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Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
hi guys, you're kind of my last hope... I was just kindly kicked out of the Genius Bar with my MacBook Pro because it's now "vintage" status and they can't do any repairs on it.
Anyway, here's the story... First, the configuration. It's a MacBook Pro late 2011, 17", quad core 2.5ghz, with the AMD Radeon HD6770 and Intel graphics 3000 graphics card, running El Capitan, featuring a data doubler with a HD inside, and a Samsung 840 pro 256GB SSD where the HD used to be. I had 16GB ram but one of the first things I did when I started to troubleshoot was revert to the original 4GB original apple ram that came with the computer.

Here we go :

Last week, unbeknownst to me, my MacBook Pro woke up from sleep and crashed, overheating for several hours by itself. When I found out, I tried to wake it up, but I had to force it to shut down. I powered it up again, no problem. I put it to sleep. The next day, I decided to do some stuff on it so I logged in and I launched a few things. Suddenly, as I was in the next room, I hear the start up chime "your computer has restarted because of a problem". Okay, then, why not. But then, I got more and more random crashes through the day. On Friday, I decided enough was enough and I would seek what the problem was.

Apparently, there was some issues with permissions, so I fixed that, but I could also see that there was some GPU restarts. Also, I had a very nice "too many failures, system is giving up". A AHT gave me a false positive in the name of the Sata error (don't have the code name right now) but it can appear if you have an SSD inside the computer.
At this point, I have to say : the first time I did the AHT, it crashed during the test, freezing the screen and pushing the image to the right with a gray veil on top of it. Weird. Second time, it passed with that weird error.

With the help of some friends from the French forum, we decided it was the hard drive (also, when I opened the computer, I could see it was slightly unplugged). I removed it, to leave only the SSD I place. I then used a brand new session. It worked fine for hours. I was sure the problem was fixed and my computer was saved. It passed the AHT with flying colors.

I decided to plug in my thunderbolt screen.
It crashed instantly. On reboot, it would get stuck on the chime in a loop. Only a SMC reset got it past the chime. Then it booted normally. I thought, no more thunderbolt for you.

So at that point, we were pretty much sure the problem was with the graphic chip. I ran the Apple Service Diagnosis. Which began by crashing in EFI mode after completing about 99% of the test successfully (it crashed on the memory test. I know my memory is perfectly fine. I tested it already, and I had just replaced it with the original ram I got with the computer). It crashed with nice vertical lines in the screen. Graphic chip, right?

image.jpeg


I ran it again, in OS mode. It PASSED. All the tests were successful. I decided to run the user interactive tests, because why not. All went well, and one of the last test is "successful wake up from sleep". It never woke up. It tried and got stuck in limbo, started to overheat (with a black screen) and was unresponsive. I had to force it to shut down.

I could get it back up and running, and a friend suggested I installed gfxcardstatus (or whatever it's called) to be able to switch from the Intel Graphics to the AMD Radeon and see which one was faulty. I put it on the Radeon first and after about five seconds it crashed.

After that, I was never able to boot it again. It would either loop chime, either chime then show a screen filed with horizontal lines (I made a video =
), either with vertical lines, either do nothing. No chime, no lines, black screen, but still it was powering on (a plugged in hard drive would light up and one could here a very faint hum coming from inside the computer. Also, the led in front of the computer would light up). SMC reset would sometimes make it switch between these three states.

image.jpeg

By leaving it alone for hours, I could get the one chime white screen with moving horizontal lines followed by a gray screen back. Once, I even got the apple (except it was on far right side of the screen) and the boot progress bar stopped a third of the way.

image.jpeg

I forgot to mention at that point I had also removed the SSD and had tried booting from an external system, both in thunderbolt and USB (I have a LaCie thunderbolt SSD with a clean El Capitan OS) to rule out anything OS or internal SSD related. Before I had the problems with the thunderbolt and the whole system not booting again, I could work fine with the external disk.

Right now, it's not doing anything anymore. No chime, no gray screen, nothing. Just the faint hum, nothing else, powering on any external drive that's plugged in, an external display is obviously showing nothing, SMC reset doesn't do anything anymore. I tried unplugging the battery for two minutes and plugging it back, because why not, it didn't change a thing. Battery is charging, battery status light are working perfectly, I changed the MagSafe adapter twice already to rule out a bad power brick.
The guy at the Genius Bar was unable to get it to boot so he couldn't tell me anything new. He also thinks it's graphic related, but like I do, he guessed maybe there's something else on too causing all the chaos.

So, I'm coming here as a last resort in case any of you has an idea. I don't have any computer repair shop in the vincinity, the guy at the Apple Store told be they could not replace the motherboard because they simply don't provide support for that machine anymore, and that no apple certified shop will do it.
There are some services in Germany that do GPU chip replacement, but if it's the Intel Graphics that's fried, it won't help. Moreover if it's something else entirely.
I'm in France, BTW.

