That certainly looks like a graphics failure.
Can you get access to an Apple Store instead of the AASP you used before? They sometimes give the Genius Bar guys more room to make judgement calls about when repairs are appropriate. If you can, take copies of those Kernel panic reports.
Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP) have to follow tighter guidelines to make sure they are not just inventing repairs to enrich themselves.
After over a year dealing with this kernel panic problem, I have finally narrowed it down to temperature. As long as I use my computer when it's cool (meaning has been turned off for a while, I have no problem. The minute it gets warmed up, bye bye video screen, CRASH!
I went to Best Buy and bought myself a Samaung Chromebook for $179, and a Toshiba laptop with a 17" screen for $350 (both included two years Geek Squad service). I LOVE the chromebook by the way.
I use my MacBook Pro for my important detail work, and I save all of my files in the 500 GB of Google Drive I got free with my Chromebook purchase. So, everything's in the cloud as well as backed up on a couple hard drives. When I need to Skype or use the internet, I use the Toshiba. When I need to edit my files, I use Google Docs on the the Chromebook and save everything back to Google Drive.
I use my Mac for PowerPoint and Dreamweaver, and other Mac apps that I'm used to. Once those are PDFs, to the cloud they go. In the mean time, I'm learning PC and Chromebook, and find little need for the Mac anymore.
Too bad. I've used Mac since 1985, exclusively.
This will be the last Apple product I buy, the qualiy just isn't there anymore, I remember buying Apple products in the 80's and 90's and they would last for 10-15 years without any issues. That was always the reason why you bought Apple, because "they use top quality hardware". That all has changed I have a mid 2010 Mac Book Pro and it has had nothing but quality issues. Every Apple product I have bought in the last 8 years has had issues, from my iMac, to my Mac Mini and now my Mac Book pro. I took my Mac Book Pro in today and in big red letters after running the video test it said "Test FAILED, replace MBL".
I used my computer for coding and until recently haven't used any graphics intensive stuff so the "extended warrenty" ran out in April and I only found this issue happening maybe 2 months ago after I began using it for more than coding (using google street view to look at houses to buy). The person at the genius bar explained that they couldn't replace the logic board because it was passed the 3 year date. They wanted 527$ to replace the motherboard on a 3 1/2 year old computer which I paid 2700$ for. To date I have experienced all these problems with this computer:
Yellowing around the screen edges
Video card kernel panics
As an update on the mid 2012 MBP Retina which had been having GPU panics -
we had the logic/gpu board replaced at a cost of $600 or so including labor on Monday. Over the past weekend the system was panicking every few minutes, HDMI output was off and on, and boots occasionally failed. The system would occassionally settle down for an hour or two. Since the replacement, these problems have not recurred. One day is a small interval but this is the longest stretch without a panic in the last month. I'm optimistic we've caught this.
I spoke with the authorized service shop that did the repair, they said they have seen very few MBP retinas in for service and none with this issue. I'm not sure how common the problem is but this was a first for them.
As an interesting note, the repair was 600 including labor. They said the core exchange fee on the board was 700 - so the repair would have been 1300 without turning in the old logic board. For a bad spill or broken board, the old board cannot be returned. Also, my credit card had extended the warrantee by another year so I'm covered on this repair. Next time, I will definitely purchase apple care.
If yours is a MacBook Pro 6,2, the Video card kernel panics are likely related to the TS4088 issue. If you have documented complaints on record with AppleCare, you should either call them or re-visit the store and press your case for this being a pre-exiting warranty issue that was never fixed properly.
No one gets penalized for authorizing the repair, they just need to be convinced they should spend Apple's money outside of the standard guidelines. Apple wants you to be a happy customer.
I don't know if my contribution to come is going your way or not, but I own a 2006, 1.83GHz MacBook Pro, one of the very first rigged with an Intel chip, and aside from a faulty SuperDrive AppleCare replaced without blinking and a logic board that got replaced by them a few months later (that was sometime in '08), it's still working just fine.
Granted, I recently swapped the original 80Gb hard drive for a 128Gb SSD (boy, did THAT change my life!), but I'm still stuck with a grand max of 2Gb of RAM, and I can still do pretty much everything with that MBP, even run Windows 8.1 in VirtualBox.
My two cents. Oh, and a Happy New Year to all you techies and geeks!
Thanks Peter Lorraine for mentioning the credit card extended warranty. I have the EXACT same issues as you and am out of the base 1 year warranty (I never had any issues with my last several MBPs). I have the same work order cost $600 with the logic board and labour and tax that I received from the apple store. I called Visa and they're sending me all the forms I need to fill in for the claim.. thanks again!
better late than never... or maybe not...
anyway, same problems as everyone here. Same model year 15" MBP w/ the Nvidia GT330m dGPU (or MBP 6,2). I only recently found out about this in the last couple of months though when I started using FCP X and Motion 5 again. I can't get any work done since these programs would inevitably trigger a KP without fail. But, I do remember a time when I was able to work on these programs just fine. No crashes or anything. I don't know what changed or if my dGPU is getting too old. Just kidding. Computers don't age. Or do they?
