Will Apple still repair an MBP with a problematic Nvidia 8600m GT?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Scottsdale, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #1
    My sister has MacBook Pro with the dreaded Nvidia 8600m GT problems. I am taking it into the Apple Store for her today to see if they will still cover the Nvidia GPU problems. It is a v 3,1 MBP with C2D 2.4 GHz and Nvidia 8600GT. Doesn't matter but it's running Snow Leopard.

    Sometimes it works fine, and other times there's no picture on the native display nor via the DVI port to an external display. However, we can tell that the rest of the MBP is working perfectly as we hear everything else on it.

    In the System Profiler it's showing the "PCIe Lane Width" as "x1" all of the time. Isn't this rule number one, that if this shows x1 it's the typical Nvidia GPU problem?

    Will Apple still fix this per their use of a defective Nvidia GPU? What do I say to Apple to have them fix it even though the warranty is actually expired? I mean I know Apple fixed them for some time beyond Apple Care, right? Does its age matter if it's not under warranty?

    I am leaving in about 90 minutes, so anything before I leave will help. I will also report back after I take it in with the results. Any advice before I leave that helps me dealing with this would be great. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    If it's 8600M GT related, they will

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ts2377
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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  4. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #4
    Thanks Hellhammer and Eidorian. The link to Apple support document was particularly helpful, as I printed it and will take it with me to the Apple Store. Leaving in 45 minutes, and I am praying they do they right thing (fix it).

    Two additional questions.

    1. Does the PCIe Lane Width show what I read online that it's a signifier that the Nvidia GPU is bad?

    2. Also, this GPU works sometimes, as I am typing from the MBP with it right now, but nine times out of ten when the computer is started the native and external displays show nothing and no signal to them - is this one of the problems of the Nvidia GPU or should it not work ever? It's not distorted, it either works or doesn't work with startup.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #5
    1. There are power saving options that decrease the available lanes during inactivity.

    2. You might get a free pass. It doesn't sound like a display cable issue if you're not getting video on an external display as well.
     
  6. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    What I had read in the Apple.com support forums was the poster said if the PCIe Lane Width isn't x16 when the GPU is active then it's always the Nvidia GPU failure. In addition, the poster said that is how techs can do a quick "test" to see if it's the problematic Nvidia 8600m GT GPU at fault. It wasn't Apple saying it, it was a poster that seemed like he knew what he was talking about. I would love to hear it from someone else that might no to give it some credibility. I also don't want to look like an idiot and be dead wrong.

    In reality, these "Geniuses" don't take kindly to someone acting like they know more than the "Genius." I told my sister she was more likely to get it fixed if she took it in, but she doesn't want to deal with it and is just going to buy a new one if I don't get it fixed. This is otherwise an excellent MBP, so I see no reason for her to just go buy a new one when she would still buy a 15" MBP. In addition, she uses a 3G Express Card for Internet on the go, and a new 15" MBP would require a switch to a USB 3G card, and would stick out the MBP and look stupid and be an inconvenience. It's really too bad the Express Card slot is gone from the 15" MBP. It's by far the best option for expandability, and Apple gave people an SD Card slot instead and 90% rejoiced... I guess my opinion is out of the mainstream there anyways.

    Thanks again for your assistance.
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #7
    Playing the idiot tends to go over well with Geniuses unless the problem is glaringly obvious like the old MacBook plastic cracking issues.
     
  8. UrbanerMezei macrumors member

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    #8
    I guess that's why I never got along with tech support, I can't play dumb to stroke someone's e-peene.
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #9
    It's a big reason why I don't call Applecare or go to the Apple store to get customer service.
     
  10. timish macrumors regular

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    #10
    FYI, my 17 MBP is on its second logic board replacement this month.

    My laptop displayed PCI lane width as 1 and 8. It varied and was random.

    Did not matter if the unit was idle or playing games.

    My laptop ALWAYS showed 16 as the lane width for the graphics card prior to the failure.

    I got my machine fixed via replacement board and had to go back to get a second logic board replacement due to the ATA connector on the first board being bad.

    Hopefully the second logic board replacement is 100%.
     
  11. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #11
    Update

    Well, the news was good, sort of. I told them that I thought it had the "dreaded Nvidia GPU PROBLEM." I said a "friend" told me it was the GPU and that the PCIe Lane Width was only reporting x1 which "he" said meant it's bad.

    The tech looks at it and goes and gets some equipment. Resets SMC and PRAM, then starts the testing equipment... about two minutes later in big red bold letter FAILED is reported across the MBP's screen.

