. He also mentioned that the hard drive was manufactured in Indonesia about the time of their tsunmi and that sand could be floating in the hard drive. My question is why would apple sell damaged parts and why when talking to mac support did they not inform me of this possible defect.
    Lastly if it is my hard drive, is it possible to be compensated?

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  17. Hi, I own a mid-2011 Macbook Pro and from what I’ve seen on certain communities and discussion boards… There’s even a blog post about the issue and how widespread it is in a very famous spanish blog, here’s the link:

    http://www.applesfera.com/portatil/problemas-con-los-graficos-de-tu-macbook-pro-del-2011-no-eres-el-unico

    Here’s the link for the discussion page on Apple:

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4766577?tstart=0

    The Video Card on my computer is AMD Radeon HD 6570M

    As a recent Architecture/Interior Design graduate my Macbook Pro is basically useless since the only applications I use rely heavily on the graphics card.

    Is there any way we can reach out to Apple and request a replacement program as well? Do you think there’s any hope??

    It certainly is very expensive to buy another computer and it is fairly new, just 1 yr and a half or less!!

    Please answer!

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  18. Ray Green says:

    I had to come back today and let you know that I contacted Apple support yesterday and after a lengthy conversation ( to my delight) they have agreed to cover the cost of my hard drive. Only because I did not receive a notice regarding the recall, Joseph @ apple support granted this request. He did strongly mention that the 3 year warranty was based on THE DATE OF PURCHASE. Although I’m extremely pleased with the outcome, I’m still somewhat concerned as to how long my Imac will operate before another failure givin the warranty is only honoured for 90 days.

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  19. iMac 2011 are not the only machines affected. A lot of MacBook Pros 2011 are also having issues with their discrete AMD Radeon HD 6490M and above. The failure ultimately leaves the machines unable to boot (my case). AppleCare still has not officially acknowledged the problem…

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    • Had same issue at random times. After reading boards deduced it was related to graphics card. Could only reproduce if I pushed the machine hard (mostly games). Took it to “Genius” Bar and told them of my diagnosis. Their diagnostic showed no problem. I told them they needed to stress the machine for an extended time. They did so and came back with a failing HDD fan… After taking home the problem was
      worse. After another two hour drive back to the Apple Store they discussed replacing the logic board, ending up with only the graphics card. Its been three weeks without the issues returning. While I still love Apple, I still find it incredulous that not matter what the issue I seem to be the first ever to bring it to their attention,,,

      Like

  20. I’m from Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and I picked up my iMac yesterday from an Apple’s authorized service provider. It’s running fine so far. So, if anyone from Brazil is wondering if Apple will replace the 27″ iMac’s graphic card for free, the answer is yes.

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    • meemee2014 says:

      The same thing happened to my 2011 iMac. But they do not want to replace the Graphics card as the diagnostics program did not show there was a mistake on the graphics. Well, that is what they said.
      Any idea to what should I do?

      Like

  21. No love for those of us with 2011 MacBook Pros that have defective logic boards? I’m on my 3rd logic board (replaced under AppleCare), but am expecting the replacement board to fail at some inconvenient time now that it’s out of AppleCare. There’s a 400+ page discussion of the problem here https://discussions.apple.com/message/26090897?ac_cid=tw123456#26090897

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  22. I’ve had mine done several times…my computer is almost out of the Apple Care Program which scares me!

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  23. My 2011 iMac 27 is currently in the shop getting a free video card replacement. Is the replacement the same model or an upgraded version? I hope it solves the issue and doesn’t occur again soon! Why would it
    only occur on selected products.

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