My 256GB SSD died and Apple wants to replace the logic board!?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Mikael, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. Mikael macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #1
    I have a mid-2013 i7 with 256GB Samsung SSD. This is my second MBA (the other one was a mid 2011 i7, also with a 256GB Samsung SSD). Like my other MBA, I run Windows 7 on it via Boot Camp due to needing it for work.

    Anyway, this 2013 MBA has been a bit troublesome from the start. After only a couple of months, I got my first hard lock-up. The system just stopped dead, i.e. mouse pointer froze and no buttons would respond. After this happened the second time, I contacted the local Apple retailer. They obviously suspected that Windows was responsible for the crashes. I am quite knowledgeable when it comes to computers, having worked as a hardware designer for years, and I can usually spot a hardware issue when I see it. With the problem being extremely rare (one crash every 3-5 months), it was not feasible for me to just switch to OSX and try to replicate it there. Especially not when I more or less knew this was no "Windows issue".

    So, I continued using the machine and just hoped that it would break down completely. Unfortunately, it didn't break down until last week, 20 months after purchase. After a short period of additional problems (white screen during boot, failed or extremely slow disk operations), Windows finally presented me with the dreaded SMART failure screen, urging me to backup everything and replace the drive. I went into OSX and confirmed that the same issue was reported there.

    So, now the fun begins. I took the computer to the local Apple retailer and had one of the geniuses look at it. He told me that the drive would cost approx. 170 USD to replace. "The replacement is a Samsung EVO 250GB", he said. "We'll that's not going to work in this machine", I told him. I informed him that the machine uses a proprietary PCI-E drive, he clicked away on his computer and then told me to wait while he went and consulted one of the technicians.

    He came back after a couple of minutes. "Well, unfortunately this is a quite expensive repair. The SSD is not replaceable in the MacBook Air (what!?) and we will have to replace the whole logic board. That will cost you approximately 1000 USD." (Same price as a brand new 11" base model here in Sweden.) I obviously asked him if he was really, really sure about his facts. I also showed him that the drive is in fact installed in a slot on the logic board (thank you, iFixit), and definitely replaceable. I told him that I might as well throw this machine in the dumpster, since there's no way I'm repairing it for 1000 USD. "Well, sorry, there's nothing we can do for you, but here's the telephone number for Apple's support."

    Okay, so I've been in contact weith Apple now as well. I got to speak with a manager and he will check inside Apple and also contact the retailer I visited. However, he couldn't really give me any clear answer regarding whether the whole logic board actually needs to be replaced.

    So, this is still an ongoing investigation, but until my MBA's future gets decided, I'd thought I'd consult you guys. Is it really "normal" for Apple to replace the whole logic board instead of just the SSD when it fails? It just sounds incredibly wasteful and unnecessary. What would be the reason for this? It's very frustrating, because it means that a dead SSD on a computer that is more than one year old basically means the computer is dead. I will of course not pay the 1000 USD, but instead get rid of the MBA one way or another and get something else that is not a Mac.
     
  2. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    #2
    You are a hardware designer, but are not aware that the trend for some years now has been toward systems that are more difficult to repair and upgrade? Apple has been a leader in this, but they are not alone in it. The drive to make devices thinner and lighter has meant getting rid of the sockets, cables, etc, that make parts easily swapped out.

    If you want a nice laptop that will be relatively easy to repair and upgrade, get a Clevo.
     
  3. entropi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #3
    /swedish
    Ring Apple support och reklamera! Använd EU's reklamationsrätt och ge dig inte, du har rätten på din sida!
    /end of swedish

    Just call Apple support 0201 - 20 99 71 (Sweden Apple Care) and report the dead SSD. (you can do this without the actual add on Apple Care-"insurance" to report stuff) I did this with a mba 13" that was nearly two years old and that had a battery that had gone quite bad too fast, considering its young age.

    I called them, told them the whole story, got an item specific service-number for my unit and left it at an authorized Apple service provider (MacForum Nordstan, since I was living in Gbg at the time). They replaced the battery for free. One week later it was fixed and as new.

    I don't know if I'm entitled some special extra care for being a very regular Apple customer for decades now, but my experience with Apple support has been really good over the years the few times I have needed it.
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    This

    It's less than 2 years old they have to fix it for free in europe for up to 2 years old for any hardware failure thats not your fault.
     
  5. Mikael thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #5
    entropi & Samuelsan2001

    Thanks! Yeah, I've contacted Apple's support and I've mentioned to the manager that this issue really should be fixed without cost, according to Swedish/European law. Call me a cynic, but I still expect to have to bitch about it. Hopefully they suprise me, though. :p

    Anyway, still interested in hearing from people with experience of replacing their MBA SSDs through Apple.

    Honestly, I will never understand answers like this. Are you one of those persons that are so eager to lecture other people that you don't even bother to check that what you're writing makes sense?

    Anyway, the MacBook Air SSD is easy to replace in about 15 minutes, for anyone who knows how to wield a screw driver. It's mounted in an edge connector, similar to a regular mini-PCI-E slot. It's also accessible by just removing the bottom of the computer. Here's a high resolution photo from iFixit:

    https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/MICYMLCxBZHq3lVM
     
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #6
    Yes but the machine in question does have a replaceable SSD, as the original post mentioned. So your post doesn't even apply in this situation.
     
