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Jethryn Freyman

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 9, 2007
2,329
2
Australia
It’s a late 2011 15″ Macbook Pro, one of the last before they stopped putting optical drives. It seems to be an issue with the logic board of power management, I’ve tried resetting PRAM, NVRAM, SMC, disconnected the battery and made sure all the other connections were in place.
Over time it’s had lots of trouble connecting to a 1080p TV over a HDMI/Mini DisplayPort cable into the Thunderbolt port, every other computer and cable is fine. Random slowdowns, the automatic backlight dimming was totally random, sometimes the red light in the optical audio port came on. Not it sits like a total brick, not powering on. Resetting SMC with the power in changes the colour of the charger light for a moment, but that’s it. Once I got it to start up running fans at full speed, but no light or image on the display. Display was always forced onto the dedicated 6770M GPU in the few months I had it, as I blamed issues on the integrated Intel stuff, but in hindsight it didn’t fix the problem and it seems to be an issue with the Thunderbolt port, also the USB ports often failed to recognise familiar iPhones and would often cut out power.
Going to call up Apple tomorrow. In the mean time, leaving it off and will try again later to see if anything magic has happened. I did like having a new laptop, now I’m getting by quite well with the old 2006 family iMac. As long as the LCD is free of vertical lines after 6+ years, and it otherwise seems to work fine for half an hour or so over decent load, it’s a pretty safe iMac to buy. All give Macbook Pros, 15 inch ones, have had about 9 motherboards fail between them, and the total repair time added up to probably six months.
 

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,167
2,183
Oregon
The 2011 models have a manufacturing defect that effects the AMD GPU. It seems like eventually they all fail.
 
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p3ntyne

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2014
406
3
Sydney, Australia
You've got Radeongate - I'm surprised you did not know those models had this before you purchased one.

Do not expect it to work for 6 more years.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,691
35,078
Boston
While apple as not addressed the issue official (AFAIK), 2011 models do indeed have problems with the dGPU. :(
 
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Jethryn Freyman

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 9, 2007
2,329
2
Australia
Well, I have a warranty through to 2016 and so far, a replacement logic board came through, which despite parts of it being dead on arrival, I accepted because it functioned enough for now and I'll be taking it back again later. Hopefully around 2016 I might get a non-affected card.
 
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MacMan988

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2012
748
76
My late 2011 MBP's screen got damaged recently. Probably they are reaching the end of the lifespan now.
 
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steve1960

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
293
300
Singapore
The 2011 models have a manufacturing defect that effects the AMD GPU. It seems like eventually they all fail.

Is this really the case? Or are the failures associated to long term intensive graphics application use?

I didn't know about this problem when I bought my MBP used a year ago when it was 2 years old.

I do not use graphs intensive applications and rarely ever hear the cooling fans kick in (only time has been when ripping DVD's to save in digital format).

Am I just as likely to suffer this problem?
 
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Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
19,054
1,520
New Zealand
Is this really the case? Or are the failures associated to long term intensive graphics application use?

I've had my Early 2011 since launch week, and for about two years used it as a gaming machine. I still play games on it occasionally and it's still working perfectly well.
 
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NathanA

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
739
16
They won't. AMD refused to be a gentleman like NVIDIA and own up to it.
The problems are not analogous. The nVidia problem was due to manufacturing issues with the chips themselves; see here: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1004378/why-nvidia-chips-defective. From anecdotes read here and elsewhere, the AMD-based 2011 MBPs are not experiencing death of the GPU itself. Rather, the solder that Apple used to secure the GPU to the logic board is itself not up to snuff and overtime will fail to provide a good, solid physical and electrical connection between the GPU and the logic board. The GPU chip itself is physically just dandy, and if you can get somebody who knows what they are doing to remove the AMD GPU from your logic board, clean up all of the old solder, and re-solder the GPU to the logic board using different solder, your MBP should start working again. Keep in mind that this is WAY easier said than done, given the intricate nature of surface-mount electronics and how tightly packed the pins are on the GPU. You would need to find a professional shop that can do this for you, and it likely won't be cheap.

-- Nathan
 
Comment

steve1960

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
293
300
Singapore
So, if I experienced the problem and decided to buy a replacement logic board from Apple it would still have the same solder issues or it would be a modified logic board?

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So, if I experienced the problem and decided to buy a replacement logic board from Apple it would still have the same solder issues or it would be a modified logic board?

Sorry didn't mean that! I mean't would the solder process have been changed on new replacement boards.
 