Is there anything I could try to at least get the computer to boot so that I could deactivate whatever chip might be causing the trouble? (In my case, most probably the Intel graphics, although at first we were all pretty sure it was the Radeon)

Thank you so much for any help or advice. It's an old machine but I really love it and I'd hate to part from it.
 
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Brammy

macrumors 68000
Sep 17, 2008
1,718
690
That does look like the GPU failure. Mine failed differently, but I have seen that one as well.

The short version is: no, not really. You can't really disable the chipset.
I wouldn't put any money into getting fixed, either.

I also have a love of the 2011s, but this one appears to have met its end.
 

Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
:( Is there no way to get it to at least boot again? Why isn't is making the boot up chime? Is there a reason?
There are people who replace the GPU when it's the Radeon that failed, and it's not that expensive. This Mac is an old machine but it's still the most powerful machine I own (I'm quite poor ^^ I really have no money for a new laptop. I do have a MacBook Air 11" mid 2012 that I use to write and go on the Internet, but the 17" was the one I was working with for InDesign and Photoshop, and I can't really do that with the smaller guy, it's not powerful enough).
So if there's the slightest chance that it could be the Radeon and that I could get it to boot one way or another, I could send it for repair and get my computer back for less than $200 (if found a guy in Germany, I'm waiting to hear back from him). But I don't want to send him my computer and pay for shipping to and from Germany if it's not possible to repair it (if he doesn't manage to repair it, he doesn't make you pay anything).
 

Mr_Brightside_@

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2005
3,738
2,013
Toronto
Look for graphics card reflow services. It's definitely the dedicated chip. Once reflowed you can use https://gfx.io to keep it to integrated only.
[doublepost=1504282065][/doublepost]How repair savvy are you?
 

Brammy

macrumors 68000
Sep 17, 2008
1,718
690
Is there no way to get it to at least boot again? Why isn't is making the boot up chime? Is there a reason?

The GPU chip is soldered onto the motherboard. It is not easy to replace, and I would be hesitant to trust any company that claims they can replace them.

The replacement for the GPU is to replace the logic board, which is around a $3-400 part, not counting the labor. It is not booting or chiming because the failure is most likely causing a short on the logic board.

I would not put any money into this laptop. Even laptops Apple replaced the GPUs on have a recurrence of the problem. iI would take that money and at least buy a more recent used Macbook Pro or Air. It will not be fun coming off the 17" screen.

At least with the 2011s you can pull the drive out and get the data off it.
 

Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
Look for graphics card reflow services. It's definitely the dedicated chip. Once reflowed you can use https://gfx.io to keep it to integrated only.
[doublepost=1504282065][/doublepost]How repair savvy are you?

I'm not bad. But I'm not good enough to change the chip myself, of course. I can do small stuff like disassembling the computer, changing the thermal paste (I was planning on doing it this month for the MacBook Pro since it was overheating so much).
Not so sure I want to try putting the motherboard in the oven, especially since some services are changing the dedicated chip with a new one. If I change the Radeon with a new chip, what's the point then of keeping the MacBook from using it?



And yeah, the drives are safe. I'm probably going to put them in my Mac Pro to recreate my MacBook Pro (I've ordered an adapter. I have one, but I need a second one). I'll have to reinstall the GPU driver for the graphic card, but then I don't have to reinstall all the applications and everything. Much less annoying. At the moment I have a clean OS on the Mac Pro (late 2009) with nothing on it, maybe just chrome and mac fan control, and I was already whining because all my 3D stuff was on the MacBook Pro in the Windows dual boot and carbon copy cloner doesn't clone Windows partitions perfectly so I was looking at complete reinstallation of the programs.
 

pixelatedscraps

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2017
288
190
Hong Kong
That was like a very sad, very engaging read on the death of a 2011 MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately, it appears its reached the end of its life. You could throw money at it via the repairman in Germany, but it's likely to be several hundred euros and at best, another year or two of operation, perhaps longer if you baby it.

My 2011 17" (16Gb, 500Gb EVO, 2.2Ghz, 6750M) failed with green vertical lines and failed to boot up about a year ago. I sank €450 into getting it repaired and now the screen brightness is wonky (I have to use Shades for Mac to keep it to manageable levels), system temps are high (even with SMC fan control) and I'm basically just waiting for it to die itself, one quiet miserable day. I've disabled the dGPU but even still, it's a matter of time until the logic board goes.

Taking it a third party repair centre is a crapshoot in itself especially with machines considered vintage and no real permanent hardware fix ever resolved (all of the logic boards in this series contain the same vulnerabilities).

My advice is to cut your losses, sell the MacBook Air and if money is tight, aim for a second hand 2014 or 2015 15" MBP that still has a good balance of I/O ports and the last good keyboard Apple put onto an MBP...
 
