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MacBook Pro (Nvidia 8600M) GPU/Video Failures (and Apple Repair Reports)
Posted: July 23, 2008
Failure/Repair Reports last updated: August 27, 2012
(Added Note on May 13th, 2013)


FYI on END of Repair Program: (Dec 7th, 2012) The Apple article on the MBP/8600M GT issues was revised to note: "The NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor repair extension program ended on December 7, 2012." As of the April 15, 2013 date, its also has this note:

"This program provided extended repair coverage for a period of four years from the date of purchase, and as of Dec 7th 2012, it is unlikely products qualify for this extended repair coverage."

I take that sentence to mean few would have a purchase date that is still less than 4 years ago.
There was also a separate (not computer brand specific) class action (noted below back then) but that was settled in 2010. I have gotten mails on MBP/8600M failures since the program was ended on refused repairs that may be due to end of program but some appeared to be for the same reasons noted below at times - claimed logic board failure (not GPU)/inability to run the USB drive GPU qualifying test, etc. (there's tips below for some of that). I wish I had better advice other than what is already posted below here over the years. Not sure if Apple Customer Relations would be of any help, but the article has a Contact Apple link with phone numbers by country. (If it were up to me, any MBP with one of these GPUs would have gotten a motherboard replacement.)


(Earlier info and reader's repair reports follow, from before the repair program ended)

(June 10th, 2010 Update/FYI) On July 10th, 2010 Support Doc (originally posted Oct. 10th, 2008) on the flawed Nvidia 8600M's and affected MacBook Pro production ranges (MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues) was revised (again) to increase the GPU related warranty extension to 4 years from date of purchase. Was 2 years originally, then 3 years in May 2009 doc update, then 4 years. (FYI: The Apple doc was revised several times since then, again on Sept 7, 2011 but still lists 4 years from purchase date. And still has the note (bottom of page, Emphasis mine) "Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.")
BTW: In Oct 2010 at the main news page I linked to a class action/settlement page - The NVIDIA GPU Litigation (Claims Phase closed on March 14, 2011. Settlement now over) which was not Apple specific (included any brand/model that shipped with an affected GPU - It originally had a brand/model check page when I posted back then, but isn't online as of fall 2011.)

And if you missed the front page news on May 28th 2009, Apple released SMC firmware update v1.3 for the affected range of MBP models to modify fan speeds in high load conditions (per their doc "This SMC Firmware update adjusts the fan behavior in MacBook Pro systems (15-inch and 17-inch) when running under high workload conditions.") - although some have regretted applying the firmware update (not everyone had a problem however, but what else is new with updates - frustrating).
See the May 28th, 2009 news page posts here on First Feedback on MacBook Pro SMC firmware update 1.3 (w/Tips) and the MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.3. (For some time now some owners have used fan speed control utilities to increase fan speeds for better cooling - such as SMCfancontrol2, Fancontrol (IIRC the name) and perhaps others -although SMCfancontrol2 seems the most popular.) However nothing like this is a sure guarantee that one of the flawed GPUs won't fail over time. (See notes/links/articles from past years below.)

When I first posted the Apple doc on the 8600M GT repair extension program in Oct 2008, I had a reply saying that although the doc sounds promising, in reality few (out of warranty) failures he has seen were actually covered - he said the (required) diagnostic test used rarely flagged failed MBPs that had all the classic symptoms (no video on either built-in LCD or ext. display) as qualifying for the GPU extended warranty repair. (In his experience he said only about 10% were flagged as qualifying by that test, which I found disturbing personally if his experience was common - and made me wonder how complete its check/criteria was. (Was it written by nvidia?) He also said even if the test failed to flag it as qualifying they could still submit it for coverage, but rarely (in his experience) was it covered in those cases. If someone that had a GPU failure repair refused later had a real chip Failure Analysis done, the results would be interesting. (Note there later was a successful class action that was not specific to apple products)
As mentioned in some financial reports in July (2008), Nvidia took a (IIRC) $200M charge related to this so I assume they're paying for these flawed GPU related failures (unless there's something in their supply contacts that frees them of any liability for material/product defects).

I don't know how many readers with one of the affected models (see the apple doc) has had an out-of-warranty failure but if you have let me know if you had any problems getting the repair covered (free) or not. Thanks.
I just can't see why Apple would be refusing these repairs when clearly they seem to be classic cases of the flawed GPU failing. (And Apple had been good overall about out-of-warranty G5 Coolant leak repairs in the past although as I said before, IMHO that may be due to the potential safety issue/liability.)

"Black Screen"/ No Video after an OS Update:
For anyone that suddenly has no video (black screen), including after an OS update (and the GPU hasn't actually failed) - try the Tip from August 2008 here (and perhaps clearing the nvram, zapping the PRAM/NVRAM, checking for corrupt prefs/files, remove any installed haxies, reinstall the last OS X update from download COMBO updater (via Target Disk mode if necessary) to see if that helps. (And everyone IMHO should have a bootable backup/clone of the HD before any OS updates are applied. Disk Utility's Restore feature can create a complete clone of the boot HD if you don't have any 3rd party BU utility.) But if the problem is due to the GPU separating, of course nothing short of a motherboard replacement is going to fix that. And problems with these flawed GPUs may be intermittent at first.
(I had a friend with an affected early 2008 Model call to say he's avoided upgrading to OS X 10.6.1 (from 10.6.0) after seeing a blog post from an owner that blamed 10.6.1 for 'causing' his no external video problem. (Thinking that Snow Leopard's increased use of the GPU was a factor.) I've had similar comments in the past (from someone that had a similar problem after 10.5.7 update - thinking it "caused" the failure), but I don't think that's true. Remember the GPU normally (w/o any flaws or defects) can run 3D games for hours which stresses the chip far more (and gets it far hotter) than any increased GPU usage in normal/light use in Snow Leopard or from a driver/OS update alone. (Of course running OpenGL apps/games or (SL) OpenCL apps will also heat up/stress the GPU - but my point is that just an update alone isn't going to stress the GPU more than it would be in taxing 3D apps in any OS version.) These GPU failures could occur at any time of course. And with every OS update some are going to have problems due to bugs/driver issues, incompatible 3rd party addons, corrupt files/bad installs, etc.)

MacBook Pro won't power-up/boot Tip:
Several owners have reported they suspected a GPU failure (from earlier symptoms) but eventually the MacBook Pro would not boot/power-up properly at all - therefore unable to have the "Qualifying" test run from the USB HD at the dealer/service center. It doesn't always help (as there could be many different reasons for the problem) but some have found the tip from a reader in August 2009 on warming up the MBP allowed it to boot. (I'm assuming heat eventually closed an open ckt/trace, etc.). A longshot and may not help but worth a try.

June 2009 and Later Reports on GPU/Video Failures/Repairs:
Below are replies to the original request for feedback on repairs, later first. (Note some have gotten repairs covered after a 2nd test - not giving up if the 1st test app check said it didn't qualify. However not all have been so lucky - especially cases where the MBP was not able to boot to run the external drive GPU failure qualification 'test'. I've had at least 1/2 dozen readers say their MBP failed and could not boot to run the GPU test and were told it was a logic board/motherboard failure and not covered. (If the MacBook Pro won't boot, try the
'warming up' tip from the past here. A longshot but it has worked for a few others (here, here and here) with that problem. There's also a tip here from 2008 for sudden 'black screen'/no video issues after an OS update - of course that won't help if it's a hardware failure.)
   Here's an apple doc on How to find your nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider. (I don't have any special apple contacts on this but here's the www.apple.com/contact/ page.)


(from 8/27/2012 email)
In reference to Warm-Up Tips here
The warmup trick worked! I used a hairdryer directed at the vent underneath the display. Aimed it at the 2nd quadrant of the vent (from left to right) right on the GPU. Loaded OSX, took some pictures for documentation, noting the temperature diodes, and now waiting for it to freeze up and kernel panic again.

I went to the geniuses last march while still in the 4 year window when the GPU troubles started, and they failed to notify me of the extended warranty for this. Unfortunately did not learn about the faulty line till recently, so we'll see if they honor the 4 year window retroactively. Thanks for the info to everyone who posted, and a big thanks to xlr8yourmac.com, and will update soon.
-Andres M.

Glad the info/tip helped.


(from 8/20/2012 email)
Subject: 15" MBP NVIDIA 8600M fixed under 4-year (extension) warranty
Thanks again and again for all the tips on such a totally awesome tech site! Saved my MBP bacon...
Apple Genius took my 15" early 2008 MBP NVIDIA 8600M for repair under the 4-year warranty extension yesterday. Got at least 30 different jobs in front of me because of back to school week, will get it back middle or end of next week.

Started building a case in mid-June because of graphics tearing that I cleared up without taking a screenshot or photo (silly me, just wanting to make it disappear.) Took it to Genius Bar, ran test, saying not the specific problem covered by warranty extension: was told that it was probably the logic board (surprise, surprise, where have I read about that excuse before?)

Weeks went by just fine, then got completely black screen when trying to wake from sleep overnight. Got the latest from xlr8yourmac.com and used the heat-and-cool tip. Namely, tried to wake the MBP, screen still black, sleep light at half brightness, closed the lid to sleep it, sleep light at full brightness but not pulsing, and left it to heat up all by itself for an hour or longer (after taking the battery out so it wouldn't get cooked) then disconnecting from power and let it cool completely. Revived it 5 times that way, over a period of 10 days, hoping to get some graphic problem for documentation.

Finally took it a different Genius Bar, explained the back story, and had the laptop fully operational. Mentioned xlr8yourmac.com and reviving the MBP 5 times. Genius acknowledged a "third party tech site" but declared that running the test was the only way to determine if the problem was the specific problem covered by the court case. Kudos to the Genius, it was diplomatically and smoothly said.

Quit software, powered down, Genius ran test, MBP went completely dark right in the middle of the test (smoking gun?) Took the laptop back to talk to manager, came back to say he was confident it was the covered problem and that the $525 repair would be covered under warranty extension.

Key points: document the problem, don't take "logic board" as final answer, revive the MBP if possible, take it to different Genius, try, try again, polite throughout. Thank the Genius profusely if it works!
-Tom

Thanks Tom. (I wish all cases worked out like this. Many have, sometimes only after 2nd test, etc - but not all do.)


(from July 26th email)
Subject: nvidia (8600M) failure (refused repair)
Hey there. Thank you kindly for your Nvidia (8600M/MBP) failure page; it's a great resource.
Unfortunately, for me, my MBP exhibits the failure three months beyond Apple's 'grace' period. At a scheduled appointment at the 'genius bar', I'm told, "the System won't allow us to repair it." "It's faulty hardware, right?" "Yes, it's a known problem, but we can't help you." ... I won't buy their crappy hardware again.
In the DC area, there are a number of other locations. I'm going to try at least once more, and escalate to a manager upon second refusal. However, it seems they have their canned response ready. Ah well.
-David"

Let me know if a 2nd try has any better luck. (Maybe even take a printout of the apple article on the repair program and this page with you.)


Repair Report with screen sharing tip:

(added 6/5/2012, from June 4th email)
"Had my 8600M (MBP) fail in May, literally 2 weeks before the warranty extension would have expired. Happened on a Sunday night (at church), so when I got home and was troubleshooting what I thought was a crash, won't reboot. Would chime, heard hard drive spin up, would not "boot" from CD. Actually it did boot, more on that now.
I was at the desk where I have my desktop, Powermac G5 running 10.5.8, happened to look up and noticed the macbook pro in the sidebar. Used screen sharing and lo and behold the MBP was fully booted and operational.

Well luckily the next day at the Apple Store it failed the official test (USB drive test app check for GPU failure) and the logic board was replaced.
But after having read the reports here over the years my plan if it did not "appear" to boot for the genius at the bar was to ask if he could let me use one of their machines to screen share, or use Mocha VNC on my iPod touch.
Did not have to go that far luckily but may help someone else.
-Jim P."


A Very Lucky Owner (Repair w/o Test App confirmation): (not typical)

(added 6/4/2012, from June 3rd email)
"Just wanted to say that Apple have repaired my MacBook Pro with the nvidia 8600 gpu failure. My machine had failed entirely and would not boot, drives would spin and power light illuminate but no chime or further indication of start. I tried a cool bake of 75c (167F) for 30 mins but no improvement.
(BTW: I'm guessing he was trying a different way to do the 'warm up' tip for non-booting MBPs (see above links) but I would never put a MBP in an oven (at any temp) - it's not a good alternative for the old (internal) warm-up tip as the alum chassis acts as a big heatsink plus you could damage plastic or other components (depending on temp).
     Several readers in the past with MacBook Pros that wouldn't power up have noted here using the (non-Oven) Warm-up tip (see above links) via only standard power on (sometimes for hours) to get (some) MBPs to boot so they could run the Apple USB drive GPU failure app used to qualify a repair. (Won't always help but as noted above it has for several readers. YMMV)

On the subject of Oven Baking - Some owners of failed *PCI Express* Card 8800GT's have used Oven Baking (w/some card parts removed) at much higher temperatures to try and reflow cracked solder joints, as mentioned in the past on the Video Cards page. Again YMMV but some have reported success.)

