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Question: GPU crash on late 2013 retina MBP?

I have a late 2013 MBP retina, top of the line for that time, with all stock Apple components.

Several times, most recently about an hour ago, the screen has gone black. I continue to hear the fan whirring away in the background, but no key or trackpad pressing will bring the screen back on. These episodes occur while the battery is sufficiently charged, however, as my battery life is beginning to dwindle (Coconut battery app or MacOS has just begun to rate its quality as "fair" with a current capacity in the 70% range of its design capacity), I'd previously thought that this was down to my system adjusting, or maladjusting, to a slowly failing battery. To this end, I let the battery run dead, followed by full charge several times, and have also done SMC resets several times. But, today, the screen blacking out at a battery charge of 30% happened again, for no user-perceivable reason. (At the time, I had just hooked my iPhone 6s up by USB cable and was beginning to import photos using MacOS Photos.)

I went looking in the /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports folder and did find a report generated about 7 minutes after this happened (my screen went dark at ~12:15, and the report is timed in Finder at 12:22). I've copied and pasted it below. It seems to suggest that my GPU had an issue.

I do have a copy of Apple Service Diagnostics for this MBP, and I'll run it in both EFI and OS modes, with particular attention on anything GPU/graphics/display related.

I don't speak Apple crash report.

Can anyone interpret the below, or what's going on, for me? (There's also a section with the header "Resource Manager Info" immediately following what I've excerpted, below, followed by blocks of hexadecimal numbers. Can include if that's helpful to diagnosis.)

Is the GPU in my overpriced Apple computer dying, or is this a remediable software issue?


Sun Mar 4 12:22:06 2018

Event: GPU Reset

Date/Time: Sun Mar 4 12:22:06 2018



Tailspin: /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/gpuRestart2018-03-04-122206.tailspin

GPUSubmission Trace ID: 0

OS Version: Mac OS X Version 10.13.3 (Build 17D102)

Graphics Hardware: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M

Signature: 20

Report Data:

NVDA(DMA): Channel exception! Exception type = 0x20 DMA Engine Error (PBDMA Error)

Channel Info: [10, 0xe, 0xd, 0x2243]

Version Info: [com.apple.GeForce, 10.2.8, 0x4e554e, 22470010, 355., 1]

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013), macOS High Sierra (10.13), CPU 2.6 GHz, 1 TB SSD

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Mar 4, 2018 10:48 AM in response to jrmyeh In response to jrmyeh

It isn't a problem with the GPU itself but rather with something using the GPU that caused the crash. The only way to determine if the GPU hardware is bad is making an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar for service. If you need to find an Apple Store - Find a Store - Apple.

A Troubleshooting Protocol to Identify Problems or Fix macOS El Capitan or Later

You should try each, one at a time, then test to see if the problem is fixed before going on to the next.

Be sure to backup your files before proceeding if possible.

  1. Shutdown the computer, wait 30 seconds, restart the computer.
  2. Disconnect all third-party peripherals and remove any support software like drivers and plug-ins.
  3. Resetting your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM
  4. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
  5. Start the computer in Safe Mode, then restart normally. This is slower than a standard startup.
  6. Repair the disk by booting from the Recovery HD. Immediately after the chime hold down the Command and R keys until the Utility Menu appears. Choose Disk Utility and click on the Continue button. Select the indented (usually, Macintosh HD) volume entry from the side list. Click on the First Aid button in the toolbar. Wait for the Done button to appear. Quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu. Restart the computer from the Apple Menu.
  7. Create a New User Account Open Users & Groups preferences. Click on the lock icon and enter your Admin password when prompted. On the left under Current User click on the Add [+] button under Login Options. Setup a new Admin user account. Upon completion log out of your current account then log into the new account. If your problems cease, then consider switching to the new account and transferring your files to it - Transferring files from one User Account to another.
  8. Download and install the OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 Combo Update or 10.12.6 Combo Update or Download macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Combo Update as needed.
  9. Reinstall OS X by booting from the Recovery HD using the Command and R keys. When the Utility Menu appears select Reinstall OS X then click on the Continue button.
  10. Erase and Install OS X Restart the computer. Immediately after the chime hold down the Command and R keys until the Apple logo appears. When the Utility Menu appears:
  1. Select Disk Utility from the Utility Menu and click on Continue button.
  2. When Disk Utility loads select the drive (out-dented entry) from the Device list.
  3. Click on the Erase icon in Disk Utility's toolbar. A panel will drop down.
  4. Set the Format type to APFS (for SSDs only) or Mac OS Extended (Journaled.)
  5. Click on the Apply button, then wait for the Done button to activate and click on it.
  6. Quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu.
  7. Select Reinstall OS X and click on the Continue button.

Mar 4, 2018 10:48 AM

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Mar 4, 2018 1:20 PM in response to Kappy In response to Kappy

Thank you for dissecting the hardware vs software issue for me - that's relieving.

As I said, I can run ASD tonight (which is what they'd do at the Genius Bar anyway), looking for anything hardware.

I do not mean to sound ungrateful, but the methods you laid out are comprehensive, and are a bit nuclear option. Any ways to do a more surgical strike on this?

Thanks again.

Mar 4, 2018 1:20 PM

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Mar 4, 2018 2:48 PM in response to jrmyeh In response to jrmyeh

Well, my procedure is a step by step approach which only arrives at the "nuclear" option if you get all the way to Item 10 without a resolution. If you resolve the problem at Item 4, then no need to proceed further.

In order to truly remove software as the cause, you need to go back to an erase and install. With nothing else installed but a clean system and the problem is still present, then it is likely a hardware problem. My protocol takes you from the simplest to the most surgical procedure to try and track down the cause of the problem.

Mar 4, 2018 2:48 PM

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Question: GPU crash on late 2013 retina MBP?