4-years old MacBook Pro's logic board failed!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ruii, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Ruii macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015

    I have a 4 years old MacBook Pro 13'' mid2010, and it started to crash (during start-up, or a few minutes after it started) and showing a grey screen.
    Took it to the Apple support centre ... and the logic board failed!!!
    The 2-years warranty is long gone, and for a new logic board they asked more than half of what the computer costed!

    Is this common in Mac computers?

    I was expecting to still keep it for one or two more years before buying a new one.
    But now I really don't know if I should go for a Mac again. I mean, one would expect a computer to last more than 4 years, wouldn't one?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It happens, but it's not common. Computers die over time, some faster, some slower. Someone else could have the exact model as yours and have it last 2 years or 8. Many own Mac computers for much longer than 4 years with no problems.
  3. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    Could have suffered an electrical surge, or perhaps over heating. Many possible causes really. I have the same model as you and it runs flawlessly. Go figure. ;)
  4. Natzoo macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Not sure where i am
    That happened to me on my mid 2010 mac book pro but apple said my fix would cost over 600 dollars and thats when i bought my 15" retina last year.
  5. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Can happen with any electronic device.

    You could sell the computer for parts, and use the money towards getting a new or refurbished Mac.
  6. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    No, it's not common. I have used many different Macs since I've started using them 11 years ago and I've never had a Mac go bad on me. I'm currently using the same computer as you are and it's still running strong.

    Defects can happen with any manufacturer, switching to another computer will not eliminate the issue.
  7. PennCentralFan macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2009
    Twin Cities
    Sorry to hear about this. You should expect it to last longer as four years is soon for a logic board, but people tend to forget that notebooks just don't last as long as desktops.

    Notebooks are made for portability and the packing and unpacking and moving of a notebook through many journeys and environments just means they won't last as long. Macs do last longer than your average $600 PC since they are made of better materials and so on, but they still are made in China like dells and the moving and transporting of notebooks means they are more likely to fail than a computer that sits on your desk for the same amount of time.
  8. windywalks macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2004
    I've had quite a few Macs and my experience is as follows:

    2002 - My first iBook G3 Snow - had it for 2 years, nothing went wrong.
    2004 - PowerBook G4 12" - replaced logic board after 2 months, HDD after 6, battery when the battery exchange program went in place.
    2006 - MacBook 13" - nothing went wrong, had it for a year, passed it on to family and bought a new one a year after - to my knowledge it is still in service.
    2007 - bought a 15" MacBook Pro - had it's logic board replaced under the exchange program after 4 years.
    2008 - another 15" MacBook Pro - same thing as the previous one, battery died after 200 cycles and "exploded" right after warranty expired.
    2009 - Macbook Pro 17 " Unibody - had it's logic board and top case replaced within 7 months, battery died after 18 months.
    2012 - 11" MacBook Air - Still in service, fares well.
    2013 - MacBook Pro Retina 13" - 2 display exchanges (both faulty), logic board replacement (my fault)

    Need I say I'm really good friends with the Apple Repair staff at my local reseller, where I haven't bought any of the computers and still visit at least once a year? ;)

    So in summary, the only Apple computers that didn't crap out on me was the iBook and two original 13" MacBooks, but I haven't had them more than two years.
    Now I'm no klutz and my machines usually look mint, hardly get any hard use and I always bought them new.

    So yeah, if it weren't for getting used to the OS and apps, the devices (iPod, iPad, iPhone etc.) the good looks and stellar trackpad I'd pack my things and go for a beefy Lenovo and never look back.

    I was extremely fortunate to have all those repairs either within the warranty window or some sort of repair program, otherwise I would have made the decision to scram already. Apple Care wouldn't do much good either, since the computers I had the longest (Macbook Pro 15") both died after approximately 4 years.

    Just my dime. ;)
  9. Ruii thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Thanks a lot for your replies ;)

    But it seems this problem with logic boards in Macs from that time aren't that uncommon: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4266922 :(

    I don't think there was any electrical supply problem or overheating. I took it to the my local Apple shop/service where they did the diagnostic, and they mentioned nothing about those possible problems.

    The cost of repair (a new logic board + installation) is €590. And a new MacBook Pro 13'' (the cheapest one, the one without Retina and without SSD) is €1060.
    I don't know if it's worth paying €590 to have a 4-years-old computer. But, on the other hand, the specs of this new MacBook Pro 13'' aren't much better than the specs of my 4-years-old one (which also was the cheapest 13'' at the time I bought it)!

    And, I have lost some faith on Mac computers. They are around 40% more expensive than some other laptop with approximately the same specs, and thus one would expect them to be more reliable and durable.
    But my previous laptop had been a Toshiba and I had it for 5 years, while the Mac didn't get to 4 years and one month of life :(
  10. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2014
    London, UK
    I think it's completely understandable to have lost some faith in the machines but honestly they're still definitely some of the more reliable machines out there.

