August 8, 2006


I suppose it was bound to happen, call it karma... I've razzed a lot of friends whose PC's have blown up or had problems lately. "One word: 'get a Mac'," I've been known to say. Oops.

A little over a week ago I decided it was time to take a huge plunge and invest in the 30" Display. It bordered on excessive, but I had one at Fine Living and had found it so much easier to work on, and my old 17" display just wasn't cutting it anymore as I began to do more and more of my work from my home office. Not only that, but to power the new monitor, I was going to have to get a new graphics card. After a lot of confusing research online, I finally settled on the ATI x800 xt - one of the most expensive options, but it came highly recommended and if I was going to sink this much into things, I needed something reliable and trouble-free. I'm about as un-tech as they get.

To my glee, both arrived last Thursday. It took a few hours for me to set up (did I mention that I'm very un-tech?) The grx card came with an instruction book for a different card - that didnt help. Especially when the directions were "remove the old card. Insert the new card in its place." Gee, thats helpful. Nevertheless, I figured it out, and was pretty proud of myself. Life was good.

Monday morning, these odd pixels appeared. Light blue and pink all over the screen. Dragging a window across them would make them 'collect' and multiply. I stayed up til 4am reading message boards, discovering this seemed to be a common problem with 30inch displays for a couple years that Apple has never found a way to address. Most board posters had one odd solution or another that made them go away for a while - none of those worked for me. The only hope would be to try to exchange it and hope for one without the problems. Great. Then at one point today, I plugged my old monitor in as well. Now both are covered in the offending pixels. So now I wonder if it isnt the graphics card. That doesnt make sense with the info on Apples discussion boards, but who knows. It looks like this is going to take weeks or months to fix. Somehow when you spend this kind of money, you expect things to work. And I suppose its even harder when you've become used to working on a troublefree intuitive computer system for years... I guess I had it coming.

And by the way, Apple slashed the prices for their monitors on Monday, reducing them all at least $500. Never fails.
  • complete description of my pixels problem

  • previous Apple Discussion board on flickering pixels problem

    Tim said...

    Just turn the offending multiplying pink and blue pixels into your own signature design element---a feature in all your work. Hmmm, pink, sex colors......You know, something like "Pink and Blue pixels, the BIRTH of new ideas, at jonberrydesign." GROAN

    At my fraternity guy convention all week, catch you in a week and a half

    Unknown said...

    geez, i hate it when you get creative. :) the pixels dont embed themselves into anything that I create and export out of the computer, they just cover the screen...

    Todd said...

    Have you tried downloading the latest ATI graphics driver direct from the website?
    Probably did already right?

    Unknown said...

    ya - already downloaded all the drivers, updates, hotfixes etc from the ATI website... but good idea. thanks! argh.

    Anonymous said...

    Jon Berry:

    I came across your blog because I have been monitoring the thread on 30" "dancing pixels", which was my 30" macnightmare 12 months ago.

    Having looked at your pictures, I can say that your problem is different than that issue, which caused random waves of pixels that didn't clump or respond the way you describe. That issue was a hardware/sheilding/cabling issue that plagued a lot of people last summer. Apple repaired it no charge, I did have AppleCare. Because you experience this on different displays, you can rule out the 30" monitor as culprit.

    but i feel your pain nonetheless, good luck.

    Unknown said...

    just to update anyone finding this post, because its still generating a lot of hits - I ended up buying a second graphics card and it has worked fine (knock on wood) for over a week so far... the company I bought the first card from (CompUPlus, to plug them) gave me a refund on the defective card (minus shipping). :) So, it seems I was just stuck with a defective card...

    Unknown said...

    just a further update since people come to this post from google searches and discussion boards - the 30" has continued to work just fine with the replacement graphics card - obviously just had a bum card the first time around