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Angry Users Rail About 27-Inch iMac Problems

Angry Users Rail About 27-Inch iMac Problems

Apple's 27-inch iMac isn't getting a lot of love, judging from some recent online postings by users. Complaints about flickering or cracked screens and processor problems are drowning out the praise Apple has come to expect for its hardware. "The 27-inch iMac has a problem with the AMD ATI graphics card," said Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall. "They should have stuck to Nvidia."

Upwards of hundreds of users have posted negative comments about their brand-new iMac computers on the Web.

The majority appear to reference problems with the displays, while a sizeable minority point to problems with the processor; some are complaints about cracked screens.

Most of the reports were about problems with 27-inch iMacs. Apple Web sites show there's now a two-week delivery lead time for these PCs. This is apparently so Apple can replace the graphics card.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Ho Ho Ho - It's Stop not Go

The Web site iMacsqueaked listed 798 comments as of Monday morning. These were collated from customer complaints on its pages and from Apple's Discussion Boards.

There were a total of 571 complaints about 27-inch iMacs. Flickering displays elicited 324 complaints. There were 85 complaints about cracked screens; 61 about yellow screens; 33 about noisy screens; 24 about computers that would not boot; and 22 about dead pixels.

There were also a total of 628 complaints about issues with the processors.

"Screen distortion/flicker somewhere random in the screen that looks like a horizontal bar of about 2-3 inches just popping in and out of the screen," user Jan Sampermans wrote in one of many flickering-screen complaints posted on iMacsqueaked.

"I could work for hours on the computer and then suddenly it would flicker randomly with a band of horizontal static bars about three inches thick momentarily," wrote user robotkiller. "Alternatively, it would black out for a fraction of a second every 5-10 minutes."

Turning on the iMac led to screen flickering and an unwanted menu bar appearing, according to user artka. "It does this for roughly five minutes then it goes to normal."

On the other hand, 171 users said their iMacs arrived in perfect condition.

It's in the Cards

Issues with the displays and screens can be traced back to the computers' graphics cards, Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech, told MacNewsWorld.

"The 27-inch iMac has a problem with the AMD ATI graphics card," he explained. "They should have stuck to Nvidia."

Apple uses Nvidia graphics cards in most of its models, including one of its 21.5-inch iMacs. The other 21-inch iMac and the two 27-inch models use AMD ATI Radeon HD graphics cards.

Apple unveiled its new iMac lineup in October, with an eye to riding the tide of holiday season sales. "The iMac is widely praised as the best desktop computer in the world, and today we're making it even better," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of world wide product marketing, said at the launch.

However, some customers and analysts don't appear to agree with Schiller, at least as far as the larger iMacs are concerned.

"The 27-inch iMac is a low-volume product," Broadpoint AmTech's Marshall said.

News of the problems with the iMacs did not seem to have impacted Apple's share price, however, which was up $2.22 to $196.89 at press time.

Chances are, the problems with the iMacs and the two-week hold on fulfilling orders for 27-inch iMacs, won't impact Apple's holiday sales.

"It's not that big of a deal in my opinion," Marshall said. "I don't see much in the two-week delay."


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