Advice with MBP black screen of death

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Matrixx, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Matrixx macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2010

    Thank you so much to anyone that reads this and offers advice.

    I got a MBP in September 2007, and last month I noticed the display wouldn't work after a reboot. I did all sorts of things (reset PRAM, etc) and finally it worked after I ejected a DVD I had in there. I assumed that was the culprit somehow and went on with my life. Weeks later, I rebooted again and the display went dead and this time never came back. I tried many times before giving up. A week later it worked again.

    Symptoms: Turns on, chimes, boots, but black LCD, no backlight, flashlight reveals no LCD activity at all, DVI port is unresponsive. I can VNC into my MBP and confirm that it boots fine, and System Profiler shows only some sort of Intel built-in graphics card, no mention of the NVIDIA 8600. It's like the graphics controller disappeared. Which is exactly what DID happen - if the chip isn't making contact with the mainboard, as described in the support issue.

    From what I've read, Apple gives 3 years (or 4 years I've seen written, I'm not sure which) for a free repair since this was a defective hardware issue. Now here comes my dilemma. Two actually.

    Problem 1: What if the next time I reboot, it DOES work? In other words, how do I get repair work with an intermittent problem? Right now I'm not rebooting until ALL my data is off, which will happen when I'm ready to immediately send it/take it somewhere.

    Problem 2: What is the best way to get this fixed? Take it to an Apple store? My friend had a MB with a cracked case, called Apple, FedEx picked up the unit, it was repaired in a day, and on their doorstep the next. Sounds great. But what if I do that and the display works fine when they get it? Will they just send it back? I have screenshots taken on my PC, of my VNC window showing the missing NVIDIA controller in System Profiler. Should I print those and send them along too? Or a third option, should I take it to the local Apple Certified place and have them deal with it? That way I could probably talk in person to the guy who would repair it.

    I'm afraid of damage to my MBP from incompetence (heard tons of warranty horror stories), and I'm afraid of confusion over the fact that this isn't an out-of-warranty repair, but is indeed covered.

    What should I do?


  2. plasticphyte macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2009
    First off, get your data off the laptop now, or at least back it up. Waiting until you have to send it away is not a good contingency plan.

    Once you've got a backup, reboot. Take photos/video/whatever.

    Then contact Apple and arrange for a repair.

    Pretty simple process really, your computer has a problem, it needs fixing.
  3. Matrixx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2010
    I've backed up my stuff multiple times, so data loss isn't what I'm worried about. It's just time without my MBP - in other words, if I do anything with it now, I know all weekend will be idle time wasted in a box awaiting repair. So on Monday (well, Tuesday because of Labor Day), I'll make a final backup, then do something. I think my best bet is to call Apple now or tomorrow, and then let them tell me what they think the best course is. That way I can get the case on file rather than waiting until the last minute.

    I just hope the LCD stays off, and doesn't magically resurrect itself when they get it, and make them think I made the whole thing up.
  4. creative78 macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2007
    I'd call Apple now and arrange a mail in repair. Before getting mine replaced I went through two failed NVIDIA chips, the second one had periodic graphics problems but not the black screen of death (like the first repair).

    They run some diagnostic tests that will determine if it really is an NVIDIA failure, these can show positive whether you have a near failure, or totally failed chip.

    The turn around time is pretty quick, for my first repair it was about 4 days including shipping, second time they replaced the display as well which was out of stock so it was more like 8 days.

    One thing I would recommend is to take pictures of your laptop before sending it in for repair, so you have a record of it's condition. And it is 4 years not 3 for the extended warranty.

    Have you tried running the AHT test that comes on the original DVDs that came with your computer? If the program detects an error, it gets written to the diagnostic section of System Profiler.

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