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  1. #1
    2011 iMac 27 inch drama

    The subject of this alone will have many people groaning about another thread for a 2011 iMac however i'm yet to see after a large amount of research the problem that im actually having.

    to start -

    - Purchased the iMac online (cheaply) from someone who said it wasn't booting - just had the folder with a question mark on the screen.
    - Old mate pulled the hard drive from the machine and sold it on

    I'm very aware of the graphics card saga with the mid 2011 - a1312 model which this machine happens to be.

    I feel the graphics card status is questionable so am turning to the pros (you guys) for some advice before i chuck the machine and call it a loss as my situation with the mac doesn't seem to be typical of the dead card.

    The machine turns on, chimes, but rather than the grey screen staying there it'll kick off with the folder with a question mark. I know this is saying "yo, where the OS at" so for some further testing, i've created a bootable external drive with high sierra on it. Tested that it could boot off the drive with the MacBook air (air is an i3, iMac is an i5) - have an old core 2 MBP 17 inch but didn't bother with it because high sierra isn't supported on it.

    The iMac comes to life, holding option i get the drive selection screen with the option to connect to wifi. Select the drive, screen goes grey, comes back with the apple symbol and loading bar. Loading bar gets to the end and the screen goes to grey (same grey as the loading screen just without the apple or bar) and hangs there indefinitely (occasionally will reboot itself but end up at the same place)

    The machine will enter internet recovery mode and carry on forward but finds that the internal drive doesn't exist and won't proceed and freezes.

    Entering into Diagnostic mode works fine. Does all its tests and never comes back with anything wrong except the missing drive.

    Reset SMC
    Reset NVRAM

    I'm not getting the random lines in the screen or the artifacts. Based on what i've found so far, once the card goes the screen is always grey or full of lines. When the card it on its way, the screen gives you ghosting and artifacts or lines or the machine will die randomly and reboot. In this case, every single graphic works perfectly until it gets to loading the OS and it just hangs.

    I'm considering getting the tools to pull the machine open and put the bootable drive ive created into the machine but it really should be booting fine from how its set up right now (in theory) as its working fine off the other machine.

    Anyway, asking the question of - is the above also a symptom of the graphics card going like so many have gone before or do you reckon its the fact im trying to boot it how i am now?

    *Last minute note, the guy i bought it from actually ended up giving me the drive he took out of it. The drive is dead to the world - doesn't spin, read, nothing. which i guess is why im not just completely chalking it up to a dead card and seeking what you think.

    Any single piece of advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm about to move into a small square of a room and if i can get this machine going, it eliminates my need for the PS4 and TV hogging the space.


  2. #2
    2011 iMac 27 inch drama
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Keller, Texas
    Your Mac's Specs
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 7+, Numerous iPods, Mojave
    You could be experiencing a bad SATA cable within the iMac. But if it won't boot from a good external hard drive, it could be a bad graphics card. The way to test that is to hook an external monitor to the iMac and boot from the external hard drive. Of course it could have multiple problems, and if it does, the iMac won't be worth repairing.

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