Late 2011 MacBook Pro freezing/crashing

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hank Meyer, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. Hank Meyer, Jun 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014

    Hank Meyer macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2014
    #1
    Hello, first poast! :D

    I ran a search for prior posts and didn't seem to find a problem matching what I have. I surely hope you pros can help me figure out what to do to save an otherwise great machine.

    Specs: Late 2011 MBP running Mavericks (10.9.3). I have 8GB of 1333Mhz Ram that I purchased from OWC and it seems to run fine on it.

    I bought the machine in mid 2012 as a certified refurbished directly from Apple. The charge count on the battery at that time showed a total of 10 cycles, making me think the battery was new. about a year after purchase, I noticed that if I mouse over the battery icon, I would get the "service battery" notification. Seemed to work just fine though. Never done anything for the battery to this day.

    Sometime last year, a little water made its way onto the keyboard. Shift key was frozen and I paid a third party shop to install a new keyboard. Keyboard seems to work fine--even the backlighting.

    Now onto the problem: A few months ago, the screen would go berserk and eventually would look like it has crashed. Sometimes the screen is in a weird split view, sometimes its blue with thin green lines, sometimes it just looks like digital leprosy. I push and hold the power button to shut it down, and then reboot it. What happens next is a flip of a coin. Either I come to the password screen as normal, type in my PW, and then it goes to a blank grey screen, or after hitting the power button, I get a bastardized mostly grey screen with some thin green and pink lines across. But I still get to enter my PW and then it goes to a blank screen.

    Fortunately, if I just leave it at the blank screen for 15-60 minutes, shut it down, and start it back up again, everything goes back to normal. But this is getting old. Its happening more frequently and I can't rely on the machine. Sometimes this happens when the battery happens to have a full or near full charge and I go through the motions: shut it down, restart, enter PW, and wait on the screen for say 1/2 hour. But then the battery dies. As in, goes to 0% and the computer shuts off. I plug it in and eventually it gets to working again, but I mention that in case the battery might be the source of the problem.

    Has anyone ever heard of this before? I have a pipe dream hope that if I just have the battery replaced that this will all go away. Do I need to go to Apple and pay their ridiculous fees? Or can I go independent like I did with the keyboard--which seemed to turn out ok.

    Thank for any input you can provide.

    Henry
     
  2. coldwaves macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    #2
    The symptom you described sounds like a graphic card issues. Is this a 15" or 13" model? The 2011 15" MBP has a widely spread GPU failure. The crash/freeze usually happens when the discrete GPU is used. Although Apple does not officially acknowledge this issue, it is very common among 2011 models. I have a early 2011 15" models died this way recently. See this long thread in the apple discussion: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4766577?tstart=0

    One thing you can do is to use gxcardstatus to disable the discrete graphic card and see if the problem comes back. I am able to use the laptop for a while by forcing it using the integrated GPU only. In terms of repair, if it is indeed the graphic card issue, you most likely need to replace the whole logic board. The in store service cost somewhere near $600. There is also the apple depot flat rate repair. The cost is around 350 if your computer is in good condition without dents or water damage. With water damage or significant dents, the cost can be quite high.
     
  3. Hank Meyer, Jun 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014

    Hank Meyer thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2014
    #3
    I appreciate the reply. Yes its a 15" model. It used to happen about once a month, then once a week. Now its every 2 or 3 days. Sound about right?

    I looked at the screen shot photos of the second post in the discussion you linked--looks like some of the same problems I have.

    Does that discussion you linked explain how to "use gxcardstatus"? I have no idea what that means. Heck, I don't even understand the difference between discrete graphics and the integrated GPU. Don't know what a logic board is, either. I'll have to research Apple Depot, as well.

    Thanks!!
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #4
    Your MBP has succumbed to Radeongate and it's doomed. There is no way to repair it, because Apple will only replace the logic board. All the logic boards for the 2011 15"/17" MBPs with Radeon have the same manufacturing flaw that causes the Radeon GPU to fail.

    The only real solution is to reball a new GPU in and reapply the thermal paste, but it isn't worth it because the 6xx0M series is pretty old. The performance gap between the 6770M and GT 650M (mid-2012 MBPs) is pretty huge.
     
  5. Hank Meyer thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2014
    #5
    LOL: Radeongate

    Wow that's funny even though this sounds like ominous news. Does this mean the problem will continue to get worse or stay the same? Will it eventually stop working altogether? I suppose I could relegate the machine to being the home computer and stop taking it out and about with me as if I can trust it. $600 to repair an older machine seems like bad economics to me.

    This was my first foray into the world of Apple and it may be my last. Ironically I had a desktop PC for 10 years that this replaced :rolleyes:
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #6
    It will stop working altogether. It happened to my 2011 15" MBP.

    But then, Radeons seem to have a notorious reputation to tend to fail more than its NVIDIA counterparts, regardless of what computer it's placed in, be it Dell, HP, Lenovo...
     
