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Question: 2011 MacBook Pro Graphics Issue $40 Fix!!!

I have a 15" 2011 MacBook Pro, and about a month ago it started having all sorts of graphics problems. The screen was locking up, the system would start to reboot and then lock up or continue to reboot over and over again. Sometimes there would be lines on the screen. I would get errors that popped up saying there was a graphics error. The computer would get super hot on the bottom. It was a mess. Granted it worked most of the time like normal but it would go into spurts of not working right for a day. I'd have to hard reboot numerous (up to 12 times) times to get it to work right. The disk Utilities said the hard drive didn't have a problem, I ran the hardware test that comes on the CD that came with my computer back in 2011 and it said there were no problems, but it just kept happening more and more. I looked online and there was a bevy of information on the logic board graphics issues. I took it to the Apple Store at the Polaris Mall here in Columbus expected to have it shipped off to Apple to get a new logic board for $360 or so. I was fine with that, despite reading that lots of people have this problem with 2010/2011 MacBooks and that it was all Apple's fault and there were class action lawsuits etc.


At the Apple store they ran some test and said, yes it was probably the Logic Board, and that there were bad ones produced in this model, and that maybe Apple will issue a recall or extend the warrantee etc, but nothing had happened yet. The Tech told me that most likely the problem is the Thermal Paste that connects the graphics card to the logic board (I have had apple computers (Apple IIc, Centris, Performa, iMac, iMac and now a MacBook Pro) so I know very little about the insides of these machine since they just work when I open the box). He said that some of boards that were made had bad thermal paste in them that over time (usually after the warrantee has run out) hardens/loses its gooeyness. It causes all sorts of different issues as a result. He said that Apple knows this, but can't do the repair themselves (they'd just put a new logic board in) but there is a local apple service place called Elan in town that would do the paste for me. I called them and they said it was very unlikely that the paste would be the problem, but agreed for a $40 diagnostic fee to take out the old past, and put in new paste.


It worked. They were amazed and intrigued.


My computer came back and works great. Granted I just got it back tonight. Granted the tech said it could have been just opening it up taking everything out and putting it back in. Who knows. But for right now it works, and it only costs me $40. Elan wants me to keep them updated on whether the fix keeps working. I can already tell the computer is a lot cooler on the bottom. They said that in the past they have replaced logic boards and 90 days later the problems have come back.


I'll keep you posted on here if it keeps working or fails again. I know that there are many more of us out there waiting for Apple to fix this issue for free. In the meantime this fix might help, even for a short term for those of you that need to finish a project, or back up data before a more permanent solution is found. Who knows, maybe this is a permanent fix.


I have been a lifelong Apple supporter, and am hopeful this will help.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7), Intel Core i7, 2.2Ghz, Quad 4/2111

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Jan 15, 2015 6:42 PM in response to Ryan Griffin In response to Ryan Griffin

Hi,

Well if this solves this problem partly this would be a major revelation!

You should repost your whole explanation here:

2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card

Have you read through this thread? It's now over 11,000 replies. Do these faults described here match yours? So people having this problem could try your solution and post the results?

Jan 15, 2015 6:42 PM

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Jan 15, 2015 7:33 PM in response to spudnuty In response to spudnuty

I did read through a bunch of posts and threads, watched some videos etc. Tried a bunch of different things. I just wanted to add to the pile of possible solutions, even if short term to help those of us who need to squeak out some more life before either Apple figures it out for all of us, or we give up and move onto our next MacBook etc... I posted it on the page you suggested. Thanks.

Jan 15, 2015 7:33 PM

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Jan 17, 2015 6:20 PM in response to Ryan Griffin In response to Ryan Griffin

Im located in Tuscany and still have to find who may do the fix for me. Do you guys know if Apple shop may take care of this since it is a manufacturer issue?

Thanx for sharing your issues and possible solutions, unfortunately feeling very stuck with a not functional MBP payed 1.700 euros at that time. 15" i7 early 2011.

Jan 17, 2015 6:20 PM

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Jan 20, 2015 4:17 AM in response to Ryan Griffin In response to Ryan Griffin

Hi All

Ive just finished replacing the thermal paste on my MBP, its run over night and the problem has gone, it switches fine and no distortion, it is also running a lot cooler, the original paste was hard and very spread out, unusual for Apple, will keep you informed

Graham

Jan 20, 2015 4:17 AM

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Jan 20, 2015 6:23 AM in response to Ryan Griffin In response to Ryan Griffin

" He said that some of boards that were made had bad thermal paste in them that over time (usually after the warrantee has run out) hardens/loses its gooeyness. "

From macman.gg:

" the original paste was hard and very spread out, unusual for Apple, will keep you informed"

and to Franzdm - This is a very simple fix and something that someone in your area should be able to do. At least in Florence. (Wished I was there right now!):

So it would appear that the base cause of this could be the thermal paste.

Bad thermal past could cause low heat transfer to the heat sink. Bad thermal paste is not unknown in the electronics industry.

This would cause the graphics chip to run hot causing video anomalies and eventually ball grid array failure which is catastrophic.

So everyone with these symptoms should check out their thermal paste or have it checked out.

Jan 20, 2015 6:23 AM

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Jan 21, 2015 12:34 PM in response to macman.gg In response to macman.gg

Right on! Power to the paste!

Are you posting this to the discrete graphics thread.

Re: 2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card

It would be nice to get more people onboard.

Although once you get the vertical striping it's probably too late.

Jan 21, 2015 12:34 PM

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Jan 22, 2015 4:25 PM in response to Ryan Griffin In response to Ryan Griffin

I have an early 2011 with high res matte screen and just got vertical green lines. But I can boot up fine. If I switch to integrated graphics, the problem persists.


Does this sound like the same issue?


When you say thermal paste, you are referring to a separate GPU and not the CPU, correct? What about the solder connections... Is that something different? Did you have to "reflow" to fix that as well?

Jan 22, 2015 4:25 PM

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Question: 2011 MacBook Pro Graphics Issue $40 Fix!!!