I went to the 'local' apple store and presented the problem machine. It was a Saturday mid afternoon (their busiest) and I explained the issue in minute detail. The 'genius' was a little flustered at my knowledge and spent some time trying to locate the test USB stick. Eventually he did and the machine did nothing. Still flustered, he started completing the repair paperwork!

Bottom line, machine was older than 4 years and failed to boot but was repaired for free - try your luck, research and be confident! :-)
-Alan W."

Congrats and glad it was covered. But I suspect you just got very lucky (right person/right time), unless apple has relaxed the policy on requiring the USB test app results confirming a GPU related failure before OK'ing a covered repair. Several here have noted refusals to cover w/o qualifying test app results, although some have said after a refusal (didn't qualify per test app), a 2nd try elsewhere was successful (i.e. test app shows it qualified - I've always wondered if results were sometimes misinterpreted.) And again some have used the old Warm-Up tip to get their MBP to boot so the test could be run, but nothing's a sure thing for everyone.
(And to repeat what's at the top of the page here - Apple hasn't changed the related doc to note more than 4 years beyond date of purchase (they had increased it several times over the years) - but as of early June 2012 it still has the note at the bottom of the page (Emphasis mine):
"Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.")


Another report on using "Warm-Up" Tip:

(added 4/23/2012, from Apr 21st email)
"Thank you for the fantastic website about this! It was so helpful. I read about the lawsuit this past week and after looking at the post on the Apple support page realized my laptop fit the date and model range. Then I found your page and was convinced what happened to my laptop was this exact issue.

Last July (3 years, 3 months after purchase in April '08, 15 inch MBP) the screen would suddenly turn to this light gray and light purple small checkerboard-like pattern and we could not log in. The keyboard would light up, the logo would appear on top of this pattern, but the little wheel would stop spinning and hang after a little while.

We went to the Genius bar at our local store and they ran the test for the defective graphics card and some other diagnostics. It passed the test, but they still felt it was the graphics processor, just not the covered repair. We were quoted about $300 and issued a ticket to ship it off for repair. We were eventually able to log in after many attempts (probably one it earned up) and back up all our data. Since I had just purchased a new iPad we opted not to fix it at that point in time.

Then I read about the lawsuit and found your site. I called Apple support, they took all the info and asked if it lit up the Caps key and chimed. Since we have not touched it since July, i was not able to answer on the phone as it needed charging. I used the warm up trick mentioned. (see notes above) I booted up and fiddled about running Applejack, trying to boot in safe mode (timed out), tried to run a hardware scan, etc while letting it warm up. To my surprise one time while restarting it booted up! I made an appointment for the genius bar once again.

To my surprise it booted fine, chime and everything, though the genius said displaying the Apple logo was just as good. I hadn't even finished the whole story of what it was doing before he pulled out the tester. Failed on the first try this time. He wrote the code to the disk and started the paperwork. Since I was a week past my 4 years at this point he could not automatically get the repair covered. But since I was so close and had documented the issue in July he had me call AppleCare as there was a good chance they would override the timeframe. I called and went through the whole story, got transferred to someone higher up the chain and got an override with no problems. Waited the 30 minutes suggested to update the repair ticket and dropped the laptop off at the genius bar.

Should be able to get our laptop back tomorrow, all thanks to the info on your site. Thank you!
-Ellen W."

Glad the info helped and thanks for letting me know.


Owner Lawsuit: (Added 4/17/2012)
It's not a class-action like the one from fall 2010 (The NVIDIA GPU Litigation, which ended in spring 2011) but Drew (who posted his repair experience (using warm-up tip/getting repeated tests) here in Oct. 2011) sent a link to an April 2012 article on an owner lawsuit over a refused repair - Seattle Rex vs. Apple: The Verdict Is In.
  Like some others (several in the past here), his MBP would not boot and therefore unable to run the test app (booted from USB drive) used to determine if failures qualify for the repair extension program, but he also said he was told his (2008/17in/2.6GHz) model didn't qualify due to the clock speed (2.6GHz) not being an affected model? There was an Early 2008 17in 2.6GHz model w/8600M GPU and the Apple doc lists "Early 2008" as one of the MacBook Pro series that could be affected. (My feeling is the techs may have misread/misinterpreted the affected models listing in the Apple doc.)
Anyway, some here have used the 'warm-up' tip to get theirs to boot (to run the Apple test app), but nothing is a sure thing. And as I've said before, if it were up to me any failure of a machine with one of these GPUs would get a covered repair.


Early 2012 FYI:
As of early 2012, I've had several reports of these out-of-warranty repairs being refused - some were not in the affected range listed in the Apple document, but others said they were told the extended repair program had expired. (See the linked Apple doc for notes on that vs purchase date, etc). For others, I'd suggest the previous tips here repeated many times (getting a 2nd test, if possible from another apple tech/center). And again some have noted the MBP would not power-up, making it impossible to run the Test Utility that checks for qualifying Nvidia GPU failures. There's a Warm-Up tip here (above) for years on that as well which has helped *some* (not all), but of course nothing is a fix for everything. (Of course not every failure of these older MBPs is related to the 8600M GPU, but if it were up to me, everyone with affected GPUs would get a free repair regardless.)


Another report on Warmup Tip/Not Giving up (getting another test) (I wish they all turned out like this.)

(added 10/7/2011, from Oct 7, 2011 email)
"SUCCESS!
It took four tries at three Apple Stores, but I now have a repaired MBP. Having finally mastered the warm-up trick (leave it "on" upside down in an AppleSac [now ColcaSac?] sleeve for 30 minutes, then let it cool), I was able to get the machine to boot (and reboot) to run the NVIDIA GPU test (ASD GPT3TL08-1) twice, passing each time with flying colors. The Genius recommended I leave the machine for an overnight ASD. The store called back five days later to say the machine was repaired.

According to the work order (scanned and posted at http://imgur.com/Jw0yK) the Genius that repaired my machine was able to verify that it would POST and pass the ASD and GPU test, but was then greeted by the "nearly dead machine" problem. Note the comment, "Still suspect NVIDIA GPU failure," and that my logic board was replaced under the NVIDIA quality control program. This was after two prior Geniuses told me my MBP was a CTO machine and therefore not susceptible to the GPU issue, (???)
(BTW: No idea what they mean by that "CTO not susceptible" comment if the MBP is in the affected models/manufactured dates listed in the Apple doc. Why would it matter what other CTO options you selected (GPU was not an option).
- Unless they mean some of the later MBP production CTO orders may have used motherboards that had (later) 8600Ms w/o the issue. Nvidia took a nearly $200M charge over the 8600M failures (est. to cover costs of failures/repl.) in summer 2008 IIRC - so they must have known months (at least) before that was made public and perhaps it's possible -some- later build motherboard stock had 8600Ms w/o the flaw.-Mike)

and they and a third Genius said I'd have to pay for a logic board replacement through either the depot ($310) or retail ($800).
(he later wrote)
Some notes about my experience:
When I got the warm-up trick to work, I was then able to boot and reboot for about an hour after the MPB cool down. I don't know for certain whether the Genius that actually fixed my MPB was able to get it to boot (I assume from the work order notes that he did), but we were able to run the NVIDIA test twice and the network-booted ASD during the evaluation. Neither test failed. The Genius that ran those tests commented that he'd run the NVIDIA test on many machines, and they always failed in the initial "DOS" (I know it's not DOS) portion of the test suite as shown in the attachment. In my case the test would progress to a MacOS test that included various graphics tests and ended with a check of the GPU's PCIe lane width (anything other than x16 is evidence of failure).

There's also an awkward part to the story. Genius #3 from Store #2 (Genius Bar visit #3) was also working at Store #3 during my successful fourth try. I thought he might try to throw a monkey wrench into that visit considering he diagnosed total logic board failure and recommended the retail replacement, but he didn't.
Thank you for maintaining this page for so long. I would not have been successful without its information.
-Drew"

Glad the info/tips helped Drew, but the thanks go to the readers. (And again I wish nobody with one of these affected models had any repair refused.)


(added 10/5/2011, from Oct 2, 2011 email)
"So my MBP 15 inch started freaking out 2 weeks ago whenever temp gets up close to 70°C. If I get distorted video/ display (purple and green tinge to everything) and then the computer becomes unresponsive showing only vertical purple and green bars and won't boot until it cools. Its coming up to 4 years ownership (in November).

Took it into local genius bar today. Tech runs the 'diagnostic' program and it 'passed.' I never got to see the results. He looked at the system logs of kernel panics and agreed that the video card did appear to be failing (his own words). He then ran a 'CPU max' program that caused the GPU to fail after it got hot - purple and green bars appeared right on queue. So he witnessed it himself. BUT, he said it was not the covered issue under the NVidia settlement. He said the covered issue would make a blank (black) screen only. No exceptions. Even though it says 'distorted video' on the Mac website. The best he could offer me was a 310 dollar repair job.

Worse, the CPU max out procedure seems to have permanently done in the video card as I cannot get the computer to boot. Thanks Apple. I might try taking it to a local authorized repair center and see if I have better results, but now they won't be able to run the diagnostic software now because it won't start.
-Mike N."

May not help but try the 'warm up' tip some have had luck with - but won't help every failure. 2nd opinions sometime help but the system must be bootable to run the USB drive based test. (As I've said before, I think anyone with a failure and one of the affected GPUs should get repair. but I guess with nvidia paying the bill (based on their nearly $200M charge a few years back for this), they need some sort of record/proof from that test.)


More Feedback on "Warm-Up" Tip for 'Dead' MBP"
Another report on a 'warm-up' that helped an otherwise 'dead' MBP to boot, but YMMV. (Nothing can help w/some failures.)

(added 9/8/2011, from Sept 7th, 2011 email)
"MacBook Pro 15" 2.2ghz core duo A1226 powerbook
Had the "nearly dead machine" version of the problem - fan/drive noise, no chime, SMC and PRAM no effect (no chime, so, never getting far enough to PRAM, really) no lights on keyboard, no target disk mode, no caps lock light - just dim power light, brighter when lid closed, and utterly black internal and external displays. The one several people have reported not being able to get Apple to fix since the machine won't run far enough to run the utility to show that the bad video controller is what's killing the overpriced logic board...

(Had also tried reseating RAM, half at a time, different RAM, one slot only RAM, but I guess on further reading that it should either beep or blink the power light if there's a RAM problem - anyway, all that had no effect whatever.)

Put another success in the "hot macbook" quick fix column - Found that last night, and while I actually have a proper hot air soldering rework station and all the tools to get inside, I opted to start with the simplicity (and less opportunity to break other things getting in and out) of that method. Removed battery so as not to cook it, turned on (or as "on" as it turns in that state), wrapped in a fleece, set upside down, added another sweatshirt to the pile on the video port side of the machine. Left for about 2 hours, got good and hot. Pulled power plug, left wrapped for a while (20 minutes?) undisturbed. Unwrapped while keeping it upside down, left for a while longer (30 minutes) to cool.

Pressed the power button for 10 seconds again to reset the SMC the n-th time for the day, put the battery back in, turned upright, plugged in the power, crossed fingers, touched wood, booted up (reset the PRAM for good measure while I was here)! Backed up like a fiend...

We'll have to see if we can get the "more than 4 year" repair that someone else got, since the 2007 15" 2.2ghz core duo A1226 powerbook is now a few months over 4 years old. Had given no problem with the video up to this point, so haven't had cause to take it in up to now. Will let you know how that goes when we try it.
Lawrence S."


(added 9/8/2011, from Sept 6th, 2011 email)
"Just thought I'd add my story to the massive list of people who have already posted.
I have an early 2008 MBP 4,1 with Lion (10.7)
Started having screen flashes followed by an immediate freeze, although the mouse would still respond for a bit. Restarts usually resulted in a kernel panic, and booting into single-user mode (hold cmd + s at boot) and running 'fsck -f' would allow me to boot back into osx, but the flash/freeze would occur within minutes.

Fired up the google machine (on my 5 year old acer, which still keeps up with today's machines) and quickly found hundreds of similar posts. Then i found the official Apple KB article and was stoked that my mbp would still be covered even though it's out of warranty.

Took it into an Apple Store, they hooked up the USB tester, and during the first boot it froze at the apple screen. Second boot got all the way into Lion. After running the test the "genius" (def. not a smart girl, btw) told me it wasn't the GPU...then the looked at my serial # and said my mbp wasn't in the "bad run" of the nvidia 8600M units...this sounded like BS to me, because I CLEARLY have a GPU failure, with the exact issues as everyone else posting here and elsewhere, but she said it was a logic board issue and would cost around $300.

