New MBA 13" - video problems

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kingtj, May 9, 2011.

  1. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Just bought my wife a Macbook Air 13" for Mothers' Day, and it turns out it has issues. (To be fair, it was on sale at Micro Center as an open-box return, though.) I was told they believed the original buyer just returned it because he changed his mind and decided he wanted to upgrade to a 15" Macbook Pro. But now I suspect he had problems with it, and decided not to say anything but just exchange it ....

    It appears to run ok with a freshly restored copy of OS X from the USB system restore pen-drive, but any time I tried to do the OS X 10.6.7 update from Software Updates, the screen would suddenly turn a solid color (all orange the first time, and sort of a violet purple on a subsequent attempt) and everything would stop. Closing and re-opening the lid did nothing. I could hold down the power button for several seconds and it would shut off -- but upon reboot, the update hadn't completed so I was back where I started.

    I finally tried downloading the full OS X "combo update" and manually ran it. It completed successfully, but now the machine won't boot past the initial blue screen you get after the gray Apple logo screen.

    Scheduled a Genius Bar appointment for this evening so hoping they'll swap me out without a lot of hassle! (Anyone know if Apple is less likely to help you with new systems like this if they were originally purchased elsewhere?)
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    If it was an open box, then its warranty may have been activated by the previous user already. It is up to the rep you deal with but be prepared that they might just replace the logic board instead of giving you a whole new unit.
  3. Oli3000 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2009
    Your warranty is with Apple, regardless of where you bought it! However, because it is likely past 14 days of its original purchase, I doubt they will just swap it out - they will look to repair it.
  4. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
  5. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    return it to microcenter as defective. See if they will give you the same discount on a new one. I doubt it was a big one.

    The response you got from the Microcenter rep is a standard one. Its the one that makes you believe you are getting a perfect unit even though its open box.
  6. Oldandintheway macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Common Problem

    This is a common problem and has been addressed here in several forums.

    Don't do the combined update, do them separately.

    1) Do a clean install of OS X to 10.6.5.
    2) Download 10.6.6 from Apple (
    3) Download 10.6.7 from Apple (

    Or you could take it back, but check your new one for this problem too.
  7. kingtj thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD

    They sold it to me for $999, which is about $300 off the regular retail price of $1299.99 for this model.

    I've usually had pretty good customer service at the local Micro Center store, so I'm sure if push comes to shove, I could speak with their manager about the situation and get it swapped for a new, equivalent one.

    But I thought it might be better to try Apple first, since it IS a machine made by them -- and Micro Center's stock is rather limited. (I could see them being willing to do an exchange, but being out of it for a while....)

    I've only owned this machine for 3 days, but not sure if Apple goes by when the original purchaser bought and returned it. (Like someone here said, that probably depends on whether or not he originally registered it.)

  8. kingtj thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Follow up ...

    Just to follow up on this thread... I did take the Air to the Genius Bar and explained my problem. The guy helping me started initially talking about possibly mailing it off for a warranty repair, but then asked me how long ago I purchased it. When I told him it was only 3 days old, he kind of changed his tone, and said something about possibly swapping it out for a new one, if he could actually see it acting up, and mumbled something about it working fine at the moment. (Yeah, go figure ... it did boot normally when I brought it in, after refusing to go past the initial solid blue screen the previous afternoon on multiple boot attempts!)

    While we were discussing it (and he agreed that he did see something strange when he first booted it, where it seemed to do a reboot spontaneously before coming back up into OS X) - it suddenly crashed to a solid medium-blue screen. He said, "Oh, you mean it does THIS?" and showed it to me. Yep, exactly!

    So he talked with a manager real quickly to approve it, and they gave me a brand new Macbook Air in the shrink-wrapped box. This replacement seems to be working just fine! So Apple service FTW!
  9. kingtj thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    re: common problem

    Oh, and just to clarify -- this was definitely a hardware problem.
    I'm not sure what you mean by it having been addressed here in several forums, exactly? I did quite a few searches and only found unrelated talk about displays with lots of lines and distortion going through them, and a couple mentions of getting a solid colored screen and freeze-up that would go away by simply closing and re-opening the lid. (A firmware update for the 2010 Air that Apple eventually put out is supposed to address that one.)

    This Air had the latest firmware already, and this crash was not recoverable by closing/opening the lid. I couldn't find ANY references to doing 10.6.6 and then 10.6.7 updates separately to address any problems on the Air? The replacement they gave me worked just fine applying combo update 10.6.7 from the 10.6.5 it was pre-loaded with.


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