Dead 2011 MBP - what are my options?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Tyrion, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Tyrion macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2002
    #1
    So my early 2011 MBP fell prey to the dreaded GPU issue that necessitates a logic board replacement. I already had that problem last December and got a new mainboard free of charge thanks to AppleCare, but now my coverage has run out and I was quoted a price of 800 bucks for the repair procedure by the local premium reseller, which is crazy. I was really depending on this laptop to last me five years; it cost a ton of money (16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD) and now it's dead for the second time after a mere 3.5 years...

    I'm gonna take it to the nearest Apple store tomorrow and do some expert begging, so maybe I can get a free pity repair - I doubt it though, Swiss Apple stores are nowhere near as customer friendly as the US ones. In case I get told to pound sand and remain stuck with an expensive paperweight, what are my options?

    - Buy a new machine now. Very bad idea, makes no economic sense at all to plonk down 3k on an outdated rMBP.
    - Buy a cheap 13-inch MBP and install the RAM and the SSD into it (would that even work? It's a SATA-II Kingston SSD / 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM). Wait for better Macs to come out. That might work, but I'd be stuck with a terrible display and a sinking feeling that I shelled out 1k on a laptop I neither want nor need.
    - Wait until new rMBPs come out and make do with my Windows gaming PC and my iPad. That's what I'm doing right now and it's quite painful tbh.
    - Buy a Windows laptop, maybe that'll last me longer than a pitiful 3.5 years :D (my previous MBP, a Santa Rosa model, also died because of the GPU. What is it with Apple and crappy dGPUs / crappy solder???)

    I'm really frustrated with this situation (and not getting much work done), so I'd appreciate your input.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    You're in a bad situation, you're only a 2 years removed from buying your current machine, any repair will likely just kick the can down the road - and not solve the problem. Spending a lot of money on the rMBP may not be the best move.

    I'd look maybe at a MBA for the time being until you're ready to purchase a rMBP or maybe the apple store can do something for you with a purchase.

    If it were me, I'd look to see if they could repair the MBP just so that you can eke out a little more time to help justify a new MBP later.
     
  3. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2002
    #3
    Yeah, maybe I'll end up shelling out for the repair. Thing is, these early 2011 logic boards are apparently ticking time bombs, sooner or later the GPU issue WILL crop up. My original board lasted almost three years, the replacement - probably a refurbished piece - died after six months. Apart from the fact that I'm hesitant to invest into an old computer, that's what's keeping me from having it repaired.

    A cheap MBA might be a good stopgap, but it's not going to be comfortable to use, I won't be able to install my SSD (though to be fair I won't be able to do that on the rMBP either) and it won't be fast enough to edit all the leftover photos that are piling up on my SD cards...
     
  4. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #4
    In many countries there is also warranty on repair work - maybe also in Switzerland?

    Otherwise I would recommend you to get a 2012 or so Macbook pro where you can use both the RAM and the SSD and they are I think quite solid and can be bought at reasonable prices.
     
  5. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2002
    #5
    No, the reseller didn't give me a warranty on the repair, and I can see their point - they probably know about the GPU issue and don't want to have to repair MBPs for free in perpetuity :D
    I'm keeping an eye on local craigslist-equivalent for cheap, well-preserved 2011s and 2012s.
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    Aug 3, 2006
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    Oregon
    #6
    The OP in this thread sent their MBP in to have the GPU removed, re-balled and reinstalled. Maybe worth a shot?
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #7
    I'm the OP of that thread.

    My MBP is working fine now, except that the reballer had replaced the thermal paste on the CPU with silicone pad, without telling me.

    Because of that, I'm facing throttling all the time.

    He's agreed to change it back to AS-5 or MX-4 for me, and by then, the problem will be completely solved.
     
  8. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

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    Southern Cal
  9. GhettoMrBob macrumors regular

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    May 21, 2014
    #9
    While not a true fix, you could have the GPU re-flowed. Essentially heating it until the solder re-melts and the GPU is seated well again.

    We do these at a shop I work at and have seen very good success with them. I've done 5-6 2011 models like yours and have yet to have one come back (all having been done 1-2 years ago). This process also works on the 2007 models with the failed NVidia GPUs.

    If you can find someone local to do this (if you choose not to reball it) make sure they use something called flux. It essentially seals the solder from oxidation and helps prevent it from cracking again (which is the root cause).

    All that being said, if you can find someone to reball it that is, ultimately, the best choice for repair since it replaces the faulty solder. If you have it reballed be sure to ask if they use leaded solder....it's the unleaded solder that has a habit of cracking and causing these issues.
     
  10. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2002
    #10
    This is all great info, thanks. I'm not sure how to find a solderer (?) who could do this job here in Switzerland, but I'll keep my eyes peeled.
     