    Well, he says the thing failed but this MBP has been brought in before and came back as logic board failure. Turns out my sister took it in and didn't want to tell me. He said it was described differently as a logic board problem cause she said it wouldn't turn on (in truth it turned on but it didn't output any graphics to native or external displays - obviously GPU), and when they troubleshot it after a day in the teardown booth, they told her it would be $310 and she declined. Called her, she admitted it... moving on, the tech said well if there's no other damage or anything once we get in there we will replace it for you for free under the "Nvidia recall program agreement."

    He also mentioned that if there's no other damage because he implies we have messed with it as one of the edges is bulging, and I know for a fact my sister nor I have ever taken the thing apart, but at this point I had already discredited her myself.

    Problem is Apple should have done the research and realized this wasn't a logic board problem and was the actual Nvidia GPU problem that EVERYONE and their mother has had with this damn Nvidia GPU. In addition, if they had it for a day and tore it down, I wonder how in the world they didn't realize that the only problem with it was the obvious Nvidia GPU problem. I love how Nvidia's GPUs are much better than what Intel has to offer, but it's disgusting that everyone with this computer has to go through this and Apple tries to charge people $310 just to get paid extra or twice perhaps? Perhaps not, but it sure seams fishy to me.

    Too bad but in all honesty this proves Apple didn't do the right thing, and even when they get "caught" with their "testing" equipment saying failed across the screen they try to blame us for a junk (pre-unibody) top case that has problems staying flush with the plastic crappy edge. Thing is, my sister swears that they opened it up and found out it was the logic board that was bad and they told her that on the phone when she declined paying $310... as far as we know it has been taken into the Apple store once before, and that would be the only time the thing has ever been taken apart.

    Hopefully the end result is a new logic board including new Nvidia GPU which is the only problem with it. Not a great "Apple story," but by all means nowhere near the worst and not a bad result if they fix it. I don't appreciate the comment about the worthless bulging edge implying we had taken it apart. One other time when I had a problem with something else on an MBP, Apple replaced the top case for free because it was buckling without me even asking(although it was under AppleCare). I guess the problem is they shouldn't accuse when the top cases obviously "peel" apart at the edge to the bottom case on their own without people opening up their MBPs.

    So when my sister takes it in, they want to fault the logic board and say it's out of warranty. When I call their bluff, they want to accuse me of opening the thing up... wtf? That's life, I am afraid.

    Thanks for the information from everyone who posted.
     
  12. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #12
    Until I saw Scottsdale's post starting this thread, I had not put two and two together and figured out that I, too have the dicey NVIDIA 8600M GT GPU in my 17 inch 3,1 2.4GHz MBP. Last February, Apple replaced the logic board under my Applecare coverage on the MBP. That was because it could no longer find all of my RAM. Otherwise, it was still functioning. Would the logic board replacement mean the GPU was replaced, too? I assume not but thought I would find out for sure.

    I have now had the MBP for the better part of three years and except for the logic board failure it hasn't given me a minutes problem. Its PCe Lane Width is still x16, which I gather is what it should be. Fortunately, the MBP has now taken a backup role, as I now use a 13 inch MBA, which I got in October, as my every day machine. Also, Applecare coverage doesn't run out until March, so I still have some time left before I will be out of luck if the GPU dies.
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    The GPU is soldered onto the logic board so new logic board = new GPU

    Apple extended the coverage to four years so all MBPs with 8600M GT are still covered. It used to be three years so I wouldn't be surprised if it was extended to 5 years. IIRC nVidia agreed to replace all defective 8600M GTs
     
  14. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #14
    Great information, thanks a million! If I can get 4 or 5 years out of the MBP, it will have done its duty. I have become so fond of 17 inch Mac laptops over the past 8 years, it is likely I will buy another one when the MBP finally goes belly up. Actually, though, if my experience with an 8 year old Powerbook G4 is any guide, it may never die but just fade away.:)
     
  15. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #15
    The problem is they can brag they're covering it for four years, but you have to know exactly what to tell them otherwise they will call it a logic board and charge you $310 if you're ignorant to the facts. I see this as very problematic and shady on Apple's behalf. When my sister took it in, they should have done their due diligence and figured it out... it's a common problem that EVERY Nvidia 8600m GT card has in some form... it's just a matter of when not if.

    Apple should recall and replace every single one of these, as that's the truth of the matter... and they should NEVER charge someone $310 without fully doing their job and checking it when it has one of Apple's biggest problematic components ever installed in a Mac.

    I want Apple to scrutinize every MBP that comes in with an Nvidia 8600m GT and ASSUME it's the GPU unless they find some concrete evidence that it isn't the problem... at that point only should they consider charging someone for a logic board.

