2011 Mac Mini acting strange

richmlow

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
126
39
Hi All!


I am looking for any advice/comments from the knowledgeable MacRumors community.

My 2011 Mac Mini no longer boots up. It was fine until a few days ago.

Upon powering down and then booting up, it looks like everything is going ok. The startup screen appears, the progress bar advances....then, the screen goes dark. The chime sounds and the boot-up process begins again. Again, the startup screen appears, the progress bar advances....then, the screen goes dark. This cycle goes on in a "forever" loop.

Does anybody have any suggestions/comments/diagnosis?

My system is the following:

2011 Mac Mini
8GB RAM
MacOS High Sierra


Thanks in advance.

richmlow
 

Aiwi

macrumors member
Oct 21, 2010
39
24
Is it the 2011 mac mini with AMD gpu? If so, it could possibly be the GPU that is causing this
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,365
938
Baltimore, Maryland
I have a customer with a 2011 Mac Mini with AMD Radeon graphics that last week experienced the common graphics failure. I was able to get the Mini to boot and run a few times but the screen would soon go weird with lines and/or the display being "misaligned" on the monitor.

Try safe mode, PRAM reset or whatever to get yours booted and if you're successful you can likely watch it fail as I described.

There's a good bit of info out there on repair options or temporary fixes ("reflowing" the chip).

My customer has elected to get a new computer.
 

richmlow

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
126
39
Hi All,


I've done a bit of reading on various forums, etc.

In trying to solve my problem, I attempted the following:

1. Use Recovery Partition (Command -R)
2. Use Internet Recovery Partition (Command, Option -R)
3. Boot into "Safe" mode (pressing Shift Key while booting up)

Nothing works to remedy the problem. No Login screen. No Disk Repair Utility. No option to reinstall macOS.

I strongly suspect catastrophic failure of the AMD GPU and/or logic board.

Perhaps, it is hopeless?!

If anybody has any other suggestions, I'm all ears! Thanks in advance.


richmlow
 

Aiwi

macrumors member
Oct 21, 2010
39
24
Yes, then it's most likely the AMD GPU. I would suggest you have two options:

1. Sell the mac mini as scrap/spare parts

2. Attempt to repair it:

Our beloved Louis Rossman gave a strong argument why reballing any Mac AMD 6000-series GPU is not the solution. There is no real solution to the problem, because the problem is essentially the GPU itself. There're several online sources claiming that the fix is to reball the GPU's BGA. You may prove that this solution actually won't solve the problem by reheating the GPU to a temperature lower than the melting point of the BGA solder joints. This has proven to fix the problem as well as the reballing-technique. That is, somewhat temporary.

The possible fix is to heat up the GPU in an attempt to restore the internal broken connections.
- Fully disassemble the Mac Mini.
- Remove all parts from the Logic Board and apply heat shielding tape around the components surrounding the AMD GPU.
- Use an appropriate hot air soldering station, set to somewhere around 100°C-150°C (200-300°F)
- Gently heat up the AMD GPU module for a minute
- Allow to cool
- Reapply new thermal paste
- Reassemble the Mac mini

- Try to boot from USB or Internet recovery. Boot holding the C key, or CMD + R key.
- If you have a working picture, you may proceed to the next step:

Source: https://gist.github.com/cdleon/d1eff7246a25193304284ecec40445b0

In Recovery Mode:
- Open terminal and disable System integrity protection
Code:
csrutil disable
- In terminal, move the low-power driver to a new location
Code:
/sbin/mount -uw /
mkdir -p /System/Library/Extensions-off
mv /System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX3000.kext  /System/Library/Extensions-off/
touch /System/Library/Extensions/
reboot
Best of luck!
 
Last edited:

richmlow

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
126
39
Hello Aiwi,


Thank you for your assessment of my Mac Mini problem!

After weighing my options, I think that I will get a replacement Mac. Any suggestions?! What do you think about the new 2018 Mac Mini (base configuration)? The new (or refurbished from Apple Store) computer would be used at work (nothing too taxing).

Of course, my main workstation (at home) will continue to be my 2013 Mac Pro (see signature).


Sincerely,
richmlow



Yes, then it's most likely the AMD GPU. I would suggest you have two options:

1. Sell the mac mini as scrap/spare parts

2. Attempt to repair it:

Our beloved Louis Rossman gave a strong argument why reballing any Mac AMD 6000-series GPU is not the solution. There is no real solution to the problem, because the problem is essentially the GPU itself. There're several online sources claiming that the fix is to reball the GPU's BGA. You may prove that this solution actually won't solve the problem by reheating the GPU to a temperature lower than the melting point of the BGA solder joints. This has proven to fix the problem as well as the reballing-technique. That is, somewhat temporary.

The possible fix is to heat up the GPU in an attempt to restore the internal broken connections.
- Fully disassemble the Mac Mini.
- Remove all parts from the Logic Board and apply heat shielding tape around the components surrounding the AMD GPU.
- Use an appropriate hot air soldering station, set to somewhere around 100°C-150°C (200-300°F)
- Gently heat up the AMD GPU module for a minute
- Allow to cool
- Reapply new thermal paste
- Reassemble the Mac mini

- Try to boot from USB or Internet recovery. Boot holding the C key, or CMD + R key.
- If you have a working picture, you may proceed to the next step:

Source: https://gist.github.com/cdleon/d1eff7246a25193304284ecec40445b0

In Recovery Mode:
- Open terminal and disable System integrity protection
Code:
csrutil disable
- In terminal, move the low-power driver to a new location
Code:
/sbin/mount -uw /
mkdir -p /System/Library/Extensions-off
mv /System/Library/Extensions/AMDRadeonX3000.kext  /System/Library/Extensions-off/
touch /System/Library/Extensions/
reboot
Best of luck!
 

tbobmccoy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2007
913
158
Austin, TX
I upgraded my 2011 with a refurb. Very happy with the increased performance! Check my signature for the specs, but the i7 helps a lot for video encoding.