2010 MacBook Pro Graphics Problem

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by vt2067, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. vt2067 macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2012
    I have a 2010 MacBook Pro 15" (2.66 i7, 8GB). She's been pretty good to me getting me through college and all. But I've never been easy on it and though on paper it seems to still be a powerful machine, it struggles with some more basic stuff these days.

    About a year ago it started doing these weird graphic artifact things and its gotten to the point where they happen constantly. Scrolling, rolling over interactive web stuff, etc. Seems to always be with web browsing though, both in Safari and Chrome.

    Anybody else get this? Is my logic board cooking itself?

    Attached Files:

  2. Troneas macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2011
    At the alternatives section.
    well if i were you i would start backing up my ****. :)

    hope that answers your question.
  3. vt2067 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2012
    Useful info that is!

    But yes, things back up regularly, though I'm not worried about the hard drive, its new-ish.
  4. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    Can you tell if it does it on the integrated HD Graphics or the 330m? If it only does it on the dedicated card, it's probably the GPU.

    If it does it on both, than it could be something else entirely. Could be a bad stick of RAM too.

    Usually, when nothing is open, it'll run on the Intel graphics. But you can check with a tool like gfxCardStatus.

    Chrome almost always kicks it to the 330m. Safari will usually stay with the Intel until something has flash on it.

    I've owned two Mid 2010 15" MBPs and haven't had an issue. But I also had 2007 and 2008 models with the 8600m that is a ticking time bomb :rolleyes:.

    As far as I know, the 330m and 2010 MBP's in general don't have nearly the failure rate as the 2007/8 and 2011 models. But they have had issues with card switching from time to time.
  5. nolenium macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2010
    Buddy, I'd take it to an Apple Store - they have a test specifically for our machines (the 2010 MBP) to see if your dedicated graphics card has kicked the bucket. There was a known hardware issue that Apple addressed in a kbase article a couple years back (the repair extension program ended earlier this month, I believe).

    In my case, I took the computer in too far after AppleCare had ended and was told I could pay $400 out of pocket to get everything fixed (new logic board, probably clean up or replace bottom case, etc.)

    I scoffed and have been using the Pro gimped out ever since. Meaning, you can install gfxCardStatus (make sure you get the older version, 2.2.1) and force your Mac to use the integrated chip only.

    No gaming, but everything else still works a-ok.

    Better case scenario, your hardware's fine and you're dealing with an OS/user-specific issue!
  6. vt2067 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2012
    I'll definitely download and check. It would definitely make a lot of sense if it were only when using the 330m because thinking back it seems to happen mostly when plugged in, and I know it makes the switch a lot because I'll hear the fans kick up. Though I've never noticed a correlation between that and the issue in question, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

    Funny you should mention flash. Safari seems to make a pretty big deal about flash, I always hear the fans and everything slows a lot. Chrome just sucks resources in general which is why I can never deal with it for very long.

    I took it to the Apple store when I first began having issues like this on a somewhat regular basis maybe a year ago. I had found that article about the issue and they acted like they had no idea what I was talking about but they took it from me for a couple of days to run their "diagnostics" and ultimately called me to come pick it up as they couldn't find anything wrong with it. I tend to avoid the Apple store for this reason since its on the other side of town and always packed, and you have to forfeit your computer for a few days which I really can't do right now.

    I suppose if the issue gets worse I'll have to take it in and see what they say but for now I'm happy to keep using it slightly crippled. Other than the graphics hiccups its doing its job as well as a tired computer should be expected to. At this point its almost 5 years old, lost all of its feet, needs a new battery, and is overall a little worn. I don't really think it would be worth putting money into anymore. I'm just trying to get a better sense of what may be causing this and if a major meltdown may be imminent.
  7. vt2067 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2012
    Interesting and slightly irritating development, downloaded the gfx app and immediately noticed that despite being on battery power and running no substantial applications, my "Mint Quick View" menu bar app was causing a dependency on the Nvidia card. Why? Who knows, but this may mean that the computer is running the dedicated card more than would be expected.

