MacBook Pro 17 inch (2008ish) w/ bad graphics card - Any chance for resurrection?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by blushok, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. blushok macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2014
    Hi All,
    My apologies if I'm posting something that has already been covered previously.

    My wife's Macbook Pro 17-inch laptop stopped working yesterday. Black screen, no response. Took it to the Apple Superstore today, they ran some diagnostics on it and identified the graphics card as being bad immediately. We were told that since the MBP is considered "Vintage" by Apple, that there is no graphics cards any more for that MBP. End result- they offered $50 in trade and gave us the laptop back.

    My questions for the group is this: has the MBP really seen the last of it's operating days and if not, then:
    1) where can i get a new/used graphics card
    2) how much will it cost (rough guess) to install - the Apple store said it'll take soldering to do, something I can't accomplish personally.

    Trying to determine if it's time to give it up and scrap it or if we can some more time out of it (without breaking the bank- don't want to spend $500 on fixing this if it's not a good idea. My wife isn't a power user, just Facebook, browsing and some Microsoft Office stuff... All pretty basic...

    Thanks for any thoughts/comments/help ya'all can provide. If the answer is "Time to go get something else, so be it"... But wanted to ask the experts first... Thanks!!

    Very Best,

  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    To fix it you would have to replace the entire logicboard. Soldering a new graphics chip onto it is well outside the abilities of the human hand. I'm not sure how much a new (used) working logicboard would cost, but I'm going to guess $200+.
  3. joecool99 Suspended


    Aug 20, 2008
    Yes, look on eBay for reflow GPU service, maybe 50% chance or more
  4. blushok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2014
    Great feedback! Just went on eBay and looked up reflow GPU service... Will explore that course of action and then logicboard replacement second...

    Thanks very much for the quick replies! :)

  5. Swampus macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2013
    For an 8600m GT (one of these)? Don't do the reflow thing. If you do anything, look for a service that replaces the old GPU with the newer revision of the chip (G84-603-A2 instead of G84-602-A2). Should be able to get this for under $200. A lot to spend on a 5-6 year old computer, but a reflow, even professionally done, IMO, would be throwing money away (the early versions are known to be problematic). Reflow or even reball is not a good choice for these.
  6. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    I sent a Toshiba A215 PC to a BGA repair years ago. At first it failed after a couple of days after repair, so I sent it again to the assistance and they remade the job. Now it works flawlessly after 4 years. So, looks like they tried using the same BGA solders at first, but after they did a decent job.

    I suggest doing this in an assistance near to your home, so you can ask a 2nd repair, under warranty, if needed.
  7. blushok thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2014
    Also excellent suggestions by all... I'm considering all the options (great to have multiple choices) and I consider everyone's feedback invaluable- Thanks!!

  8. Dinklemouse macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2014
    I too had the same experience as Patrick a few weeks ago and in a state of panic went to the nearest Apple store. They diagnosed a logic board failure but advised that my 2008 17" MBP was now considered "vintage" and as such they no longer supported it or even kept spare parts. They gave me a list of authorised repairers in London but this turned out to be a circular argument in that the repairers all relied on Apple for parts...!

    After some research I was advised that a replacement logic board if it could be found would cost approx £600 to fit and my only other alternative was to buy a current replacement, circa £2k - I was not happy!

    I did find that a company in Wales offered a reballing (reflow) service and I have to admit I was uneasy about this although it was explained that the graphics chipset gets hot and after years of use the contacts wear out - that did make sense to me. The cost for the service was a fraction of any other option - just £80 including courier shipping - so worth a punt!

    Well I am delighted to say that I got my MBP back yesterday and it works perfectly and so I wanted to let any other MPB UK users know that this option is definitely worth exploring.

    I hope I am allowed to mention the name of the service provider - I have absolutely no connection other than as a satisfied customer - based in Cardiff (thank you guys - great job!).
  9. Cynara-BC macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2014
    Hi Dinklemouse,

    I just wondered how you were getting on with your newly-fixed MBP?

