17in 2009 MBP5,2 with 9400M & 9600M GT - do or don't?

Amethyst1

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I'm considering picking up a 2009 17in MacBook Pro (5,2). This one has both the on-board 9400M and the discrete 9600M GT. While reports of failures are less common than with the 8600M, they're still a thing to consider. But if I were to force the system to always use the 9400M, that shouldn't be much of an issue, should it? I won't be using an external monitor. My questions are:

1. Is it possible to totally disable the 9600M via EFI so that it failing will not interfere with e.g. installing OS X? Or is a working OS X install mandatory to force use of the 9400M?

2. Would you say the 5,2 is worth getting at this point if I came across one at a good price or should I stay away from it?

As for the other generations - I'd really like the 1920×1200 LED screen so the 2006 and 2007 are out, the 2008 is too much of a gamble and the 2010 and 2011 are still too pricey; 2011s in particular still go for a pretty penny here, even with a failed discrete GPU.
 
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retta283

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From my readings here on the forums and a few other places, failure of the 9600M is very rare. I don't think you'd have any problem whatsoever if you only used the 9400M. I am not aware of ways to disable the 9600M in EFI, but I doubt it will be an issue. If you are only using the 9400M, I'd wager that the 9600M failing is less likely than the display or keyboard dying.

Depends on the price. If you throw an SSD and some more RAM, the machine will be good enough for basic tasks and excellent at running software from the era it was produced. You can use the ExpressCard slot to get SD or USB3 for added port selection to bring it up to spec. If you are planning to use a patcher to install a newer OS, I'd stay on Sierra or High Sierra. You'll have security updates for a time and you'll be set on browsers for at least 5 more years.

From what I've seen, the 2010 is the best 17" available but the 2009 is a close second. I've seen some reports of cap failure on 2010 MBPs, not sure what effect it has on 17" models. I don't know what the average price of the 2009 17" is, but $150 or less would be decent.
 
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philgxxd

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A coworker has this model and I reinstalled fresh el Capitan recently. Be aware that quality battery replacement like from Newertech are pricey. The highest price of all models.
I set his machine to always use the 9600m as he is using a lighting DMX program with Visualizer so he can make use of a little extra graphics power.
There is a strange behavior though. The GUI of macOS become laggy after some time but as soon as I open the activity monitor it's back to normal.
Don't know what's causing it. Maybe just the program itself.
Another flaw I see on these machines is that the plastic covering the hinges becomes cracked supposedly from the heat blowing onto it during long periods of time. Nothing serious. Just aesthetics.
 
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Amethyst1

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Thanks for your input and suggestions. The ExpressCard slot is definitely good to have.

I don't know what the average price of the 2009 17" is, but $150 or less would be decent.
I had a quick look at completed listings, the equivalent of $150 or less only netted defective 5,2s, with working ones in the $200~250 range.
 

retta283

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There is a tweaked version of the 8600m that Apple put in machines that were replaced under a repair program, which are supposed to be problem-free, but it's a huge lottery game trying to get one.
 

bobesch

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There is a tweaked version of the 8600m that Apple put in machines that were replaced under a repair program, which are supposed to be problem-free, but it's a huge lottery game trying to get one.
Yep. And once in a lifetime I was happy to be amongst the winners ... #131 😊
 

LightBulbFun

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Nov 17, 2013
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I'm considering picking up a 2009 17in MacBook Pro (5,2). This one has both the on-board 9400M and the discrete 9600M GT. While reports of failures are less common than with the 8600M, they're still a thing to consider. But if I were to force the system to always use the 9400M, that shouldn't be much of an issue, should it? I won't be using an external monitor. My questions are:

1. Is it possible to totally disable the 9600M via EFI so that it failing will not interfere with e.g. installing OS X? Or is a working OS X install mandatory to force use of the 9400M?

2. Would you say the 5,2 is worth getting at this point if I came across one at a good price or should I stay away from it?

As for the other generations - I'd really like the 1920×1200 LED screen so the 2006 and 2007 are out, the 2008 is too much of a gamble and the 2010 and 2011 are still too pricey; 2011s in particular still go for a pretty penny here, even with a failed discrete GPU.
the issue with those generation of machine is not the GPU failing

but C7771 a capacitor on a main voltage rail that tends to fail short and take out the entire voltage rail, it being a critical one means the machine acts like its completely dead

but replace the capacitor and the machine should fire right up, relatively trivial thing if you do soldering :)

another machine to consider would be the MBP6,1 2010 17 inch machines, i dont THINK those are plagued by the similar C9650 capacitor issue the plagues the 15 inch 2010 MBPs and again even if it is an issues its fairly easy to fix

the only 2 MBPs I know of with actual GPU faults are the 2007-2008 8600M GT and the 2011 machines

the rest just have hardware faults that many mistake to be GPU issues
 

retta283

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the issue with those generation of machine is not the GPU failing

but C7771 a capacitor on a main voltage rail that tends to fail short and take out the entire voltage rail, it being a critical one means the machine acts like its completely dead

but replace the capacitor and the machine should fire right up, relatively trivial thing if you do soldering :)

another machine to consider would be the MBP6,1 2010 17 inch machines, i dont THINK those are plagued by the similar C9650 capacitor issue the plagues the 15 inch 2010 MBPs and again even if it is an issues its fairly easy to fix

the only 2 MBPs I know of with actual GPU faults are the 2007-2008 8600M GT and the 2011 machines

the rest just have hardware faults that many mistake to be GPU issues
Are you aware of any x1600 MBP GPU failures? I'm pretty sure they failed on iMac systems, but it could've been a heat/location thing too.
 

CooperBox

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Nov 28, 2010
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the issue with those generation of machine is not the GPU failing

but C7771 a capacitor on a main voltage rail that tends to fail short and take out the entire voltage rail, it being a critical one means the machine acts like its completely dead

but replace the capacitor and the machine should fire right up, relatively trivial thing if you do soldering :)

another machine to consider would be the MBP6,1 2010 17 inch machines, i dont THINK those are plagued by the similar C9650 capacitor issue the plagues the 15 inch 2010 MBPs and again even if it is an issues its fairly easy to fix

the only 2 MBPs I know of with actual GPU faults are the 2007-2008 8600M GT and the 2011 machines

the rest just have hardware faults that many mistake to be GPU issues
Hi, I know that Dosdude1 fixes certain 17" boards time permitting, and I was wondering if you do too?
Off (ppc) topic now, but I have a 15" MBPro9,1 with what I believe is a dead logic board. Are you into fixing those?
DosDude1 would be my call but he's unfortunately the wrong side of the 'pond'.
 

AphoticD

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Feb 17, 2017
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the only 2 MBPs I know of with actual GPU faults are the 2007-2008 8600M GT and the 2011 machines
Great writeup @LightBulbFun.

I’ve seen a lot of 2011 15” and a few 2011 17” MBPs with discrete GPU failure where they would POST, but lockup while attempting to boot.

In comparison, I’ve seen only a handful of the ‘09 and ‘10 MBPs fail.

I’d say go for it @Amethyst1 it will make a great addition to Club 17! :cool:
 
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mikiotty

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Mar 15, 2014
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Are you aware of any x1600 MBP GPU failures? I'm pretty sure they failed on iMac systems, but it could've been a heat/location thing too.
Yep, they do fail in MacBook Pros as well. I had an early 2007 C2D MacBook Pro, and the GPU failed exactly like my 5.1 white iMac.