View Full Version : Mac - sputtering, graphic messes, and constantly losing internet connection
12th Apr 2012, 05:05 AM
I'm running a Mac Mini, mid 2010 model - 2 GBs of RAM (which I can't afford to upgrade), NVIDEA GeForce 320M graphics. Last I checked, the fans had some cat hair trapped in them (I have two fluffball kitties that like the heat from the fans), but I can't figure out how to get rid of it because the car vacuums are way too big for that tiny fan, plus there's no instructions on how to do it on Macs.
Moving on...my computer gets really sputtery when I open something else when Chrome is open. Like, I'll open Photoshop - the music starts replaying over and over again, kind of like if you forget to update a mod in Sims 3. It even throws a tantrum opening Preview. I really don't know why it's so sputtery.
For the graphic messes - I'll be in Chrome, scrolling through a webpage, and then BAM there's this blocky mess on the screen. It usually shows my desktop (as if there's blocky holes in it) but sometimes it makes a smeary effect. An old screenshot from a friend's blog:
The circled bit is the mess, I'm always caught off-guard when it happens. I constantly have a :blink: look on my face, because I think it's a sign of impending Mac death. (Can anyone correct me on this? I hope it'll stick together for a few more years!)
As for the internet connection, I'll be online, poking through whatever the heck is open, and click something else. It'll show the 'loading' thing on Chrome for a while, and then I get a message that Chrome can't connect to whatever. I hit the Reload button to no avail, so I always have to reboot the Mac. It's just my computer, too - whenever it happens, everyone else's internet connection is fine. :wtf:
Does anyone know how to deal with any of this? Because I can't find anything to fix it.
12th Apr 2012, 05:55 AM
That cat hair sounds problematic, it's quite possibly overheating. You may want try the following software to check your temps: Temperature Monitor (http://www.bresink.de/osx/TemperatureMonitor.html) . If you do, screenshots of the temps would be helpful to see if it is indeed overheating.
Another thing you can do is to check things out in Activity Monitor (/Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor). Is your RAM (look under the System Memory tab) fully used? At the bottom it'll say used: X GB.
Oh, and do a software update, too. Are you connecting to the internet wirelessly? It looks that way from your screenshot. One thing that works for me sometimes when airport is acting up is to turn airport off and back on.
12th Apr 2012, 02:47 PM
I just use regular household vacuum with the small attachment thingie. Being very careful not to force the fans one way or another. If you're concern the suction is too strong, buy a couple cans of compressed Air and take the thing outside where it is easier to clean up the dusty mess after blowing it out.
With 2GB of RAM, perhaps you should limit the multitasking of resource-hungry applications.
Does the graphical glitch only happen in Chrome when you opened Photoshop in particular or any other 2nd application would cause it? With any browser? In the default Safari, as well? I mean, is it particular to a browser version or Photoshop itself? I believe, this might improve with better ventilation, though. But monitoring temps is a very good idea.
What OSX version are you on, by the way?
13th Apr 2012, 12:28 AM
Mordant - Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to check Temp Monitor out. And last I checked, I was on the most recent version of the software updates, but I may be wrong - I'll have to look at it later.
ella - The problem with compressed air is that it pushes the hair in, not out, and the fans are too tiny to pull anything out of. The hair is too far in. As for the browsers, it'll just randomly happen in Chrome (I don't use Firefox or Safari, they're too slow, I don't know about them) - Photoshop doesn't have to be open, I usually just have Chrome open and then the crazy blocky mess appears. And I'm on OS X Lion, I think 10.7.3?
13th Apr 2012, 02:26 AM
I think my first instinct here would be to open up the case and just take a clean cloth to it (or use the vacuum then). There's not much really to it once you have the case open, just mind the expensive hardware. :) I've honestly never heard of a mac dying from something like that, and not to scare you, but the artifacting could be an indication of (permenant) impending hardware failure.
If you feel confident (I'm not sure if there are rules against offering what I'm about to offer), you should open up your case. I don't know if you have a warranty with Apple still. If that is the situation, you may be better off asking them what's going on.
14th Apr 2012, 01:34 AM
tgp, the problem is that I can't open up a Mac Mini unless I wanted to add RAM. I can't clean the fans like that since I can't open the case. :/ And as for the artifacts, I just don't understand why it's been happening so long - I've had them since I got this Mac. Either way, the artifacts don't make sense, the only time I've actually had a serious scare with graphics is when I was playing Sims, opened Finder while the game was saving and then the entire toolbar became a mess (and the computer froze too, I don't do that anymore!). So much for this thing being able to run higher-strain things. :wtf:
14th Apr 2012, 06:08 AM
The problem with compressed air is that it pushes the hair in
If you recall, I mentioned I myself used the humble ole household vacuum, Sugarmew. That's why!
But, my job is to give people options and let them decide what they wanna do. :)
Is it still under warranty? Then you can bring it into an Apple Store and let them clean it.
If warranty period is over, you'd need some special screwdrivers, if I recall, not just the regular Phillips or slotted head type. I believe from reading Apple tear-down blogs and sites (eg http://www.ifixit.com), Apple uses some form of the Torx tamper-resistant screw heads.
I think these links are for the correct Mac Mini 2010 model, if not I believe you can run a web search yourself with the exact model number on the sticker.
I've also been reading up on the updates to the Flashback Trojan on Mac for the past week, and remembered this thread about your connectivity issues. Have you confirmed that you're not infected with any variants of this malware? Do you remember if you allowed some type of Flash Installer to run?
14th Apr 2012, 07:16 PM
I checked the first article on the trojan, ella, and I've got no bizarre file names. Besides, I never update Flash anyway, so I think I wouldn't have done anything (and I don't remember getting any Flash popups besides the 'Flash is out of date' thing, which are legit last I checked).
And as for warranty, I got the Mac Mini last year, so I highly doubt it's still under warranty, and I'm extremely skittish of ripping apart computers - I'm pretty clumsy, and knowing me, I'd probably end up stepping on something that I'd set on the floor. Or tripping and accidentally tearing a cord. Something like that. I might be able to check with Apple on the warranty, though. :|
15th Apr 2012, 02:34 PM
The blog article do say that most of the variants show no symptom whatsoever, so doing the steps in Terminal would confirm it one way or the other.
I was hoping trojan was it, :) as it would explain both the Chrome mess and the dropped connections. If not, means we have to look elsewhere. It would help if you test the same sites using other browsers so we can compare, if it is a Chrome-specific issue or an Apple issue.
If Apple can't help, or if they wanna charge exorbitant amounts to do the cleanup, I think any Computer repair shop could do it for you for a fee. So, be sure to shop around first before you get to the Apple Service Center. At the very least, so you can compare what market prices say is a fair charge for doing something like that.
15th Apr 2012, 07:05 PM
I really recommend running software update. One (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5242) of the most recent updates will remove the flashback trojan if it is installed.
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