Late 2011 17" MBP - Major Crash But....

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bazzy, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Bazzy, Mar 10, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017

    Bazzy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #1
    Hi All,

    Please forgive length of post - novice at explaining technical stuff.

    Late 2011 17" MBP / 2.4Ghz Intel Core i7 / 16GB 1333Mhz DDR3 Ram (Crucial Brand)
    Running Mavericks 10.9.5.

    Hi All,

    I am a light user - pretty much just use the MBP for web surfing, emails & word stuff etc but I rely on it heavily. It was replaced by Apple after the Early 2011 had Graphics issues & has shown no issues up till now.

    I normally just have Apple mail on all the time & Safari with about 6 tabs. Average temp is around 44- 55 degrees.

    A couple of days ago, I opened up Google Sketch Up (used for many years & never had a problem before) & this is where the problem started. Sketch up got stuck at opening itself & its pages up & locked the computer fully. The screen showed pages being zoomed in & all sorts of bad image tearing. Soon after, the fans kicked in big time & the thing started to get extremely hot.

    I thought it might resolve itself & waited for as long as I thought might be a good time but it would not resolve. Eventually, I got scared at how hot it got & tried shutting it off at the power button - it took 3 presses for it to shut down.

    I waited for it to cool down fully & did a restart. It took quite some time starting with a dark grey screen & then a light one but this time it has purple & light blue vertical stripes - these remained for quite some time & again the MBP started getting very hot with fans running high. Finally the screen went black but with fans still running. I waited some time but then shut if down manually again - same as before, it took 3 presses of the power button. I did this 2 more times but with exactly the same results each time. I aimed a high powered fan at the top of the MBP & a large ice gel pack covered in a towel underneath to mitigate against the heat each time.

    Someone told me about the Apple Hardware Test by pressing "D" on start up so I tried that & I opted for the "extended testing". It took an hour & 15mins but it reported back as "No Trouble Found" - see pics attached.

    Somewhat heartened by this, I then rebooted the MBP but unfortunately, the exact same issues were still in place & I was convinced my MBP was ruined. I tried a 2nd time but no change - differing grey screens followed by the vertical purple & blue stripes, high temps & then a black screen so I shut it off but this time, I *think* (not sure) it may have shut down with just a single press of the power button.

    This time I fully resigned myself that I was out of luck & very upset, just took a break. Some time later, just out of repetition, I started the Mac again - same issue as before light grey screen with issues, darker grey screen with issues, no inputs accepted, Purple & Blue Stripes, High heat & fans followed by a black screen.

    I do not know why, but for some reason (probably despondancy), I just let it stay this way (at the final black screen stage) & after about 20-25 minutes, the black screen went away, the fans slowly started to wind down & the normal log in page appeared but without those horrible vertical stripes.

    I was able to log in & the screen was back to normal but operation was a bit buggy - this has improved to what appears to be normal now. I noticed that my Macintosh HD icon showed that I gained about 8-9 GB's so I do not know what has happened there or what has been lost.

    The other issue I have noticed is that before, Memory Monitor would show App Memory as being one of the least in size & Cache the biggest but now that has completely reversed which is odd & I do not know why even if I only have Safari open. The numbers just do not add up & App memory is very big now. The system is definitely more memory hungry now - how do I correct this? Temps seem very stable averaging about 46-58 degrees doing basic stuff.

    Based on the above, does anyone think that the MBP has properly been able to reset things properly by itself & the computer is OK or am I living in borrowed time & this was just a sign of worse things to come?

    What happened here & is there anything I can do to stop this happening again?

    Sincere apologies for the long winded post but wanted to provide as much detail as I could remember.

    Many Thanks,
    Bazzy.


    [​IMG]

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  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    It sounds like an issue with that app have you updated the OS at all since you last used it??

    It sounds like a rogue process using all your computer resources to do something you didn't want

    Try deleting and reinstalling that particular app maybe looking for some updates etc if you have a back up (you should do) then you could try an OS reinstall and migrate your data and apps back afterwards that could well work.
     
