Released June 2012, Model A1278. Intel processor with Turbo Boost, Up to 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM

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Colored lines on screen (graphics snow)

Hi everyone,

Wondering about this strange behaviour that I encounter on 2012 i5 1600Mhz memories (not 2010 MBP 13 C2D 2.4ghz)

Block Image

I posted a link of uploaded image:

I have played the lottery and bought the machine, hoping it is an issue with memory chip. I have encountered that display / crash error on machines with failed memory chips or wrong memory compatibility.

Mac boots up fine from USB stick, start the install process of El Capitan, then... lands into garbled lines of multiple colors as it can be seen.

So - is this a graphics chip failure, where heat buildup makes it crash and burn? Or is is something else on the board, a capacitor or resistor not doing its job?

Many thanks! T

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Did you try an external monitor to double check things?

Also you talk about applying fresh thermal paste on the CPU did you forget to do the GPU as well?


To be honest, I did think about getting some strip of copper/ looking up aftermarket. There is no cooling copper heatsink on top of GPU, only on CPU.


No don't do that! I think you have a different model than what you indicated here. Doesn't your logic board look like this? with heat sink or this without the heat sink present note the two spots of thermal paste (CPU & GPU)


Double check here: EveryMac - Lookup using your systems S/N.

Also where you able to see an image on the external?


erm... yea, it is actually a core i5 from 2012... lol... didn't check, got another one 2012...3rd gen i5.

I figured this one is C2D as the ebay listing mentioned, but it is cleary a 2012 machine!!

So it was fine with 1600Mhz memories...

That changes things - any thoughts, graphics chip burnt out?

Many thanks Dan!

I've been so focused on the other machine, which was liquid damaged but really like new, I got it back on its feet, working flawlessly.

Now it is time for this other 2012 13 inch :)

Note: bought 3 rotten apples, 1 was flawless, one was air i7 and this one with the funny colors.


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1 Answer

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Will either be a RAM slot issue or GPU issue. Check it on an external monitor, but I am sure it will do the same thing.

Best to resell it for spares to claim back some money. If it is either of the above issues, it is not worth repairing :(

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Not likely a RAM slot issue here. more likely the video RAM or CPU/GPU. I still think its worth repairing ;-}


Haha :) If it were me, I would give it back to the customer at this point. RAM slot issues can cause weird distortion on the screen sometimes (have a scrap 2010 unit here which would show pink lines on the screen and crash), but this could be VRAM or GPU related I guess. Bit rare to see this in 13" models, but definitely a possibility :)


@reecee - It all depends on the GPU design. This series uses Intel HD Graphics 4000 with 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM (intergraded graphics), which is why I suspect it Vs the systems RAM.

Yes, I've seen issues with graphics in older systems which was using main RAM for video.

Replacing the logic board is not that hard and for the investment it will cover its cost and still pull a profit (remember he's reselling it once its working).


OP said it was a 2010 model (but they marked it as 2012 in the question sidebar), I think that uses the MCP for graphics, don't know if it has dedicated VRAM but not too sure. I just know how to fix these, I don't really look into the specs and stuff.

I personally wouldn't see it worth replacing the logic board, unless they bought it for a bargain. Hopefully they didn't buy it from eBay, people tend to pay way too much when buying from there :)


it said 2010 because... erm... got 3 Macs from 3 listings on ebay in 2 days.

this funny colors one swapped memories, seen it doing again, said f**k! Left it for a bit.

The ebay said 2010 , and I paid 2010 price for it. The serial number and overall design of mobo, it is 2012...

Got the other one up and running. And the AIR...

I was thinking of a funky mac - with SSD slot replaced with an M.2 SATA :)

You know, something like 'pimp my mac'... but it's not my mac, it's 'for sale' mac, an adapter to M.2 will do just fine!


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