    Also the specifications on paper may not look that much better but I assure you that a new retina MacBook Pro would be a significant upgrade over your current laptop. The CPUs are roughly twice as fast and the solid state storage gives a huge performance improvement.

    Regarding Toshiba laptops, we have a few of those where I work and they've been uh, absolutely terrible haha. HP laptops have been fairly solid mind you.
  11. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2013
    Motherboard failures aren't common when you look across the board with different models, however there are a few models, all of them Macbook Pro's, that do stand out to their disadvantage.

    Those models are the mid 2007, early 2008 and both the early and late 2011 Macbook Pro. The two older models came with failure prone chips from Nvidia and all got an extended warranty for 4 years based on this. The newer models also had faulty GPU's, but this time it wasn't faulty parts being delivered to Apple so they weren't able to have make the manufacturer of those parts pay for the repairs like last time. As a result those models didn't get an extended warranty and if a chip broke/breaks, owners are up you-know-what creek without a paddle. More specifically it was Apple, or rather their subcontractor, ****ing up the solder joints that connected the GPU's to the motherboard.

    I myself have been unlucky enough to thread on two of those landmines with two machines that have needed motherboard replacement because of the GPU failing. The older, a mid 2007 Macbook Pro failed and was ready for use in less than 48 hours of taking it in with no charge. With the newer machine I wasn't quite so lucky when it failed over the Christmas holidays.

    Took it in and they ended up quoting me a whopping 875 euros, which is about 1015 USD with today's exchange rates, for the part and labor. This basically left me in a pretty awkward situation, I had to go to my insurance company and hope they'd cover for it or at least some decent sum towards an equivalent second hand machine. Fortunately they eventually decided to pay for the repair, however minus a 100 euro deductible.

    So in the first breakdown I ended up without my machine for about half a week and in the latter case with the holidays and having to hassle with the insurance company I ended up having to be without it for about 3 weeks, having to scurry back and forth as well as 100 euros out of pocket.

    In the mean time I took the plunge and built myself a desktop to do all the heavy work that might damage those weak solders as well as be something I can fix myself if a part breaks. As long as anything doesn't break on a Saturday evening after the shops have closed I'll be able to have it fixed the next day at only the cost of parts.
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    It's not common but...

    Any electronic device can fail at any time thats the nature of the beast. On the whole I'd expect 6 years from any laptop but anything older than 3 years is going to be susceptable to failure in my book.

    Basing any ideas about rate of failure on a mac forum is laughable the people who come on here mainly come on to talk about issues but they certainly aren't representative of the 20 million macs sold around the world each year...

    If you are in the UK then check your consumer rights you have a right to get it repaired for 6 years, as far as I can tell, under our consumer law, apple don't like it but they have to abide by it if you kick up a fuss.
  13. Ruii thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Thanks again for your replies ;)

    JoelTheSuperior, the MacBooks Pro with Retina and SSD cost more than what I intend to pay for a laptop.
    I'm just considering the cheapest one (the one on the left: http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/macbook-pro), which in Portugal costs a bit above €1000. That's about what the one I have (the one that has broken down) costed 4 years ago.
    But the specs of the actual one are just slightly better than that one I bought 4 years ago :confused:

    Samuelsan2001, those consumer rights tend to be the same across the European Union ... but I never hear of those 6 years!
    In Portugal, and I think in all/most the EU they have to give you, by law, 2 years of warranty for equipments. But my laptop is 4 years old, so the warranty period was long gone.
    Do you have any idea where I can look for some info regarding those 6 years?


    Samuelsan2001, I've found something regarding those 6 years in the UK: http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/
    Have to find if that also applies in Portugal, and, I guess, if I could claim it was a "defective good" :confused:
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Unforunately I don't think they apply in the EU but it is worth a look. As far as I can tell it is just 2 years unless it is a country specific law...
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Just wondering, but...

    Do you by chance have a bootable cloned backup that you could connect and attempt a boot?

    I would try this BEFORE I deemed the logic board "dead".
  16. Ruii thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Fishrrman, what do you mean by a "bootable cloned backup"? A TimeMachine backup will do it?

