4 Replies Latest reply: Jun 8, 2013 11:59 AM by OGELTHORPE
mjwindett Level 1 (0 points)

I'm sure this question has been answered, so I'm sorry for asking again...getting tired of searching the community forums.


My late 2009 Macbook Pro is having issues, the screen will not turn on yet everything is running just like it normally does. I have it hooked up to my tv through an HDMI cord, but the screen still is black.


I have tried resetting by removing the casing, unplugging the battery, and holding the power button.  At this point I think it might be the graphics card.  My AppleCare warranty expired 8 months ago unfortunately, so I'm between a rock and a hard spot...are there any suggestions?


Thank you for any advice, Matt.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • braden85 Community Specialists

    Hi mjwindett!


    I have an article for you that can help you troubleshoot this issue and can help you rule out some possibilities. The article can be found right here:


    Apple computers: Troubleshooting issues with video on internal or external displays



    The specific part of the article you will want to turn your attention to can be found here:

    No video or no signal, image distortion, "snow," or flickering

    Check connections

    When using an external display be sure to check the following:

    1. If you're using an Apple notebook, confirm the AC power cable or adapter is securely connected to the computer and the cable providing power to the display is also secure. It is always good to have your notebook connected to AC power when an external display is in use.
    2. Confirm display adapters are fully seated in their respective connections and that they are supported models and for the computer and display. Refer to these articles to assist you with adapter compatibility and further configuration information:
    3. Remove all display cable extenders, KVM switches, or other like devices and retest to determine if the issue is resolved.
    4. Try unplugging the video adapter or cable and then plug it back in.
    5. If more than one video adapter is in use (or "daisy-chained"), troubleshoot by using only one adapter.
      • Example: A mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter connected to a DVI to HDMI adapter is an unsupported configuration because there is a series of adapters in use.
    6. If available, try using a different display and or adapter (or use a different connector by using DVI instead of VGA, for instance).

    Reset the system
    You can reset the Mac's parameter RAM and SMC.Reset the resolutionStart by resetting the Mac's parameter RAM. If the display does not come up, was previously set to an unsupported resolution, and still results in no video:

    1. Start up in Safe Mode.
    2. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences.
    3. Choose Displays from the View menu to open the preferences pane.
    4. Select any resolution and refresh rate that your display supports.
    5. Restart your computer.

    Thanks for coming to the Apple Support Communities!




  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (45,115 points)

    The odds are that you are correct.  If the MBP appears tp be operating normally but the display is dark and an attached monitor display is also dark, the the GPU is the prime suspect.  Make an appointment at an Apple store genius bar and have it definitively diagnosed.  It is not a inexpensive repair. The entire logic board will have to be replaced if the GPU has failed.



  • mjwindett Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Braden85 and Ogelthope for your input.  I tried a couple different things, and ended up bringing it into the Apple store to get diagnosed.  They agreed it was the GPU, and the logic board needed replacing.


    Just in case anybody else was wondering, I just had them send my computer to the warehouse in TN, and for $280 they replaced the logic board, the trackpad (non-responsive click), and the whole display (looked pretty used with the apple logo "burnt" into it).  I dunno if this was the most cost efficient approach, but with a new logic board it runs just as fast as it did when it was working properly.


    This approach gave me a 90-day AppleCare service for any issues with the new parts.  Hope this helps anybody with similar issues!



  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (45,115 points)

    Consider yourself very fortunate.  I have seen logic board replacements to be in the $600 to $800 range and display replacements to be priced up to $600.  Trust me, you have no cause for complaint.  For $280, I would willing do that any day.


    Good luck.