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Question: 2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card

I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz Intel Core i7, 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 memory) running OS 10.8.2. It has two graphics components: an AMD Radeon HD 6750M and a built-in Intel HD Graphics 3000. Since I've had the computer, the screen would get a blue tint when the computer switched between them.


However, as of two days ago, the problem has become substantially more severe. The computer was working fine, when all of a suddent the screen when completely blue. I had to force restart the computer. Since then, the screen has gone awry on numerous occassions - each time necessitating a hard reset.


I installed gfxCardStatus, and have discovered that the computer runs fine using the integrated card, but as soon as I switch to the discrete card - the screen goes .


I am just wondering what my options are (any input on any of these would be appreciated!):


1) Replace the logic board. Would this necessarily fix the issue?


2) Is there any way to "fix" the graphics card?


3) Keep using gfxCardStatus and only use the integrated graphics card. This is definitely the easiest/cheapest option, but to have such a computer and not be able to use the graphics card seems like a real shame.


4) Is there any other alternative?


MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7, 8 GB memory

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Feb 19, 2013 5:25 AM in response to abelliveau In response to abelliveau

Hey!


I ran into the exact same issue around the same time like you. I have a early 2011 MBP 15", and the same issue arose. First, my external monitor (and laptop monitor) screen shifted like in your first shot. It happened a couple of times, unplugging/plugging the external monitor would help solve it. I restarted the comp and it didn't happen.


Tomorrow, though, the screen started exhibiting worse issues like you described. Lock ups, screen tearing, graphics glitches etc. I tried to localize the problem to be a software one, but failed. Althought Windows was stable, it also started showing glitches, and eventually they started appearing on the recovery partition as well.


I sort of identified the issue to be with the discrete graphics, as switching to integrated didn't cause the problems.


I brought it into the service center, where they noticed my laptop heats up substantially more than they would expect. They ran a couple of tests, many of which failed because my laptop locked up.


They offered two procedures: one is to switch out the logic board, which is the usual path they would take, and the other one (cheaper) was to actually re-solder in the graphics chip. They said it was a bit detached and not soldered well to the board. Either as a result of falling damage (a slight fall happened, but a very long while ago and I never had issues after that - I slipped while the laptop was in my backpack) or heating over time, it got fuzzed up. I had them do the resoldering and the laptop worked fine for about 10 days, and now it's acting up again.


I'll go for the logic board solution, but if you find any solutions, let me know. If you're interested, I can ping in with the results of the procedure.

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Feb 1, 2013 5:08 PM in response to abelliveau In response to abelliveau

Two images:

http://imageshack.us/a/img26/9898/screenshot20130201at758.png

http://imageshack.us/a/img145/9898/screenshot20130201at758.png


You can see here that the problem isn't restricted to the "blue screen" outcomes. In one of the images, there is a severe amount of horizontal distrotion; in the other, teh screen is split (the left side of the screen is on the right and vice versa!).

Feb 1, 2013 5:08 PM

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Feb 19, 2013 5:25 AM in response to abelliveau In response to abelliveau

Hey!


I ran into the exact same issue around the same time like you. I have a early 2011 MBP 15", and the same issue arose. First, my external monitor (and laptop monitor) screen shifted like in your first shot. It happened a couple of times, unplugging/plugging the external monitor would help solve it. I restarted the comp and it didn't happen.


Tomorrow, though, the screen started exhibiting worse issues like you described. Lock ups, screen tearing, graphics glitches etc. I tried to localize the problem to be a software one, but failed. Althought Windows was stable, it also started showing glitches, and eventually they started appearing on the recovery partition as well.


I sort of identified the issue to be with the discrete graphics, as switching to integrated didn't cause the problems.


I brought it into the service center, where they noticed my laptop heats up substantially more than they would expect. They ran a couple of tests, many of which failed because my laptop locked up.


They offered two procedures: one is to switch out the logic board, which is the usual path they would take, and the other one (cheaper) was to actually re-solder in the graphics chip. They said it was a bit detached and not soldered well to the board. Either as a result of falling damage (a slight fall happened, but a very long while ago and I never had issues after that - I slipped while the laptop was in my backpack) or heating over time, it got fuzzed up. I had them do the resoldering and the laptop worked fine for about 10 days, and now it's acting up again.


I'll go for the logic board solution, but if you find any solutions, let me know. If you're interested, I can ping in with the results of the procedure.

Feb 19, 2013 5:25 AM

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Feb 19, 2013 6:32 AM in response to abelliveau In response to abelliveau

Hi.


Same problem here with a MacBook Pro early 2011.

First symptom like abelliveau's image : http://imageshack.us/a/img26/9898/screenshot20130201at758.png


Sometimes when i boot, the Apple logo is red/pink with stripes, and after that a grey screen or a blue screen with vertical stripes.


I'm sure all this problems come with the last MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7 http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1633

Feb 19, 2013 6:32 AM

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Feb 19, 2013 6:35 AM in response to thierryfrommulhouse In response to thierryfrommulhouse

I just installed that update today (after the issue started happening) hoping it may fix something, but it didn't.


After I installed it was the first time I had the blue screen with vertical stripes, though, to be fair.


So I don't think the update is the cause of the problem, but it might modify certain parameters of it.

Feb 19, 2013 6:35 AM

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Feb 19, 2013 7:18 AM in response to Neshill In response to Neshill

Are you still covered by AppleCare? I would be interested in hearing how it goes with the logic board swap, and if it conclusively fixes the issue.


Since I made my post, I have kept the graphics on integrated only, and haven't had any freeze ups or artifacts. I am currently running a Time Capsule backup and am going to install that firmware update and see if I can switch it to the discrete card... but I imagine I will just run into the same issue.


The "unglueing" of the graphics card seems like a reasonable idea regarding the cause of the problems (well, not reasonable in them actually happening, but in terms of explaining why they are happening). That is too bad that the problem started up again so soon!


My computer is not covered under AppleCare, and I'm a grad student without a ton of disposable income... so I've been sitting on this problem for the time being. I got in touch with some local stores to see if they could change the logic board cheaper than the Apple Store, but that doesn't seem likely (their prices started at what Apple charged, and then added lots of labour/inspection costs).

Feb 19, 2013 7:18 AM

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Feb 19, 2013 9:50 AM in response to abelliveau In response to abelliveau

I tried installing the firmware update... and now the computer occassionally completely fails to boot. When I press power, the screen turns on, the Apple logo appears, disappears, and then nothing. The screen stays grey and after about a minute, the fan kicks on and the computer shuts down by itself.


I tried turning it on a few more times, and sometimes it does boot. However, the problem remains. If I don't switch to integrated only quickly upon boot, the screen goes blue or blue with vertical lines, and I need to hard reset. Sweet.

Feb 19, 2013 9:50 AM

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Feb 20, 2013 3:51 AM in response to Neshill In response to Neshill

I had the same problem with my late 2011 15" - blue tint when discrete card was in use. Then, after about two weeks, it just went away. Don't recall if there was an OS update or not, but the problem didn't last long - you may just have to wait this one out.


Clinton

Feb 20, 2013 3:51 AM

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Feb 20, 2013 4:34 AM in response to Neshill In response to Neshill

Tonight I heard of another problem with the discrete GPU on an early 2011 model - I think that they use the same AMD Radeon 6750M in my late 2011 model? I don't know if this is going to blow up like the mid-2010 NVIDIA card fiasco, but I would definitely take the machine into an Apple Store or an AASP and see if they are hearing of similar glitches.


Good luck,

Clinton

Feb 20, 2013 4:34 AM

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Question: 2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card