I've had this problem with the 256 MB 9400M since I bought the computer new, but the EFI update that Apple recently released to specifically address this problem has worked great. I used to have to run on the 9600M GT graphics all the time, because it was so distracting to work with a screen that would periodically blink, but now I can run in either mode without the problem.
After spending years not using better battery saving and lugging the plug everywhere I go, I'm so hesitant to do it. I can't believe I had to put up years with this POS. I couldn't afford to buy a new one or have it sent out for weeks to only hope for a 50/50 fix. I will never trust Apple again because this firmware basically proves that they are liars and their staff are liars including their Apple care people. They knew about this problem and yet didnt care about the people who spent 2500 + on this POS.
I can understand your anger. Such an unprecedented event will absolutely change the level of trust you have in Apple's ability to be forthcoming. Releasing information about how the fix was eventually found would help me to understand the possibility of it reoccurring with a future purchase.
I should add that this MacBook Pro has been the best Mac I have owned since 1984 and I have owned and used 20+ models. Too bad this one issue wasn't addressed several years ago.
I agree, it was annoying that this issue went on for so long. At no point was this a hindrance to me using my computer though. I mean the thing only get's 2.5 hours of battery life anyways, so I can't think of a time I didn't bring the power chord with me. So I had no issue running on my dedicated graphics card (other than the heat issues). I'm just glad they fixed it finally. I agree with Scott that this is the most useful laptop I've had in my life, so I am by no means holding one issue against them for something I have derived so much use from. **** I'll take a screen flicker over the blue screen of death any day! haha
Also, the issue with the screen flicker allowed me to get almost every peripheral chip and my screen replaced under apple care as tehy tried to fix the issue, so I essentially have a brand new laptop in terms of parts! no complaints with that almost 4 years after I purchased.
The update won't install on my computer, and it's still flickering... any suggestion?
Model Name: MacBook Pro Model Identifier: MacBookPro2,2 Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2.16 GHz Number of Processors: 1 Total Number of Cores: 2 L2 Cache: 4 MB Memory: 3 GB Bus Speed: 667 MHz Boot ROM Version: MBP22.00A5.B07 SMC Version (system): 1.12f5 Serial Number (system): RM7450GTX6A Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000-0017F2C9FDC8
Sudden Motion Sensor:
Came in here while researching this problem post-"fix." Thought I would document
I had always thought that the blinking was just a caveat that came with using the "Better Battery Life" mode of this machine and if I wanted it to stop blinking I change to using the 9400 graphics card. I was not aware of how widespread this problem was for everyone else until I went to the Apple Store last week. They reset my SMC and gave me a new battery for unrelated issues, and this worsened the blinking issue--especially in dim lighting.
In mid-level lighting, I was getting the blink 3-4 times every half an hour. It got so bad at times my piano students would comment on it while I'm writing notes on how they should practice, during their lessons. Or they would stop playing and ask me why my computer is having a seizure.
In night time---in no-lighting situations, the blink worsened to 5-6 times within a 10 second range. It was basically unusable.
I then discovered the EFI firmware while updating my laptop software to make sure all is in order before I visit the Genius Bar again. Unfortunately this only reduced the frequency of the blinking and I still get it 1-2 every few minutes.
I am going to the Genius Bar today to try to figure this issue out and wanted to document my problems for you guys to support this thread since the EFI fix did not, in fact, fix the issue for me.
Dont' let them fool you! You are entitled to a brand new working machine for issues like these! 2000$ laptop users are not beta testers for last minute fixes to defective hardware! If you are still under any kind of warranty, ask for a new machine, don't let them waste your time with fixes and logic board replacements that only postpone (or do not at all) the issue!
I'm writing forom a Late 2012 MBP 15" I got after a long dispute with support. In 3 years I got 3 motherboard replacements... Phone support told me to use only the 9600 GT card and that no product replacement was possible. A few hours later the called to ask me if a standard 15" MBP would be fine for me... check my older posts to read more. I managed to get my new notebook just thanks to the reports in this thread!
The Alternative DIY Approach, Cooking The Books:
I think it's safe to assume the firmware update released, and those possibly yet to be released, are only to mitigate issues with these GPUs, (i.e. under-clock them). Deducing purely from the fact that the update seems to ether completely eradicate or only reduce the flicker for various people.
If it works for you then great… don't try this. For those of you who it didn't work for, and are out of Apple care / warrantee etc, and have a seriously defective model (bad enough to risk this) An alternative might be to bake your logic board...
If you read back far enough in this thread and do enough googling you will find that the cause of this problem is the use of high lead solder for the GPU die (nVidia's fault)… It was also found that revised macbook pro boards used to replace the defective ones only had the good solder on the MCP79 Chipset (host to the 9400M) while the 9600M GT remained with the bad high lead solder, which kinda makes sense of all the recursive logic board replacements.
Basically if you do a lot of gaming on this thing and kick your GPU(s) into overdrive often then these "bad bumps" will get micro-fractures much faster than normal, which will probably translate into increased flickering or other screen artifacts, or even complete failure. This isn't completely uncommon on other GPUs, just usually happens when they are way older, and / or have had a lot more use, because they don't have defective solder.
For the Brave, Baking Your Boards:
What you can do is attempt to reflow the soldier and fix those micro-fractures by heating up the whole board briefly to the melting point of the soldier. This is most commonly done in a conventional oven, but you will need to remove the logic board, and then strip it of anything that can melt, you will also need to remove heat syncs, and thermal paste, so this definitely isn't for the faint hearted.
I shouldn't need to tell you how much of a risk doing this could be, but thought some of you with seriously defective models and some ifixit goodness could give it a shot if you don't mind risking having a useless and toasty macbook afterwards. Google is your friend here. But here are some links to get you started:
All of the books i can see here are older than the models in this thread, so the deconstruction will obviously differ for your model (check www.ifixit.com) the unibody ones are way WAY easier to take apart, however the preparation of the board and the process itself will be the same.
This is a neat video of someone doing it start to finish (still older model) see how he even removes the thermal paste etc, (you will of course need to get new paste and read up on how best to apply it) otherwise you will only fry it when you put it back together... more on frying next week, lets stick to baking.
One thing to note though is that even if this does work for this model... it will only be temporary, as this wont change the composition of the solder, just reflow it, it will eventually crack again if subjected to enough stress (heating / cooling). Then again it could give you an extension of life equivalent to the date you got the model to the date the first signs of the issue started. (as if it were new)
Good luck, if you try this.
I don't claim any responsibility for your toasty boards.