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David, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 1430
Experience:  BSc H.Dip Apple Certified Professional
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Mid 2010 Mac Pro 4core, 10.7.5, Radeon 5770 video card, LaCie

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Mid 2010 Mac Pro 4core, 10.7.5, Radeon 5770 video card, LaCie Electron22 CRT. Dots started appearing over parts of screen, usually icons, videos, dialogs, background of text documents, dots change, group in geometric paterns, change with scrolling, sometimes form triangles. Resizing windows sometimes clears them out for a few seconds. Sometimes it's so bad you can't read text or see the graphics. Reinstalled the OS, downloaded all updates, reseated video card, reseated video cables, no change. Still does it when booting from a DVD boot disk. Does NOT do it when booting in safe mode. Quartz Extreme? Video driver? Something that loads normally that does not load in safe mode is interacting with the 5770? Help!
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I possibly can to help answer your questions.

What peripherals do you use with the Mac?

Are there any extra expansion cards in the Mac?

Is the Mac exactly as it shipped fro m Apple, or have you made any hardware alterations whatsoever?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, David, The only wired connection is an audio line out to a stereo amp, unplugging makes no difference. Printer is WiFi, internet is WiFi. External USB drives mounted or unmounted, no difference. No PCIe cards are installed other than the Radeon 5770. No alterations to machine except two additional internal hard drives for backup, which were installed as soon as I bought it. It worked fine for several months. Ejecting them, no change. Problem started out with just a few dots here and there. Over the course of a month it got to where it was hard to read text. Read my original explanation again. Decided to start fresh. Main hard drive was backed up, erased, reformatted and OSX 10.2 was reinstalled fresh from DVD (no change), then updated to 10.5 online (no change). No modifications to Apples installation were made. Booted from a Diskwarrior CD (no change).The dots do not show on the Apple logo during start up (ROM) but do show up at the log in prompt. Only SafeBoot removes all signs of problem. (SafeBoot does not load QuartzExtreme, I am told) I would buy another vid card, but I don't want to spend money on guessing. I have been running Macs since 1987 and have tried all the obvious things. It's either a faulty video card or a faulty Mac, but whatever the fault is, it does not appear under SafeBoot. I can send you images of the problem. Max


It does appear to be a QuartzExtreme issue, which could be a faulty graphics card. You have been very thorough, so I don't want to give you steps that pointless to try.

You say you installed 10.2, but this Mac shipped with 10.6, but I think that was a typo.

Have you installed, or checked if the latest firmware is installed?

Try installing it and if it is already installed it will let you know.

Let me know how it goes,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it was a typo, I meant Lion 10.7.2, updated to 10.7.5. I have to leave for work right now but I will try the firmware tonight and let you know. If this does not resolve the problem, should I go ahead and buy a new video card? If so, same card or upgrade to Radeon 5870? Are there any Nvidia cards that are OK in this machine? My G4 had a Nvidia card that never gave me any issues. I also have very light video requirements, images and movies only. I do not play any type of games and only have one monitor. I believe simpler is better. Max

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The firmare update said it was not supported by my system, for a mac with 10.6.4. I searched for 'Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update for 10.7.5' and I found none! The highest is version 1.5 requires 10.6.4.


Sorry for the delay. It looks like you already have the firmware installed.

Check the steps to find which version you have installed in this article:

Then checking the table below for your Mac, Mid mac Pro 2010 it should be EFI Boot ROM version:

MP51.007F.B03 (EFI 1.5)

If it is not this please let me know what version it is.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 8 MB
Memory: 3 GB
Processor Interconnect Speed: 4.8 GT/s
Boot ROM Version: MP51.007F.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.39f11
SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f11


Chipset Model: ATI Radeon HD 5770
Type: GPU
Bus: PCIe
Slot: Slot-1
PCIe Lane Width: x16
VRAM (Total): 1024 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x68b8
Revision ID: 0x0000
ROM Revision: 113-C0160C-155
EFI Driver Version: 01.00.436
Name: ATY,Hoolock
Type: Display Controller
Driver Installed: Yes
MSI: Yes
Bus: PCI
Slot: Slot-1
Vendor ID: 0x1002
Device ID: 0x68b8
Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x106b
Subsystem ID: 0x00cf
Revision ID: 0x0000
Link Width: x16
Link Speed: 5.0 GT/s


LaCie electr22b4:
Resolution: 1280 x 960 @ 100 Hz
Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
Display Serial Number: 47004407YW
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Rotation: Supported
Adapter Type: Apple Mini DisplayPort To VGA Adapter
Adapter Firmware Version: 1.03


Have fun with that!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have three screenshots I would like to send to you. I think if you see what it looks like it might help. The upload page said click the paperclip, but there was no paperclip. Right now the cursor is blinking and the dots are changing in time with it in the browser text and on your avatar image. Also the menu bar and the dock icons, but only parts of each. Lanes in the vid card? Just guessing. I have no idea what lanes are, but have heard them mentioned.

Hi Max,

You already have the correct firmware. This was the final step to take before testing with a new graphics card.

Lanes could refer to the data bus the card is attached to, this fault is more likely to be one of the chips or capacitors on the graphics card.

I don't recommend spending a lot on a replacement card, and the best thing to do is replace it with the same model that it whipped with from Apple.

You could pick one up at a store, or phone Apple to order a replacement. Here are the contact numbers for AppleCare:

I'm confident that a replacement graphics card will resolve this, and that the issue is isolated to the graphics card and the rest of the Mac Pro is fine. Let me know if you have any questions.

Best regards,
David and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Going into System/Library/Extensions and removing all ATI Controller kexts and all ATI Radeon kexts and bundles fixed the problem without buying a new $225 card. I was sure that all I had to do was disable whatever files that were not loaded in SafeBoot mode. The problem was finding them. Thanks! Max


I'm very sorry about that. You had erased the drive and reinstalled just the Mac OS X, so I cannot fathom how those files were the problem though. I thank you for not rating me negatively. Had this been in a workshop, the next step according to all Apple training and procedure would have been to try a replacement card. I'm glad you were able to find the offending extensions and save buying a new card.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Right, I agree. Those .kexts and .bundles were not faulty (fresh reinstall), and I expected the card not to work without them. But for whatever reason, there was some interaction between the card and the files that went away when the files were disabled. And the card still works without them, maybe not full capability, but good enough for camera images, flash videos and websites. Go figure.