Nvidia Graphics Card Saga w/ Apple

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by arcobb, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. arcobb macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2005
    Hello all!

    Just thought I would share my story about the Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card mess ... in the hopes it helps someone.

    In December my Macbook Pro 2.2 Ghz (purchased around April of 2007) screen went black. The laptop would start up ... and it seemed to function fine, except the screen stayed black and when plugged into an external monitor it would not light up. When you messed with the volume keys you could hear the "chirping" noise and if you hit power button and then the return key it would turn off as one would expect. I mentioned to the technician that I heard Nvidia was having issues with the 8600 chips and they were failing and I was wondering if that was the case with this notebook. The Genius said he had not heard of such an issue and he determined the logic board to be toast. It was going to cost around $1100 since the computer was out of warranty and I had not purchased apple care.

    Frustrated as I had a project due the following Monday, I purchased a new unibody computer to get my work done. When I had time I took the old computer to a place in town that specialized in repairing macs in the hopes they could look at the graphics card. Again, they had not heard of the issue ... and determined the logic board to be toast. At this point I gave up and let the shop keep my computer for parts instead of paying the service/diagnosis fees.

    Fast forward one month to this week and I found the following page on apples support page:


    Which described precisely the issue my computer was displaying ... "No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on". So I called the repair shop first to see how much of my old computer was left. They said they had it in pieces except for top case which they had sold. I said start getting it together. Then I called apple and explained the situation. The representative on the phone had not heard of the issue nor did he think there was anything that could be done. I asked him to view the webpage that I came across ... and then he said we would talk to someone. After 10 minutes of being on hold he asked me to bring the computer into an apple store. I made sure he understood that the computer no longer had a top case. He said that was fine because when I took it to the apple store the first time it was not in 100% condition. I asked him to make a note of it in my case number so there was not confusion on this point.

    When I took it to the apple store they didn't say much other then a guy came out from the back and hooked up a firewire drive to it ... turned it on and watched the light on the opening latch blink for a while. He said it was indeed the graphics card and they missed it the first time.

    They said they were going to take it in for repair and I would have it back in about a week. They said they were going to do it in house so they know it would be fixed right and all the new parts would have a 90 day warranty. They were going to replace the top case at no expense to me since they viewed it as their fault the first go around.

    So it pays to be the squeaky wheel ... although the frustrating part is I'm not a computer repair person and I had to do all of the leg work on this issue that is known to apple. Kudos for fixing it right though. Looks like I'll be putting the new unibody on ebay and keep the money in the bank for another day when I really need it.

    Hope this helps someone out there!
  2. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    Congrats on your repair work getting taken care of; that's sad that you had to actually show them the website and they seemed oblivious to your complaint from the get go. Hopefully everything will be just fine, keep us advised...
  3. arcobb thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2005
    Thanks! I should get it back by the end of the week. I'll let folks know how the repair goes. It should be pretty much a new machine ... they are ripping out the guts and basically replacing it.
  4. acfusion29 macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2007
    Good story. So, if I read correctly, Apple is giving you a new top case, despite it not even being there in the first place? :)
  5. arcobb thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2005
    Correct. They view it that it is there fault it got sold off because they didn't catch the issue the first time I went in and they had a record of me coming for a display/graphic issue the first go around. They are viewing it a major hassle I went though to get it fix ... and they missed the nvidia issue. So I got a second opinion and eventually gave up. Then came across the article saying it was a bad part. If they had tested it and it was just the logic board and not the video card I would have been s.o.l. But since it was the card that was faulty they are replacing everything (including a couple of the feet that had busted off).

    So thank you apple for taking care of it. No happy how many trips it took me to multiple repair shops and know one caught the issue until I had to bring a print out of the article in to make my case. But kudos for fixing things once I convinced them to do the test to see if the card was bad, since that point it's been a good experience.
  6. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    "The Genius said he had not heard of such an issue and he determined the logic board to be toast."

    The graphics card is soldered to the logic board and cannot be replaced separately. Therefore, the genius was right, your logic board was toast and needed to be replaced.

    If there was no recall from Apple there wasn't much he could do.

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