  11. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    Houston, Texas
    #11
    The MBA's are much more powerful than you might think.
     
  12. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Location:
    Brasil
    #12
    I don't know why Apple still insists on AMD technology. They make decent performer processors, but they overheat beyond solderings fusion point. I think OWC or iFixit need offering a DIY BGA toolkit, then you could reball your Radeon GPUs each 3 months by yourself.
     
  13. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    There is no way the GPU is getting that hot. Leaded solder has a melting point around 183c and lead free solder has a melting point around 217c. What is more likely is that thermal stress from repeated heat/cool cycles caused cracks in the solder joints. Or the solder joints were poor in the first place and that's the root of this problem.

    *edit* I'll also add that Apple has had issues with NVIDIA based GPUs as well.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ts4088

    While I'm sure it's possible, most people don't have the equipment needed to do rework like this even if they had a BGA reballing kit.
     
  14. sugleris macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    #14
    Perfect answer

    I had a 2011 MBP where the video just died.

    Brought it to the store, the genius sorta inferred ya.. its probably the Logic board. $1600 bucks....


    I gave him a nice look and asked, Do you guys have any program in place for a FLAT RATE fix?


    BINGO

    I paid 300 or so dollars and they replaced my logic board and took out my third party ram and gave it to me in a bag and replaced it with new ram.


    Stop listening to anyone else telling you that you're **** out of luck. You're only **** out of luck when you CAN'T get the flat rate fix fee.

    Cheers.

    I can't imagine Apple not having the flat rate program limited to the US.
     
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #15
    I also suggest asking for a flat rate fix. Not sure they do that outside of the US, but it can't hurt to ask.

    Sorry to hear from another victim of Radeongate. I wonder if an extended warranty program will ever be launched...
     
  16. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    Jul 15, 2009
    Location:
    SF
    #16
    I must say Apple are complete bastards for not declaring this a recall and doing it for free. They created a faulty design and should be fully accountable. Any 2-3 year old machine should not die like this en masse and that goes double for something this expensive. At least if it was $400 to begin with in 3 years one would get their money's worth somewhat.

    I purchased a batch of those 2011s recently and all 3 had graphics problems. I found a reballer and they work ok now but even at $175 a pop it wasn't a cheap affair.
     
  17. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #17
    I doubt it at this point because they've stopped making replacement logic boards since the GPUs have long since been discontinued. If Apple were confident they could supply an adequate number of replacement parts, they probably would. Otherwise, they're opening themselves up for people demanding replacement machines if such a program were to be enacted and they couldn't actually fix the damaged systems.
     
  18. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2002
    #18
    One thing to note is that Apple in the US appear to be way, way more customer friendly than around here, where you're usually treated like crap as a customer anyway. As I said, I'm gonna try the Apple Store tomorrow morning (one hour train ride, grmbl), but it's kind of a Hail Mary. I'm quite sure they're going to tell to buzz off, and not even very politely. Hell, when I had an iPad 3 with a speck of dust under the display, they wouldn't replace it even though it was quite obvious, because "we only do replacements of items that were bought at this particular store". You Americans have no idea how lucky you are.
     
  19. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2002
    #19
    My MBP has - or had - an SSD, 16 GB RAM and a 2.3 Ghz i7 CPU, and it struggles quite a bit with PRIME noise reduction and other editing processes in DxO. Not sure I'd use an MBA for such tasks, though I'm sure they've gotten a lot better since I owns (and was disappointed by) a late 2010 model.
     
  20. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 12, 2009
    #20
    Why would you buy Apple again? You are neither getting the reliability nor the customer service they are allegedly famous for. So I am curious. I have a Radeon gate lappy sitting at the service centre and I already took a call to get out of Apple's ecosystem. Second time this has happened to me. As they say: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me :)
     
  21. triplelucky macrumors regular

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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
  22. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Apple is one lucky company:)
     
  23. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2002
    #23
    That's a legitimate point. Problem is, they've kind of got me locked into their ecosystem; I also own an iPad and an iPhone and a ton of apps and enjoy the relative ease of use that comes from living in a consistent digital environment. And let's face it, I've been a mostly happy Apple user for about twelve years now, this alone isn't quite bad enough to sour me on them and cause me to go back to Windows, especially considering the fact that they still have a chance to remedy the situation (heading to the store now).
     
  24. Tyrion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2002
    #24
    Ok, I take back all the bad stuff I've ever said about Apple, turns out they're repairing the MBP for free :) I can only encourage everyone suffering from this issue to hit the Genius Bar.
     
  25. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #25
    Congratulations! Excellent news for you. If I was in your shoes I would probably now think about selling it when it is repaired since the problem will come back eventually.
     

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