Why the mid-level 2011 minis burn out

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by grcar, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. grcar, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015

    grcar Suspended

    grcar

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    #1
    It took me a while to track this down, so I thought I'd explain why the macmini5,2 MC816LL/A mid-level mid-2011 mini burns out. I would appreciate anyone who can refine or correct the story.

    All the apple mac minis and mac books (and probably other apple products) have heat sinks installed with low-quality thermal paste. I guess in china they figure why not save a few cents and apple does not care. As the units age the paste dries out so the heat sink is progressively less effective and the computer chips get hotter than they should. Temperature sensors turn the machine off before it burns up. This means, as your mac gets older you can expect it to turn off for no obvious reason because it is actually overheating.

    Besides the thermal paste in all macs, there is a special problem with the Radeon graphics chips in 2011 mac minis and in some of the mac books from 2011. The Radeon chips are connected to the logic board with defective wires that break upon frequent overheating. Among cognoscenti this defect is called "Radeongate". The combination of the cheap paste and the bad wires means 2011 models with Radeon chips eventually burn out. Some mac book owners sued Apple which then issued an extended warranty to repair the mac books but not the mac mini. Owners of macmini5,2 MC816LL/A are, as they say, screwed.

    If you try to discuss any of this with a genius bar tech he (it is always a he) will vehemently deny all of it but at the same time he will know an awful lot about the lawsuit and that it was not successful, even though the extended mac book warranty is there for everyone to see. I guess this is called denying liability. You have no idea how infuriating it is to be lied to by a company that you have grown up with and always trusted to do the right thing. I guess Jobs and Wozniack were just in it for the money no matter what all the books and movies say about changing the world.
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #2
    All thermal paste has a half life. Apple should be using a thermal pad as these hold up better.

    As for the graphics chip it's the solder that's the issue as a reflow solves the issue short term.
     
  3. davidg4781 macrumors 68000

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    Alice, TX
    #3
    I had a female genius last time I was at Apple. This was for a MBP though, not a Mm.
     
  4. grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

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    #4
    So, they do exist. I did encounter a female assistant manager, once.
     
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #5
    I'm missing the these threads about the widespread failures of the 2011 Mid-Minis that required you to "track this down"..... You'll need to provide proof this is actually an issue and not just a few random failures that happen as computers age (seeing as how we are talking about a 4 year old computer).
     
  6. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
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    #6
    Get over it….. at my local Apple shop staff cover a wide range of the sexuality spectrum. Dunno about the specific issue with the 2011 model, but discussion with them has resulted in cost effective, minimal hassle decisions for me.

    Jobs and Wozniak were certainly not in it to lose money. If they were, Apple would have not lasted long. Jobs was not particularly philanthropic, but Apple was more than just money to him. The company feel to pieces when the bean counters took over. Woz is known to be rather more altruistic by nature, no doubt helped by the success of the company he founded. He still owns stock, but has had no active role for many years. When he was involved it was more as an engineer than as an entrepreneur.
     
  7. SpacemanSpiffed macrumors member

    SpacemanSpiffed

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    Location:
    Pacific NW
    #7
    Ok, I can find a bunch of posts on this problem with the MBP, but this is the first I've heard about it impacting the mini.

    I'm going to be adding a second HDD to my 2011 2.7 i7 mini soon. Would it be worth it to replace the thermal paste on the heat sink then? I see instructions for doing that on iFixit, and I already have the Arctic Silver. Seems straightforward enough...
     
  8. grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #8
    Hard to get over. The apple genus bar quotes $391 to replace the MC816LL/A logic board (parts and labor). Or you can buy the new and roughly equivalent MGEN2LL/A but with 16GB because you can never upgrade which brings the total to $899. So either $400 or $900. Like I say, hard to get over especially when you expected the machine to last for a lot more than 4 years or at least until it no longer supports the latest OS.
     
  9. grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    #9
    You have the very nice high-end 2011 model. Like all minis it will have a greater possibility to overheat as it ages because the thermal paste deteriorates, but your machine will not burn out because it does not have the Radeon graphics chip.

    There is a very nice description of the thermal paste in a posting by rwpater in my thread "how to keep a mac mini from overheating?".

    I personally would replace the paste if the software apps that monitor temperature show parts of the machine getting over 90C. Taking the thing apart is very delicate when it comes to removing the jumpers for the power-on light and the infra-red sensor for the remote control. A lot of people seem to break the contacts on the logic board.
     
  10. grcar, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015

    grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

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    #10
    Hi. I hope you are Tom Cook. If so, please give 2011 mac mini buyers the same courtesy that you have extended to 2011-2013 macbook pro buyers.

    The official macbook pro recall from Apple is here https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

    An article about the recall is in Macworld here http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/mac/...es-petition-lawsuit-repair-programme-3497935/

    An example of a frustrated macmini owner is here http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-M...b-RAM-AS-IS-/151767803046?hash=item235610e4a6 Or, go to eBay and search for eBay item number: 151767803046 (eBay doe snot keep these up forever). Scroll down to the listing to read about the graphics problem the owner was having. I corresponded with the owner through eBay mail. He consulted the genius bar and was quoted the $391 repair and was told no-way-Jose about getting the same extended warranty as the macbook pro owners. He is selling the burned out machine for parts.
     
