MacBook Major Display Issues

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by benstarr, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. benstarr macrumors newbie

    Apr 17, 2009
    I've started experiencing some display issues with my MacBook 1,1 it was intermittent but now is every time I boot.

    Lets start off by saying I have rEFIt installed and have a triple boot system set up. Removing rEFIt does nothing to fix the issues and doesn't seem to be the cause.

    What happens is when I boot I don't get anything on my display until it comes to the login screen for OS X, at that point all I get is a bunch of vertical line, that are about the right color for the background picture. If i press the power button and return the machine will shut down (normal not forced). This was annoying it had been happening for a few days but restart would usually fix it. Now today it only boots like this.

    I had the idea to hook up an external display so to try to see what if anything shows up. Everything shows up on the external display which Mac OS detects as the primary display. At this point if I go into the displays preferences I can set the internal display to 1280 x 768 (not 1280 x 800) as it should be and it will display semicorrectly, the missing 32 pixels are all displayed a one really tall pixel at the bottom of the screen. The other thing is that this display isn't called Color LCD like it should be it's called "display".

    I get a similar behavior if booting onto Lepoard DVD so I cannot even reinstall the OS.

    For further information it boots to Windows 7, need externial monitor hooked up to see rEFIt screen. But in windows if i adjsut the monitor to maximum brightness the backlight goes off, one level below maximum and everything is OK.

    Resetting PRAM did not do anything to fix the issue.

    Here is the info from system profiler:

    Intel GMA 950:

    Chipset Model: GMA 950
    Type: Display
    Bus: Built-In
    VRAM (Total): 64 MB of shared system memory
    Vendor: Intel (0x8086)
    Device ID: 0x27a2
    Revision ID: 0x0003
    Resolution: 1280 x 768 @ 60 Hz
    Depth: 32-bit Color
    Core Image: Hardware Accelerated
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Quartz Extreme: Supported
    Built-In: Yes
    Display Connector:
    Status: No display connected


  2. JustGretchen macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    It sounds like 1 of 4 possible issues I could think of.

    1. Your display itself is failing. This is probably the most unlikely.

    2. The cable that connects your display to your logic board is failing or has failed. This is slightly more likely.

    3. Your graphics card has/is failing all together as far as video to the internal display is concerned, but may push an external display just fine.

    4. You have some sort of corrupted software issue going on with your Macbook. I would suggest reinstalling Mac OS. Preferably on a single drive alone.

    You have an older MacBook so you have FireWire. You could install the OS to an attached FW drive and try booting from that drive and see what happens.

    Best of luck. If you are under warranty and take it to apple, they may not support you because of rEFIt. So best to just have your Mac OS installed. Clone your drive partitions off to an external so you can put them back afterwards.
  3. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Forgive my bluntness, but this is a waste of time. This is a hardware problem, since it persists with the Mac OS X restore disks and to a lesser extent in Windows.

    The MacBook doesn't have a graphics card. It has a logic board, which contains the processor, graphics chip, and just about everything else that matters except for memory and hard drive. I'd be willing to bet that the logic board is failing, and unfortunately the logic board would cost more than the computer is worth to replace. I believe that the MacBook logic board is worth roughly $700.

    The next step is to take the computer in to the shop and have them diagnose it. Do you have a recent backup?
  4. JustGretchen macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    blue - bluntness excused, and technically, no it doesn't have a graphics card as we think of them from a "stand alone" perspective, but it does still have one, so your statement is not entirely correct and neither was mine.

    It could be that that specific graphics chip on the logic board is failing, but not the entire board.

    It does require a swap of the entire board though.

    As far as why I suggested the software part, in windows it seems to function ok if not turned up to peak brightness. Rethinking, I would certainly blame hardware.
  5. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    I have to confess I actually had to go back and edit the post to remove my own reference to the chip as a "graphics card". Thought that might make me look like a bit of a hypocrite. :D At the end of the day, though, a bad graphics chip and a bad logic board are the same thing: both require the replacement of the entire logic board. That's why I just refer to the board as a single entity.
  6. benstarr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 17, 2009
    I guess I'm going to take it into my local Apple shop again. I just had a brand new logic board put in a couple of months ago so I'd be really disappointed if it need a new one again. I've still got a few months of apple care so no out of pocket expense just the pain of not having the computer for a week or so.

    I've restored the machine to a one drive system again to avoid any problems at the shop. I've been trying to reinstall the from DVD but unfortunately the display won't work properly when I boot up that way so I can't even test that out.

  7. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    If you just got a new one, it's possible that it was faulty, but the technician could also have damaged or improperly connected a cable during the repair. In any case, are you glad you bought your AppleCare? ;)

    That's definitely something I recommend for all laptops. Problems often show up after the fact since it's natural for them to be bumped and jostled in the course of normal use.

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