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #3
    All of what you've mentioned in the above trimmed down quote seems to indicate a faulty GPU. Sadly it's a widespread and documented issue on your model. There was a repair program for it but it's now expired: https://www.apple.com/uk/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

    I wouldn't go the route of repair as they use refurb boards which will exhibit the same problem eventually. Therefore there are really only a few viable options:

    1) Download and run gfxCardStatus. Force it to use the iGPU at all times. Although this is more of a workaround, it should hopefully ensure the problem doesn't occur again: https://gfx.io/

    2) Sell your Mac and buy a new computer. :(

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    the GPU failed you, which is a common issue with these models. There's really little you can do other then move on to a newer model, as mentioned above.
     
  5. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #5
    Could be your dGPU is going bad, but it might keep working for a while, given that it passes the hardware test. Or it could be software.

    Your temperatures look good, but if you haven't already, open up your machine and clean out any dust and lint that might be keeping it from cooling efficiently when it does get hot. Be careful not to jostle cables as they seem to get brittle over the years.

    A clean install of the OS can sometimes help clear up random issues that gather incrementally over time. Are you running old OS for some reason? Sierra is running well on my early 2011 17".

    Do you have an SSD? I'm guessing you do, with 16 GB RAM, but if not, the SSD can help things run better too.
     
  6. ZapNZs, Mar 10, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #6
    Did it look like this?

    Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.06.28 PM.png

    If so, disconnect any external displays, download GFX Card Status & switchGPU, and configure your system to integrated-only immediately. Then, be aware that any time you shut it down (if it is the GPU issue), it may not start up again (unless you unintentionally overheat it, which obviously carries its own risks and no guarantee of success.)

    The good news is that, unlike Windows, OS X can run for months without needing to be restarted. :)

    The way to verify if this is a GPU issue for certain is to have the VST performed by an Apple repair provider (but if the system is not symptomatic at the time of testing, it may pass the VST - I have seen this first hand multiple times.) However, if your screen looks like that, it is likely the GPU issue, and if you are still able to start it up sometimes, it is likely in the failing-but-not-dead-yet stage. The VST is free - obviously the program to replace the logic board has since ended.
     
  7. Bazzy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #7

    Hi,

    I really hope so, I did not update Sketch-Up to the latest version - it was 2015. I have not used it since the crash & indeed, would like to delete it fully but I have a number of SU Files & am wondering how to save them first - can I simply transfer them over to an SD card or USB stick & reinstall them if I install a new version of SU without issues at a later date?

    The reasonI have not updated from Mavericks is that it has been the most rock solid of OS on my mac - I have hardly ever had problems with it & every time there has been a new OS, I kept reading how there were so many problems & issues with them so I just stayed with what I knew worked - call it novice fear/hesitation!

    I have a Time Machine & 2 x Super Duper Back-Ups. I really was thinking about upgrading to Sierra but was wondering if it would work well with my Late 2011 MBP - I see Apple listing it as compatible but I do want it to be a solid & hassle free experience - I read that there are some nice features that will not?

    Incidentally, I had just recently bought some 2TB Seagate 9.5mm Drives to replace the stock one & also put one in the SuperDrive so I would have a total of 4TB disk space. I am not a heavy editor or anything like that but I do collect lots of videos & movies etc & thought I can store all that large stuff on the second 2TB HD & with the primary, I can partition for 2 x 1TB and use one as a normal Macintosh HD & the other possible for Windows in Bootcamp.

    Do you now think/feel this is a good idea or bad? The second drive will be used mainly as storage & occasional use - I am now worried about any potential heat issues - sadly I cannot afford 2 large capacity SSD’s.

    Many Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 11, 2017 ---
    Hi,

    Thanks for the input! Sadly, I just learned that the repair programme ended at the end of last year so I missed out by a few months! I agree that any repair would just be too expensive & I would not want a refurbished board.

    Regarding the gfxCardStatus, I saw a video on Youtube, where someone also used it but they were insistent that only the previous v2.01 will work & not the current V2.3 so luckily, I was able to find & install it & have set it to Integrated - I trust that is correct? See:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 22.04.18.png

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 01.26.46.png

    I would love to buy a new mac but unfortunately, funds will not allow - especially the new 2016 ones! I am in the dull dreary UK, may I ask, what do you think mine is worth if I sell it in original spec state? It is in what I would consider as Excellent/Very Good Condition as it has always been in a shell & has rarely ever left the house.