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Mr_Brightside_@

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2005
3,738
2,013
Toronto
I'm not bad. But I'm not good enough to change the chip myself, of course. I can do small stuff like disassembling the computer, changing the thermal paste (I was planning on doing it this month for the MacBook Pro since it was overheating so much).
Not so sure I want to try putting the motherboard in the oven, especially since some services are changing the dedicated chip with a new one. If I change the Radeon with a new chip, what's the point then of keeping the MacBook from using it?



And yeah, the drives are safe. I'm probably going to put them in my Mac Pro to recreate my MacBook Pro (I've ordered an adapter. I have one, but I need a second one). I'll have to reinstall the GPU driver for the graphic card, but then I don't have to reinstall all the applications and everything. Much less annoying. At the moment I have a clean OS on the Mac Pro (late 2009) with nothing on it, maybe just chrome and mac fan control, and I was already whining because all my 3D stuff was on the MacBook Pro in the Windows dual boot and carbon copy cloner doesn't clone Windows partitions perfectly so I was looking at complete reinstallation of the programs.
Bake the board and reapply thermal paste. It'll give you some more life. I've been doing 340C for 7 minutes but I don't think it's hot enough. My next attempt will be 375.
 

Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
Nah, never selling the MacBook Air, it's my little baby, I use it everyday (I'm a writer, it's the computer I write on, I need it. Besides, I changed the SSD last year to put a bigger one inside. I take it everywhere with me when I travel, it's so small and light).
What sucks most is I got a thunderbolt 27" last summer and I had such a great setup with that MacBook Pro, with a thunderbolt dock which gave me USB 3 ports... Ok, I can still use the thunderbolt on the MacBook Air, but really, I don't need it on the MacBook Air, and my Mac Pro isn't compatible (and I have the Cinema Display) and of course my PC is also not compatible... Don't really feel like buying a 2015 MacBook after what happened here, I had an iBook that failed 2 months after the end of the warranty, a white MacBook that was luckily stolen before it could quit on me but it didn't last long either, and this one is really the final blow.
 

Brammy

macrumors 68000
Sep 17, 2008
1,718
690
Don't really feel like buying a 2015 MacBook after what happened here, I had an iBook that failed 2 months after the end of the warranty, a white MacBook that was luckily stolen before it could quit on me but it didn't last long either, and this one is really the final blow.

Unfortunately, your MacBook Pro lasted just long enough to flame out a bad time. Apple had an extended warranty for the 2011s that ran out Dec 2016.

That said, even without the warranty, getting 6 years out of a laptop is really good. The iBooks also had a weird issue that I think had an extended warranty as well. The good news is, if Apple has a bad run of a product, they extend the warranties out quite a bit.
 

Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
Bake the board and reapply thermal paste. It'll give you some more life. I've been doing 340C for 7 minutes but I don't think it's hot enough. My next attempt will be 375.

Apparently, it could fry my oven (like, some gas are expelled or radiation or whatever? It's a brand new oven, I paid 550€ for it, I would hate to lose my computer AND get a toxic oven out of it. The guy from Apple said I could try that if I wanted but he warned me about NOT doing it in my own oven (because of the danger of toxic emanations).)
But I know if works at least for graphic cards, a friend did it with his graphic card and it worked.
I asked if it would be useful to reapply thermal paste since I wanted to do it anyway and my friends on the French forum told me it would be a waste of time (I mean, without putting the motherboard in the oven).
For me, getting two more years out of this computer would definitely be worth the $200 (but of course, not if the computer dies a week later or something).

What troubles me the most is : why the gradual worsening of the thing? It was kind of ok, then it was getting bad, then it was bad, then it was worse, and now it's more or less dead. All that in a few days with me doing basically nothing.
 

Brammy

macrumors 68000
Sep 17, 2008
1,718
690
What troubles me the most is : why the gradual worsening of the thing? It was kind of ok, then it was getting bad, then it was bad, then it was worse, and now it's more or less dead. All that in a few days with me doing basically nothing.

When the solder joint was failing, there was just enough of a connection for it to work. It's sort of like a loose speaker wire; you might be able to line it up so it works, but the slightest change (in the GPU, heat) caused something to expand and finally break.
 

Erdbeertorte

Suspended
May 20, 2015
1,180
500
If you could get it fixed somehow I recommend upgrading to (High) Sierra. Not sure if this is also the case for El Capitan, but I tried Yosemite for a while a week ago and after upgrading to Sierra again it was using the dGPU much less, also the fans kick in much later.

As already written by someone else you should also install this if you don't depend on the dGPU:

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 18.48.06.png


https://github.com/steveschow/gfxCardStatus (It's a fork of the original one by Cody Krieger who does not update it anymore for new macOS versions.)


