Late 2008 MacBook Pro display issue

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by knuckleball, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. knuckleball macrumors newbie

    knuckleball

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    #1
    I briefly mentioned this in another thread, but wanted to see if anyone has had this issue before and had it resolved successfully...

    My MacBook Pro (specs below) has a very irritating habit of flashing to black very quickly. It seems to often be just a bar along the top of the display, but sometimes it's the entire top half of the display, and sometimes the whole display.

    Each flash never lasts long - not even a full second. But I will often get several flashes in a row. The problem is very intermittent - I can go days without experiencing the problem and then I will get plenty of instances of the flashing within an hour. Oftentimes, restarting the computer will resolve the problem for a short while.

    I took my notebook to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store last month, while on vacation, but was unable to reproduce the problem and, for some reason, didn't even think to look up YouTube videos of other people experiencing the issue.

    To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, here are three YouTube videos showing the problem. I've looked through the comments on the videos, but it seems to me like they never come to a specific conclusion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNQofnQKrDA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxcnwi_mxK8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJMuYneBLLE

    My MacBook Pro is a late 2008 model, 15" glossy display, 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 8 GB memory, 500 GB HDD. All software and firmware up to date.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Merkava_4 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Do you have the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing unit?
     
  3. michlc88 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #3
    I had the same exact problem. If I am correct, it only occurs when you are using the 9400m graphics card, correct? I had my MacBook Pro repaired twice for that issue and it still did not fix it. Eventually, I was having problems with my Superdrive as well and my local Apple Store just replaced it out with a new one. They usually don't replace machines outright until after 3 unsuccessful repairs, so I would try to get that process started. It's difficult because, like you said, the issue is intermittent and will never happen when you are trying to show Apple that the issue is there. I would show the geniuses at the apple store these same videos on youtube and hopefully they will send it in for "repair". Good luck.
     
  4. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #4
    It seems like a lot of users that with the 9400M GPU have this problem, there's a thread about it on Apple's support forums. Unfortunately there's no solution other than getting it "repaired" and hoping it doesn't happen again.
     
  5. knuckleball thread starter macrumors newbie

    knuckleball

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    #5
    Oops, definitely should have mentioned GPU in the original post. Yes, I'm on the
    9400M, but I did switch to the 9600M GT yesterday, to see if that would fix this issue. So far, I've had no problems, though I'd want to keep it on for a week or so to be comfortable.

    My biggest worry is that I'm planning on selling this notebook soon and I don't want to unload a defective unit on somebody and essentially have them pay to have my headache.

    To be completely honest, with this particular notebook, I've had far more problems than I would've anticipated. Last year, my hard drive crashed, loosing all of my data. Luckily, I had Time Machine backups. However, the time needed for my local Apple repair technician to receive a new hard drive from Apple was too long for me to reasonably wait (considering I have school and I'm a graphic designer and web developer with active clients), so I ended up paying for a new hard drive.

    Also last year, my battery went from being in fantastic shape one day to being an absolute paperweight the next day. Honestly, it was as if something had come in and sucked the life out of the battery overnight. I was near an Apple Store at the time and they replaced it immediately after performing a test.

    Currently, in addition to my issues with the screen, my SuperDrive also needs to be replaced. I was in New York last week and an Apple Store genius performed a test on the drive and determined it was faulty. Unfortunately, I had to leave New York before they were able to receive a new SuperDrive.

    I have wondered whether or not Apple would be willing to replace my MacBook Pro with a new machine, considering the number of problems I've had. But at the same time, until now, all of my issues have been or at least will be resolved (with the possible exception of the screen issue).
     
  6. diannao macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    #6
    I have a 15" base model like that; it has the same screen problem and in general has been a bit of a lemon. I took it in and they replaced one or more circuit boards, but it didn't cure the occasional screen flicker. Since I use it mostly with a monitor, and couldn't be without it for long periods of time, I didn't push the issue.

    If you're going to try to sell it, you should be honest about the problem and be prepared to knock the price down. You don't want to get sued or have to give someone their money back.

    If yours is out of warranty and you somehow manage to get Apple to replace it, let us know. Would love to do the same. Right now I have one Apple (my new 17") and one Lemon (the 15"). ;)
     
  7. knuckleball thread starter macrumors newbie

    knuckleball

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    #7
    The notebook is still under AppleCare for another year.

    I took it into my local authorized Apple repair centre today (we have no Apple Store nearby). Unfortunately, after showing them videos of the problem, their conclusion was that, if they can't see it in person then they can't fix it.

    Similarly, in order to determine for themselves if I need a SuperDrive, they require me to leave my notebook with them for 24 hours. I realize Apple has different equipment, but they were able to determine that I need a new SuperDrive within five - ten minutes. Unfortunately, the repair centre can't access Apple's AppleCare database, which has all of the information regarding my SuperDrive.

    Argh, this is a headache. I want to get this fixed as soon as possible, but I'm in a very busy period at school and can't be without my notebook for a full day at any point within the next month, if they're not even going to be able to fix my issue.
     
  8. diannao macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    #8
    The time I took it in to an Apple store, the person who assisted me was able to quickly cause the screen to flicker. I suspect there must be some documented procedure for causing it, at least internal to Apple.

    Perhaps you can find some hints about how to trigger it in threads about the problem from late '08/early '09.

    OTOH, it might be worth getting to an Apple store if, as I suspect, the real fix for the flicker is Apple replacing the machine.

    Best of luck!
     
  9. knuckleball thread starter macrumors newbie

    knuckleball

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    #9
    Update:

    After keeping my MBP on the 9600M for 10 days without any display flashes, I switched to the 9400M today and almost immediately experienced the problem again. Since then, it has been happening fairly consistently.

    Any suggestions as to how I should approach the issue with my authorized Apple repair centre? There are no Apple stores nearby, but I will be in Boston next month, so I suppose I could take it there.
     

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