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