So i'm going to try my luck at a different store. This time I'm bringing in the apple kb article and possibly a print off of this site, just to show that I'm completely aware of how apple is "handling" this situation, and that my mbp needs to be covered.
I'll post back with my results.
-Sean"

Thanks and Good Luck. (Over the years here several owners have reported better luck with a 2nd test/checkout, but nothing is a sure thing (with anything). If it were up to me, anyone with a MBP w/one of these GPUs would get the repair regardless.-Mike)


(added 6/20/2011, from June 20th, 2011 email)
"I am the owner of a 15in MBP 2007 model (2.4 ghz intel) affected by the nvidia chip failure and have found this site tremendously helpful!
My story - my 3 year old MacBook pro just died on me the other day with absolutely zero warning. When i press the power key, I hear the SuperDrive try to eject, the sleep light flashes.... And then nothing.
After all the normal tricks to fix this, I took it in to the genius bar where I was informed the the logic board was dead and that it would cost me $1300 (!?) to fix the computer. "you should just go ahead and buy a new one" I was told...
I came across this site via google and then stumbled upon the apple doc here (this one) describing the extension of the free fix for affected computers. I called apple tech support and was put in touch with a senior person there--once I described the problem she apologized for the genius assessment of the situation, said it sounded like classic symptoms of the nvidia chip failure and arranged for apple to pick up, repair and return my computer to me at no cost. Best of all, she mentioned turn around time of 3-5 business days.

Glad to have found this site which allowed me to speak to the tech support people in an intelligent way about the problem. Even happier that I'm not loosing my machine and don't have to spend $$ to get it fixed or buy a new one.
Hopefully everyone who has this problem gives tech support a call and gets the same helpful people I got. Thanks!
-Shaleen"

Glad the info helped.


A two time repair:

(added 6/20/2011, from June 20th, 2011 email)
"I just had my 2007 Santa Rosa MBP 17" fail on Friday for the second time. I thought they were still fixing and found the link on the Apple website (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377) stating that they are now covering this failure from 4 years of original purchase. (As noted on top of this page, the Apple doc (MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues) was revised to note a 4 year extension in June 2010. (Originally in Fall 2008 it was 2 years, revised in 2009 for 3 years, and 4 years in 2010.) Doc was revised again earlier this year (2011) but still shows 4 years (as of June 2011). And still has the note "Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed."-Mike)
I took it to the Apple store on Saturday morning. They ran the verification diagnostic and said yep it's the NVIDIA GPU failure and it was a no charge repair. They called me back like 6 hours later to say it's ready. The repair would have cost me $948.69, but NVIDIA is paying :)
That is why I buy only Apple laptops.
-Mike W."


(added 6/20/2011, from June 18th, 2011 email)
FYI - just wanted to chime in.
I just got my logic board replaced due to an nVidia failure.
I've never had any issues until last Saturday, when my display started having vertical bar issues. It happened twice within 5 minutes, then returned to normal.
I visited the Genius bar that day and my MBP failed the nVidia test. They replaced the part (logic board) under warranty.
FYI, my MBP was purchased July or August (I can't remember exactly) of 2007, so it is just under the 4 year mark.
-Robert C."


(added 2/7/2011, from 2/3/2011 email)
"My 17" MBP came off applecare in Nov 2010, and my graphics chip bit it at the end of Jan 2011. I put it to sleep, went to Uni and opened it to give a presentation and the screen was dead, plugged into external DVI and it was dead too.
Screen shared into it and it was up and running fine, system profiler only showed the built-in Intel graphics, no sign of the Nvidia. (The 8600M equipped MBPs have no Intel-graphics chip, but apparently that is the driver loaded and reported on IIRC if the 8600M fails.)
Took it into Apple retail and they tried two of their test iPod boots but got no result. They said they were sure it is the Nvidia issue and had a logic board in stock and it is being repaired at no cost.
So, no problem getting it repaired for me.
-Doug S."


(added 2/7/2011, from 2/1/2011 email)
"My 2.4Ghz MBP failed about 3 weeks ago with the standard symptoms of no video, no chime and dimmed sleep light, after a restart from the installation of 10.6.6. I tried all the known procedures, with no result.
Having read about the GPU problems while they were happening, I decided purchasing an APP was in order. This is a refurb btw, bought late 2008, so it lasted more than 2 years before failing. I tried to find out why it was a refurb, but got nowhere. At first I thought it was actually a new machine, because it came in the original packaging and looked pristine when I opened it, plus the battery was new. I then realised it had been opened up because it came with a larger HD - 250GB instead of 200GB. Anyhow from there I rang support (Australia) and ran though all the procedures with the support bloke over the phone. He finally conceded it was never going to start and proceeded to generate a job number that I could quote to the local authorised Mac repairer. While doing this I told him of a couple of Kernel panics I had seen over the time, and the strange graphics I was getting - only in Safari when I'd go back to Top Sites. Basically it was a screen of blocks that had partial graphics from the last few widows I had opened. I had put this down to Photoshop CS5 which accesses the GPU for rendering. It all seemed to coincide with that installation. When I turned that facility off in PS, the glitches continued, so that blew my theory. ( n.b. I still have the same glitches after the repair, so I'm stumped with that.) Anyhow, when the support bloke heard this, his ears pricked up and he said he was going to take this 'down' a level and would be keeping an eye on it. Long story short, it had a new logic board installed under the APP, and here I am typing on it.
The things that get me are - It failed to re-start after an OS upgrade. I'm reading about this more and more - what's going on there?
Plus I'm still not sure, that if I didn't have the APP, and the support person didn't pick up on the graphics problems (which are still there), I would have actually got the free fix, because the machine wouldn't start, meaning they couldn't run the usb key plug-in test. ???
-Andrew"

In some cases (reports here) if the system won't boot some may claim the logic board failed vs the GPU and may refuse a free (w/o warranty) repair.


Another reminder to get a 2nd test should you get refused initially. (YMMV but always worth trying)

(from 1/29/2011 email)
"Like many others, I've had this GPU failure on my 15" Macbook Pro in the past. When it happened I was still under Apple Care and Apple replaced my Logic Board. I'm actually writing as my friend who happened to purchase his 17" Macbook Pro back when I had originally purchased mine just recently opened his laptop to find he no longer had video. The Nvidia 8600M had failed. He went to the nearest Apple store where they informed him that the repair is no longer covered and that it would cost $900.00 for Apple to repair -OR- they could send it to an external vendor for repair @ $300.00.

Because I read this website, I have seen it suggested that should you get a denial from one Apple store, simply go to another, ask someone else. This is exactly what I suggested my friend do. Luckily we have multiple Apple stores local, so he took his Laptop to another Apple store and they covered the repair without blinking an eye. (see above for apple page on finding service providers) In fact, they completed the repair within a day!

So, I thought I would drop you a line to say thanks for providing the info that you do, and also as a friendly reminder to all those out there with similar issues to try another Apple store should they meet resistance at the first one they go to...especially in regards to the flawed 8600M.
Thanks, Aron"


(added 1/15/2011, from 1/11/2011 email)
"Here is my story.
My 3 year old MBP 3,1 failed suddenly (no prior symptoms). First, a black screen and no response when trying to wake from sleep. I rebooted and it managed to start after a few attempts. Soon afterward it froze with scrambled video. I was able to login over my local network (screen sharing). I took a few screen grabs to document what was happening.

Subsequent reboots resulted in black and white patterns (vertical lines or sometimes checkerboards). Other reboots had scrambled color. All of this was consistent with gpu failure reports.

I was able to startup in target disk mode, and copied the entire disk (I had other backups, so this was extra protection). The symptoms disappeared afterward. By then I had made a genius appointment at my local Apple store. The knowledgeable genius went directly to the test via an external drive. The results were no problem (i.e., the test said my system was OK). I discussed symptoms in more detail with the genius and showed him my screen grabs. At that point he offered to do a replacement. It is therefore clear that the software test is not the only criteria. (and for those with failures that have the tester say it did not qualify, sometimes having another test run (by another dealer) has gotten the repair covered. (Leading some to think the tester is misreading the results.))
My system was repaired and back in my hands in about 30 hours. Apple exceeded my expectations. Thanks, Steve.
Brian"


(added 1/15/2011, from 1/3/2011 email)
"Like so many others my MacBook Pro mid 2007 15" 2.4 Ghz started to develop video issues a few days before Christmas. At first I thought it was caused by my replacing the hard drive with a larger faster one. But as time progressed my machine went from periodic failures to total black out at boot and finally a weird checkerboard pattern when I finally took it to see a Genius.

I had an Apple Care Warranty that expired in July 2010 so I was not expecting good news. However, upon running their tests I was informed that they would replace the logic board for free (GPU is soldered on motherboard) and that the machine would be ready in a few days. I picked up my MBP a few days after Christmas and its working great. The bill would have been over $900 to do the repair.

One added thing I will share with your readers, I purchased this on an AMEX card with buyer assurance, that extended the warranty for an additional year past my Apple Care, so I would have been covered for the repair regardless. I highly recommend always using a card for this sort of purchase even if you pay off the bill the next cycle. Also, although expensive, the Apple Care Warranty is worth the money.
Thanks for your site.
-Tom F."

Thanks. (Not sure how many cards still offer the free extended warranties now but it has been mentioned in the past as something to check/consider.)


(added 1/15/2011, from 1/2/2011 email)
"I just took my wife's MBP (15 inch, bought 1/2008) for repair. It was displaying a colored, plaid pattern and message to restart (kernel panic) and hardware test found an error with the graphics system.
The Genius tested it, checked that it fit the models with the Nvidia problem, filled out some paperwork and sent it off for repairs. It was easy and his attitude was proper: Nvidia has a problem and they are fixing it.
-Peter O."


(from 12/17/2010 email)
"A quick note to let you know about my recent repair.
I have a late 2007 15" Macbook Pro (bought in the UK) that suffered the nvidia failure (blank screen). I am currently in Germany, and took it to a local service providor. There were no problems - passed the (qualification) test, replacement logic board arrived the next day and it was ready for pick up that evening.
They knew the problem well - they said they get more than 6 a week.
I would recommend finding an authorised service providor that can replace the logic board in house. This wasn't the closest to me but many would send it away to Apple for the repair which would mean a much longer delay.
-Robin"


(from 12/15/2010 email)
"I had the blank screen of death issue as well. The computer would not turn on at all. I paid 320 for the repair work and on the repair sheet it says "Graphics processor issue on MLB". The next day I found out that Aple was issuing refunds for the same type of issue. I went back to the apple store and demanded a refund. After some waiting another guy came to me and said that it "appears" to be the same type of problem but it is not. He said that in my case it was a faulty logic board and that if it was the recall issue they would have found out about it and would have stated it in the repair sheet and not charge me. Any ideas what I can do to battle this?
-Qaizaar"

Not other than contacting apple support via phone and disputing this. (I cant say if it was the GPU alone, but you're not alone in having a dealer say it was a logic board issue, not the GPU. However as noted here for years, some have had the test run a 2nd time (at another dealer) after getting refused the first time for the free repair. But as always/with anything - YMMV and nothing is a sure thing.)


(from 12/11/2010 email)
"wanted to let you know about our experience in getting our macbook pro repaired.
A couple months ago, myfiancÄe told me her macbook had died - it just quit. We'd noticed it running rather hot last year, but it was still under applecare at that point - we took it in and it was cleaned and given a good bill of health. From that point (as far as I knew) it was OK until it died. I suspected something had gotten hot so we gave it a few minutes to cool off, I pulled the battery and started it back up - it booted. We then copied over what she needed and she went back to work for her finals... Then it died again. I didn't see it - from what I understand it just quit.

From that point, there was nothing but a black screen. It would boot, chime and respond to keystrokes, but the display was off and no external monitor would work. I tried all the standard approaches to restarting a misbehaving mac and had no luck. I was *very* relievedafter finding your site and seeing that this had all the symptoms of the failure covered under the recall. It was out of applecare coverage so we planned to travel to the nearest Apple store - 2 hours away.

We called beforehand and we were told that there were two local Apple certified service centers here though - obviously, that'd be better. So myfiancÄetook the laptop in and the tech said it didn't boot and wasn't testable. She came home disparaged and assumed we needed to buy another. I asked what the tech needed to see and she indicated it simply needed to boot for the test to work - we needed to hear it chime after a power-up. So I plugged it in and powered it up - it chimed. We went through that 9 times before it failed to chime... then another 4-5 times before it failed again. So it booted successfully more than 90% of the times I attempted - each time reacting to volume and such as you'd expect.

We returned to the same place and wouldn't you guess - it didn't boot. He tried quite a few times... It wouldn't boot and he said he couldn't test it.

We then took it to the next shop - they kept the laptop overnight. They called the next night and said it couldn't be tested, it was not the fault of the Nvidia failure - but the logic board was bad and it wasn't covered. I tried to ask for more details (I'm an electrical engineer and I know enough to be skeptical) and what I was told led me to believe the following: Apple has prescribed a flawed test method to diagnose this issue. You cannot expect the system to function well enough to self-diagnose if the GPU has failed in an unknown mode. It isn't surprising that each machine seeing this failure might behave differently from the next.

Since my fiancée had to go to Houston anyway, she took the laptop and went to the Apple store there just to see what they'd say. After five minutes, the tech behind the counter said exactly what I'd hoped - it was the GPU failure. Wow... what a surprise... The machine with a known, obvious, glowing failure behaved unpredictably from test to test and in one out of many attempts, it gave the tech the result he needed to see in order to approve repair.

All I can say is this: I'm glad Apple covered the repair. I'm not certain anyone can trust their test method 100%. In many cases, machines may receive repair they shouldn't and it's likely that many more that should are refused.

