17" Macbook Pro (Non Unibody) - - Black Screen. GPU? Connectors?


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 22, 2009
Long story short, I got stuck with a 17" Macbook Pro from 2006 that is the Non-Unibody model (Penryn)

I was told by the previous owner that the screen was purely black and wouldn't turn on. I had them wipe the entire drive and such and ship to me.

I got it, and as soon as I turned it on, everything seemed fine: The screen lit up, Apple Logo, Recovery Installation and such, la la la.. ok

After using it for about 4 minutes or so, the screen did turn black, and it never came back on.

I don't typically work on these models, but am wondering if anybody can give any opinion on if it's the GPU or some kind of screen connection. I know that these models had issues somewhere where the screen would only work if tilted at a certain angle due to the connectors in the hinge, but this screen won't work at any angle. (honestly not sure what caused it to work when I first got it since it hasn't worked since.)

What leads me to believe it's a GPU issue is that I can't get it to run on an external monitor while using a DVI to HDMI adapter.

I did put it into Target Disk Mode and install a copy of Lion onto it (latest OS that runs on it I believe?) since I know that the recovery partition won't run on an external monitor since it doesn't have the drives to access the port, but doesn't seem to run externally on the OS, either, so.

Any other troubleshooting options out there? I think I've gone to the wall as far as non-repairs and disassembling goes, but doesn't hurt to get some more insight from those in the better know.



Nov 15, 2007
It is difficult to troubleshoot without actually seeing the product and having it on the bench in front of you. Maybe this is why no one has responded. If you have the abilities to work on it yourself, I would dismantle and check the connections first. If that checks out, use a scope to delve further into the board circuitry.


macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2008
Not sure if this is any help but some models (my early 2011MBP) had problems with degraded solder on the GPUs . To be honest they typically didn't give a black screen. Usually more of a distorted screen or red bands etc

However, when one of these units wouldn't start up a way to get a screen up was to leave it on for 10mins then turn off and on again. This would cause the chip to heat up and the pins expand in the slots.

It wouldn't solve the problem long term but would generally get the screen to come back on for a while and in your case could be a useful diagnostic tool.

Its kind of a long shot considering the screen is black and not distorted but its the only thing I could think of.