Swapping GPU's, replacing 6770M with 7490M on late 2011 failed board??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MBPro17, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. MBPro17 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    #1
    Hi,

    My logic board failed again. The first two replacements were on Apple but now that the machine is vintage I can't even get a new board from Apple at my own expense. I am presently running on the EFI fix but am not convinced it is working completely. (I have intermittent issues with start up, occasional black screens that take 20 tries to get past.)

    So I was looking into having the board "Re-balled." At least I think that is the term. I am still not clear whether it is the actual 6770M chip that fails or just the lead free solder that is holding it in place. I know the lawsuits blamed the problem on the lead-free solder but did it actually damage the chip along the way?

    Now, I live in Eastern Europe, so not a wide variety of options here. Although they can be resourceful. I emailed a place that specializes in repairing motherboards of all kinds. I explained the lead-free issue to him and I got the response below. He wants to replace the 6770M with a 7490M. He thinks its a problem common to many discrete GPU's, says it has nothing to do with the lead-free solder. I don't get the feeling he deals with a lot of Macs.

    I don't know how to read chip specs. Here are the links.

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7490M.70621.0.html

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-6770M.43955.0.html

    So,

    Is the 7490M actually a step down?

    Should I just ask him to re-solder the existing 6770M with proper solder?

    Should I try to find a replacement 6770M somehow?

    Is there another chip that would be a suitable replacement with the same or better performance?

    Thank you,
    MBPro17


    His response:
    ========================
    The problem you have experienced is one of the most common problems not only with apple but all logic boards that use AMD and nVIDIA graphic chips and other chipsets.
    The problem is not with soldering but with the construction and production of the chips. There is a lot of science behind this problem but to be concise, there is a very easy way to justify this claim:
    You may use your hairdrier to put a little heat on the silicon head of the chip and after a few minutes of heating your chip will be working again for short period of time. You most certainly haven't resolder anything but it is working. That proves that problem is the chip itself and not the solder balls.
    We change dozens of chips of that sort every month. We put only brand new and original chips with production codes refering to the year 2016 and 2017.
    Unfortunately the exact chip you have in your Mac the producers do not produce any longer for the unknown reason. Nevertheless, there are interchangable chips with yours that are going to work just fine for very long period of time if not for many years after repair (with orderly cleaning from dust and changing thermal pase).
    The available chips are Radeon HD7490. No changes to the board itself or to the bios are not required.
    The price including both labour and parts is 150 euros. We offer you 6 months basic warranty or 12 months of extended warranty that costs 20 euros more to the price.
     
  2. Audit13, Jan 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

    Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

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    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #2
    The gpu chip in the 2011 15" MBPs are a problem. I had a late 2011 15" with a failed gpu. When I asked about replacing the existing gpu with another model, I was told that it was not possible to do this as the MBP's bios would not allow this and the pin layout on a different model would not match the pin layout on the logic board.
     
  3. MBPro17 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 14, 2016
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #4
    The 7490M is a massive downgrade from the 6770M and who says that it will even work (although in the later case I guess its the shop that has to deal with it)? My advice: sell the laptop for parts and get a cheaper newer machine (probably a PC).
     
  5. Maxx Power, Jan 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018

    Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    Apr 29, 2003
    #5
    I'm not sure I buy his explanations. If you heat up the GPU package, it expands. The solder ball detachment issue should respond to thermal expansion of the GPU package induced by the hair dryer, as it brings back into contact the separated solder joints. Re-balling works well as far as I can see based on Google searches.

    But yeah, as Leman already said, 7490m is a downgrade. If you choose to re-ball the soldering, you can make sure that lead-based eutectic solder is used. That should prevent this issue from happening again.
     
  6. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

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    #6
    Reballing is not a good solution as per Louis Rossman:
     
  7. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
  8. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

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    #8
    Yeah he's right as the issue is related to the fabrication of the dGPU and Apple's poor cooling solution in the 2011 MBP. Your being offered reliability versus a downgrade graphical performance. Personally I'd cut my losses as investing 150EU into a seven year old notebook is always going to be a chance.