It looks like Apple is playing the statistics here and trying to cover their screw-up and protect their reputation. They know that most people will be replacing the laptop within 3 years anyway, so if it's refused coverage it's just another reason to buy a new one - and they're banking on that fierce brand loyalty they've built up. They're covering far fewer laptops than they should and as a result they can say only some small percentage of them actually failed due to the GPU.
Anyway - I'm perfectly happy with my Dell. I think I'll stay with it...
-Phillip W."


(from 12/1/2010 email)
"...I have a 2007 17in MBP on which the GPU has failed. Booked it in with an Apple store and they ran the nVidia diagnostic and casually announced that it isn't covered (its outside of the chip serial numbers they will accept). They then gave me a quote of ú600 to repair it. They, however, could not answer my questions about why this was not covered by the warranty as it was clearly a defective logic board/GPU chip.

So I am stuck with an expensive machine that after only 3 years, is now, according to the "Genius", scrap. All of the information publically available on this fault indicates that any macbook of the right age with the right chipset installed will be covered if the GPU has failed. This is absolutely NOT so. (The catch is that the test App has to 'qualify' the failure - some that were refused initially tried a 2nd time at another dealer with better 'luck'.-Ed) There is no mention of a diagnostic check for the chip serial number (it's not a S/N of the GPU chip thats checked. For systems within the claimed affected production range, etc - a test app is run (booted from USB drive at dealer) that is used to check the failure.) and as such the information that Apple have released is highly misleading, they need to rectify this asap. As far as I can figure there is an extremely limited amount of chip serial numbers that Apple/nVidia will cover rather than the whole lot that are obviously defective.
So I now have to pull the HDD and start recovering data and converting what I can to use on a Dell i7 laptop (which cost a hell of a lot less than the MBP!). As the MBP was my main work machine I do have a backup but its still hours of work I shouldn't have to do.
I am furious that such an obvious problem has been wriggled out of by Apple. Needless to say I am going to complain bitterly to Apple.
-Phil H."

Back in mid-Oct (2010) in the main news page I linked to a class action settlement on this (The NVIDIA GPU Litigation) - that lawsuit was not apple specific (included dell, HP, apple and other mfrs that used the affected GPUs in products.)


(from 11/30/2010 email)
"Same issue. Early 2008 MBP and they won't fix faulty NVIDIA/Logic Board issue. 2 years old. Annoying.
-Julian Y."


(added 9/16/2010 - from 9/15 mail)
"Greetings, I found your article when troubleshooting my video problem. I realized this may be the issue so I took it to an Apple shop. They tested it in 5 minutes and told me it was will be covered under warranty.

I purchased my Mac about 2 years and 8 months ago and only have my default 1 year warranty. Any way, I am suppose to be picking up my Macbook Pro any day now.
Regards, Sergio"


(added 9/16/2010 - from 9/12 mail)
"The other day, my early 2008 15-inch Macbook Pro's screen failed to turn on (though it does chime and the fans begin to run, etc). I look it up and sure enough, many others experience the same thing and it is a documented problem for my model. I tried resetting the PRAM, to no avail. I was convinced that the Nvidia was the problem.

I took it to the Genius bar at the Apple store, told him the problem and that I thought it was a failed graphics processor. He connects it to an external (which didn't work), and then told me he would take it in the back to run a test.

I don't know what kind of test he tried to run, but he said he was unable to perform the test. (as mentioned here - the GPU failure test is run from an external USB HD) The Genius claimed I had "tier 4 damage" because it looked like it had been dropped, without any evidence that this would have anything to do with what was wrong with it. He claimed this meant they couldn't take it in to repair unless they fixed everything that's wrong with it (including superficial damage like scratches and dents) so that it could be released in good condition. I don't understand that policy, but he told me this would cost $1300 and that I should just buy a new MBP.

After reading your article I know believe that the Genius was simply incompetent and didn't know how to diagnose the problem, or didn't listen to me when I said I thought it was the nvidia GPU. He was consulting with another Genius about how to diagnose it, so I doubt he had any experience dealing with this issue before.
I plan on taking it to a different service provider for a second opinion.
Thanks, Jesse"

Always good to get a 2nd test run at another ASP if refused at first (several reports here on that - but of course nothing is a sure thing.)


(added 9/16/2010 - from 9/3 mail)
"Unfortunately I have to report that my Macbook pro logic board (Santa Rosa 2.2ghz / 128Mb 8600GT) has failed too. The symptoms were clear : sudden screen freezes (with multicolor dots appearning), black screen at boot. When it did work the Apple Hardware test gave a video card error, so that was clear too. I was able to start the machine most of the times, and able to access it through remote screen management. When I did that, I could see that the machine did not even recognize a graphics chip anymore : it seemed as if I was running a computer without graphics card (not listed in video section of hardware profile any more). Effectively, the graphics chip seemed dead. Strange enough, when I tried again a couple of days later, it started working again as if nothing was wrong. This again didn't last long, a couple of days later it was dead again, and has been on and off a couple of times since.

I took the MBP into our ASP at the beginning of august, but after checking it it wasn't flagged as eligible for repair, so that was that. Had to pay █45 for the checking of the machine too. Arguing didn't help. Calling Apple didn't help either. Quote for a new logic board : █1000+. No thanks! Tried heating it up, and again the 8600GT woke from the dead, but only for a couple of days again (so this could've been a coincidence as well).
(It's too late now but if possible I would have gotten a 2nd test done at another ASP.-Ed)

In the end I purchased a new logic board on ebay for about █275 and installed it myself. I'm up and running again, but in total I lost █340 on it. Thank you Apple, you suck.
Kind regards, Thorgal"


(added 9/16/2010 - from 9/1 mail)
"I have a 2007 2.4ghz 17" Macbook Pro that had a failed graphics processor. I qualified for an out of warranty repair because this is a known issue but I was denied a cost free repair for some unknown reason. The non-human hardware test said I did not qualify is the best I can understand it, even though the graphics card did fail. What? I don't get how I can have a faulty graphics card and it fails, Apple admits a problem, but then I flip the bill...?
I saw your article online so I am sending you an email about my experience per your request. (Did you try another ASP for a 2nd test? (For several readers that got an initially refused repair covered, but of course nothing is a sure thing.-Ed) I have gone back and forth with Apple about this to the point where I don't know what else to say or do. I actually feel bad for bothering the Apple employees at this point. Graphic processors crash in all kinds of ways but mine did not crash the right way apparently - is my best conclusion. (It's not a crash - the 'affected' run of GPUS can have actual package (chip) separation/failures.)
I wish Apple would step to the plate and cover me because it seems as obvious as Toyota replacing faulty brakes on a car but in this case it's like Toyota is backing out because people who owned the brakes did not crash the car the right way. Minus the obvious safety risk it's the same thing, which is the only positive, I have my health and can't die using the computer unless the Matrix is real then maybe I can, but you get my point... Really disapointed in Apple. So many employees and technicians at the Apple store but no one can override the decisions dictated by the computers. The Matrix is semi real at the very least. Can a computer diagnose a faulty computer? Is it possible both computers are faulty? I think so.

I did have the computer repaired. New logic board. $330 dollar repair. Not a bad price for a logic board but not a free price either. I wish I asked for the old logic board back to have an independent source look at it but I assume it may be too late to get it back. That's my story
-Nerd"


(added 8/16/2010)
"Just letting you know that I have had success in getting my MBP 15" repaired under warranty. My original post was on the 7/30/2010. I did not have any Applecare Warranty. Machine bought in 08/07. After no success or joy from my original ASP, I decided to send it off to ASP #2 for a second opinion. They were confident that it could be covered under the warranty. Not sure how (why they could and not the first one), but they have been able to replace the logic board and GPU with a REV 2 version. I have noticed it runs considerably cooler than it used to.

The unfortunate thing about everything is that ASP #1 convinced me that it was a logic board problem and not a GPU fault and would not be covered under warranty so I had to buy a brand new machine (AU$2700). After doing a little research later, I have my original machine back working thanks to ASP #2, but it still worked out to be an expensive exercise...
-Glen"


(added 8/16/2010)
"Hi, my MBP died on me a couple weeks ago as well. All the usual signs as everyone else is having and I was also out of warranty by about two years. After reading all the responses on your website I was prepared to go into the Apple Store for a fight.
Anyway, I went into the Apple Store in Sydney this morning, I told the Genius what my problem was and he said he would do a test on the video card. The test failed (GPU failure test flagged as qualifying) and he checked the serial he had on screen with the one on my MBP and told me it was covered by the video defect.

Although I am very pleased its being fixed for free I still can't help but think that it all seems a bit like a cover up for a major problem with the MBP's. I asked the Genius if the same problem could happen with my new logic board and he said even though he doubted it would, there is every chance it could happen again.
To me it seems there is a fault in these mac's (probably due to being prone to running too hot) and Apple thinks that by offering free fixes to a bunch of randomly selected serial numbers, it will be enough to keep the majority of people convinced that they are taking responsibility and conveniently get some quite expensive repairs or a new sale out of it.
(FYI - As mentioned originally here (see early posts below from 2008) - this nvidia GPU issue is related to the mfg/pkg and is not (by a longshot) specific to Macbook Pros. As noted in the early articles in mid-2008 (some linked here), various brands/models of PC notebooks are also affected/also used these Nvidia GPUs. (I'd guess the total number of units are in the millions - and notice the size of the charge Nvidia took initially on this in 2008 - reportedly $150-$200 Million. That gives you an idea of the scope/number of affected units in consumers hands.) Not all have/will fail of course (and a certain % of any electronics fail regardless), but this is not a MBP/apple system specific issue. Here's some links I posted back in 2008 to some (of many) articles on the web - "Dell issues update for Nvidia graphics chip glitch" (July 26th, 2008) and another from July 2008 titled HP: Nvidia graphics defect an issue since November 2007.-Mike)

Or maybe not but it just seems very odd that there is no consistency when people are having the exact same problems. Also I guess we all only hear about the ones that failed and not the ones who haven't had any problems. (This is a page on failures/repairs so of course it's only going to list those that have failed. Many haven't failed of course, but it was enough of an issue that apple (and some other mfrs) went public about it.-Mike) Like the Genius said to me today, that only a small number in the grand scheme of things are getting this problem. Maybe he is right and we are just the unlucky ones.

So I don't really know what to think about this whole ordeal, hence why I'm writing this so that at least other people can read and base their own opinions. What I do know though is that no one should be paying for a new logic board at these outrageous prices. There are quite a few places that repair them for less than a quarter of the price.
Sorry for the rant. Brad P"


(added 8/2/2010)
"Mike, Wanted to let you know that my MacBook Pro 2.2 with Nvidia 8600M died last month. I had always been following your reports and keeping my fingers crossed that my primary work machine would hold up. My symptoms were similar to what many report. No screen on startup but with no signs that startup did not complete. I went through my regular magic tricks, remove battery, reset ram, flash PRAM, all to no avail. Strange things were going with the battery charger cable with it flashing yellow and then green on my different startup attempts.

For about 8 months I had been running a Crucial M225 SSD as my boot/app drive with a Western Digital Blue for my data drive in the DVD bay. This setup has been ideal for me and since I never touched the firmware on the M225, it was very stable without a single instance of downtime. I do use Carbon Cloner to keep a clone of my SSD on the WD drive. I was concerned that this dual drive setup would be a problem for me when I took my machine into service.

As an expat living in Barcelona I was worried that my access to Apple techs would be limited. Although BCN has a big Mac user base there are no Apple owned service centers here. In addition, there are only two official Apple service centers in the city center. I went to the service center closest to my house (CTA SERVEIS, CONSELL DE CENT, 382) and they wanted 40 euros before they would look at it and then told me that it would be at least a week before a tech could get to it. The worst was their smug, holier than thou attitude so common in Mac shops in Spain and Latin America. So I trekked across town to the other service provider (MICROGESTIO, CALLE VALENCIA, 87-89) where I was treated really well. I spoke with a tech right from the start and he told me that they have been seeing more and more of these Nvidia issues coming in. He explained that that they would run the Apple test a minimum of three times if they did not get the right result and that they had found that letting the machine sit for a bit and then rerunning the test had improved results. He also explained that the dual drive setup was not going to be a problem. The Apple test came back positive and within 7 working days I had a new logic board installed at no cost to me.

The MICROGESTIO guys were great and they sent SMS messages through out the process. Anyone looking for Apple service in BCN should check them out.
Thanks, TAD"


(added 8/2/2010)
"I have three of the MacBook Pros with the 8600M graphic chip. Two have failed and both were out of warranty. They were both fixed at no cost to me with a new motherboard by an Apple authorized retailer.
When one failed, it had all the weird screen colors. On the other the screen went completely dead, but I connected the computer via target disk mode and could see it was functioning.
Incidentally, the repair shop told me that they had repaired quite a few and only one had come back, but it had other issues, so perhaps the replacement motherboard is better.
-John S."

There may be exceptions (where someone has gotten a totally new motherboard) but in general I think the replacement motherboards (GPU is soldered on the motherboard) are typically "refurbished" (repaired/GPU replaced) and are stocked as service parts for this repair program vs. brand new motherboards. One recent report here confirmed this as his 'corroded' motherboard (from liquid spill) was refused as it could not be used as part for a refurbished service part.
Typical service sites don't have the equipment necessary to replace just the GPU so I think they send the (failed GPU) motherboards in batches to a facility that can replace the GPU. Then the repaired (GPU replaced) motherboards are stocked as (refurbished) service parts.


