Issues with Random Restarts on a 2012 iMac


I have a 2012 iMac that was running Windows as its sole OS but I've decided to make the jump to Linux. However, there's been some unwanted behavior in this; my computer is unstable and will reboot randomly after some seemingly arbitrary time.


  • CPU: i7-4770K
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 780M Mac Edition (GK104)
  • RAM: 24GB DDR3
  • SSD: 1x 1TB OWC, 1x 3TB SATA HDD
  • WiFi: Intel AX210

All OS installs have been on the OWC drive.


I've tried two distros for this. The one I wanted to install, Zorin 17 Pro, I picked for its newb friendliness. I chose the Nvidia drivers and experienced the shutdown during installation. It completely borked, so I reinstalled it, and it went successfully, then the shutdowns began. They were to the point I genuinely thought it was a hardware issue, but since nothing changed following the upgrade to the 1TB OWC and other upgrades, I decided to swap distributions. Installing POP!_OS was smoother, but eventually, the problem reappeared.

Behaviors most likely to trigger the restart are updating the system with Gnome's built-in tools, moving windows, and other basic systems tasks. WiFi doesn't seem to be the issue, as I can run tests that push the WiFi module.

Another thing of note is that the display driver thinks the display is a 90hz panel when it's a 60hz. So, I think some software or firmware shenanigans are going on.


Steps done:

I've done the following to isolate a cause, hardware or software:

  • Swapped distros
  • Poured over system logs to determine if there were obvious issues. I've found logs related to the Nvidia driver not matching the hardware and something related to "HDY_CAROUSEL_BOX"
  • I found items in the logs related to Apple EFI and Linux not liking it, but it seemed to boot normally, though it's complaining about ACPI. It could be related, but I am unsure.
  • Attempted multiple purges and reinstalls of the Nvidia Driver set. Both attempt to use the open-source and proprietary 390 and 418 Server drivers. I've attempted to purge them and then it errors out on the compute and dkms modules. Error 1.

Things I've not done:

  • Tried another PSU (Unlikely to work since Windows had no issues)
  • Try another kernel (Arch, Fedora, etc.) (This could be more stable, but I doubt efficacy due to this likely being an underlying driver issue)
  • Try another OS entirely (OpenIndiana, Haiku, etc.) (I want to avoid the issue if possible. I don't mind returning to Windows, but I would prefer something more likely to get support in the future.)

Thanks for your time.

TL;DR- I tried to install Linux on a Mac, and now it reboots randomly. I think it's a software issue based on behavior.

This sounds like an nvidia driver issue. Have you tried the 420 or 435 drivers?

You can use apt search nvidia or even apt list nvidia to show available packages. You may not be able to run the 500 series drivers, as GPUs do have an EOL, and are no longer supported after a time.

If a newer driver does not work, attempt an older one.

Edit: from what I'm reading, the 470 driver should work fine for that card.