  7. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #7
    Huh?

    I understand your frustration, but to think that you can diagnose a hardware issue better than the people that designed it seems odd to me.

    Good luck with your repair, hope you're able to figure out how to do it yourself.

    I'm almost positive the SSDs in 2012 and newer MBAs are user upgradeable, while the RAM is not.
     
  8. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #8
    The "geniuses" at the Apple Stores are certainly not the people who design the laptops. They are glorified mall shop salesmen. It shouldn't be a huge surprise if some of them don't know what they're doing.

    The SSD is definitely user-replaceable and it's extremely easy to do.
     
  9. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #9
    Okay...

    The geniuses are working from scripts created by the people who designed the machines.

    Have you ever worked at an Apple Store or are you just assuming here?
     
  10. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #10
    It's not even Apple geniuses. This was a AASP (third party retailer). This guy, unfortunately didn't know his stuff, but many of them do. Please don't make generalizations. Even at the official Apple stores, there are a mix of people who work there because it's cool and people who work there because they love technology / Apple.

    Some people, even people who love Apple, have a difficult time remembering every spec about every current machine. Yes, there's a difference between remembering every configuration that Apple sells and whether or not the SSD is upgradeable. But we are still human, and even the smart ones sometimes have brain farts. The best thing that we were taught is to say "I don't know, but let's find out together."
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #11
    I misread the original post and apparently no Apple Store has been involved yet so please disregard.
     
  12. Airboy1466 macrumors regular

    Airboy1466

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2015
    #12
    Firstly yes it is quite normal for apple to replace the entire logic board Aswell as the SSD they may even try to repair other things once under their care this is why apple care plus is recommended its well worth the money
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    Sorry, I misread the original post and thought we were talking about people at an Apple Store saying that the SSD was not replaceable.

    But either way, please notice that I said some of the Apple geniuses aren't going to know what they're doing. I'm sure a lot of them are very competent.

    All SSDs that Apple has ever sold have been replaceable. If a repair person doesn't know this, then that's just pure incompetence. It's not a brain fart or the person having an off day or not remembering a particular spec of a particular system.

    ----------

    If you think Apple is going to replace parts that don't need to be replaced, why tolerate that and buy their extended warranty? You should just take your machine to a 3rd party repair shop.
     
  14. Mikael, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015

    Mikael thread starter macrumors regular

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    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #14
    That's all perfectly fine if the computer is under warranty. However, to artifically end the life of a perfectly fine computer (i.e. making it infeasible for the customer to pay for repair) by replacing significantly more than what needs to be replaced? I'd consider that a very bad way of treating a customer that quite recently spent a lot of money on your product. I also suspect that this might be something that they really can't get away with under Swedish and European law, but I guess it's also a matter of how far you (as a customer) are willing to take it.

    I also think it's highly questionable to motivate spending money on Apple Care, just to mitigate the fact that Apple likes to replace the complete innards of a computer even when they don't have to. Artifically inflated repair prices would, to me, be a signal to give that company less money, not more.
     
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #15
    To be fair to Apple, it hasn't been proven that they actually do this. :)
     
  16. Mikael, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015

    Mikael thread starter macrumors regular

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    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #16
    No, i agree. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there's a perfectly valid reason for replacing the whole logic board, or maybe it's all a big misunderstanding. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

    EDIT: To be honest, this thread was not started to whine at Apple. I really did want to hear from other people in the same situation. Guess it's a good sign no one that has reponded has needed to replace theirs, since that might mean it's a pretty unusual issue. :p
     
  17. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #17
    Yeah

    SSD's do fail just like any electronic product but on the whole they are pretty damn reliable.
     
  18. Mikael thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 4, 2005
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    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #18
    Yup, I got my first SSD in 2008 (Intel X25-M G2) and have used only SSDs (mostly Samsung) as OS drives in all my machines for years now. This is the first time I've had any issues. Probably just bad luck.
     
  19. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #19
    You've been a little ambiguous on this point--are you actually dealing with Apple, e.g., via the Apple Store or technicians who work for Apple, or are you dealing with a 3rd party (who are probably certified by Apple)?
     
  20. Airboy1466 macrumors regular

    Airboy1466

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2015
    #20
    From a personal expirence its well worth it apple replaced my entire computer with s new one because I had apple care $250 invest me got me a new macbook and in this new MacBook I've also received a free battery replacement plus new charger Apple care pays for it self I love it honestly
     
  21. Mikael thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 4, 2005
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    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #21
    Sorry, should have been more clear on that one. It's an Apple certified retailer and service point. They deal only with Apple products and have a similar look on everything as the real deal. Apparently, there's only three real Apple stores in Sweden and none of them are located in Sweden's second largest city.
     
  22. motrek macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Cool. So it's not Apple employees trying to rip you off, although if they're certified by Apple, that's still not great either.
     
  23. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

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  24. Mikael thread starter macrumors regular

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    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #24
    There is actually one other place close by. It would be interesting to speak to them as well, but I'll hang tight and wait for the official Apple representative to get back to me.
     
  25. fromhere macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    #25
    3rd Party parts

    You can get a SSD replacement for your MBA 2011 from OWC. I can imagine customs and shipping to Europe won't be cheap, but still cheaper than buying a new one if you can't get a substitution from Apple.
     

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