    Also, the gfx Card Status app causes one of these dependencies as well. Very strange...
  8. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    The answer to your question is "BGA-repair"

    Hi there,

    I have the exact same problem as described. The widget iStat will report -127° GPU diode or similar stuff. The dedicated gpu is gone and has to be replaced.

    Unfortunately an official Apple replacement program has run out. The only professional and cost effective repair is a professional BGA Workbench service on ebay.

    1. Go to ebay.
    2. Search for your MBP Model and add BGA repair.
    3. Select professional individuals for repair instruction.
    4. Hurry up, new replacement Nvidia 330M Chip sets are running out someday.

    If you go ahead, please post your experience with professional BGA repair solutions. Usually works with guaranty for 6 - 12 months, new lead soldering with professional BGA workbench.

  9. vt2067 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2012
    Another interesting development, Spotify, while open, forces the computer onto the dedicated card.

    So it seems that most of my use of this thing is on the 330m card. I would think that the computer ought to be trying to make use of the integrated graphics as much as possible and activating the discrete card when the oomph is needed. Am I wrong here? Should I be dancing around these apps which appear to have sloppy development?
  10. nolenium, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015

    nolenium macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2010
    You're close to nailing it on the head, there. Apple can't control (I don't believe) the dependencies these 3rd-party apps like Chrome and Spotify need in terms of our graphics card set-ups.

    Basically, this whole switching idea has been a disaster compared to the reliability standards Apple set over 20 years (last-gen Powerbook G4 workhorse FTW).

    Yes, Spotify, Chrome, even rinky dink little apps that you wouldn't expect will kick your MBP into using the 330m chip.

    This is why I suggest using the old version of gfxCardStatus - version 2.2.1. This was the last version, for whatever reason, that *truly* allows you to force the computer into integrated-only mode. At least in my experience...I tried the newest version on my 2010, attempted to use Integrated Only mode & still ended up getting kernel panics/crazy screen glitches:



    Download that version and give it a spin. Avoid/disable updates on it. The menu bar icon should always have that italicized "i" and have "Integrated Only" selected. Youtube, HD streaming, Netflix, the basics should work fine. Chrome, Spotify, etc. will still run just fine, they'll just be utilizing the onboard Intel HD chip. Recent games and possibly something on the order of Final Cut probably aren't gonna be usable, though.

    On the Apple Store front, it sounds like you weren't given good info. There is a special test, specific to our machines, that a Genius can perform right at the bar that will let you know whether or not you have the switching issue. Took me all of 5 minutes to get the diagnosis, another 5 to get a price quote on replacing the logic board.

    I was frustrated for a moment at first, as I was gonna sink a couple hundred into this bad boy to extend its life out (SSD + more RAM) but the gimpy card issue has me sailing on crippled legs till I get my hands on a new rMBP.
  11. vt2067 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2012
    Makes sense, not their app

    Yeah I've been pretty disappointed by the reliability and backend of Apple's stuff for the last few years. Particularly since the release of Yosemite, still regretting having made the switch.

    It does seem strange though that the apps themselves would control which card is active. You would have thought the OS/drivers would have been written such that the OS makes the decision based on resource demands.

    I was wondering what was behind your suggesting an older version. Except I did notice a line in the switching info page of their site that said why that feature wasn't always entirely effective. I'll definitely give it a try though now I know why.

    I was more just put off by the way the "genius" treated me when I mentioned that I had read an article that this was a somewhat known issue. He seemed threatened and offended by the fact that I had any working knowledge of computers at all.

    Even so though, I don't think this machine would be worth the investment of a new logic board anymore. I'm perfectly happy to keep dragging it along until it really is finished, I'm just trying to gather more info, and today I've done just that. Not sure I'd buy another with graphics switching. In the future I think I'd prefer an iMac + MacBook Air combo, though I still worry about an iMac's ability to ventilate properly given its sealed nature and some of the issues I've had with this thing over the years.

Share This Page

10 March 14, 2015