(added 7/30/2010)
"Not sure if this is a common occurrence but it certainly seems to be fairly rare so I thought I'd drop you a line:
A year ago (almost to the day) my 2007 17" MBP suffered the famous Nvidia GPU failure. I took it into the Genius bar, they ran their test and sure enough confirmed the issue, and did a free replacement. I was assured at the time, that the issue would not repeat, as they're using "Rev 2" Logic Boards to replace the failed ones.

Fast forward to yesterday, and after a restart (to install the Safari update) sure enough, no video, on the built in display or my 20" ACD. Tried the usual PRAM, SMC resets, no good. Took it into the Genius bar, (ironically I got the same guy again, and they have a lot of staff at that store) and he re-iterated that the Rev2 boards are not supposed to have the same issue.

He ran the test, and sure enough, it was the same issue again. I have to assume this is a very rare occurrence, as he said that he'd never heard of/seen it happening to a Rev2, and the billing system needed a manager to override the "normal" Logic Board replacement fee, because it wouldn't accept that the same machine could suffer the same issue twice.

I'm glad its being repaired free of charge, however it does raise a question - there is no Rev 3 Logic Board for that model, so what happens if they starts failing for people all over again?
Cheers, Stephen"

I can't recall if anyone else here has had a 2nd failure (I'd have to read all the reports again) but hopefully this is just a random failure. (I'd be curious if the failure was due to pkg separation or not.)
There were rumors as far back as 2008 IIRC that some later runs (even 9x00's) might also have the pkg issue (leading to possible separation over time/thermal cycles). I remember linking to a story about an (early production/fall 2008) unibody MBP having its 9600M GT GPU disected to test for that back then. (And replies from NV about better adhesive used IIRC, there being no issue with later production runs, etc.)


(added 7/30/2010 from 7/24 email)
"My MBP had its screen die. No picture, the laptop was clearly functioning. I took it into an Apple store where they ran a quick check and said, "Yes, the graphics processor is failing."
They then took it from me to open it up and a few days later said that although the graphics processor was failing, they would not reimburse for the repair because I had spilled water on the laptop about a year and a half ago. This resulted in some corrosion and they couldn't take my logic board and put it into a factory reconditioned unit. Since they couldn't do that, they weren't going to reimburse the repair.
Of course, that didn't have anything to do with if they believed it had anything to do with the failure.
-Matthew M."

How bad is the corrosion? (just wonder if you could do some cleanup/touch-up to make it less visible and try again at another location - unless they flagged the S/N, etc. in their case/database.) Personally I think unless they can prove the spill caused the damage/failure, they should still cover it but my opinion means nothing of course. I'd ask for a higher level contact to argue your case. (This reminded me about the liquid contact indicators in some Apple products (iPhone, iPod, some MacBook/Pros and some desktop Keyboards - ref: apple docs on About liquid contact indicators (LCI) on portable and desktop computers (updated 1/18/2010 but lists only 2008 MacBook/Pros? - I'd assume later ones also) and iPhone and iPod: Liquid damage is not covered by warranty)


(added 7/30/2010 from 7/20 email)
"I was just reading your article about the macbook pro GPU failures. I must say that I have got problems to get mine repaired. I went to the apple genius bar and they said that my graphic card has been repaired by a third party before, so the warranty does not cover it anymore. (Was the original repair done by an apple authorized person/company?) I know that is not my fault and I am trying to find a way to make apple repaired it. In fact Apple should have even refund me for my repair.
I should say that I am in China and these apple Genius bars know nothing about the extended warranty.
(Have they not read the Apple doc on the subject ? (it's been public/online since Oct 2008)-Mike)
I need help and I want Apple to know that I am not happy with their service here in China.
best regards,
N'dji dit Jacques D."

Is there any other dealers in your area (to try a 2nd time elsewhere) - I included a link here (above) to apple's page on How to find your nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider. It may not help (especially if repair done by non-authorized source), but worth a try.


Another "Won't Boot" Report:

(added 7/30/2010, from 7/16 email)
"I may need some help/advice in having my MBP repaired. Mine is a 15" pro with a NVidia Graphics card etc. It showed all the signs and symptoms I have been reading about. Working yesterday, not working today. No start up, no chime, blank black screen. I hear something start to turn with the power button is depressed. The power supply light is green, the battery is fully charged. However it never really lasted much longer than 2 min of late. The unit ran extremely hot I thought and could not be used as a "laptop" unless you could stand burning thighs.
I have taken it my trusty Apple Repair Centre. They have told me it's the logic board. No power is getting through the board, so no chance of them testing the graphics card. I called Apple Australia, they have said that the two are not related. They said that since no chime is happening it is purely the logic board is dead. I am not convinced after reading several pages of other owners similar problems with this particular model.
Not sure where I should go from here. Any thoughts/ideas?
Thanks, Glen"

Some others have had this same problem (won't power up/boot so can't run the _required_ USB HD boot/Qual test for the GPU warranty extension). I can't say of course that it's not something more than the GPU, but _some_ (not all) have noted the past tip of 'warming up' the MBP got theirs to boot. (I assume heat made some open ckt/trace make contact again - yes a longshot but worth a try. It helped at least one other reader here with that problem.)


(added 6/14/2010)
"MacBook Pro problem chronology (and successful resolution) [June 11, 2010, beginning approximately four weeks ago]: Occasionally, when waking from sleep, the screen would be very dim. The screen would return to normal brightness, however, if I pressed either of the the keyboard "brightness" keys.

On Sunday, June 6, 2010, I was watching a soccer game via internet streaming video, with the MacBook Pro attached to my television. During the game, I noticed that the MacBook Pro screen went "black" for about 10 minutes, then came on again. When this happened, my television picture blinked slightly (both times), but remained on.
On Sunday evening I played a computer game for a couple of hours, then put the computer to "sleep", normally.
On Monday, the computer would not wake from sleep and would not boot. I tried several options in an attempt to reboot, including zapping the PRAM, and resetting the SMC controller. The computer would not boot. [Note: I could not attempt to boot from disc because there was a computer game dvd still in in the computer superdrive. It would not eject.]

I then used my iMac to check out the internet and found that my computer was purchased at a time when there was a known manufacturing problem related to the GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing chip. The item at "http://support.apple.com/kb/ts2377" (MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues, originally posted in Oct. 2008, updated several times since (as noted in this page intro since Oct. 2008) - now showing 4yr extended GPU warranty.-Mike) suggested the repair might be done free of charge if the failure was confirmed to be related to the GPU, and occured within three years from date of purchase (which it did). (Now it's now 4 years from date of purchase as mentioned in June 10th, 2010 update.-Mike) I also read all of the items on (this page) "www.xlr8yourmac.com/feedback/MacBookPro_video_failure.html#repairs", which contained dozens of variations describing these GPU related failures.

After scheduling an appointment with the "Genius Bar" at the Ginza, Tokyo Apple store, I took it in on June 10th. The folks there were kind enough to provide an English language interpreter. I provided a Japanese language print-out of the Apple support article TS2377, and explained the chronology of my MacBook failure. The guy at the Genius Bar doubted that my problem was related to the GPU failure, but took my Mac, with a referral to the engineers to find the problem. His personal estimate was about Japanese Yen 51000 (US $560) to repair what he diagnosed as a logic board failure. I took the train back to my country-side home, thinking I would have to pay big bucks to have my 2 1/2 year old MacBook Pro fixed.

About 6:30 PM the same day, I got a call from an Apple engineer in Tokyo -- my Mac was fixed, and the root cause of the failure was diagnosed as the failure of the GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing chip -- and there would be no charge for the repair! I picked up "my baby" on June 11th, and I am obviously a satisfied customer.

This was my 6th Mac computer (I started computing on a Mac Plus), and I will remain one of the faithful.

I thank all of you who have posted at xlr8youmac.com for enlightening me, and I hope the description of the problem I had (and its successful resolution) will bolster an argument for someone who has similar symptoms with the GeForce 8600M GT graphics processing chip and consequent failure of the entire MacBook Pro logic board.
James T.
Inzai, Japan"


(added 6/14/2010 from June 12th email)
"I want to share my story with you, as your site has been a great help to solve the situation.
I went this morning (12/06/10) to the AASP "Gravis" in Bremen, Germany, with my "no screen, only bootable in safe mode" Macbook Pro 2.2Ghz bought in Spain in August 2007. I had not invoice just the laptop with its serial number, of course.
The tech lady who attended me inmediatly knew what was I talking about, and without me needing to further elaborate on the issue, she took it for a "USB hardware test" (boot from USB HD w/diagnostics test) to tell me if the repairement would fall into the cases of free reparation by Apple.
A few minutes later she came back and confirmed that the whole logic board will be replaced at no cost and that it will be ready on Tuesday.
THANKS GRAVIS BREMEN! Great service, its noticeable that they have skilled people who know about their products there. And Apple, now you have a fan for life!
-Gonzalo"


(added 6/14/2010 from June 9th email)
"My macbook pro 2.2 ghz. 10.6.3. Nividia 8600gt with 128MB vram started to show weird corrupt video. It would be filming a lecture with a logitek camera then the video would get all jumbled. I thought it had frozen but when the machine later worked the video recording had continued (luckily as I needed the info from that lecture). It worked normally for a few days then would not boot. I read info from this page (tip posted here) and heated the machine first (firewire disk mode) and it would work for a while before video issues.

I took the machine to an apple centre in new zealand where they tested with the usb drive and said it failed. The machine came back to me a few days later fully working and no charge for repairs. Great service!
I have used the same camera and the machine runs very quiet now with almost no heat. Before the fan was like a plane taking off. Also I have noticed that overall my battery performance has doubled. (Did they replace the battery also? (some lucky readers have had more than the motherboard replaced during this repair).-Mike) The machine was almost two years out of normal warranty. Will definitely get applecare with my next mac laptop as this machine has had under warranty: new screen, new optical drive and now a new motherboard.
Thanks for all the info at your site.
-CJ"


(added 6/14/2010 from June 5th email)
"I had just read your article and lo and behold an hour later I had my screen go out on my 15" MBP. I rebooted and the screen came back up but kernel panicked every time it booted (even from the Snow Leopard DVD). I took it to the Apple Store in Scottsdale, AZ and a couple technicians ran their MRI test program and the other test programs and they all tested fine. Technician did a clean install of Snow Leopard on the machine and as soon as it came up the video distorted. They would not acknowledge there was a problem with the GPU and sent it off for a depot repair which is now going to cost me some money to get fixed. Have people had any luck when their machines are sent to the depot and they find the GPU issue and not charge for the repair? I really hope this is the case because I really can't afford a $350 hit right now.
-Josh O."

Several reports on this page (and a reminder above also) that if refused at first, to try getting it tested a 2nd time at another location. (there's an apple page linked there for finding service centers) - once it gets sent to the depot my feeling is that they will just repair it (and may not re-run the 'qualifying test' for the GPU failure again).


(added 6/14/2010, from June 4th email)
"My 17" Macbook Pro 2.5GHz (late 2008 model) crashed 2 months ago. Shutdown one evening and it just wouldn't start up the next morning - not even an attempt to boot up. Apple has no official presence here in South Africa, but there are a few agents around in the larger centres - I'm not in one so had to send it off to Johannesburg for testing, via the only reseller in town. It failed the extended warranty check (my drive didn't boot up from another machine) and no validation code was given, so no warranty granted.

Took them one whole week just to answer my question about warranty (whether the 3 years would now be from the date the repaired parts are installed or still from the original purchase date - should they fail again). (FYI - as of June 10th, 2010 the apple doc now notes 4 years from purchase for affected models.-Mike) Still couldn't answer me, but out of sheer desperation had them go ahead with the repairs anyway. 6 weeks later, yes 6, the part finally arrives! Don't know if Apple sends parts out by canoe to South Africa, but that really is pathetic!

A week later I have my machine back. This whole fiasco cost me R7500 which is about $1000. And I got a whopping 3 months warranty on the replaced parts (offered by the agent, not Apple). The logic of replacing a known problematic combo of logic board and GPU with same ones is beyond me. I am so completely unimpressed with Apple in this regard, and livid with their agents here in SA. I've written to Apple Europe to tell them to either pull out of the country or make a plan and get some real customer service down here, because if this is what they're offering to Apple users, they'd be better off not being here at all.
Regards, Steven B."


(added 6/14/2010, from June 3rd email)
"I traded my 2.4Ghz 13" MacBook Aluminum in December for a 2007 3,1 model 2.4Ghz MacBook Pro. I traded my Machine for $400 cash, the MacBook Pro, which has some screen issues (stuck pixels, scratches, etc) and one of the 3 xAA apple bluetooth keyboards. Neither the keyboard nor the trackpad on the MacBook Pro were functional which is why he was including the keyboard. The person I was trading with, said that when he originally acquired the notebook, the keyboard wasn't in working condition. I was already planning on buying a wireless mouse so the trackpad was a non-issue for me.

