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2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card (epic) failure
  • Wondering if anybody here has been through the 2011 MacBook Pro and Discrete Graphics Card failure which is becoming more and more common and yet Apple inc are ignoring the issue. I was finishing a multicam project in Premiere CS6 and Premiere kept giving me errors and shutting down. Eventually the mac froze while in full screen preview in premier and I had to do a hard reset. after this the "saga" has begun...I could not even log in to the os. After checking HD, Putting back original ram,etc,etc...Everything else is fine but found out that is the Radeon that is the issue(not that card is bad but its the apple design that is plain wrong or quality control has been sedated before they release this model in a rush). After manually removing the radeon kexts I am back on line using just the motherboard intel HD3000 512mb. This emergency recovery effort came with a price of severe blue tint and lower resolution altogether plus the screen is at full intensity and it is not possible to adjust any of this, at least in the usual GUI way. Slowness is also an somehow issue(not severe as others report after the kexts fix)since I have 16gb of ram and strangely enough I can finish my project in premier without hiccups now!?! Since the computer runs on the default Intel HD 3000 video card why do I still have issues video/monitor. 512mb should be plenty to run things at a decent level meaning normal color profile etc. Not like before but c'mon the bare minimum should be covered! Any solutions/suggestions/ideas(like custom kexts,command lines,etc.) to resolve the issue will be greatly appreciated!

    Here are some links to the issue(s):


    "The problem, as highlighted by multiple threads on Apple’s Support Communities forum, first presents itself as a graphical glitch — or, in more serious cases, complete system lockup — when an affected MacBook Pro switches from the integrated Intel graphics chip to the discrete AMD graphics processing unit, or GPU. Reports of the issue first cropped up in February, but have become more frequent over the past month."

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  • I have one of those early 2011 MBPs (without AppleCare plan), it became unreliable and then practically unusable in February 2014.

    At the time, official Apple support could not offer free repair nor comment about possibility of extended warranty. Very friendly customer service conversations though, as might be expected.

    According to every repair shop I asked (and by my own conclusion, thought IANAE) this is a hardware problem related to AMD Radeon chip, and the cause of it might not be as simple as what is often suggested on forums.

    As for solutions, I know only about official Apple repair services that offer logic board replacement (at the expense of customer if the computer is not under AppleCare), or independent shops that can offer anything from reflowing to reballing to replacing the GPU chip.

    One option is of course to wait and hope for Apple to offer extended warranty for this fault, but no official source I asked could give reliable comments about that.

  • Thanks @neokoo for your answer. I am contacting them now. The friendly experience varies from country to country. This friendliness is nice but it also a way to avoid really addressing/resolving the personal view is this should not be happening on "tech superior"(?) hyped machine with a very high price tag. Period. They need to move faster to resolve it at whatever cost or will be getting a lot of lawsuits ("not fit for merchandising",etc) pretty soon. the logic board replacement has been shown to be a waste of time and money with horror stories of 3rd(even 4th!!!) time replacement just to repeat the same problem.

    Have you tried any solutions so far?

    I am afraid that "wait and hope" is not going to work with any corporation of this proportion so here is proactive way of addressing the issue if you are interested:

  • I have an early 2011 macbook pro and had lived through the exact same problem. but the problem is not the graphics card. there is a bridge after the Graphics card causes the issue. Dust and Heat are the main factors and the first thing gets affected is the graphics card bridge cut. Same defect still remains on the replacement Logic boards too. it heats up easily and burns the bridge . that's why people are facing 4 to fifth times replacements in US or at apple services. here in my country I took it to an independent repair shop they successfully replace the broken part. they said macbook pro was full of thin dust and fans not working normally. No logic board replacement at all. Every 8 months or so I take the mac for inside out cleaning.

  • @luxis I agree, considering the premium price of Apple hardware these kind of situations are unfortunate. Previously I've had good experiences with Apple support and their extended warranty, but this particular case has so far been disappointing.

    I've made sure the problem is registered with Apple, sent an email addressed to Tim Cook, spoken to higher tier support etc., so they should be well aware of it. If Apple end up not offering extended warranty, I'll probably turn to independent shops for solution.

    @cjdincer That is interesting to know, thanks!