    But I took the laptop to the Apple service, and it was them who diagnosed the "failed logic board"!
    Although, I can still start my Mac ... and if I do nothing, it stays on. But if I start opening applications it then shows the grey screen and blocks (I guess it happens because something heats up).
    But yesterday I still managed to copy a lot of stuff to an external hard-drive directly (I mean by copy-paste, and not with TimeMachine). I think I'll try today a TimeMachine backup.
  17. Honza1 macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2013
    I had total of 5 MBPs over time, ~2007, 3 x 2010, and 2013, none had any logic board replacement. I had to replace multiple times hard drives (various reasons) and had some memory issues. I had DVD drive fail and older batteries capacities were bad, eventually. But in general, my MBPs were rock solid. Retired the 2007 recently, all others are in service and some in quite "heavy" service (son at college, does not get worse...).
    While Apple Geniuses are probably right, one thing to try may be to reseat the memory or try to remove some of the memory sticks. Had those issues when memory stick started to fail and system became less stable.

    Bootable drive is not TimeMachine, but external drive copied by CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper(???), which can be booted on. These two programs can clone your system on another drive including properly the system files and then you can boot from that. I use that all the time, usually I have one CarbonCopyClone disk which is less than week old just in case. If you boot on USB drive, any error from the disk itself and SATA system will be eliminated, as those would not be used.
  18. Ruii thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Hi again,

    I've found there are some computer service centres, where they do reparation of logic boards.

    The diagnostic from Apple was just "logic board failure", without any details. And the proposed solution was the installation of a new logic board for €590.

    Do you guys think my MacBook Pro's logic board could be repaired?
    The computer centre I've contacted said they don't do reflow or reball, they substitute the damaged chip/component!
  19. JoelTheSuperior, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

    JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2014
    London, UK
    I don't know what the specific issue is with your logic board but I would generally advise against reflowing / reballing.

    This image shows the chip in question which fails in the 2011 MacBooks:

    Reballing would be to remove and replace the solder balls on the bottom of the chip with new, leaded balls. Supposedly this helps because the balls get damaged due to heat and that causes the contacts to go 'cold' and thus cause the machine to fail to boot.

    Personally I don't believe that's true - the balls are rated for much higher temperatures than they would ever realistically be subjected to during regular usage. Instead I suspect it's a combination of issues with the quality of the chip packaging itself and the bumps lying between the die and the substrate.

    Reballing and reflowing often temporarily resolves the issue because the intense heat used in both cases is often enough to heat up the bumps on the chip enough to potentially resolve any connectivity issues between them, but it is not a real fix.

    It would resolve the issue if you had the chips replaced but to the best of my knowledge it's no longer possible to obtain new versions of these chips as they are no longer being manufactured.

    That and you don't know that this is actually the issue.

    Personally I'd rather shell out the extra for a lovely new retina MacBook Pro and perhaps see what you can get for the dead machine on eBay.

    If you are absolutely certain that the issue is with the GPU on the logic board you could always reball it for £200 or so (whatever it is repair shops charge), then sell it to some poor guy on eBay, then use the money to buy yourself a lovely new Retina MacBook Pro.

    That said, word of the issues with the 2011 MacBook Pros has spread fairly well so I don't know how much that's affected their resale value.
  20. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    The theory with heat doesn't deal so much with the higher temperatures as it does with temperature fluctuations. When you turn your computer off or put it to sleep the components cool to room temperature. Turn the computer on and the components heat up very quickly to their normal operating temperature. (By way of numbers, if room temperature is around 25˚C, and my late 2011 MBP's idle GPU temperature is 55˚C, we're talking a sudden temperature change of 30˚C, or 80-90˚F.)

    The quick temperature changes place stress on the materials. For many people, especially laptop users, this cycling may happen multiple times per day through their normal usage.
  21. Ruii thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Thanks for your replies.

    JoelTheSuperior, yeah the new Retinas MacBooks Pro look great, but at the moment I'd love to not have to spend money on a new computer.

    Still regarding my Mac, I can start it up, and if I do nothing it stays on ... but if I start opening applications and doing things, after a couple of minutes it shows the grey screen and it blocks.
    It also shows the grey screen and blocks when I move/shake it.
    So, I guess the problem could have something to do with some soldered contact, that with thermal expansion (when the computer heats up) or with movement loses contact. But from what I've read, it could be a contact between a component and the main board, or a contact within a component.
    Does this make sense?

    The guys at the Apple shop didn't go any further than saying the logic board failed!
    Do you know/think the diagnostic can go up to the detail of finding the local fault?
  22. Xeridionix macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2015
    If this is happening when you move the computer as well it almost sounds as if a component may be loose somewhere. I remember reading somewheres else a while back that someone had a similar issue with their MacBook Pro and it turned out that the memory wasn't seated quite right... so that being said it's a long shot, but have you already tried reseating your memory modules?
  23. Ruii thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Xeridionix, thanks for your comment.

    No, myself didn't try anything.
    But I took the computer to my local Apple service, and they told me they checked everything (including the RAM memories) before diagnosing the logic board fault.

    And anyway, that wouldn't explain why the problem also occurs when I start opening and using applications (I assume this has to do with the computer heating up, and I guess with thermal expansions).

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