Last year we expanded our web operations and invested in a 3.0GHz 8-core Mac Pro. The machine has performed flawlessly and met all of my expectations up until it was upgraded to Leopard. Apparently Leopard places higher demands on the video card, and as a result the fan on the original ATI X1900 graphics card began making more and more noise until it became intolerable.
It had gotten so bad that the tiniest task given to the video card, such as switching between Spaces, would cause the fan to start whining even louder for 10 or 15 minutes.
We found references to this happening as a result of dust buildup on the poorly designed intake area of the video card fan, but on inspection found ours not so clogged at all. We do open our computers for cleaning every 6 months or so, as we live and work in an area subject to powerful sand storms (Macs Are Great comes to you from the Sonoran Desert).
So in an effort to resolve this issue we ordered the new NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 GT KIT from Apple. Installing this new card was a breeze, and of course it was not necessary to install any drivers or dismiss 5 annoying dialog boxes about unsigned drivers. It just worked.
Once everything was all done, put back together, and working great I discovered another thread on Apple Support that suggested this noise might be caused by the air intake on the card being clogged by dust. Of course I knew that was not the case on my Mac Pro, as I had tried cleaning it to resolve the noise. Then I saw a photo one guy had taken of the dust clogging up his card, and I realized I had failed to see that spot when cleaning mine.
Ooops! It was so thoroughly clogged with dust that you can’t see the heat sink at all. So maybe it is a perfectly good expensive 512MB video card. My bad. Maybe I’ll be more thorough in the future while cleaning inside my Mac Pro. I think I paid enough for the new card to learn a lesson from this experience 🙂