GPU problem? Or is it something else?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Beliblis, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. Beliblis macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011

    I've got a 15" MBP 2.5 GHz i7 (late 2011 model), with OSX 10.9.4

    Since about two weeks, I'm experiencing graphics artefacts on the screen. I am aware of the 2011 MBP graphics problems as described here:

    However, I'm not sure if it IS the graphics card that's causing the problem with my setup. I'd appreciate your input on this...
    The problem also occurs on my external screen – so I don't think it's down to a bad connection between logic board and LCD.

    What's been happening pretty much once or twice a day is:
    1) Wake up computer from sleep, start working.
    2) At some point during the day I get graphics artefacts: weird patterns, vertical stripes, image "shifted" to the right, blinking individual pixels,... but the mouse pointer still moves
    3) A few seconds later, the system freezes, mouse doesn't move any more
    4) Turn off computer holding the power button for a few seconds
    5) Wait 10 seconds or so
    6) Restart
    7) STRAIGHT AWAY, as soon as the grey screen with the apple logo comes up: graphics artefacts with vertical and horizontal stripes
    8) apple logo disappears / screen goes grey with NO artefacts
    9) Apple logo reappears, but looks a bit weird and "shifted" in a "2048 tile" puzzle kind of way
    10) desktop appears, with absolutely NO artefacts whatsoever.
    11) back to Step 2)

    The reason why I think it's NOT a GPU problem is: once the desktop and all desktop icons come up, the artefacts are gone.

    I work in GPU-intense applications (Adobe Photoshop, Keynote), and the artefacts/crashes appear really randomly. (i.e. NOT straight away when I work in Photoshop, but maybe after a few hours).

    Any ideas what it could be? (RAM would be the next thing to check I guess...)
    Am I correct in cancelling out GPU – or could this still be the problem?

    If despite all hopes it IS the GPU after all.... does Apple recognise the problem & provide free logic board replacement (or at least a reasonably-prized one?)

    I bought the MBP as a refurb in June 2012, when the first retina models came out. Don't have Apple Care.

    Would really appreciate your input on this! Thanks a lot!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Sounds like a GPU problem to me, it will show up as artifacts on both an internal screen and/or external display.
  3. Beliblis thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    If it's GPU: Why does the problem disappear once the desktop & icons appear?

    Also: I donwloaded gfxCardStatus and set it to both discrete and integrated (both for a few minutes). No problems so far. The problem comes out of the blue...
  4. GoldfishRT macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2014
    Because the failure is typically intermittent and usually only pops up during intensive situations (such as booting, gaming, etc).

    I just sent in my late 2011 and it was having the same issue until finally it was completely unusable.

    When the GPU is working properly there should be no artifacting at any time during the boot process or Photoshop for that matter. It's on it's last legs at this point.
  5. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    Since the problem seems to arise after hours of work, I'm not surprised that toggling between the two for a few minutes at a time resulted in nothing happening. If your work permits, what you should try is to set gfxCardStatus to force integrated-only, and then go about your work as you normally would. If you have no problems, then that pretty much proves it without a doubt.

    However, I don't know if gfxCardStatus is still able to keep those modes forced; I remember exchanging emails with the program writer a while back over some issues with this, and he remarked that he didn't have the time to fix it. It's worth a try regardless.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Well time will tell, not to sound negative but if its the GPU, it will continue to occur and get worse.

    Good luck, hopefully I'm wrong.
  7. Beliblis thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    I think unfortunately you're right. Using gfxCardStatus now, and with integrated graphics everything is fine.
    So I'm now going to join the long list of unhappy 2011 MBP users.

    I've seen the petition / people trying to pressure Apple into acknowledging the problem. But to be honest I'm not holding my breath.

    Is there a way to keep the integrated graphics card active whilst connecting an external screen? Right now, the system is running fine – and I'm a bit weary about connecting my external screen.

    Also: whilst I'm not a gamer, I use photoshop quite a lot. Am I likely to experience noticeable performance differences with the integrated graphics card?
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Bummers man :(

    FWIW, apple's track record with GPUs is seemingly bad, which has not caused me to raise my concern on my 2012 rMBP, I know that doesn't mean much to you.

    Good luck.
  9. Beliblis thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    Well, the latest retinas don't have discrete graphics anymore. And I guess by now, we all know why...

    The amount of people affected is HUGE. Just a quick google for "radeongate mbp 2011" shows enough.
    I really hope Apple will do a recall for those 2011 MBP. (They did for the iMacs).
    I'm wondering if Apple can be forced into a recall.... what's the legal situation for this? I live in the UK, so don't know much about the US but isn't there a way of unhappy users join gin together and filing a joint court case against Apple?

    If everything else fails, I'll try rebelling the GPU.

    But rest assured: if Apple fails to acknowledge this problem and does a recall, this is the last computer I ever bought from them. And I've been an Apple user for over 15 years, first machine was a PowerMac 8500.

    The way I see things at the moment, I guess I'm lucky I got a 2011 model. If the 2012 MBP retina series is affected as well, reballing would be a lot more difficult, due to the bad repairability... battery glued into place and all that!
    Lesson learnt: don't buy an Apple laptop with discrete GPU.

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