If you're in Toronto, Computer Systems Centre, 275 College is where I went (the repair center is next to the retail store on Spadina). They do more than the "plug in the Apple Store USB stick trick" and are familiar with the issue. Mine was exactly like yours.
You do risk a $100 diagnostic charge if they determine it's not under warranty, though. Rolling the dice worked for me.
They don't touch the hard drive. Takes about a day. Frankly, if the motherboard is totalled and your computer is not covered, then you might want them to pull the hard drive to transfer the data to another computer later on. I doubt a 3.5 year old computer is worth repairing with a new logic board for $500.
I have had this very same issue on my 2008 Macbook Pro. All started about 14 months after buying from a local store in the UK, I will list the symptoms below.
1. Machine seems to run very hot on occasion, very hot.
2. screen flickers
3. Wakes from sleep with dead screen and needs rebooting
4. silver screen with lines running vertical and horrizontal
5. fine in target disk mode, the system appears healthy, but the display is doing all of above.
This continues for some time, maybe 18 months, but it's very intermitant and always fails to occour when I take it to the local AASP (same place as I purchased the machine). Any-how, unfortunately it fails to display any of the symptons above, they run the NVIDIA diagnostic and say it's not NVIDIA, I am not convinced. Over the next year this continues, I take it in to AASP several times, but again the symptons fail to show, very frustrating.
About 8 weeks agao the screen goes all crazy with all types of square blocked patterns, machine still seems to reboot and i take pictures of it and screenshots; then it dies. LED's light up, disk wants to start but no boot will happen.
Back to AASP, they say my logic board has failed and it's a £500 repair. But I say, look at all these symptons and do some reasearch, it's highly likely that NVIDIA did this. They say ' we cant't run the test, because the logic board failed, it's not the GPU, it's the logic board' they won't even look at the images of my screen!. Now I explain all the background about NVIDIA, the Lawsuit, the bad 'bumps' and 'underfill' and how the overheating GPU is very capable of taking out your logic board. They are not interested!
I have a moment of clarity, and go imediately to the newly opened Apple store. I have an immediate appointment at the genius bar, followed by a very sensible discussion with a tech guy; he clearly understands the problem and does a proper inspection of my laptop, he knows all about 'bad bumps' and overheating GPU's. Perhaps I had to push him a tiny bit, but it was minimal, I just expressed my dissapointment. He says in no uncertain terms 'we should definately fix this for you sir' and 'it will be a free of charge repair, you wont't have to pay anything'.
I go back to my office, 1.5 hours later they email me, my MBP is ready for collection. Apple fitted a new REV2 version logic board, the reason given 'qaulity program'.
So I will say a big thanks to Apple, but just make sure to do you research and let them know you've done it.
The main problem seems to be NVIDIA's very basic software test, this is the tool they gave to apple to diagnose the problem, and it's not upto the job.
My experience when dealing directly with an APPLE STORE has been nothing but POSITIVE, I was impressed to say the least.
Read all the info on these link, and good luck.
I have to thank you LeafsMac for suggesting CSC. I did take my MBP in to them and they replaced the board in a day, fully covered. All it cost me was the gas & parking. :-) Seriously, not only did you save me from buying a new computer when I can LEAST afford it, but I got all my data back unharmed, without having to spend a dime to get it.
I am forever grateful to you.
And this has taught me a huge lesson so I have stepped up my current backup procedures and I now use Time Machine regularly to back up not only my documents and files, but also my entire system files, along with a copy sent into cyberspace as an extra backup in case my HD fails.
Another one here. I have a MBP 3.1 with an NVIDIA card. Only the LCD is black. However the backlight works. I am able to use it with an external 20" cinema display. Sent it to an apple service center, and told them about the nvidia defect. The diagnostic was that the LCD is broken.
Still haven't tried that sleep file trick.
I'm getting the same problem now. It was working yesterday and today I go to boot, hear the chime, then all is black. I don't think it's booting all the way because I can't ssh into it. In an effort to not go through all 50 pages of this thread... Does this mean my graphics card died? This is my first Mac so I'm not very keen on all tricky boot keyboard shortcuts. Holding shift down for safe mode did nothing. Same with holding down option for bootcamp boot menu.