    So far this is the most helpful thread i've come across. I've had exactly the same issues as everyone else – Macbook Pro, 2008 17' and the graphics card has given up the ghost. Apple said today it's 'vintage' (a word in modern society that seems to make things more desirable and expensive, but in this case makes my poor little laptop worthless).

    They implied I would have a very slim chance of fixing it. I'm not far from cardiff and not ready to hand in the towel yet – so has the reflow worked and have you had any issues since? £80 sounds incredible value considering i'm looking at £2000 for a new mac, and even then I can't get a 17i anymore, which I've gotten so used to.

    I'd love to hear feedback about how this issue continues for those of us who, from the sounds of it, didn't know about the free replacement service for the faulty CPU which unhelpfully ended 2 years ago, when my mac was running just fine.

  10. Gav Mack, Mar 21, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014

    Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    Totally seconded. Best to replace the GPU, the place to go in the uk is BGA_repairs.

    They are in Hereford. A reflow will not fix the root cause with the Nvidia 8 series GPU's, it's the 'bump' material inside the chip itself that joins the silicon die to the outer casing of the processor that's the problem and not the solder balls outside. The new GPU with correct bump material will have new lead solder balls to go on your logic board. They take photos and return your old chip, offer six months warranty and clean up inside too.
  11. whitedragon101 macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2008
    and thirded ;)
  12. SkimMilk168 macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2014
    wow! Didn't know that such services / techniques were available!
    I see reballing kits on ebay and youtube has got so many videos on them!

    Really nice and informative thread!
  13. Dinklemouse macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2014
    Hello Cynara-BC

    I see a couple of responses poo-poo'ing the reflow solution but all I can say is that it worked for me and I am happily replying on my vintage 17" MPB which in all respects now works perfectly. I can only presume that there is no inherent problem with the GPU in my machine, just that its been used so heavily over the years that the heat finally did for the connections to the motherboard? As you can tell I'm no expert merely a delighted resurrectee :)

    Like you I was looking at £2k+ outlay that Apple implied was my only realistic option. I had never heard of reballing/reflowing until I did a bit of research. The company in Cardiff were excellent - I found them on Ebay when looking for a replacement graphics card - and was amazed that the service existed to reflow the GPU at such a reasonable cost (£50 plus £15 each way for courier). I gave them a call and dealt direct so if you are not too far from them then I would recommend having a word or popping over to satisfy yourself.

    As before I have no vested interest in this firm but for me it was a brilliant experience and a great outcome; so good luck and hope you get your MPB working again!

    Best wishes

  14. Cynara-BC macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2014
    Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond and giving all of your advice regarding the faulty GPU on my 2008 MBP.

    I looked into reballing and reflowing and the success rate seemed really rather good – and I could get the whole chip replaced as people suggested on here with the Hereford company for around £180, which seemed a good deal. I'm glad the reballing worked for you though Dinklemouse – it's forums like this that help the novices like me!

    However, I've actually just found out that I don't need to go down either of those roots and that Apple are going to replace the part for free. Which is bonkers when at first they said it was 'vintage' and unfixable, and especially if they've told other people the same.

    I think I just got really really lucky and had a great guy at the Genius bar who took this to his superiors for me. I never would have got them to replace the part otherwise and I didn't even think this was an option – certainly Apple in general say the replacement programme ended in 2012 and that is that.

    So just in case anyone else is out there and finds this thread after their trusty 2008 MBP fails with the faulty 8600 chip – go badger Apple first and ask about your EU Consumer Law rights which specify that you have up to 6 years from date of purchase to have something replaced or repaired if it was defect at the time of purchase (which this GPU card obviously was). So they can get the parts and they can fix this – if you get the right person at Apple...

    But if this GPU goes... I definitely know what the fix is now!

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