Late-2011 15" MBP Display... Weird Colors

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SamCity, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. SamCity, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013

    SamCity macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    Hi guys, I'm new to this so sorry if I'm doing it wrong...

    I have a Late 2011 15" MBP with 2.2GHz i7 and 4GB RAM. It's hard to describe what is happening.

    It started a few months ago, flickering screen colours etc, sometimes it will work sometimes it won't. After thinking it was completely gone a couple of weeks ago it seemed to work ok after constant resets (pram n stuff), but the last couple of days I've lost it again.

    From the pictures if you can help find out what is wrong and any info you can provide for me would be great. I'm at Uni and my student loan doesn't even cover my rent so I can't afford anything really. Sad times.

    From my iPhone I can only get one attachment so is a Dropbox link ok?

    Attached Files:

  2. SamCity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    Dropbox link if I'm allowed to post:
  3. Rhinoceros macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2013
    Sounds like a GPU issue. Does the computer freeze up completely whenever this happens? Are you doing anything specific when it happens?

    If your computer has dual graphics, try disabling automatic switching. Go to Settings --> Energy Saver, then uncheck the Automatic graphics switching box.
  4. SamCity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    I haven't noticed anything specific. I remember it freezing in Netflix not too long ago. Gets hot at times. I imagine it could be GPU too.

    I ran the diagnostics at startup twice a while ago and nothing found. I suppose they are basic tests though...

    And when it happens there is no getting out of it. Have to press Alt Ctrl Shift and power.


    I just unchecked the graphics switching and the screen has gone bad haha. Flickering now coloured bars cannot see the screen anymore.
  5. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    If you have AppleCare I would definitely take it in.

    Interesting that your model has an AMD graphics card instead of NVIDIA.

    Since you have Intel HD 3000 as well, I wonder if it's that or possibly the display. Unfortunately I don't know much about gpu or display problems.

    Also you'll get more responses if you give the thread a more descriptive title. Something like "Late-2011 15" MBP Display... Weird Colors". You can change it by editing your first post.
  6. SamCity thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    No AppleCare :( I will take it in anyway if no one can help and thanks for your advice! :)
  7. StockDC2 macrumors regular

    May 16, 2011
    If you had to reset your PRAM, it's more than like your GPU. You can find out for sure by plugging in an external monitor. If the same thing happens, it's the GPU. If it doesn't, it's the cable.
  8. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
  9. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2011
    switched the logicboard of my gfs 2011 15" too. (thanks god she has apple care - it's something like 500€)
  10. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2012
    Had the same problem. Computer was heating up more than normal and when the discrete card was in use, my screen image would become distorted and then the screen color would change.

    Try using apples flat rate service. Its going to be cheaper than what they charge for a new logic board.
  11. Swampus macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2013
    For now, this might buy you a little more time:

    1) Download and install GfxCardStatus.

    2) Set it to use "Integrated Only"

    3) Under preferences, check "restore last used mode at startup".

    During a boot or reboot, the discreet is still used until it gets to the Login Items (you set GfxCardStatus as a login item in step 3). If you want to go a step further, see this epic thread (there are many more like it) for, among other things, instructions on how to disable the discreet drivers, so that it goes to integrated even during startup. You'll also find some tips for booting your machine once the normal routine has failed.

    Again, this just buys a little time. Maybe a few days, maybe a few weeks, maybe even a few months. But once these symptoms start to show, the future is bleak.

    To my eye, the problem is with the connection of the GPU to the motherboard. To me, the most appealing solution is to find someone with a good reputation willing to reball using lead based solder (Not a reflow, which only heats up the existing solder. Those tend to last for only a short time). However, for the moment, I would wait to see what Apple is going to do. IMHO, it's a safe bet that they know about this problem and have already been discussing it behind closed doors. It's not a matter of doing the right thing (that's not the world that we live in any more), it's a matter of determining whether it is more cost-effective in the long run to admit a mistake or to piss off some existing customers. Primary loyalty, of course, is to the shareholders, not to you. Maybe you'll get lucky, though. Maybe there are just enough people and just enough publicity that this will turn out like the last MBP graphics card fiasco. The Apple Insider article linked above could be a tipping point. If Apple does start a program for this problem, you will not want to have monkeyed with things too much (no reball for now).

    When you do take it in, be sure to point to the epic threads on their own website when they say "OMG! I've never seen this before!".

    2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card

    Disclaimer: I am just some random idiot on these internets. Please weigh my advice accordingly.
  12. Swampus, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013

    Swampus macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2013
    Also good advice. About $300, I think? The 90 day warranty would get you through the semester with some peace of mind. And if this mirrors recent history and Apple admits the problem, you could get reimbursed later. At some point during those 90 days, maybe after finals, I would give it a good stress test for hours on end. Replacement boards can be prone to the same problem.

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