Random crashes, date resets on Early 2011 15" MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Prodo123, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Hello all,

    I have been experiencing random crashes on my Early 2011 15" MBP. I have done many modifications to it, including SSD + 1TB HDD in optibay, AirPort card upgrade to BT4.0, 16GB RAM and thermal paste reapplication. All of the above had been working fine for the past couple years.

    All of a sudden the computer shuts down by itself as if I held down the power button. The error codes that it spits out for "Previous shutdown cause" is 3 and -128, neither of which are defined anywhere. Some suggest a thermal sensor error but I find this hard to believe as temperatures are well below average thanks to the thermal paste.

    I either suspect a failing GPU ("Radeongate" as it's known), static damage or corrupted system files. Hopefully it's the last one, as the other two are signs of a failing laptop. I am not able to boot into AHT at the moment, but will try again later.

    A related issue is kernel_task taking up 200+% of CPU. I suspect this is because the random crashes corrupted system files, and will write back after a complete wipe and restore on this.

    Another symptom is that each crash resets/corrupts the system date/time. It often defaults to December 31, 2000 at 4PM, but I have seen it drop a digit (e.g. it changes from November to January but the rest is the same). I've never seen anything like that.

    Anyone know what I can try or got a solution?
  2. Eternal 28 macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2008
    It's most likely Radeongate, I just had my third logic board replaced this past month. You can try to get Apple to cover the logic board replacement otherwise you're going to have to pay $310 for their depot repair service.
  3. Prodo123 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    They're not gonna be too happy about the fact that I voided every single warranty that's on this computer...:p
    Also, when the computer is stable it runs solid stable. Sub-90°C CPU temps. Gaming and rendering are no problem. When it goes to sleep then wakes, that's when it's most prone.
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Replacing the hard drive and RAM by themselves do not void the warranty. However, if you're not experiencing graphical corruption, random system crashes could be nothing more than a stick of RAM gone bad. If you have the originals, pop them back in your machine and see if you get the same results. Alternatively, pull only one of the RAM modules and run your system that way. If it crashes, swap the sticks and test again.

    Failing all else, put the original Bluetooth and Superdrive back in, and take it to Apple. You did retain the original parts, I hope.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    AFAIK, radeon gate does not produce complete computer crashes but graphic anomalies. You may not be able to boot the computer up when the GPU fails but the symptoms you mentioned don't seem typical to those who have had to deal with a failing GPU.
  6. Prodo123, Nov 27, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014

    Prodo123 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    I'll check the RAM for defects. Apple will charge me for a repair regardless of original parts so...:p

    It's important to mention here that I do get the occasional graphical glitch but this has been going on for a long time now. Driving the laptop this hard, it's a miracle that the solder hasn't cracked yet.

    I have also noticed that the crashes happen much much more often when on battery. This leads me to believe it's a battery or mobility related issue (e.g. Components inside shifting while in bag).

    UPDATE: The battery under load lasts less than 10 minutes. I think this is an issue of battery failure, with its current capacity being so low that it's not even able to provide stable current for normal operation...
  7. Prodo123 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Just another update, and this will probably be the last one for this issue.

    I bought a 3rd party battery from KeyPower and the laptop is running fine. It can handle the full GeekBench 64-bit suite...on battery...5 times in a row. So yes, this was an issue with a failing battery.

    As to why it still crashed when it was plugged in? I tested this as well by disconnecting the battery altogether and running the laptop solely on AC power. This resulted in 70% drop in GeekBench score. The laptop was current limited at that point, which shows that even when plugged in, the laptop draws some power from the battery to fully enable the processors.

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