I was having weird flickering issues for about a day and then they went away. After about a week of paranoia and wondering if the issue would return, I took the MacBook Pro into be tested and they determined the 8600m was faulty. I took it to an authorized repair center, as they are the only apple dealer/service center within an hour of where I live. There is no Apple Store near me.

I brought it home and swapped the original hard drive back into the machine and returned it the next day to be sent off. I had upgraded to a 320GB HDD just a couple weeks prior. When I got it back, they had replaced the Top Case (because neither the keyboard nor trackpad were working) as well as the Display Housing. They did not replace the Screen Bezel or the bottom case. I still have to live with extremely poor battery life, but I'm certainly not complaining. The machine did not have the AppleCare extended warranty.

The Symptoms listed on the Product Repair Summary are: Graphics Issue on MLB, Enclosure - Mechanical/Cosmetic Damage, and No Mouse/Trackpad Response.

In my original messages, when I said AppleCare I meant "AppleCare Service" as referring to the actions performed, as opposed to the AppleCare warranty. Since AppleCare is both the name of something that can be purchased as well as the general term for them providing the service, I should have clarified.

They replaced, 605-1791, 605-1234, and 620-3977 according to the document I received when I picked up my machine. None of my Data was affected. When I put my 320GB back in, I reset PRAM and NVRAM. The only issue I've encountered so far is that I had to authorize my Time Machine Disk for this computer but that only took about a minute.

There was a section on the Repair Summary that stated there would be a payment do and I should expect a bill, but this is crossed out with black marker and the work COVERED is written above it. The repair center was in Houston, TX.
(related Youtube video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I0w1mNvLhQ)
-Drew P."


Yet another report where a first test was refused coverage, but a 2nd test showed otherwise:

(added 6/3/2010)
"My 2008 MBP went blank video a few months ago, and after some research online it was obvious to me that it was the 8600M problem. I brought it to an Apple-approved third-party store (not an Apple Store - Creative Computers/Mac Mall) where the guy ran the 'Apple command line test for warranty approval' - I watched him run the test (which involves booting the computer from an external drive setup for the purpose, (USB drive w/test app) then rebooting and reading the status of a file on that drive), and I saw the test results were a fail. On the basis of this, I was refused warranty service and offered the $350 repair service.

I refused to believe him as I was confident about the nature of the problem, and instead took the laptop to the Genius Bar at the local Apple Store. (Santa Monica, CA) There, I watched the exact same test be run, and this time it passed. No questions were asked, and they unhesitatingly took the MBP in for the extended GPU warranty repair - which was incredibly fast, btw.
So the word is to keep trying until you get satisfaction, for sure.
-Philip O."

This has happened so many times that I wonder if there's more than one version/revision of the test/diagnostics app floating around.


(from 6/1/2010 email)
"I experienced issue with nvidia gpu. Same as many other people, logic board failed to start tests (no sound at beginning, anything else "starts"). I live in Poland where service is done by "Authorized Service", not by Apple. They say that I'm not covered with warranty, and proposed me repair for 2400PLN (around $800). I've tried to call Apple Poland "support phone", but they refused to do ANYTHING about testing my Macbook Pro. I'm trying to contact some european Apple services to ask what to do (maybe they will try to diagnose it). I must add that only diagnose that was done with my unit is:

1. Try to turn on my macbook and run test
2. It didn't turn on properly (One tip for this was to let the MBP sit powered on for awhile to see if heating it up would get it to boot (not always a help but worth trying). If the system won't boot to run the USB drive diagnostic (qualifying test) then they don't cover the GPU repair.)
3. Replace my logic board with working logic board
4. Turn on
5. It works, finish diagnostics

So as you can see, my logic board wasn't diagnosed in any way. I don't know what to do, or how to contact some european Apple support. Could anyone provide me such numbers/email/anything ?
-Kamil"

Personally I don't know any other apple contact info than what they list at their http://www.apple.com/contact/ page. I'd have taken it to another service center to have it tested again (in some cases as reported here having a 2nd test done elsewhere resulted in a covered repair). But if they've already done the motherboard swap, it's too late for that and I doubt you'll be able to get any refund, etc. (Personally I would not pay the 800-1000+ Motherboard swap costs some have noted - although others have quoted much less.)


(added 6/1/2010, from 5/25 mail)
"Great site you really helped me today. My MacBook Pro 15inch died so I went to local approved service centre in UK.
Symptoms: Blank screen, Blank (external) connected screen, White light on bright when lid closed (blacklight still on), Won't boot fully, Chime on NVRAM reset. Num lock and caps lock light up, Sound buttons will click up and down, Keyboard will light, Visible to other computers on network. Prior to failure excessive heat and erratic DVD performance.
Diagnosis graphics failure confirmed, Apple repair approved free of charge.
-Peter"


(added 6/1/2010 from 5/23 mail)
"(name withheld by request as its someone in the service biz)
Got one of the 2.2GHz systems in last week, crashing with grey/hardware languages screen, would not run after warm. Single user mode was ok, would run all day. :) System was not even registered, let alone AppleCare.

The diag test (USB HD) did indeed fail early, and the board was replaced with the REP by Apple, no problems.
When swapping out the logic board, I noted that the thermal paste was not at all complete on the contacts (3 primary), especially with the nVidia chipset. It looked like worm trails all through it, maybe 50% coverage. Don't have to be an engineer to see a problem there... (which reminds me, remember the pix of GLOBS (thick slabs) of compound on the early (first series) MacBook Pros? Thick slabs do not make for good thermal xfer.-M)

I took extra care in putting it back together, pulling it off after 1st application to see what type of coverage I was getting with the heat-sink. Then let it sit overnight before running the tests. System runs fine and customer is uber-happy :)

Unless you get a service tech that knows what to look for, it's a crap shoot. Local Apple store turned this guy down I was told, but who knows why they do what they do, all in those matching t-shirts. ;-)"


(added 5/21/2010)
"I've experienced the same problem with my MBP 15" 2.4GHz purchased on Oct 2007.
The symptoms were typical:
- before the failure: got overheat, noticed flickering of a very small/thin part of the mid-screen while scrolling webpages (occured a few weeks before the failure),
- went to sleep and did't wake up,
- after the failure: blank screen, dead apple-logo on the cover, no sound, capslock worked well, no display on external video.

Delivered to an apple authorised support - iSource - in Poland/Warsaw,
after a week logic board was replaced without any problems/questions. (In spite of the fact I had replaced by myself [before]: keyboard, harddrive, battery and expanded RAM.)
My MBP was out of warranty, didn't have the Applecare either.

Thanks to this forum I got to know about the source of the failure and the Apple program of free after warranty repair - thanks guys :)
Arek
Warsaw, Poland"


(added 5/21/2010 - from 5/17 email/replies)
"My computer was manfactured June of 2007 have the same problem with the screen going black.
Took it to the store and they said it was not covered but I could send it into the depot for further extensive testing.
(Did they run the external (USB drive) diagnostics test (and it didn't classify it as covered)-Mike)
The depot could not get it to fail so they just replaced the logic board and are making me pay $310.00.
I don't understand how they are telling me that my serial number is not one of the ones that is covered when it was clearly produced during the same time. I have been on the phone with Apple for the past 45 min. and they are unwilling to cover the costs.
(The apple doc on the subject doesn't list S/Ns, just an approximate range but unless the USB drive diagnostics tests said it didn't qualify - how did they determine your S/N wasn't in the affected list? (unless they have some list not in the public doc) Personally, I feel that anyone with a MBP w/8600M GT GPU should have any gpu related failure covered.-Mike)
(He later replied:)
They would not tell me how they determined how my S/N was not in the affected list, only that they have information I can't access that says so.
Not sure if they ran the external (USB) diagnostics test or not. From what I understand the computer had to be having the problem while they tested it.
My screen would sometimes go out for 30 sec. to several hours but at some point would come back to life.

In the end I called Apple for a 3rd time yesterday and told them how unhappy I was.
This customer service rep was much more understanding of my issues.
I explained to him how I did not ask them to replace the logic board, I requested them to diagnose the problem. They were unable to find any problems so they just replaced the logic board at my expense.
(But) He ended up waiving all of the repair fees and everything seems to be working correctly at the moment.
-John C."


(added 5/21/2010 from 5/12 mail)
"Our company has had two MacBook Pro GPUs go bad and both were not warranty repairs. The repairs were not free or even apparently discounted. Thanks!
Wayne C."

I asked Wayne if the 2 MacBook Pros were in apple's 'affected range' per the apple doc and if they were tested using the USB hard drive diagnostics. (But even if so, some owners have pushed to get a 2nd test done at another dealer and -sometimes- had better luck.)


(added 5/21/2010 from 5/12 mail)
"I have sent my MBP 2,5 (june 2008) for repair with the following symptoms: black screen, no caps lock light, fan working, superdrive working and hdd seems to work as well. The repair center then sent me an email with the few specifications of their diagnosis "Logic card failure, the machine does'nt react even with the RAM removed". A new logic card would cost 1000 dollars.

Before sending it for repair, I suspected that the GPU could be the problem and made a case at apple support. But it's just weird they did'nt even mentioned the GPU test, even though the service center claimed they have tested it. I even demanded a specific documentation of their test. Unfortunately they can't provide it they said.

So I made a call to Apple Support to ask how come the repair center can test the GPU when the Logic Card is dead? To my surprise, the man just answered that it simple observation. If there is no light on the caps lock then that it is enough to assume is it not an Nvidia GPU failure in this case.
Can this be right? I even asked if he is sure? He ansvered promptly that he is quite sure. My question is can this be right with only the observation?
With regards,
Thien K, Denmark (out of warranty)"

I guess they're assuming if the system (CPU) isn't responding to toggling the caps lock, it's a major system/logic board failure vs just the GPU. But personally, my feeling is any owner with one of these flawed GPUs should have the repairs done free in cases like this. (But my opinion means nothing...)


(added 5/21/2010 from 5/12 mail)
"I am dealing with this problem now with Apple Store here in Munich, Germany. The apple folks here are claiming that my MBP is not experiencing the Video issue as described in the Apple Support Article: TS2377.
I find it hard to believe from my side as it is the classic symptoms outlined in the article. The Apple folks claim the test results does not reflect this video issue? And it seems that they are classifying my MBP as a normal thing. Like it is normal that a middle to high end component would died shortly before two years or shortly after. I am highly disappointed with the results. Note that I am a huge Apple fan and advocate Apple's product line whole heartily.

But is must wonder about this result and the nerve the folks seem to have by indicating that a possible reason is that the HDD is not the original HDD to include the RAM. And to boot that these items could have cause the MLB to die... Find it hard to believe quite frankly.
Work order attached.
I will be picking up the MBP today after paying. But I will be filing a dissatisfied action to apple concerning my discontent...
Melvin S."


(added 5/11/2010)
"Just been reading your page and glad I found it!
I have a 15in MacBook Pro that I brought in December 2007, I let my Niece use it for her college work, about a week ago she called and said the screen won't come on. I started looking around online and found that it was a known problem with the nvidia graphics in these laptops.
I managed to pick the laptop up on Friday night (May 7, 2010) and booked an appointment at the Apple store in Cribbs Causeway in Bristol (UK) I had a very quick look at it Friday night but was sure it was the nvidia problem. So I took it in on Sunday and the staff were very nice. She went to run the nvidia test but as so many other people have found the laptop wouldn't chime, she did all the resets and even tried some different ram for me but still couldn't get it work. She said it looks to be the logic board and said it's a ú649 repair, I left it at that and took the Macbook away with me, today I have been reading your page and peoples comments about ringing Apple Care, our company has an account with Apple because we resell their laptops etc and today I was ringing them for a price for an iPad anyway, while I was on the phone I asked our account manager what he thinks I should do and his suggestion was to ring Apple Care as well. So I called Apple Care and he said we can get a second opinion at another store if id like so I went ahead and booked the appointment at Cabots Circus Store in Bristol I then went on to say I would like to speak to a manager about the problem as I was worried about the diagnostics being done were not affective.

The next person I spoke to was totally useless, I was discussed at how he was talking to me as if I was making it all up and basically saying I should just pay for the repair and was completely uninterested in anything I had to say. He even said he had purchased a MacBook pro in the same month as me (wow what a coincidence) and he had a problem that was diagnosed as the logic board and he had to pay for the repair.

Since that call I had a bit more of a read of the user comments on your site and spotted one about warming the Macbook up a bit, (sometimes expansion allows contact again, but that won't always help) so I plugged the power in and turned it on, about 30-40 seconds later it chimed! And after that I could hear the harddrive working like it was booting up! I tried it a couple of times after that to make sure it wasn't a one off and after the 3rd time the lucky it booted up and the screen came on! (I had already done all the resets possible earlier in the day)
Needless to say don't give up, I think apple need to review how they are diagnosing this problem as its clearly not as easy and straight forward as they want it to be! I hate to think how many people gave up easier than some of us and just paid for the repair.
Regards, Dave"


This owner's MBP still had some applecare left, so no question on covered repairs:

(added 5/11/2010)
"My Santa Rosa 15" MBP (2.6 MHz, 4GB RAM) suffered the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor death. I had noticed that my machine had been running very hot for several months 75 to 80 degrees Celsius; (167 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, I had several episodes of screen distortion; green lines. I then started having some wake from sleep issues; black screen that would resolve by hitting the "Dim Screen" button. Finally, machine would not wake from sleep and indeed, would not boot.

