Vertical Lines on Macbook Pro Screen

subaiku

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2013
29
1
Hi guys, couple of days ago some vertical lines started appearing on the screen of my mid 2009 17" Macbook Pro. It doesn't show up on screen captures and it doesn't appear on startup. After a while being on though it will appear. I've tried putting the Macbook to sleep which solves it temporarily, then after maybe 10 minutes the lines reappear again.

Any idea what's going on?
 

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Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
4,415
1,112
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
If it doesn't show up on a screen capture, could be a loose connection or a screen defect. Does it change if the screen is moved toward the open or close position?
 

subaiku

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2013
29
1
If it doesn't show up on a screen capture, could be a loose connection or a screen defect. Does it change if the screen is moved toward the open or close position?
No, it doesn't change when I move the screen, I've also tried pressing the screen near where the lines appear, no change as well.
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Likely. Especially since it has to heat up to show.
How does one go about fixing this then? Is it at all possible to replace the GPU? :p
 

enricofra

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2014
2
0
First of all let me say that your final test should be to connect an external monitor. If the external display shows the same issue, it's definitely the GPU, if not, it could be an internal connector and could be substituted by a technician.

If it's the GPU... well, unfortunately, GPU cannot be substituted, but it can be repaired by a lab who can do a process called "reflow". The process is expensive (in Italy where I live it's around 250€) and not final since the GPU will break again. Yes, bad news.
For what I understood (I work as a freelance Mac software technician, so electronic is not exactly my topic) the reason behind this issue is that the GPU in your mac has got a faulty component that during the years has deteriorated for the heat, creating micro-fractures in the GPU circuitry. When the Mac is cold those fractures remain dormant but as soon as it heats up, they start to open up and show weird things on your display (and you're lucky, I've seen worse cases: half of the display completely black, Macs rebooting every few minutes, and else)
The reflow process closes those fractures but does not rejuvenate the material which will tend to break again with heat. It could take months, or years if you don't use the Mac every day, but it will break again.
If you decide to repair it, you can make it last longer using a free utility called Macsfan Controller (google it) and set your fans to go faster than the default Apple setting. Also, you should avoid doing on this mac intensive tasks like gaming or video production that could raise the heat level for an extended period of time.
Interesting info, talking with a PC hardware guy I found out that on Windows they had the same problem with Nvidia GPUs during the period 2008-2012. Not surprisingly, this is the GPU brand that Apple mounted in the years that faulty Macs have been produced. I could be wrong but I don't think that after that Apple has ever bought GPUs from Nvidia again.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,224
4,726
This looks like video memory corruption to me. Your laptop is 10 years old now, which is why I think it has earned a honorable retirement :) Not many laptop live that long.
 

pt-tiagosantos

macrumors newbie
Aug 13, 2015
3
0
Hi guys, couple of days ago some vertical lines started appearing on the screen of my mid 2009 17" Macbook Pro. It doesn't show up on screen captures and it doesn't appear on startup. After a while being on though it will appear. I've tried putting the Macbook to sleep which solves it temporarily, then after maybe 10 minutes the lines reappear again.

Any idea what's going on?
I've been there. It is the display. Time for a replacement. GPU issues (also been there) don't affect a particular section of the display. To prevent GPU issues try to make maintenance to thermal connections and put new thermal paste.
 

subaiku

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2013
29
1
This looks like video memory corruption to me. Your laptop is 10 years old now, which is why I think it has earned a honorable retirement :) Not many laptop live that long.
Hahaaaa... yes, this baby has served me well :) But I think I can still get some life out of it. Thanks for all the replies guys.

So anybody know where I can get a matt screen replacement? ;p Other than eBay of course.