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Portables (Apple) Hardware Apple

GPUs Dropping Dead In 2011 MacBook Pro Models 359

New submitter blackwizard writes "MacRumors is reporting on pervasive GPU failures in 2011 MacBook Pro machines, leading both to intermittent video issues, corruption, crashing/freezing, and eventually even failure to boot. Luckily for Apple, the machines are now out of warranty (unless you bought AppleCare). The issues have been reported both on Apple's own forums and other blogs. Apple has so far failed to take action on the problem. Will they take ownership of the issue, or continue to ask customers to pay for an entire new logic board when just the GPU fails?"
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GPUs Dropping Dead In 2011 MacBook Pro Models

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  • by dmiller1984 ( 705720 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:40PM (#45998849)
    If it's truly faulty hardware Apple will typically own up to it and offer repairs free of charge. I have the 2008 MBP that had a logic board issue and Apple replaced it for free even though I was well past the warranty and didn't have AppleCare.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:47PM (#45998897)
  • History (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:53PM (#45998945)

    Apple has shown they will replace whatever is necessary, if there is a defect. When the Nvidia 8400M chip was defective (material in chip package caused solder ball fracture due to thermal expansion), they replaced main boards. Dell used the same chip in XPS laptops (I had one and it did die), and supplied the same fix. Of course, in that instance they got some reimbursement from Nvidia.

    Smart corporations know to do the right thing or take a righteous bitch slapping from consumers and lawyers.

  • Score: -1, Flamebait (Score:4, Informative)

    by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris.mac@com> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:55PM (#45998967) Homepage

    "Will they take ownership of the issue, or continue to ask customers to pay for an entire new logic board when just the GPU fails?"


    Apple has a history of acknowledging and providing free fixes for issues of this magnitude, if they're really affecting a significant percentage of the population. I've been the beneficiary of such a fix in the past myself.

    Hell, that's even mentioned in the linked article:

    Mid–2011 iMacs with AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics cards experienced similar failures and in August of 2013, Apple initiated a Graphics Card Replacement Program [] for the computers, replacing the graphics cards of affected iMacs at no cost.

    So with the MacRumors article having only come out yesterday, it seems pretty aggressively snide to be suggesting that Apple's going to ignore the issue.

    Dan Aris

  • Apple = Disposable (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2014 @01:03PM (#45999031)

    Apple will just tell you to buy the now one.

    All Apple gear is disposable, that's why it's glued together, and not meant to be repaired.

    Apple hates their customers. I have no clue why anyone does business with them.

  • by chmodman ( 565242 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @01:11PM (#45999077)
    I have this model MBP, and yes, it failed exactly as described. I think the problem is made worse when paired with the thunderbolt screen, which forces the dedicated GPU to be used instead of the Intel GPU. It runs super HOT all the time, even when simply web browsing. Many have found a utility called smcFanControl to force the fan to run at full speed at all times in an attempt to compensate for a bad design. There are numerous YouTube video's of how to "cook" the logic board in an oven for 3 min @ 375 deg to reflow the solder and I found this does fix it temporarily, so its definitely a solder ball issue. Ultimately, I found a repair service on e-bay that for $150, replaces the solder balls on the BGA with lead balls (supposedly) and this is a more permanent fix. According to him (and he seems legit) the lead-free BGA balls suck, and over time fail with extended heat / use. I hope there is a class action on this one, because I paid almost $3k for this laptop and it only lasted 2 years!
  • by ssimpson ( 133662 ) <> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @01:16PM (#45999097) Homepage

    Mainstreaming reporting started in the last few days. The issue has been reported consistently for nearly a year []. I and many other impact users have reported faults in stores, reported via Apple Product Feedback in forums and written to Tim Cook to complain. Not only do they ignore the issues reported on the forum but they also delete posts with links to online forums, news stories and petitions. Nice work Apple.....

    Apple do little on the issue and offer you a (paid for) repair service to fix this systemic fault. The repair being a replacement board that many users report fails again anyway.

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @01:31PM (#45999215) Journal

    That's the Ford Pinto memo [], eh? I doubt if anybody is going to leak Apple's modern equivalent.

    Not that anybody is gonna die like with the Pinto, but the pangs of Mac withdrawal could be debilitating.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @01:49PM (#45999319) Homepage Journal

    That's not true. I bought a used, out-of-warranty iMac which developed bad capacitors (swollen and leaking) on the graphics card a year later. I called Apple and they replaced everything inside it without charging me a penny. I never heard of that being a big scandal, and in the US I doubt they had any legal obligations to fix my 3.5 year old used Mac.

    I think a more accurate version is that sometimes Apple fixes things for free because they want to, and other times because they're forced to. There's no obvious way of knowing in advance which way an "event" will go.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @02:10PM (#45999459) Homepage Journal

    That's not really a surprise. A few years ago, while trying to decide between two products made by a major electronics company, I asked one of their engineers for advice (having repeatedly repaired the previous product before giving up on it), and he suggested that if lifespan was a major concern, I should buy the cheaper model. Why? Because it was built in such volume that even a 1% failure rate would be catastrophic to the company's bottom line, whereas a much higher failure rate in the expensive product would still be a small enough number of total units that it could be absorbed.

  • by ssimpson ( 133662 ) <> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @02:22PM (#45999537) Homepage

    Join the Facebook page: []

    Keep up to date with the news articles: []

    Mail Tim Cook and express your frustration, politely: tcook[at]

    Sign the petition: []

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @03:27PM (#45999961) Homepage Journal

    3 years IS an early death. Even my ten year old white box specials still run just as well as they ever did. It's reasonable to expect more from a premium brand.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @04:40PM (#46000443) Homepage Journal

    Nvidia lied about the cooling requirements of their GPU, describing it as requiring less cooling than it actually did.

    This is not true. Nvidia simply did not test their hardware through enough thermal cycles to discover that the soldering would fail after some time, typically 12-18 months. No malice, just incompetence. You probably got the impression that they lied because a common fix, suggested by themselves, was to underclock the GPU or increase cooling, but that was simply an attempt to reduce thermal cycling load and get the parts past the mandatory 2 year EU warranty.

    Apple put their own engineers to work testing new GPUs, and found that the cooling requirements were significantly above Nvidia's stated specs.

    Seems like an incredible waste of time considering the problem was well known and every other manufacturer was experiencing it. HP were worst off because they had a deal with Nvidia to supply GPUs and chipsets for almost all their consumer laptops and many of the business models. Just google a bit, it was no secret what was happening.

    Although they were aware of this issue well before the first year, Apple's SOP on an issue like this is to stay quiet until the units start dropping out of their first year's warranty, and then issue a Repair Extension on them. .... REPs typically extend coverage to the 2, 3, or 4 year point after purchase.

    That's fine for the US market but in the EU the statutory warranty period is 2 years, and many countries go well beyond that. In the UK this issue is covered for up to 6 years, regardless of any Apple policies.

    Apple expects their products to last 3-5 years before they get replaced.

    In the UK products must last a "reasonable length of time" and are covered against manufacturing defects during that period. For laptop computers courts have settled on 6 years, so every manufacturer should design their laptops to last that long.

    In fairness Apple's generally do, but if your Macbook died of GPU failure due to this issue after 5 years they would still be required to either replace it or offer a partial refund.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @05:26PM (#46000713) Homepage Journal

    Because it's not Kosher if dairy and meat are prepared together, mostly.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.