And have a look at this thread if you can't fix it:

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...ntel-integrated-gpu-efi-variable-fix.2037591/
 

Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
Ok, I thought it might be something like that and I even told the apple guy so, he said it was a good possibility. But that would still involve the GPU, or it would be on top of everything else?
I would have tried the oven thing if it weren't for the toxic emanation warnings... Now I'm really unsure... I can't really go to a friend's house and say Hi, can I borrow your oven for a few minutes... I would have to do that to somebody I don't like ^^

Also, there is something else. When I opened it to disconnect the battery, I thought the power card looked funny. Like a bit burnt or something. I never had any trouble with it, but really, the look of it doesn't inspire trust. I can post a picture (will have to go and open it again but it's no trouble, I didn't put the screws back in).
[doublepost=1504284897][/doublepost]

Oh, yes, I already did and it gave me some hope, but I can't get it to boot :( That's why I was trying to see if you guys had any idea how I could get it to do the beloved chime again...
 

_Kiki_

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2017
961
281
you can throw away even $1000 for repairs and still don't have fully functional laptop or after few weeks GPU can die second time

also these Radeon chips it's a grey area and there is no brand new chips on the market, Chinese guys selling used or refurbished chips which they doesn't have long life time span or even they are faulty "out of box"
 

Erdbeertorte

Suspended
May 20, 2015
1,180
500
Oh, yes, I already did and it gave me some hope, but I can't get it to boot :( That's why I was trying to see if you guys had any idea how I could get it to do the beloved chime again...

I did not try it yet because it looks a bit complicated but I'll let you know if it works when I have done it.

My MBP is the same as your's:

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 19.00.43.png
 

Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
Thanks!
At the moment, if something is wrong with the soldering, I guess even deactivating the chip won't change my problem, though (reflowing might. I'm starting to consider it... ).
 

Dadioh

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,123
36
Canada Eh?
There is a whole thread on how to force these machines to disable the dGPU and use the integrated GPU. Although it describes the 15" model I believe it is exactly the same process for 17". This should at least allow you to use the iGPU and get some more life from the machine.

Force 2011 MacBook Pro 8,2 with failed AMD GPU to ALWAYS use Intel integrated GPU (EFI variable fix)

edit: I didn't read far enough in your post to see that it no longer chimes :-( The fix above requires you to be able to chime and boot.
 

Audit13

macrumors 604
Apr 19, 2017
6,781
1,798
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Interesting video about reballing from a guy who knows a lot about this problem:

I have a late 2011 15.4" that had a failed amd 6770m chip which I had replaced, not re-balled or re-flowed. Not cheap but it is now working 100%. Hopefully, it will last for a couple of years as an MS office, email, and internet machine.
 
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Nessdufrat

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 19, 2015
164
36
Between France and Switzerland
I was finally able to get in touch with my German repair guy (he has outstanding reviews on eBay, more than 1000). He doesn't do reballing or reflowing, only chip replacement. Work is guaranteed for 12 months.
He's confident he can repair the MacBook, even though it doesn't chime and boot. I only have to pay for shipping the computer back to me if he doesn't manage to fix it. Shipping to Germany, chip replacement and shipping back to France will cost about 170€ (I guess a little less than $200). Not cheap but I can live with that cost if I get a working computer again.

Like I said, I don't have any money to buy a new laptop (and I won't. I honestly don't even need a new laptop, I need a new desktop computer. My MacBook Pro with the thunderbolt screen attached was acting as my desktop unit), but I really need to be able to finish my oncoming project.
If I manage to fix the iMac late 2013 I found in the trash (it has a SMC problem, which caps the processor at 0.8Ghz, somebody said I could try installing it as a hackingtosh with a fake smc), I will be ok in that area.
 

A7ibaba

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2012
273
280
Sweden
I have replaced 3 logic boards in period of 6 months in apple official partner service for free. Third time i sold that bloody 2011 15". I opened laptop,replaced thermal paste and i noticed date on dGPU 6750 : 50th week of 2016 (502016). Thats the last series produced from AMD. Its visible that smc and components on the other side of logic board below dGPU are yellow, which is clearly sign that LB is heated on that spot to replace GPU. 9 months after, i heard with buyer just week ago,and laptop died again and he's gonna pay for GPU replacement in some random repair service. There is no help for that 2011 series,just like Louis Rossmann said it on his video
 

uMBP17"

macrumors member
Sep 11, 2017
37
10
Well, it is.
Ventilation inlets and right amount of thermal paste and vacuum internally for dust removal.
But if your model have been thermally abused already, it migght be in poor shape already, which makes it all harder.

Especially the ventilation inlets makes a big difference, just like Louis mentioned in the video you referred too.

Not even close a perfect solution, but way, way better compared to an untouched MBP 2011
 
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