MacBook Pro keeps freezing and crashing, Snow Leopard, Graphics Card problem?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by baryon, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Hi all,

    I have a 15 inch Unibody MacBook Pro, Late 2008, so it obviously came with Leopard. All was well and amazing until I upgraded to Snow Leopard. At first, it all seemed perfect, everything ran fine for a while. Then one day my computer froze, and by freezing I mean completely, so the mouse wouldn't move and not even the Caps Lock key's light would turn green when I pressed it. The only way out was to force the computer off by holding the power button for a few seconds. This freezing then happened approximately once or twice per week and has been like this for a few months now. Very often the computer would just freeze while playing music on iTunes, and the last few sounds of the song would repeat endlessly. Often it would freeze while just displaying the screen saver for a while. So it doesn't seem to be happening due to overheating or some specific user action or application.

    Also, sometimes the computer will just go black and reboot on its own, and at other times the screen would flicker every few seconds while in a frozen state. But most often it just freezes and requires me to reboot it by holding down the power button.

    The only important thing I have noticed is that the problem only happens when I use the Nvidia 9600M graphics card instead of the 9400 (This is done by going to System Preferences > Energy Saver > Graphics and choosing "Higher Performance", instead of "Better Battery Life"). When I use the lower performance 9400 card, everything runs fine. However, I definitely need the speed that the higher performance card can produce, so this is a big problem.

    I didn't use the higher performance card much while I had Leopard, though I did use it from time to time, so it might be that the problem was there but I just didn't notice it. However, I really have the impression that it's related to Snow Leopard.

    I have posted this problem to some other forums, but the only answer I got was "Try reinstalling Snow Leopard" and "Your graphics card is probably faulty". I will try to do a clean reinstall of Snow Leopard as a last resort, but since it's a big hassle, I would like some other advice at the moment. Also, my Mac is no longer under warranty so if it's a hardware issue, I am not going to have the money to get it fixed, so I'll just have to get used to my computer crashing every few days.

    Oh and before you ask: I have OS X 10.6.2, I have repaired permissions many times, including doing it by booting from the Snow Leopard install disk, I ran the Apple hardware test (it can be run from the Application Install Disk by pressing D during boot) and I did a Repair Disk. I don't think I have any app that would cause a conflict with the system, I mostly use these: Skype, Safari, Mail, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop. I also reset the SMC today, so it will take a few days before I know whether that helped or not, but until then, let's suppose that it didn't help.

  2. LtRammstein macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2006
    Denver, CO
    So this issue only occurs when changing video cards using the Hybrid SLI? Interesting...

    If you're near an Apple Store I would take it in and have a genius look at it. From what I understand, it could be that the connection between the two cards and the mobo are probably faulty.
  3. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Yes, but just to make things clear, it doesn't precisely happen when I change video cards, but at any time when I'm using the higher performance card.

    So do you think the motherboard and the video card are separate circuit boards? I don't know, but I thought that for the sake of being compact, they would but the two on the same board, to make replacing it even more expensive :)
  4. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    I think it's an ongoing thing that Apple hasn't fully fixed - see the beachball of death threads from summertime

    This was associated with the click beep issue ( coming from mid 2009 at least MBPs which were having freezes (transient or up to 30 odd seconds).

    Could be a Safari Flash issue too. I know I had to fully reinstall Snow leopard a few times (and it screams when it doesn't have much apps/files on it).

    Worth seeing if you can escalate it with Customer Service if you're having difficulties.
    Might be worth checking the logs for now, noting when ti happens then tracing it back to see if there are any hints. One way of your MBP reminding you to backup also !
  5. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Wow thank you very much for all these links! I'd be happy if this were a software issue and not a hardware one... I have trouble with checking longs because I have no idea what to look for, and usually if the system freezes, it doesn't log anything because it's frozen! But I did start to back up my system with Time Machine before installing Snow Leopard, and it has saved my life a few times! However, if I were to do a clean reinstall of Snow Leopard, and then migrate my data back from Time Machine, wouldn't I risk re-creating the problems I have now?
  6. redstardog macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
    Hi Baryon,
    I'm wondering if you found a solution to your crash situation? I've read your description carefully, and I think I suffer from the same symptoms, but with an older machine (3 years old, just out of applecare!:( ). I get the same complete freeze, and the sound effect if music is playing. I've been reading that it could be a problem with the graphics card, and requires replacing the logic board. I'm all for setting out on that adventure on my own, but if it is an easier solution, I'd happily save myself the grief!
  7. CindyFaye macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2010
    I'm experiencing EXACTLY what you describe

    Hi Baryon --
    THis is maddening -- the crashes seem random and I can find nothing in the logs to indicate what is going on. I have a MacBook Pro; 17-inch, 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2

    Shortly following installation of snow leopard, I began experiencing freezes and crashes that I'd not seen before. Sometimes, it simply restarts. Other times, the application just freezes and the keyboard seems disabled -- can't force quite or toggle between apps.

    If you have figured this out, I'd love to learn what you know.


  8. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    Which update do you have (10.6.2, 10.6.3, etc)? On the Apple discussion forums there's a LONG discussion about the 10.6.3/4 updates causing random computer freezes, especially on the 2008 macs.
  9. Fred Leonard macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2010
    Time for a PC?

    I have always loved Macs, and have had them since the 80's, but it may be time to give up on Apple.
    I have been playing World of Warcraft a lot and I can't take the lockups anymore.
    I have a 17" Unibody MBP with 8GB RAM, and 1 TB HD.
    All software updates on Snow Leopard, and I shut down ALL other application when on WoW, and this problem keeps happening.
    I can't take it anymore and if Apple isn't going to fix it, I am going to ebay my Mac and get a PC laptop.
    Anyone know of a good 17" PC with the hard screen cover like the MBP?
    I would like 2 HD slots for dual TB rives and the extended keyboard with keypad.
    Must take 8GB as well.
    If anyone want's to trade that doesn't play WoW, let me know.
    It has AppleCare and is under warranty.

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