  7. coldwaves macrumors regular

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    May 30, 2011
    #7
    gfxcardstatus is an app that let you select which graphic card you want the computer to use. All you need to do is to download the app and install it. Then selected integrated only. The app can be found here: http://gfx.io

    Another temporary solution is here: https://people.cam.cornell.edu/~zc227/extras/early2011mbp_graphics.html#tempfix. This basically remove the discrete graphic card's driver and force the computer to use integrated card only. Note that this probably will change your color profile and everything become blueish. You can then recalibrate the color to make it back normal. It is kind of doing the same function with the gfxcardstatus app but through a little different pathway.

    What you described is exactly what happened to my early 2011 MBP. It starts with infrequent problems and then it becomes worse and worse. The problem often show up when there is load to GPU or when the temperature of the laptop is a little high. Apple had a few discrete graphic card issues in recent years with the 2010 MBP and 2011 iMac that they actually recall. But it does not seem like they will do anything with the 2011 models.

    I guess you can just force your laptop to use integrated GPU to keep using it. You obviously lose some graphic ability such as you cannot use external display with it or you might not be able to run graphic intensive apps. But the integrated GPU is strong enough to do the normal browsing, emails, video talking, watch videos.

    I just switched to the 2013 retina MBP with integrated GPU only model. The Iris Pro graphic is pretty good and I think Intel chips longevity has been pretty good. Plus, the retina model definitely runs much much cooler. I guess this is a combination of the Haswell chips and the better ventilation.
     
  8. Hank Meyer thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2014
    #8
    I too have seen a correlation with temperatures. As mentioned above I let the grey screen sit there and stew for 15-60 minutes and one of the ways I guess that its "done" is after the fan speeds up for a while and then slows. Sort of like the toothpick-in-the-cake method :rolleyes:

    I downloaded the GFX Card Status and it was super easy to instal and chose "integrated only." I hope this is just as good and the same as removing the driver as per the discussion you linked because that sounds more complicated. Plus, I'd rather not have to recalibrate my display.

    As far as sacrifices, understand how I use my machine. Zero gaming, and no movie editing, and no external monitor use. I do watch YouTube and Hulu. A minute ago I just started a YouTube video and seems as though there are no changes. I have a few videos I watch that are shot with an amateur/hobbyist camcorder and my DSLR. I use Adobe Lightroom 5 for photo editing, and I spend far more time around photos that videos. that's it. Think I won't see any loss in function?
     
  9. coldwaves macrumors regular

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    May 30, 2011
    #9
    For the things you use on the MBP, the integrated GPU will be totally fine. You won't notice any performance difference in these things. Maybe exporting the photos from Lightroom can be a little bit slower compared to the discrete GPU but that should be very minimal difference.

    One thing I experience is that when my discrete GPU went bad, I cannot boot into the OS. It stays in the grey screen forever. I guess I realized this problem too late. So if you start to force it using only integrated GPU now, you may not have the booting problem since your discrete GPU is probably still OK enough for booting into OS. It is bad that you have this problem but it is good you notice it early. Hopefully the not so perfect solution can let you use your laptop until you decide to upgrade.
     
  10. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #10
    Yeah, it wil do. The widespread fault is with with the connections breaking between the Radeon chip and the circuit board.

    Both times mine failed I got fine green horizonal lines across the screen.
     
  11. Hank Meyer thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2014
    #11
    Update

    Well it seems as though GFX Card Status allows me to change after I'm already booted up, but every time I boot up the system reverts back to Dynamic Switching. I also had the grey screen upon startup today and had to wait and get lucky for it to work itself out. Maybe I need to do the driver uninstall?

    Also, I'm thinking about calling Apple and seeing if I can punk them into repairing it for free. I refuse to dump $300-500 especially in paying THEM for the repair. Can anybody offer up any suggestions who has been successful in this area?
     
  12. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #12
    Depends where you live really. I got a free repair as there is consumer law in the UK that helps out.
     
  13. Hank Meyer thread starter macrumors member

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  14. The Mercurian macrumors 65816

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  15. Hank Meyer thread starter macrumors member

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  16. TechGod macrumors 68040

    TechGod

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    #16
    This bolded point is unfair really, you are judging the whole of Apple due to one bad product I could also tell you the numerous times my Windows PC's would stop working on me.

    Here's a hint, way too many times.
     
  17. mr99 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    My mid 2012 13" MBP is also the slowest, crappiest computer i've owned to date, I feel forced to upgrade to get a good computer :/
     
  18. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #18
    That's because it doesn't have an SSD in it.
     
  19. mr99 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    That might speed up boot time but the overall experience is just painfully slow. None of my other computers have had SSD's and were nowhere near as bad. Mac and windows included.
     
  20. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #20
    SSD made a immense difference to the responsiveness of my old 2011 15".
     

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