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Video artifacts on iMac 12,1

Neal Scroggs

New member
Nov 17, 2019
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I'm having problems with artifacts on the screen, mainly small colored squares. The problem seems to be triggered by iTunes. However, it does seem to be triggered by audio or visual playback associated with Chrome, like Youtube or my Audible.com library. IOW, playing an Audible audiobook using iTunes triggers the artifacts, whereas playing the same audiobook using Audible's own cloud player doesn't. There's something else peculiar — my iMac has a Bootcamp installation of Windows 7 Pro. The video distortion doesn't affect Windows or Windows apps. I've watched several Youtube videos about iMac defective video hardware causing display artifacts and distortion, and most of them indicate that actual video hardware failure typically affects the system shortly after power-on, for example, on Apple startup splash screen.

Since my Bootcamp Windows 7 apparently isn't affected I'm inclined to believe that the problem is software and not hardware related. As a fix, I plan to do a clean install of macOS 10.13.6, but I'm reluctant to invest the time and effort without consulting with a helpful forum member.

Here are my system specs:
Model Name: iMac
Model Identifier: iMac12,1
Processor Name: Intel Core i5
Processor Speed: 2.5 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 16 GB
Boot ROM Version:
SMC Version (system): 1.71f22