Made an appointment with an Apple Genius and took the machine in to local Apple Store. My AppleCare was still in effect (good until November). They tried to test the machine, but they could not get it to boot either. Machine was repaired under AppleCare. I was told that indeed it was the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor problem and that they had replaced the logic board. Machine now works fine, runs cooler and no video distortion or wake from sleep issues.
-Jack M."


(added 5/10/2010, from 5/7 mail)
"Just took my wife's 15" MacBook Pro (2.4GHz) in. Our normal warranty was expired Oct 08.
They ran the diagnostics and told me it would be repaired for free. Zero problems.
-Curtis H."


Another report that not giving up paid off:

(added 4/20/2010, from 4/18 and 4/19 mails)
"I just stumbled upon your page (this page)... I am experiencing the problem of green vertical lines and a lot of visual "noise" intermittently (steadily getting worse). I took it to an apple genius and after he run the test said that it wasn't "the covered" problem and I was asked to pay $903 to replace the logic board. What would you say I should do?
(I replied with the usual advice - try again/get 2nd test, etc. - here's his mail from the 19th:)
... the problem was resolved :)
- Once or twice a day green lines would appear on my screen for a few seconds (this happened for 2 weeks)
- After the two weeks of very little problems, the green vertical lines and "visual noise" would stay for 30 minutes to an hour (progressively getting worse for two days)
- On the third day of it being unbearable, I took it in to the Apple Store (in Montreal) and they said that it was not the NVIDIA issue and would not be covered for free. I am out of warranty so the repair cost was quoted at $903. (@#$% THAT!!)

I left the apple store and called the support line. I spoke to one very nice (a little bit dim) lady for about 10 minutes, and I explained my problem. She wasn't even familiar with the free repair offer (The doc linked here since it was posted in Oct. 2008, revised May 2009 to extend period - MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues-Mike) but did transfer me to a senior support agent. After 10 minutes with this new lady, she had authorized my computer for any repair needed, free of charge!
- Back to the apple store that same day, and was quoted 3-5 days (luckily the part was in stock). 4 hours later I got the call that the repair was completed (that was fast!).
- Everything looks great so far!!

--> DO NOT GIVE UP! THIS IS ANOTHER STORY THAT CONFIRMS PERSISTANCE PAYS OFF!
Thanks, Andrew"


This owner still had a month left on Applecare:

(added 4/20/2010, from 4/18 mail)
" My Santa Rosa MBPro recently failed to display video on the laptop or externally. I made an appointment at the local Genius bar, took the laptop in. The genius used a small external hard drive to run some sort of diagnostic software (that's the 'test app' that's run from an ext USB drive to check if the failure "qualifies" for the free repair), then attached it to one of the laptops at the bar, concluded the GPU had failed. 4 days later, the laptop was returned with a new logic board. Since I still had a month or so of Applecare, the repair was covered.
The resident folk mentioned this as a good thing since the original GPU repair program only extended the repair period by a year. The Rev B board allegedly has a non-defective GPU... and there is no test for my wife's Santa Rosa, whose Applecare will run out soon.
Hmmm.... more of the same, I guess, and reason enough to buy AppleCare as SOP for any laptop.
Cheers, CvW"


Follow-up on Refused Repair (3rd party reflow of GPU to Logic board solder joints):

(added 4/16/2010)
" Update on my MBP/Nvidia issue
I previously wrote to you (2/19/2010) about my problems with a MBP 2.4 Ghz (2007) which has the Nvidia 8600 graphics card: The screen went crazy with horizontal green stripes and froze there, and since then it couldn't reboot and just played the startup chime over and over again. No shortcuts (start from disk, safe boot, firewire, verbose etc) worked and the screen was all black.

Like I stated the official Apple Servicepartner had it in and deemed the logicboard to be dead, offering to fix it for......13.500 Dkr (2500 USD), which is roughly what a brand new MBP or 2 used ones would cost me!!!

I naturally declined the "offer" and sought out someone else who would repair it and at the same time give me a second oppinion as to whether it should be covered by the Nvidia extended warranty.

Coincidently, I found a guy in Sweden (www.dataklinik.se) and described the problem to him, and he immediately recognised it and said that he had encountered several MBPs with similar issues.

Here's my description as I understood it from him, and mind you; I'm not an expert:
They all had a problem with the solder connecting the graphics chip to the logicboard, not the chip itself (which would have come under the warranty) and certainly not the main logicboard either.

He fixed it for me, (reflowing the solder connections for GPU to motherboard I assume. this reminds me of articles here from years ago on iBook model solder joint cracking/separation and homebrew fixes.-Mike) and it now runs perfectly, for....1.300 Dkr (250USD), or 1/10 of the "offer" from Apple Servicepartner!

So, either Apple Servicepartner are grossly incompetent or they have a hidden agenda, perhaps in understanding with Apple: Instead of repairing 2-3 year old computers that can easily be mended, they try to push people to buy a new one!

Also, since he has experienced several MBPs with the exact same issue (faltering solder, not logicboard or Nvidia chip), shouldn't this too be recognised by Apple as a construction failure and thus be eligible for repair under an extended warranty plan?
Regards, Karsten"


(added 2/19/2010)
"I had an Nvidia failure on 24 Dec09 in a SantaRosa MBP (purchased new late 2007, still under AppleCare). I put the computer to sleep and no video (internal display or DVI out) when I tried to wake it. Computer accessible as a firewire slave. A call to AppleCare was somewhat less the usually satisfactory experience (very noisy background on their end, no apparent awareness of the basics on the Nvidia failure), but resulted in the recommendation to take it to the nearest store on an appointment. 'Genius' there was quick and competent when the issue was sketched. Connected an external device at the counter , read info probably from the device display and concurred it was the GPU. He said he had tried unsuccessfully to get a part for local service for another customer, so it would need to be shipped to their Texas service center. It came back Fedex overnight after 5 days working again. No issues over an HD and memory not installed by Apple.
Regards, Bill
Berkeley CA"


(added 2/19/2010)
"I just experienced a break down of the logic board in my 15" MBP 2.4ghz bought in july 2007. It has the infamous Nvidia 8600 graphics card and I'm pretty sure the problem originates there.
I took it to Apple's service partner in Denmark but they ran a check that diagnosed the failure but also somehow wouldn't recognize it as covered by the extended warranty.
My observations leading up to the failure:
In the process of installing Windows on a partition of my HD (Bootcamp) I had an error message and wanted to reboot in Snow Leopard to start over.
The reboot came as far as me logging in, but before the desktop had appeared completely the screen went crazy with horizontal green stripes and froze there.
I then tried to force quit and reboot but now it just plays the startup chime over and over again. No shortcuts (start from disk, safe boot, firewire, verbose etc) works and the screen is all black.
Any suggestions how to make Apple fix the problem free of charge?
Thanks, Karsten"

If you tried all the usual tips, I don't know what to suggest other than trying another dealer to test again (but often there's no 2nd source nearby). (Update - see Karsten's follow-up on April 16th above - he said this was fixed by reflowing the GPUs wave solder to the motherboard.)


(added 2/19/2010 from Feb 15th email)
"Hi Mike, I live in Mexico city, I took my mbp 17" to the apple store today because when I tried to start the computer from a sleep mode the monitor was all black.
(Did you try the tip for no video/black screen a reader noted here back in Aug 2008? Of course it's not a fix for a hardware failure, nor is the the usual voodoo (resetting smc, zapping the pram, etc.) but it has helped a few readers in the past.-Mike)
I can see the light from the power adaptor and the light from the sleep mode. Just a month ago I have to replace the battery because it was "fat" (swollen? that issue goes back to early models where some batteries literally burst/cracked. early telltale signs were difficulty removing the battery back then IIRC. The early MBP page had some pix of these 'swollen' batteries.-Mike) and they said that sometimes it gets overheated (I paid for it).
Now they say that the battery problem has nothing to do with what is happening now. They say that is the mother/logic board that is damaged, not the Nvidia video problem. They run the test and dosen't show the Nvidia so that is not under the warranty.
Thank you, Monica"

Most that reported "motherboard" failures were not able to boot - but I assume yours did if they were able to run the GPU test (from an ext drive). It may not help but as some have done, I'd try to get a 2nd opinion/retest at another apple store (if one is a resonable distance away).


(added 12/29/2009 from 12/28 mail)
"I bought my 2.4Ghz MacBook Pro in August of 2007 without Apple Care. The week before Thanksgiving this year (2009) my screen went blank. When connected to an external monitor it would not display any picture. I was able to boot the computer into Firewire mode and back up my files using my Mac Mini. My machine is in mint condition. Its alway been in some sort of a case, but I did put in a 500gb HD myself so I was concerned that Apple not want to help. At the Apple store the Genius plugged in some USB Key and booted up the computer. He told me the 8600 failed and the logic board needed to be replaced. Three days later I got the call to come pick it up. No problems, I just had to set the time. Best of all, 100% free.
-Jerry M."

(The related Apple doc linked in the intro above notes an extended GPU warranty on affected models. Originally 2yrs from purchase (in original Oct. 2008 doc) but revised in May 2009 to 3yrs. That's if the GPU test (run from ext. drive) shows it qualifies.)


(added 12/28/2009 from 12/23 mail)
"I read your page about the MBP GPU repairs and thankfully I've had a good experience with having my late 2007 2.2GHz 8600M/128MB MBP repaired. The machine failed pretty quickly with the first signs appearing on Saturday pm. On Sunday, I confirmed that the video was dead on internal and external monitors but the machine booted OK and FW target disk mode worked. I backed up the data and got machine ready for handing in the next day (Monday).

I'm in Sydney, Australia so I went to a local Apple reseller who wanted to charge me $75 just to diagnose the problem. When I asked if I would have that refunded should it turn out to be the GPU problem covered by the repair program, the guy at the repair desk said yes. I then decided I would instead go to the Apple Store in the Sydney CBD because I just wasn't sure if the Apple reseller would actually confirm a GPU failure and instead try to charge me for a full repair.

At the Apple Store, I dropped the machine off without any charge for diagnosis. This was Monday last week. The next day, they called and confirmed the GPU problem and that it would be fixed without cost to me. 4 days later on the Friday, I was informed that the machine was ready to be picked up but I couldn't make it until the next Monday.

So 7 days after dropping it off, I got back my machine and it now works fine. They transferred my serial number to the new motherboard's firmware but of course the ethernet ID is now different. Anyway, I couldn't be happier. Good job Apple. Cheers and merry xmas to you and all the readers,
-Vincent "


(added 12/28/2009 from 12/17 mail)
" My 2.2Ghz MBP Santa Rosa was purchased in April 2008, and the display went dead just before this Thanksgiving. I did some research and was 99% sure it was the nVidia 8600M GT that failed. I could still boot up with a chime and get the Num/Caps Lock keys to work. I highly suggest activating screen sharing and using a VNC program from another computer to remotely backup your data before sending the laptop in for repair. I did this by activating VoiceOver (Cmd + F5) and tediously going through the system preferences.

I had a horrible experience dealing with the Apple Geniuses at the Willowbrook Mall in Houston. For three visits, they continuously gave me excuses such as the laptop wouldn't boot past POST (it obviously did) and so the nVidia test wouldn't run (they later admitted the external drive was faulty), or that I didn't have AppleCare past the factory warranty so they wouldn't look into it further, and one Genius even denied that the nVidia chip was the problem before I even took out my MBP. They wanted to bill me close to $1300 for parts and labor in-store, or around $320 to ship to a repair center. I left the store frustrated and did more research. Finding your page was comforting--I didn't know so many people were dealing with the same issue. I went to another Apple store at the Houston Galleria, and the Genius there ran the test, confirmed the nVidia failure, and started a work order covered under the extended warranty within 15 minutes! (As others here have noted in the past - don't give up if at first refused.-Mike)

The story goes on. I get a call a couple days later saying that my repair is on hold. My friend spilled coffee through the back of the bottom case about a year ago (with no realized hardware damage up until this point) and pretty much every liquid submersion indicator had been activated. The rep quoted $900 in order to move forward with repairs. I asked if I was being denied service because of the presence of the liquid itself, or because the presence of the liquid was the cause of the damage. I was honest and admitted to the spill and that I had never taken in my MBP for service after that incident. Also, I reiterated that my failed GPU claim was validated by an Apple Genius. She made a one-time exception to continue with the repair under warranty! I received my laptop via FedEx Air the next day with all data intact, a new logic board, bottom case, and a list of other hardware components affected by liquid. I couldn't be happier with their generous and thorough service! Persistence and patience definitely pay off. Good luck!
Regards, Mike L.
PS - To go further into the whole nVidia test: The test is on an external drive which needs to boot in order to test the nVidia chip and write a file with the results. This file is needed by the Apple rep to get your laptop covered under the extended warranty replacement program (assuming your factory warranty is expired). A lot of these Apple Geniuses aren't "techs" either. They download this file from an internal website onto a partition on these external drives. A lot can go wrong in between downloading the test and actually executing it, which I've personally seen by the inconsistency across different retail stores. They can't do much from their level outside of this, so they would prefer to just bill you for the full cost upfront to move forward with repairs. If you are ever denied anything by a rep, continuously ask for specific hard facts to justify their reasoning. "

The external drive test (and imho misinterpreted results at times) has been mentioned earlier. Bottom line if refused at first get another (different store/tech) test.


