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.