graphics chip (GPU) replace or reball?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by temujin99, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. temujin99 macrumors newbie


    I think I've identified that I have a problem with the soldering on my GPU. (I get intermittent pink color interference and 'color noise'. I can get rid of this temporarily by tapping hard round the lower casing - or dropping the computer from a great height - ummm - 2 or 3 inches!)

    Can anyone tell me what I should ask the engineer to do - replace the GPU with a more up to date unit or just re-ball (which I understand to be re-solder). Though I think that a replacement GPU is not possible but I'm not sure.

    I have an iBook G4 - 933 - introduced late 2003 and I'm in Mex City so sending it to a sooper dooper US fixer is not an option. There is a half decent Apple authorized dealer here but they might not have rare parts readily available.

    Any words of wisdom would be gratefully received.
    Many thanks
  2. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    Livermore, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    The solder problem is fairly common on iBook G3s - there is no option to replace the GPU, only replace the entire motherboard or reflow the solder. There's tons of articles online about this - search Google for: reflow solder iBook G3. Apple was taking them back for quite a while and replacing the motherboards, but that program ended in 2006 (or maybe early 2007), and to replace the entire motherboard usually runs in the $200-$300 range.

    Most folks either live with it if it's not too bad (but knowing that it will someday, sometime fully separate and the internal and VGA out ports will be dead), or try and reflow the solder on the GPU (or get someone to do it for them). Also, the iBooks are notoriously difficult to open, and if you do it yourself or have someone who has never opened one before do it, there's a number of online guides that strongly encourage systematic screw tracking and other tips for getting them back together once they've been opened.

    I highly recommend having someone who knows their way around the internals of the iBook do this project - good luck!
  3. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    If you want your GPU fixed your only option will be to replace the motherboard.
  4. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    I don't know how viable actually replacing the GPU chip with an upgrade would be on an iBook G4. I suspect reverse engineering would be involved, something which would be very much not worth the time or cost.

    What company are you using to repair the GPU solder ball grid? I used First Phase Tech to repair an iBook G3 GPU. They apparantly use X-Ray equipment to verify whether or not there are stress fractures in the solder connections, and then reflow the solder to fix the problem. They're a great company. I talked to the proprietor (Tom I believe was his name) for at least half an hour and he was very nice and informative. That was about 2 years ago or so and the iBook still runs fine.
  5. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    Repairing a logicboard with a faulty GPU is not only possible, but cheaper than a replacement logicboard. Read the post above.

    First Phase Tech has a flat $50 fee for repairing the GPU on all iBook models. However, you must disassemble the machine yourself and send in only the logicboard.
  6. temujin99 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Thanks guys!

    Thanks to you all for your responses which explain a lot to me.

    I'm in Mex City so I shall take the ibook to an authorized dealer. now I can talk a little more intelligently about what i want done rather than appear clueless.

    I would like to use an expert in the US as is suggested but fear the mexican customs more!

    Meanwhile I shall continue to drop the computer from a great height when the problem recurs!

    Thanks again!

Share This Page