    I think it's ridiculous that Apple would try to ignore the obvious to get $310 from someone... and it makes me think very little of their service that gets rave reviews from the majority. The thing Apple does is when it's obvious they cannot blame the user, they take responsibility and people appreciate that... but many people report Apple not doing what they should and this is a clear cut case of Apple either trying to rip someone off, or an ignorant support/tech staff that cannot do their job. Either way it's a gigantic problem especially when it's a widely reported faulty Mac that Apple charged $2499 for when it was new.

    I fail to see how we should give Apple props for this type of service with this obvious of a problem. And furthermore, I am disgusted that they would try to say that someone unqualified took the case apart, just because their worthless top case isn't designed well (which they corrected with the redesign of the part to the unibody case thus eliminating the top case peeling apart or buckling). The redesign shows it wasn't right to begin with.

    I try to give Apple props whenever I can, but I am often disgusted with them whenever I have to deal with a "Genius." Usually I find it's best to send my wife into the store who can really work a man over with her charm, and that's a problem too. Men who understand computers shouldn't be treated differently by most of the arrogant and condescending "Geniuses" who want to think they're somehow better and smarter than everyone else. Here is a case where if they are smarter, they surely tried to screw my sister out of $310.

    I often am pleased with Apple's software and love their choice in design and aluminum and glass materials. The user interface on their iOS products are amazing, and their iPhone blows away most of the Android phones I have used. Bottom line is Apple is great at consumer electronics and software that users interact with or use routinely, but when it comes to everything else, they're really not that good. Enough of a rant, sorry.
     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #16
    Apple's customer service has driven me to use local AASPs for repairs. My Macbook has had everything replaced short of the screen.
     
  17. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #17
    I agree that iOS in general and the iPhone in particular are terrific. My kids and their families gave me an iPhone as an early Xmas gift. I had been using an Android G1 from T-Mobile before that. It was just fine but the iPhone has suited me much better. Of course, part of that is probably attributable to my experience with iOS, thanks to my iPad and iPod Touch. The iPhone has now rendered the iPod Touch redundant, of course, so I plan to give it to my daughter.

    As for Apple's customer service, I am of two minds. I've seen too many credible scare stories here to take at face value that Apple is going to ipso facto treat me well. Like any other company, Apple bears watching. On the other hand, I've found Applecare telephone support to be rather good, especially when I can get my issue bumped up to a senior tech. I have found those folks to be uniformly helpful.

    The repair centers who have carried out repairs to my Mac have also been pretty good. At least they have worked on my computer the day they received it, sent it back the same day, and, indeed, fixed it. A lot is just luck, it seems to me.
     
  18. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #18
    Update

    Great news...

    Well, Apple called yesterday and said the parts were in and I could drop it off for repair whenever I wanted. I let it slip until 4pm today.

    I was hopeful I wouldn't get a call from them today, as I expected a call meant they decided it was our fault and wanted us to pay for it... well, they did call at 8:30pm this evening... a premature sigh as I answer the phone waiting for bad news. However, to my welcome surprise they just told me they had finished it, there was no charge, and I could come pick it up.

    Being a ten minute drive from my home to the Apple store, I rushed over before they closed at 9pm. No problems, and a really nice female rep helped me out. I signed a few papers and was out the door in five minutes.

    I brought it home and unwrapped it from the foam wrapping protector. It didn't look like my sister's MBP. Hers had scratches on the palm rest from her wrings and bracelets... hers was "peeling" up on the edges, which I complained about them earlier in the thread concerning this issue, but this one looked like new. After further inspection, they not only fixed the GPU problem by replacing the logic board, they also replaced the top case with keyboard and bottom case too!

    I am very happy this all worked out. I must assume that after review of their not catching the original submission for repair as an Nvidia GPU problem, they decided to go above and beyond their obligations and fix the case even though it was out of AppleCare warranty coverage.

    I am most happy that today when I dropped it off, when I answered the phone receiving notification it was ready, and when I picked it up, the techs/support staff were all extremely polite and prepared to deliver excellent customer service. In the past, I usually feel the "Geniuses" and support staff to be arrogant and condescending, which is why I send my wife in anytime I need something "big" fixed.

    I read about these stories often, and it should be a given for the prices we pay, but I was glad to be surprised and receive such excellent service. I feel they went beyond their obligation which goes a long way in my opinion.

    Thanks for all of the advice and sharing information.

    Happy holidays to all of you.
     
  19. gwsat macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Scottsdale -- Im glad Apple came through for you. One never knows what will happen, of course, but your good experience with Apple shows why Apple is perennially ranked Number 1 among computer makers for customer service.
     
  20. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #20
    I love your use of the word perennial. Happy holidays.
     

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