    Also, I do not need the latest Warp Speed version but as long as it is reasonably fast & more importantly stable without crazy high heat & lock ups when doing more than a few things. I will say however, that I prefer something that allows some expandability in the HD department & I understand there were some MBP’s in which the HD’s & RAM were not soldered on & hence upgradable? Can you recommend me any in the 15” model - ideally with 16GB Ram & expandable to at least 1TB?

    Many Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 11, 2017 ---
    Hi!

    Thanks too - so sad it might be this way as since the crash(?), it has been working as normal apart from the strange memory usage issue - everything seems so normal!

    Many Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 11, 2017 ---
    Hi!

    Is there any definitive way to tell how progressively bad the GPU (if it is that) might be heading or is it a sudden/random events that happens without warning?

    What about how to positively determine if it is a Software issue? I ask, as if there is & this is the cause, then it would be great news also because Sketch-Up is primarily a Graphics based app. I think I may have forgotten to close a few SU Pages when I last closed it so when I tried to open it the next time, they all seemed to open up at the same time - could this have possibly overloaded the Graphics & caused the issue?

    I was planning on opening it up to install new & bigger hard drives & also to give a good clean - I did so some time mid last year & it was spotless inside then!

    Like I stated earlier, I stuck with Mavericks as it has been so stable for me & reading about so many woes others have had with the subsequent OS releases just scared me away from upgrading! I am intrigued with Sierra though & do wish to upgrade - was just worried about whether mine could handle it without having lost of beach-balls & freezes etc but it is very heartening to know it works well on yours so I will probably go ahead sometime. Do you miss not having some the features on Sierra due to it being a 2011 MBP & any major issues/problems?

    I may very well then do a clean install of OS Sierra in case it might have hopefully been a software issue & pray luck is on my side - even if it is against the odds..

    Unfortunately, I do not have any SSD’s inside - just the stock 750GB one which is getting on a bit even though the reports say it is in good shape. I just bought a couple of 2TB ones so I could install them (I really value having lots of space) - one in the SuperDrive area & other as normal but partitioned in 2 so I could possibly use one as Bootcamp for Windows stuff - do you feel that is a good idea? Truth be told, large capacity SSD’s are way out of my price range!

    Many Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 11, 2017 ---

    Hi,

    Thanks for the help! No, the lines were vertical - exactly like this (not my pic):

    macbook-pro-2011-faulty-graphics-cad.jpg


    I have downloaded the GFX Card Status app v2.0.1 as I heard that the later versions do not work? It is running now & looks like this:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 22.04.18.png

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 01.26.46.png

    Does that look OK & is it correct?

    I will see if I can get this VST Test performed somewhere & hopefully that might shed some light as you say but if it is a slowly failing GPU, is there any way to determine how long the unit will last or will it just give up suddenly & without warning? As the lines on my MBP were different to the ones you showed, do you still feel it might be a failing GPU or something else?

    I take it that the tick box here should be left unchecked or will this GFX Card App deal with it automatically?

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 02.20.49.png


    Many Thanks!
     
  8. Bazzy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #8
    Hi All,

    Please forgive me but I wanted to share/provide as much info as I could as to how the MBP is now behaving in the hope that it might shed some light so would be grateful for any feedback or concerns I need to be aware of.

    Regarding memory usage, before it was always Cache (in Blue) that ate up most/all of my memory & the App Memory (in Red) was small but constant. I usually only have Mail & Safari open (about 6/7 Tabs) & had to regularly quit & restart Safari - even with 16GB’s of RAM - it would, at times use pretty much all of it! After this Crash(?) event however, the situation has totally reversed - the Cache now grows very slowly but App Memory increases dramatically & using memory cleaner hardly dents it at all - see:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 02.15.17.png

    I also cannot see where most of the Memory in general is being used (only Mail & Safari as main apps open) - is there something wrong or a rogue process in place somewhere? Here is a partial snapshot of Activity Monitor & what Safari & Mail are doing:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 02.16.08.png

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 02.16.22.png

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 02.16.46.png

    In case it might aid further, I did an EtreCheck in the hope that it might shed some light on what caused the crash - hardware or software. It rated performance as just Good & not Very Good or Excellent so again, hopefully the report might shed some light as to why?