  11. SpacemanSpiffed macrumors member

    SpacemanSpiffed

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    #11
    The 2.7 i7 (Macmini5,2) does have the Radeon 6630 discrete graphics. It's the 2.3 "base" model and 2.0 quad core server models that make due with integrated HD 3000 graphics.

    I know the mini gets very hot to the touch sometimes (usually in bootcamp - I switch back and forth during development), but i have not tried measuring the temperature. I will do that to assess how vulnerable it currently is.
     
  12. grcar, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015

    grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    #12
    I stand corrected; I did not know there was a dual-core 17 option for the 5,2.

    Yes, I think you do have to be concerned. As I pointed out to someone else in this thread, on eBay there are occasionally people selling as-is burnt-out 5,2 units for parts. I have not seen other models offered for parts. Considering the effort to sell on eBay, I think each one that is listed represents a number of unhappy customers who rather than take the trouble to sell a broken machine have just thrown it out.
     
  13. paulrbeers, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015

    paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #13
    So one ebay listing and you are convinced they have the same problems as the recall?

    Edit: In all your research did you stop and think about what causes the failures? Heat. Maybe the Mini does a better job than the Macbook Pros in removing heat. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that the Mini only uses 35w CPU's in the 2011 Mini vs 45w CPU's in the 2011 Macbook Pros. That's a lot of extra heat.

    And GPU failures even happen on new machines under warranty. Search the Mini forum and you will see all kinds of failed Mini's due to GPU issues. Would you like me to find a random post to prove that? It would prove it happens just as often on Non-AMD graphics Mini's as you have "proven" that it happens on the 2011 Mid-Minis.

    If there was a major issue you this forum would be filled with them. People here are very knowledgeable and are quick to post their problems at a higher rate than the population as a whole, so if we aren't seeing it then I think you are over stating the issue.
     
  14. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #14
    He's proven there was a GPU failure on some random eBay machine..... I certainly wouldn't call that "proof" there's an issue.

    Now if you are tearing open your Mini and you feel it is worth the extra effort, fine. I wouldn't go ripping apart a machine just to replace the thermal paste. With that said, your 4 year old Mini probably needs a cleaning more than anything else!
     
  15. grcar, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015

    grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #15
    Mr. Cook, get your facts straight. Both the 2011 mini and the 2011 macbook pro have 35W cpu chips (mini i5-2520M, macbook pro i5-2410M or i5-2435M). Anyway, it is not the Intel cpu chip that burns out but the Radeon graphics chip.
     
  16. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #16
    No the quad core 15" MacBook pros from 2011 came with 45w i7 quad core processors. I know because I had one. The 13" MacBook pros came with dual core i5s that were 35w tdp and relied on integrated GPUs. And further do you not see how having hotter components inside a laptop would lead to the entire interior being hotter? Is this really that hard of a concept to understand?
     
  17. grcar thread starter Suspended

    grcar

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #17
    Dear Tom, you asserted all 2011 macbook pros had hotter cpus than all 2011 mac minis. You were wrong. Now you are proposing that the 45W cpus can transfer heat to the radeon gpus. What exactly is the transfer path? Not the logic board which is made of bakelite. Maybe the heat sink? But the sink is connected to a fan which always makes the sink cooler (else, not a heat sink). I don't don't see where you are going with this.

    Please be specific.

    Bottom line, apple offers to repair all 2011 products that contain radeon gpus because there is defective solder on the leads (both the macbook pros which were the object of a lawsuit and the the imacs which were not) but apple stiffs the people who bought mac minis with radeon chips. Shame on you, Tom!
     
  18. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #18
    Why would it matter what the 13" Macbook pros used since THEY DIDN'T use the GPUs that you are alluding to in this thread. Why would it matter that the 13" Macbook pros had 35w processors since you are pointing out to AMD GPU failures which the 13" Macbook pros that are the ONLY ones to use 35W processors and they are Sans AMD GPU's.

    The Mini's on the other hand have 35w Processors and the AMD GPUS. That's 10w TDP less heat inside the case.

    Further, check out iFixit tear down on the 2011 Macbook Pros... All the heat sinks are connected together:
    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Early+2011+Teardown/4990

    One Heat sink to cool both the GPU and CPU therefore a hot running CPU would be pumping that heat right over the top of a hot GPU.

    So just stop. Seriously. Stop. You clearly did no research. You've shown ONE 2011 Mac Mini that had an AMD GPU failure and convinced yourself there was some major failure.

    Further, stop trying to belittle someone with useless name calling like "Tim" just because they don't agree with your thinly supported dissertation, what are you a 14 year old boy? You have yet to disprove a darn thing I have said and done little to no research into my statements. I've proven my side of this, please bring additional "proof" that there is anything more than a few failures.

    Edit: And the reason the solder fails is due to heat. You reduce the heat, the failure rate drops. Again, if you had done any research into this, you would know that is what causes it and therefore there may not be an issue with the Mini's! Further the Mini might be better at cooling than the Macbook Pro which again would reduce the failures if it is a soldering issue!

    Heck you didn't even do enough research to understand why the GPU's fail and the second poster had to tell you why. In the scientific world, your lack of research would be laughed at.
     
  19. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    #19
    Never heard of a Tom Cook but there's some guy named Tim Cook who happens to run one of the largest companies in the world...
     

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