Display problem - every other pixel column turns white?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SeanMBP15, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. SeanMBP15 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    For the last few weeks, I have had an intermittent display problem where every other column of pixels turns white. It happens nearly once/day, and can last for several hours, or just flicker a few times. I typically use the 1440x900 resolution, but when this error occurs, it's visible at all screen resolutions, and is unaffected by changing screen brightness, closing/reopening the lid, and restarting the machine. It has occurred on first opening the lid in the morning when the machine is quite cool. The error does NOT show up on an external monitor, which I assume means the video card is not at fault, and it's not a driver issue.

    Photo of the error:

    Machine stats:
    15" MacBook Pro 3.1
    OS X 10.4.11
    2.2 Ghz Core 2
    GeForce 8600M GT
    128 Mb VRAM

    This computer is not covered under warranty. Any suggestions as to how to fix this would be appreciated. I'm reasonably handy, so if there's something internal that needs tightening/checking, there's a chance that I could do it without losing any screws in the process. Thanks.
  2. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    You're video card is toast. There was a significant issue with the 8600GT GPU's. You can try bargaining with a genius bar, but more than likely, unless you have Applecare, you're screwed. The GPU is soldered to the motherboard, so you really will need to have the entire thing replaced.
  3. SeanMBP15 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    But the display looks fine on an external monitor, even at the same moment that the screen is screwed up. Could a bad vid card do that?
  4. MichiganRon macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2009

    I have the same graphics card in my Macbook Pro. The only difference is that I have a slightly faster processor.

    This problem just started happening on my computer. I was wondering if you had any luck finding a solution. Or did you have to replace hardware?

  5. Fox11 macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2009
    I had the same problem (so IMPOSSIBLE to read text!) and it would go in and out, sometimes for a few seconds, and then one time for a full week! Suddenly it got better and everything has been absolutely fine for about a month- UNTIL yesterday, when the screen just totally blacked out and will now show nothing.

    I'm taking it into an Apple store tomorrow, and I'm 99% confident it's the Nvidia GPU (8600 GT M)- for more official info, check here:


    They should replace the logic board (GPU is soldered on so the whole thing must be replaced, I think) for free, according to that. I'm just scared it'll happen again in a year or something- I can't afford to pay for a replacement!
  6. petervee macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    Same problem here

    After a year and a half, my macbook(A1226) pro has the same problem. In the beginning it was intermittent, then it fixed itself, then I could bang the keyboard and it could correct itself, now it always happens and am using an external screen (defeats the point of a laptop doesn't it?).

    I took it to an Apple dealer, who ran a test (Where can we get a copy of this test?) and he said it is not the chip!!! The test was negative.

    I then opened it, removed the motherboard, removed all the dust and lint and used heat sink compound, but it still has the problem.

    I even tried to change the screen (went to another dealer and used three different screens but the problem was still there).

    So what I do now? Take it to an Apple store again?


    See a photo of the problem on my screen on: http://vekinis.com/pro.jpg
  7. SeanMBP15 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    The screen eventually failed completely. Apple tech diagnosed it as the known Nvidia issue and replaced the graphics card free of charge, even though my warranty had expired. Screen is working fine now.
  8. willpower101 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2009
    This should be stickied, it was a pain trying to find info on this, however they are still replacing them even though some are outside of four years.
  9. ekrumrey macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2012
    It's the Main Logic Board

    I had this problem starting about 2 months ago, and found this thread, but the thread doesn't have a conclusive solution to the problem.

    My experience and investigations since then say that the problem is in the main logic board, but probably NOT the nvidia gpu.

    When I captured a screen shot while the display was showing the white lines, the screen shot was all good. This means that the image to display on the screen is being correctly computed and stored in memory. I think this means there is NOT a problem with the GPU. I too took my computer to a genius bar and was told that it passed the tests and the GPU was good.

    Then I figured that since the screen image in memory was good, the problem must be with the display or the display cable, so I replaced them both. Unfortunately, the display looked exactly the same, with white columns every other pixel! The original LCD display was fine.

    So it seems the GPU is good, and the display cable and display are good. To me this means that something is broken on the main logic board as the screen image gets moved from RAM to the connector for the display data cable.

    This idea that the problem is on the main logic board, but not in the GPU is also consistent with all of the above posts -- the computer would pass the GPU test, but if the logic board was replaced, it would fix the problem. So I'm pretty sure this is right.

    So what should you do? I was told at the genius bar that they could take it and diagnose it. If it's the logic board, there's a flat rate for repairs that require replacing the main logic board. I think he said $310, but it could have been $360 (this is in the US). If you want to repair your computer, that's probably your best option.

    I Hope this information is helpful to someone who comes across this thread in the future.

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