Anyway, I took my MBP to the Apple Store a few weeks ago and it failed the Video Systems Test. The Apple Genuis then quoted me a price to have the logic board replaced. But, since I couldn't afford it, I walked out of the store with my this bad news and a bad feeling in the pit of my tummy. Since then, I've tried everything I could do. I did a clean install of Mavericks. Same thing! I went back to Mountain Lion! Same thing!!!
And, then I went back to Snow Leopard and it was more stable. I say more stable because I did have one crash 45 minutes into playing COD: Modern Warfare, which is a very intense, graphically-oriented, 3D-driven, FPS game that would surely make any dGPU stretch its legs. anyway, I had the same usual symptom of the video screen going blank, backlit keys fully lit, the sound of audio in constant loop and even tho the computer was still on, it was unresponsive. A hard reboot was the only solution, in which it then presented me the NVRM KP Crash error report thing people here have been posting about. Anyway, after reporting the crash to Apple, I then fired up COD:MW again to see if I could replicate the crash and I played maybe 30 minutes more of gameplay before giving up not because it crash, but because I just wanted to stop playing the game.
I have been running snow leopard for 4 days now and it is vastly different experience than Mountain Lion or Mavericks.
Other apps I've tested and used by making projects solely for the purpose of recreating the crash are Final Cut Express 4, Soundtrack 1.5 and Garageband '11. Of course, I can't test FCP X or even Motion 5 in Snow Leopard b/c they aren't compatible. But, the aforemention programs were stable and didn't cause my computer to crash.
The problem is that running Snow Leopard is not a real solution for me, even if it's a superficial fix and/or real fix, I don't care since most of the apps I use aren't even compatible with it.
I also can't afford anything right now to send my logic board to be replaced since I already miss that window by a mile and a few moons.
I just feel like Apple needs to fix this via Software patch, easiest for everyone, or Hardware fix by offering or stretching that window farther to include people like me who are late to our computer-logic-board funeral.
RE: Mitigation for Failed VST test
If your Mac has been tested and failed the VST Test, it has not broken down from hard use or anything else, but has a Latent Defect that was there from its manufacture.
Reverting to 10.6.8 works because each version of Mac OS X uses the graphics chip a little differently. This is also the reason the problem gets worse with age -- as users upgrade their Mac OS X, it beats on the graphics chip harder and causes the Latent Defect to show up more and more.
On another thread on this subject, several users have suggested two different novel approaches for MacBook Pro 6,2 2010 that have failed the VST test and been refused free repair from Apple:
• One is to have a re-balling service work on the graphics chip on your motherboard, and once the graphics chip is removed, replace it with a new part before re-soldering. This can cost around US$200 complete.
• another is to make a setting change in "/System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/CoreGraphi cs.framework/Resources/" and change a setting in the "Configurtion.plist" file to force all graphics writes to main store. IF your Mac has FAILED the VST Test, this seems to improve stability.
My 17" Mid-2010 MBP's logic board (with NVIDIA GPU) was replaced for $free in 2012 after a considerable effort proving this was a hardware fault that software could not sidestep to get around. It's been running OK ever since switching happlily between on-board Intel and NVIDIA GPUs depending on the app.
Now a complete segway: My Dell Inspiron 9400 had a NVIDIA GeForce 7800 problem. Actually 3 cards in all had been used over time. Then I stumbled on the root cause and a solution. It turns out that NVIDIA had a GPU solder problem whereby thermal stress caused some joints to become intermittent or open over time. Made sense, the more thermal stress, the sooner the card failed.
While investigating a bizarre solution, I found NVIDIA's class action settlement at http://www.canadiannvidiasettlement.com/ but unfortunately it's too late for both individuals and affected computer manufacturers to take action now.
Nevertheless, the bizarre solution was to bake the graphics card for 10 minutes at 195C (remove heat sinks and plastics then stand it up on screws with al-foil under it). Those intermittent connections were made OK again by the "plasticity" of the hot solder remaking the bond. Guess what, it works! Make sure that you use a good heat sink compound like Arctic Silver 5 when you put it back together.
While I haven't had this confirmed by Apple Technicians here in Australia, my hypothesis is that this same bizarre graphics card baking solution will work just fine with MBP NVIDIA graphics cards as well.
Apparently, the replacement Logic Boards are all "reconditioned" in the sense that offending connections have been resoldered with the proper solder that does not suffer from thermal stress fractures.
Good luck all as the likelyhood of Apple still coming to the $free replacement logic board party is growing more remote by each month that passes. What can you lose by trying yourself, provided you have the skill to both assemble and dissassemble your beloved MBP?
The problem with a certain batch of MacBook Pro 6,2 is NOT caused by bad solder, it is caused by a Latent Defect in the Graphics chip. If your MacBook Pro 6,2 has failed the VST test, it will NOT be made right by baking or commercial re-balling -- unless the graphics chip with the Latent Defect is replaced as part of the Repair.
Baking may be an option for Owners of MacBook Pro 6,2 that PASSED the VST test, or other models of MacBook Pro that are behaving badly. If your MacBook Pro is already so bad you cannot use it, you have nothing to lose by baking it, and the price is right.