Late 2008 15" MacBook Pro Logic Board / RAM Issue

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacDude205100, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. MacDude205100 macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2016
    Eastern U.S.
    This is going to be a longish post, but I'd really appreciate people's feedback and advice. So thanks in advance if you read this. I bolded my questions.

    I've had a Late 2008 15" MacBook Pro 2.53 GHz with the 9600 GT ever since it came out (literally day one). It gave me years of great use. However, after upgrading to 8GB of RAM a few years after owning it I began to experience minor issues. Every month or two upon waking up from sleep the backlight would light up and the fans would turn on but the screen wouldn't. I had to manually power it down and reboot. This is with 8GB Crucial RAM.

    This wasn't a big deal although it became much more common starting two or so years ago to the point where it happened once or twice every two weeks or so. At one point it was happening everyday, and I got a replacement set. This made it go back to it's regular frequency. What is causing this? Crucial said it's normal with newer operating systems.

    Starting like 4 years ago, when I switched to the 9600 GT the system would freeze (mouse stops moving and doesn't ever start again) and I'd have to reboot. But I don't experience this with the 9400M. Anything I can do to fix this? I always just assumed it was a defective graphics card. I'd really like to be able to get this working since the 9400M is really showing its age.

    This past summer, I had major issues. The computer would just freeze up as described above but for the 9400M too. I assumed logic board issues after it persisted for several days. I was planning on waiting for the Mac Pro upgrade and replacing this, but I needed a computer so I got the Mac Mini in my signature and left this in the box in the closet. Fast forward to around Thanksgiving time, and the computer wouldn't even turn on. I put it back in the box since I didn't need it. I decided to tinker with it again last month, and tried taking and the RAM and reseating it. BOOM! It turned on. I am not having any of the freezing issues I had previously, and it was working great. Was I wrong that it was a logic board issue? I am confused because I don't see how it could've fixed itself.

    But two weeks ago I turned the laptop off and took it on a trip. When I went to power it on, it wouldn't turn on again. Reseating the RAM fixed it once again. Why is this fixing it? The RAM works perfectly. Is it becoming loose? What should I do? I am confused because reseating it is definitely making it go from not turning on (no noise, no lights, nothing) to turning on and working perfectly. It's just inconvenient to have to unscrew everything and reseat it.

    So the main problem is, whenever I turn it off and leave it for a day or so, it won't turn on without reseating the RAM.

    Thanks for any help! I am planning on going on a 4 week trip next fall and won't be able to take the Mini with me. I am hoping to be able to get this working steadily enough that I can take it with me and avoid having to buy a used laptop.
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    It's a well used 8 year old laptop the fact that it runs at all is brilliant, the fact that it's still relevant at that age is amazing.

    No one should ever expect a laptop to last more than 5 years, just google laptop failure rates for anything over 5 years and realise how well you have done. Expecting any longer for a complicated piece of delicate electronic equipment that is thrown about on a daily basis is unreasonable.

    Ram slots get lose and broken over time (one of the very good reasons many manufacturers now solder their Ram in their portables). Fixing them usually requires a new logic board.

    Your dGPU could well be "fixed" by baking the board, it's temporary though, there are many online guides for this. However you might just kill your laptop totally, it's a risk.

    There is a reason that manufacturers only give 3 years warranty and that's that failure rates shoot up after 3 years (and laptop failure rates within 3 years is 30%, although premium ones are more like 20% ).

    Basically you may get it working well but the cost and risk and effort are not worth it on an 8 year old machine that will likely fail for another (or the same) reason in a few months time.
  3. Pepino macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2014
    Hi mate, you may try something very simple and it solve a wild spectrum of problems. Remove your RAM, take an eraser and GENTLY clean the contacts of your RAM. Please note, don't push too much during this process. You shouldn't damage or remove coating from those pads you cleaning. If the issue is not on the motherboard then your Mac will work great again. Good luck.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    In the meantime, it's probably time to start looking around for either a new or "late-model refurbished" Macbook...
  5. MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2016
    Eastern U.S.
    This is interesting. Do you mean a pencil eraser? What exactly will this do? Do you mean clean the RAM contacts on the computer, or the contacts on the RAM chips?
  6. Pepino macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2014
    Yes you can use any soft pencil eraser to clean RAM chips. This trick solve many issues straight away.
  7. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Yes, pencil eraser. The idea is that the mild abrasive will clean corrosion from the RAM contacts.
    You can't do that task on the internal slots, only the stick itself.
    But - the slot is designed to be self-cleaning by simply un-seating, and reseating a RAM stick, so typically the "erase" just makes your feel like you are doing something valuable. The mechanical reseat accomplishes the same thing, without the (pretty small) risk of extra residue from the pencil eraser floating around inside your portable.
  8. MacDude205100, Feb 10, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016

    MacDude205100 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2016
    Eastern U.S.
    I just tried reseating the RAM and it won't turn on. Bummer. I am confident it works because when it does turn on it functions properly. Is there a component responsible for "starting" the computer that I could replace?

    EDIT: I just reset the SMC and it started up!

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