The LCD screen went out again about half hour after opening the lid. I guess its the temperature variation that made it go from non-working to working to non-working. When hot, works (I think), when cooler, goes black.
The fact that these GPU's solder joints are weak sort of explains why it works or not depending on temperature.
However, the external monitor always works flawlessly, which is very intriguing. If the solder joints fail when the computer is cooler should I have video at all on any screen ?
Well, after approximately $4000 dollars in Apple computers, I am finally starting to get a little bit upset about this whole "bad logicboard" thing.
I bought a MBP in April 2008 that began to have issues after only a few days of owning it. A year and a half I had been provided with two new batteries, four new logic boards, and a new power adapter. Every single one of those repairs/replacements was blamed on a bad logic board. After getting my computer back from the fourth new logic board, it only took two weeks before I had another issue, and Apple agreed to replace my computer with the most comparable of the new models.
So, now, I have had my computer for a year and a half (again) and I am beginning to experience this same intermittent black screen. I had to verbally abuse the robot on the other end of the phone to get through to a real person who said that they couldn't tell me if this was a common issue or not and whether it would be covered by the company at all.
One question I have regarding this issue, because I hadn't seen anyone else mentioning it... This has never happened when I was not writing using Word. When I restart and reopen word, I am provided with the "recovered" version of my document, but the saved version that I had made is no where to be found. This makes absolutely no sense to me, because computers don't just delete data on their own. But I have no other way to explain this.
well, 4 logic boards AND a new computer must be a record for the nvidia fiasco! I've had 3 logic board replacements on one 2008 mbp, and it's still going, but I expect it to crap out at any moment to be honest. bad heat displacement design + factory defect + (replacement part = old part) = situation.
on word, depending on the failure, the old file is "sometimes" saved along with the recovery file, sometimes not. but I suspect, the "old" file is always there somewhere, as a tmp file somewhere on the system, albiet unopenable or otherwise scrambled.
Actually, I ended up spending some time investigating and it seems that my black screen only happens when I have an ethernet cable plugged in. I realized that I hadn't had an issue until a few nights ago in almost a month. I also have been in a new temporary room on my college campus that supplied wireless, unlike my normal campus house. So, I plugged in my ethernet for a faster connection while doing research and boom! Black screen twice in three hours. Unplugged ethernet, haven't had an issue since.
Coincidence? I think not.
I just got my MBP back from the Apple Store with a rev. 2 logic board and it seems to be working better than ever. Here's the background:
Mid 2007 model, 2.2 Ghz, Santa Rosa chipset. Worked great for 4.5 years -- with one exception: fans running full tilt when the battery was charging and there was even a small load on the CPU or I guess GPU.
Then one day it started locking on boot up. Then when it would boot it would lock up later during use. Apple Store did a clean install of the HD. Problem returned in a few days. Apple Store replaced HD for $100, and problem returned in a few days. Apple Store diagnostic said bad Nvidia GPU and they sent it to a repair center in Texas for a new logic board. It came back with new board, top case, track pad and keyboard. Cost was $300 but since I hadn't needed the HD they only charged me $200. Great. Booted up at the Genius Bar and the screen goes black. Diagnostic shows bad logic board, specifically the GPU. So then for no extra charge the Store puts in a logic board themselves. Ordinarily the board would be more than $400. On the invoice it says it's a Rev 2.
Only had it 24 hours since then, but not only does everything seem good, it doesn't seem to run as hot or fire up the fans as much as before. This made me optimistic until I saw all these posts of people who had multiple failures!
Just got a refirbed 2007 MacBook Pro. I had NO idea about these black screen issues. Anyway, it seems to me that it happens when you restart or shut down and turn off too frequently. I was trying all day today to find out what was causing it. Around midnight tonight, I tried to turn it on again and it worked! Hallieluya! ... or so I thought. I changed the system settings to never sleep and never turn off the display. I crossed my fingers and tried a restart. It went dead again.
My conclusion is that it is WITHOUT A DOUBT the crappy Nvidia chips that Apple used in this year MacBook Pro. Hey Apple, perhaps in the future you should do EVERYTHING in house. Produce your own GPUs. I'm sure you'll do better than Nvidia.
Has anyone had any success in trying to reinstall to factory settings? I was thinking about trying this the next time the screen works.