    Sourcing a known good 6770M will be difficult and will still inherently have the same issue in the long run, given your using the dGPU fairly heavily. Reworking electronics is very much a mixed bag and why more refrain from doing so, the computer may run on for many more years or it might just fail in a matter of a few months.

    Q-6
     
  9. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    Apr 29, 2003
    #9
    Just double check that you are getting the same CPU back. I suspect the shop will swap your PCB with one that has a 7490M. I don't think the two chips are directly swap-able on your existing PCB. The 6770M has a 128 bit wide bus while the 7490M is half of that - which usually means the number of physical contacts are less on the narrower bus.

    However, probably best not to invest into your old machine. Try that software fix Intell suggested first. It disables the discrete GPU and uses only the integrated graphics.
     
  10. MBPro17 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 14, 2016
    #10
    Thanks for steering me away from the downgraded chip.

    I am on the EFO firmware fix right now. It worked ok at first but now I get a black screen after start-up. It takes 20 to 30 attempts before I see the login screen. I've asked in that thread and nobody has responded about this issue.

    I think I have found a source for a new 6770M chip. I should know today.

    This is a great machine for my purposes. Surfing the net, Word, Excel, and watching streaming movies online. I probably would have replaced it years ago but they discontinued the 17" which is what I really like about it. I put a lot more than 150 Euros into it in the last 18 months, a new battery, a new top case, and I upgraded the SSD. I think I can easily get another 2 years out of it. Nothing wrong with it except this.
     
  11. MBPro17 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 14, 2016
    #11
    Well I did it. I had the discrete graphics chip replaced and now the machine is working perfectly.

    I had to send it to a place in the UK called ALB. Very professional! They gave me a choice, the 6770M chip it had or the 6750M chip of the early 2011 machines. He told me his 6770M's he had were not that high quality but the 50's were so I went with the 6750.

    I hope to get at least another 2 years out of this machine, and more if I can change this chip again.

    So there are hardware options that work.
     
  12. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

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    #12
    Congratulations on a successful repair. I also hope you get your money's worth of usage out of that machine and that you enjoy it till the end.
     
  13. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #13
    Try a reflow of the GPU, it may work. 10 minutes at 200°C in an oven. Worked for my 6790M, and it has been running for a year now.
     
  14. tnicely83 macrumors newbie

    tnicely83

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    #14

    Is it still running? This is Dec now so I'm just curious...
     
  15. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #15
    Yup, it is still working without problems. When we reach April, it has been running for 2 years after the reflow. Machine has been used extensively, both with full loads on CPU and GPU. I think I've had ~2 random reboots in that time, but I don't know if I can contribute that to the GPU.
     
  16. Dartaganan macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2019
    #16
    I saw your post with Louis Rossman; very instructive. I saw other posts that mentioned using other GPU's. What else can be done besides reballing?
     
  17. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #17
    You can actually have the GPU replaced but it's a very expensive proposition. I had it done a couple of years ago and it was not cheap.
     
  18. throAU macrumors 603

    throAU

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    Perth, Western Australia
    #18
    Well, if you aren't making use of the GPU for work/productivity (and if you are, get a new machine, it will be so much faster GPU wise) then just disable the discrete GPU (and run via the integrated grahics) via the EFI hack thread on this forum.
     
  19. Ries macrumors 68020

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    #19
  20. FlorisVN macrumors 6502

    FlorisVN

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    Nov 8, 2013
    #20
    flashing the GMUX chip is the best to do I would say !

    Up/downgrading your AMD chip to another model is I think not even possible..
    I don't think also worth the money..

    Just disable that AMD GPU, there are several ways these days, go on with the HD3000 card, you can even use patchers for the HD3000 to run Mojave and up..
     
  21. Dartaganan macrumors newbie

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    #21
  22. Dartaganan macrumors newbie

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    Aug 5, 2019
    #22
    I'll look into that, thanks.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 6, 2019 ---
    Expensive, like, several hundred dollars? And who could do that?
     
  23. Audit13 macrumors 601

    Audit13

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    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #23
    I paid around $450 CAD about two years ago. The machine was for my nephew who really wanted it fixed. The gpu chip was swapped to a newer revision of the same GPU. It ran much cooler and is still working perfectly.

    I used a place in Toronto called macrepaircanada.com.
     

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22 January 13, 2018