Graphics card failure

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mainbeam, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Mainbeam macrumors member

    Mainbeam

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Liverpool, GB
    #1
    Hi folks,

    I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro 15”. Unfortunately the graphics card has failed again. I just get grey screen after boot up noise. Or green apple logo then grey screen. I’ve taken it to Apple and they no longer repair this model. I want to repair it myself but unsure of how to do it. Can I buy a complete logic board or just graphics card? Has anyone carried out this repair?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Paul
     
  2. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    #2
    One idea is to take the board to someone who does component-level work. You can choose to re-ball and re-solder the GPU with lead-based solder and that appears to solve the issue at least for now. There are these types of services all over ebay (last time I checked) and there ought to be some local providers as well.

    On the other hand, if you were to buy a board, there is no guarantee that it won't fail the same way, given that the most probable suspicion behind the GPU failure is a detachment of the GPU from the board due to the rigidity of the lead-free solder and differential thermal expansion between the GPU package and the board (the 2011 models were made in an era where lead-based solder was being phased out, so there were some rough edges).

    I personally think that it is pointless to buy a new or used board. Try repairing yours first and see if that solves the issue for you, at least for a few more years.
     
  3. Mainbeam thread starter macrumors member

    Mainbeam

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Liverpool, GB
    #3
    Hi,

    I managed to run Apple hardware test and it returned fault code 4hdd/11/40000000:sata(0,0)

    I googled this and it suggests the HDD is defective. I tried it with another HDD and the problem persists.

    Looks like I’ll have to take it to local repair centre for GPU reball.

    Thanks for the reply,

    Paul
     
  4. treekram macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #4
    The error code you're getting is for the HDD. Since it happened with another HDD, it's more likely that it's the HDD cable, which have problems as they age in the MBP's from this time period. I would replace the cable, which is relatively inexpensive, and start up the computer before deciding upon a next step. You may still have a GPU-related issue but you should try to fix the HDD problem first, that may be easy to fix.
     
  5. Mainbeam thread starter macrumors member

    Mainbeam

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Liverpool, GB
    #5
    Hi, I bought new HDD cable and fitted it today and unfortunately the diagnostics still gives the above error code. (Tried both SSD’s). Time to take it to repair centre.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. Mainbeam thread starter macrumors member

    Mainbeam

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Liverpool, GB
    #6
    £89 for repair. All fixed now. Shop said it was the GPU that failed. He said the inside of MacBook was covered in dust, which he cleaned. I'll make a point of cleaning it periodically with a compressed air cleaner. MacBook is running great now. Nice and cool.
     
  7. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #7
    Was the gpu problem solved by replacing the gpu chip?
     
  8. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #8
    1) It is not the solder balls, it is the GPU itself. Reflow just messes with the eutectic bumps inside the chip so it works temporarily as a zombie chip.

    2) The answer is a replacement chip.

    3) Replacement chips that are new and known good are no longer available. Your best case scenario will be getting chips that work for 2 weeks to 8 months and die again under any real use. Your worst case scenario will be outright garbage where they crossed out the 2011 date codes and etched in 2016 date codes onto dead chips so they "look" new.

    So sadly, people with this machine are kinda screwed.

    The replacement GPUs cost between $25-$50. This is the amount of work involved in that job.

    Here, two possibilities exist.

    1) A good Samaritan exists who is willing to do all of this work, using thousands of dollars worth of gear, and an advanced skillset, for $20

    2) They reflowed the old GPU....

    You can imagine what my guess is..

    There's no shortage of people I know who reflow these, collect $100, and offer no warranty when it dies 2 months later. I hope they at least work with you when it fails again.
     

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8 March 15, 2018