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steve1960

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
293
300
Singapore
I took a look on line and the AMD chip is a pretty big BGA. I don't think it would be easy to remove and would probably require re-balling rather than just cleaning and re soldering.
 
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steve1960

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
293
300
Singapore
Yes I suspected that would be the case. If it was a leaded vs unleaded solder issue or solder / solder paste compound issue they would have problems changing anything.

It would require a full re qual and probably create havoc with wave solder profiles etc. Too much money to spend if the problem can be successfully ignored!
 
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Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
23,512
27,997
In the middle of several books.
Pretty much. Even when you disable the AMD GPU and force it to use integrated graphics, it'll still fail.

Check out this Facebook group for more info.

AppleCare+ on my late 2011 MBP runs out on 12/31. I had the logic board replaced in February because of a GPU problem. I suppose if it screws up again after 12/31, I am out of luck.
 
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nudoru

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2012
259
47
Near Charlotte NC
There have been reports of some replacement boards experiencing the same issues after only a few months, so it doesn't look like there's been any revisions to the boards.

Yeah, I went through three replacements! 1st one lasted 6mos, 2nd one lasted 1 hour (didn't they test it!?!!!!), 3rd one for 3 months.

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I suppose if it screws up again after 12/31, I am out of luck.

Work with Apple - email Tim Cook and get a case with Exec Relations. Don't assume you're SOL.
 
Comment

fat jez

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,686
224
Glasgow, UK
There have been reports of some replacement boards experiencing the same issues after only a few months, so it doesn't look like there's been any revisions to the boards. Apple's replacement boards are typically ones that have been turned in with previous repairs, refurbished and returned into the parts pool. They wouldn't be freshly manufactured or redesigned.

My first replacement lasted 6 months. The first board lasted 2 1/2 years. I'm now on my 3rd logic board, which Apple kindly replaced free of charge.
 
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steve1960

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
293
300
Singapore
So even with the GPU disabled the logic board still fails if the GPU starts to detach itself from the PCB? I guess there is a level of integration in the circuit board paths then, probably also the fact that the GPU cannot be switched off for all applications?

I have now switched off the GPU anyway for what good it will do. I am also monitoring CPU temperature. I am not a power user. Doing the usual web surfing, Microsoft Office stuff and playing music in the background I am not stressing the processor. CPU temperature never rose above 65 Centigrade over several hours of use. In addition it's my home PC so is used with much less frequency than my work PC.

The only time I do work the processor hard is when I rip DVD's but my collection is all done now and if I do buy movies it's direct from iTunes.

So let's hope that by keeping the thermal stress cycles as low as possible I get some more life out of this thing!
 
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Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
23,512
27,997
In the middle of several books.
Yeah, I went through three replacements! 1st one lasted 6mos, 2nd one lasted 1 hour (didn't they test it!?!!!!), 3rd one for 3 months.

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Work with Apple - email Tim Cook and get a case with Exec Relations. Don't assume you're SOL.
Thank you. I will keep that in mind. I will definitely make my voice heard if need be.

If the boards of this time frame are known to be bad, I don't understand why Apple continues to replace defective boards with the same logic board.
 
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fat jez

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,686
224
Glasgow, UK
If the boards of this time frame are known to be bad, I don't understand why Apple continues to replace defective boards with the same logic board.

Because they haven't got any "fixed" boards and have not admitted there is a problem. To do so, they would have to re-manufacture a supply to fix all the faulty boards. I suspect it would be cheaper to give people a replacement new machine than to do this.
 
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iamMacPerson

macrumors 68040
Jun 12, 2011
3,037
1,244
AZ/10.0.1.1
Hopefully around 2016 I might get a non-affected card.

Unless AMD owns up to the issue and releases a fix so Apple can make new board with the fixed chips, this is always going to be the issue unfortunately.

Is this really the case? Or are the failures associated to long term intensive graphics application use?

I didn't know about this problem when I bought my MBP used a year ago when it was 2 years old.

Just like iMac G5s with bad capacitors, its not a question of if, its a question of when. My Early 2011 went through 6 Logic Boards in the first year. Most intensive thing I ever did was iMovie.
 
Comment

NathanA

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
739
16
Unless AMD owns up to the issue and releases a fix so Apple can make new board with the fixed chips, this is always going to be the issue unfortunately.
Why? It's not an AMD issue. It's the lead free solder that was used by Apple.
Sadly, I have found it to be all too common for many of the respondents on this forum to not read all of the @#$!% posts in the thread before they chime in.

-- Nathan
 
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