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 00.48.34.png
    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 00.48.02.png
    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 00.47.31.png


    If there is another easy to use diagnostic app that you would me to use & relay the information here, please let me know! Apologies again for the long post & many images but they explain things far better than I am able!

    Many Thanks All!
     
  9. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #9
    I don't think there's any definitive way to tell if your dGPU is starting to fail if it's intermittent. Apple has a hardware test that's more thorough than the one included in the OS, but it appears it doesn't always catch the problem either. You just have to watch what problems you have and try to explain them in the most likely ways.

    If you reinstall your OS without the suspect software and the problem doesn't arise, but when you add the software it happens again, that's a pretty good clue it's the software. I suppose it might be possible to overload a GPU, or otherwise provoke it, with a task it isn't properly instructed for.

    If your machine was clean inside last year, it probably still is. Your temps seem good except for when the glitch arises.

    Best not to to update to Sierra unless you get an SSD. The earlier OS will work better with the older hard drive and other spinning drives. Your machine will run faster with an SSD, of course. You could buy a 256, which is fairly inexpensive, and use your other drives externally, or put one in the optical drive bay, like you say. A lot of people have done that with good results. I put an SSD in my 2011 and updated to Sierra and have had no problems at all. I haven't been doing anything with it except browsing and streaming video, though.
     
  10. Bazzy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #10

    Hi!

    Thanks for the input again! It sounds like then this issue will most likely happen without warning next time with no indication of any troubles beforehand - bummer! I will take it to Apple or a reseller when able to see if they can do that VST Test. It is still working pretty much as normal (& hope it stays that way!) but I do now have that GFXCard Status app installed & set it to Integrated as advised.

    Once I decide my HDD upgrade strategy (with Sierra?), then I will do a clean install without the Sketch-Up App that caused the crash & see what happens for a while. I will then do as you say & reinstall it & see how that affects things - hopefully, it will give me an answer as to whether it was Sketch Up alone that caused the issue. I have read a few examples of other Mac owners having their units crashed by this app as well so it will be interesting to see what transpires.

    As for the HD upgrades, I really wanted to max out storage which is why I bought 2 x 2TB normal HD’s - just assumed they would work fine but if they might cause issues with Sierra then I will have to reassess matters.

    TBH, large capacity (1TB & 2TB) are way out of my price range so may I ask, can I mix & match HD’s? What I mean is have say a 512GB SSD in the current HD location & add just normal HD in the optical bay or will that just cause issues?

    Also, instead of SSD’s do you feel that the SSHD’s with 8GB of Flash & the rest normal would be a good, stable & reliable option with Sierra? I do not know much about them but have attached images of some I found on Amazon:

    Many Thanks!


    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 20.11.57.png

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 20.12.11.png

    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 20.19.56.png
     
  11. Kcetech1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    #11
    SSHD's are ok but not what I would call ideal since the SSD cache is so small, I would say an SSD in the drive bay and a large spinner in the optical bay is best ( how my old 17" is currently setup )
     
  12. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #12

    You can use a smaller SSD for the OS, the Applications, and a larger HDD for your files. This is ideal over the SSHD for several reasons, the two biggest being speed and price (and, potentially, reliability.) The FireCuda is a pretty popular SSHD, available in large sizes with good speeds for a HDD and Users seem to like it - obviously it's still a fraction of the speed of a SSD and still has the same latency that all HDDs have, except for the tiny cache. I've used the 7500 RPM WD Black 2.5 1TB HDD pretty extensively myself, and am satisfied with it for something so cheap with such a long warranty ($50-65 USD Stateside.)






    This approach is, in my opinion, the best way to go because it allows you to test the system before spending money on drives for what may be a failing system. Try reinstalling the existing OS via a fresh install using one of the fresh approaches (I personally use the flash drive method) - the reason is, if you purchase a new SSD and new HDD, and it turns out your GPU is failing, you can NOT use either of these drives internally in Macs older than the 2012 unibody version (i.e., with the 2012-present retina models, you can only use them as external drives.)

     
  13. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #13
    I agree with @Kcetech1 about the best setup to get both speed and a lot of storage space, but @ZapNZs makes a good point about not investing before you know your computer is likely to keep working. So check that out with either your present OS or Sierra and your current hardware, and then you can do either the small/cheap SSD and big HDD (which works fine) or try the hybrids if you value the space over speed.
     

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