(added 12/28/2009 from 12/15 mail)
" Just wanted to let you know that if you are persistent, repairs can still be had. I just received a brand new Macbook Pro 2.53 after Apple had replaced the Third Logic Board in as many weeks. For me, I just kept really detailed notes, was polite and pleasant, and Apple took care of the rest.
-Dan P."

IIRC if the same mac is repaired 3 times (at least for the same problem) you get a new one. (I know a friend in CA that went thru that with an iBook. After 3rd repair he got a new macbook last year IIRC.)


(added 12/28/2009 from 12/8 mail)
" I bought my MBP around Xmas in 2007 (w/o apple care). During the past nearly two years I have been pretty happy using it. However, the recent GPU failure (presumably) has change my idea of apple products and the company itself.
It started like, the computer was running, but the screen was frozen and the keyboard didn't work either. I pressed the power button for several seconds, hoping I could boot it up after turning off. However it simply died. I googled a little bit on my old PC, and realized it could be much more severe than I expected, and the no video symptom actually occurred before, though it didn't catch my attention (I guess it would be shame to say that I even have a computer science degree, - perhaps right because of that I would assume hardware/software could fail sometimes, if resetting could get it work again it'll be fine). I read some posts on forums and knew that apple would fix it for free if I purchased it within two years. (Here's the apple doc posted here last year on this subject (later updated some months ago as noted in the intro section above). MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues.-Mike)
29 Nov 2009, apple store Sydney, first time with genius regarding this issue:
He plugged in an ipod-looking device after I mentioned the nvidia graphics chip issue, then said my computer didn't provide power to the device, so the test couldn't be performed and the logic board needed to be changed. He gave me a price quote of A$2000+ (including parts and labor), however, I would say I was trying to keep my composure at that moment. To me, it was a joke that an A$3500 mac stopped working in two years (my 4yr and 6yr old PC's, which apple claimed the mac's are superior to, have done much better than that). Moreover, it was irresponsible that the genius didn't even dig into the problem to figure out if it was because of the nvidia chip and immediately tossed the price to my face, - or I guess I am just not rich enough to accept the cost easily.

During the following days, I did more research on it (thanks to your site), and read the articles on the Inquirer as well. I was disappointed by apple I should say, considering during a long time I was stunned by the bright light of apple, believing apple had been the best company in the world and mac/iphone would be best of the best among equivalent products. I think good will is the most valuable asset to apple and is the last they can afford to loose. However, in the reality it should be money. So the test was introduced to minimize the scope. I can imagine that if you have apple care, problem solved, and apple could at least get refund from nvidia for the graphics chip. Otherwise, no apple care and test not performed/not passed, hence no service, since the mother board with cpu would be costly, even the graphics part could be compensated by nvidia.

Nevertheless, I still called apple. Long story short, I made it clear I was serious about it, if they wouldn't fix for free under the warranty exception plan, they should prove it is not related to the nvidia chip.

4 Dec 2009, second time with genius:
I guess the guy read all the notes in my case. He didn't wanna talk much about it, instead, he received my computer for further testing. Later in the afternoon, I received a call from an apple technician, and the conversation brought the issue back to its beginning (apple could even run "time machine" in the reality, how nice!), "We cannot run the test because of no power from the USB port, the logic board needs to be changed". I argued that not being able to perform the test wasn't adequate to say the nvidia chip was OK. I talked about the actual thermal issue, possible melted bump / cracked solder joint... He asked where I obtained those info... Finally he said the technician would do more research and keep me updated.

8 Dec 2009, call from apple technician:
He said they have run a test to prove it was the problem of logic board, and actually another test to prove the graphics chip worked. He even claimed my serial number wasn't in the range that nvidia informed apple of the defect. I asked if I could get an official, technical, academical and convincing report. He said for the graphics-working test, he couldn't provide the report, however, for the logic board stuff, I could get it. Then I asked if I could be able to talk to the customer relationship officer, he said it would be arranged when I picked up my computer. So I went there right in the afternoon. It turned out that the apple geniuses could work like politician. The promised report became "NO", and I needed to make a phone call if I wanna speak with the customer relations. Finally as I requested I talked to a manager (long back and forth but not willing to repair it for free - suggesting he should have bought applecare)
I insist on getting the report, so the lead genius eventually put some comments in my case and printed stuff below. However, it is the diagnosis sequence:

    Problem Description/Diagnosis
    Data Transfer: Not Required
    Issue: ACTION TAKEN:
    1. Reset SMC
    2. Reseated Both Memory Chips. Checked for third party RAM.
    3. Checked if the computer is powered on by:
    - Resetting the computer's NVRAM
    - Verified no startup chime when the power button is pressed.
    - Pressed the Caps Lock key and verified no green LED comes on. Seems like the power manager is not actively running on the machine.
    4. Tried to connect to an external display to check the intact of the video signal. No video signal appears.
    5. Attempted to run GPT. Couldn't run GPT Successfully.
    6. Attempted to run ASD. No video. No startup.
    7. Removed top case and reseated LVDS Cable, left I/O Board connections and verified connections.
    8. Unit does not chime/beep on boot - power failure on logic board verified
    STATUS: RFP, Notified customer of diagnosis...

So I guess there is no test regarding the graphics chip at all, no test that could identify the logic board issue for sure. (That's a concern mentioned before - if the MBP can't even boot to run the ext drive 'gpu test') Those "geniuses" would only follow some sequence/rules to do stuff, if the customer is not happy with the result, play political tricks. The major problem is apple's policy, which partially shadows the truth, delays the failure (SMC update) and dumps some of the customers without apple care.

I admit I have been naive during this whole issue. I didn't identify the issue correctly, it meat to be social stuff, however, I was trying to solve it from technical perspective. I guess I need the service from fair trading organization, or I need a lawyer if I wanna invest more time/money. That is my humble story, for now.
Faithfully, Gabriel L."


(added 11/13/2009 from 11/10 mail)
"Long long long time reader of the site (dating back to the G3 days) - I've submitted info years ago... I have a SantaRosa 2.2GHz MBP with an 8600M which was repaired in late July (2009). I use the machine at home since I have a Mac Pro 8-core at work and while I dont do any really intensive work on it - it always seems to run HOT (as in you dont want it on your knees).
In July I had gone out to lunch on a weekend and put my MBP to sleep, when I came home a few hours later I could not get anything to display on it - no matter what I did. I diagnosed it as the 8600M issue and called Apple the day after - I immediately told them what issues I had and I knew it was a part of the recall, got transfered to another department, went through the symptoms and they shipped out a box to me. They replaced the logic board and sent it back FAST. Didn't have any issues and they didnt try to deny the recall at all. I almost thought they would reject it because it did fall out of my hand once in its case and left a nice dent by the magsafe connector, in fact I'm pretty sure the technician tried to straighten it out because its barely noticeable now - and they replaced 2 missing feet.

I personally hate dealing with issues at the Apple Stores in person, there was a case a few years ago where Apple (by phone) had arranged for me to pick up a replacement unit from a Store (to expedite things) - I went to the store and the Genius there told me "we won't do it" without pulling up my case or anything. I prefer to call Apple, explain the situation - if its not getting anywhere then ask for a supervisor and be firm but polite, let them see the issue from your point of view.
Take care, Jani G."


(added 11/13/2009 from 11/9 mail)
"My July 07 MBP died on me in the middle of a class I was teaching. The screen started to flickered and jerked and although I could move the mouse around, I could not click on anything, Rebooting came up with the same response. I call AppleCare (still covered until July 2010) after the class was finished, gave them the symptoms and the representative setup an appointment at my local Apple Store.

Prior to going to the appointment, I attempted to back everything up via Target Disk Mode. This failed after 25 minutes or so. Interestingly, the firewire symbol was white not orange. I then just pulled the drive and put in the original. (I had upgraded the machine last year.) I ran the Apple Hardware test (hold D key booting from original install disk) and it indicated the video was defective.

At my appointment I related all my experiences and testing. The Apple rep noted it all and took my machine, explaining it would be about a week or week and a half to have it back. He seemed to think that it was the defective nVidia chip. He did no testing in front of me and he did not seem to feel it could be anything else.

I got it back four days later. They replaced the logic board and the machine works great. I asked if the chip on the new logic board was the same. The rep who returned it to me said it was an nVidia chip but it did not have the manufacturing defect the old one had.

I note that some had other parts replaced. On this repair I did not, but last spring my screen went bad. On that repair they replaced my top case, my bottom case, as well as the screen and it's case. There was minor wear and tear on the case and they replaced it for free. I have had this happen before, and I wonder if it was because the machines were covered under AppleCare that they choose to do this.
-Brian"


And yet another story on not giving up after a 1st rejection (for free repair)

(added 11/9/2009)
Just wanted to tell you about my experience. The display and external monitor on my Macbook Pro 2.2 Santa Rosa was dead and I heard of the recall, so I took it to my local Apple Store. The "genius" started by telling me that the recall was overstated by Apple (prelude to a denial). He tried to run the NVIDIA test, but claimed that the computer wouldn't start up and he couldn't even zap the PRAM. He said that it was a logic board issue, but was not covered by the recall. I asked him what my options were. He told me I could either replace the logic board for $1100 or, as he suggested, buy a new Macbook. Gee thanks!

I read up on the web about what my options were and determined that the key was to get a chime and lights for "caps lock" or "num lock" - this didn't happen at Apple Store #1. So, I merely reset the SMC (getting chime and lights for caps lock and num lock), kept the battery out, and took it to Apple Store #2 in a less snooty area. They were VERY helpful and, after running the test (that DID get a chime and lights for caps lock and num lock) told me they'd replace the logic board under warranty. I asked if they would send it out to Apple and they told me that it would be done at their store instead. He mentioned that if it went to the "depot", they'd probably reject it out of hand for a minor dent in the back. (BTW - I had one reader said his MBP returned from this repair without dents (replaced case?) and another reader said his repaired MBP came back with a new battery. Of course those are rare and YMMV.-Mike)

So, four days later, I have my Macbook Pro back and working perfectly. Moral of the story - don't take no for an answer and try to get it to chime and the keyboard lights to come on at the Apple Store.
Thanks! -JPK"


Another case where a failure was initially said to not qualify (per test app) but trying again elsewhere had better luck. (Just as with the G5 coolant leaks, don't give up if at first you're rejected.)

(added 10/9/2009)
"About three weeks ago my Aug-07 MBP woke up from standby with a blank display on both the internal LCD and external monitor which of course hints to a graphics card failure. Quick look over the web and I found your website. Happy to find out that Apple extended the warranty to three years, I got an genius bar appointment and headed to Apple Store to get the laptop fixed.

The genius have heard of the issue before and asked me to wait so he can run a test. Few minutes later he came back and said that "unfortunately this is not an NVidia issue and my logic board must have failed". He quoted an approximate $1500 repair cost and recommended I talk to Apple Care Customer Service and maybe they can give me an "exception".

I came back home, enabled Remote Access using Speech Recognition, and VNC'd to MBP through iPhone. Everything seemed to work perfectly fine. I could browse the web, listen to music, backup my data, etc. So the "logic board must have failed" argument was moot as I expected. Thankfully, having read your website I went for a second opinion to an Apple Authorized Service Center and they kept the MBP overnight to run tests. Next morning I got a confirmation that it's the NVidia GPU failure and they have ordered a new logic board free of charge. (GPU is soldered to motherboad, so it has to be replaced.) A week later I got my MBP back and it's all good now.

Lesson here is to NOT give up after initial rejection, especially at an Apple Store. Try authorized service centers and go even as far as asking them to run the test at your presence and asking for an explanation of the result. (Others have also noted this - even though the 2nd apple tech knew it had already been tested previously and said to not qualify per the test app. Also ask if the tester/tech has fully read the docs for the test app as I've had some insider comments related to that.-Mike)
Also, thanks to you and other commenters for saving me 1500$.
Cheers, Reza R."


(added 10/5/2009)
"I want to let you know of another favorable outcome on a MacBook Pro video problem. After a couple instances a month ago where my screen acquired a blue tint for a day, last Thursday (10/01/09) I had no video at all on my 2.2 GHz MacBook Pro. I tried things like zapping the PRAM and checking the DVI port, but no go. I immediately took the MacBook Pro to my local authorized dealer.
They ran a diagnostic that made a light blink (didn't see which light, maybe numlock?) and wrote a text file to an attached thumb drive. The diagnostic confirmed I had a bad NVIDIA chip. They ordered the repair part immediately.
I had my machine back on Saturday morning, happy as can be. The techs at the shop said they had seen a lot of these failures and had the repair down to a 15 minute process from repeated practice. (GPU is soldered on the logic board, so the repair is to swap the motherboard) Anyway, a successful outcome.
-Daevad
Sarasota, FL"


(added 9/28/2009)
"First I would like to say, I'm really glad I found you page on the Macbook Pro problem. I am having problems here in Denmark getting my computer repaired.
It was given in to a Apple Certified Repair Service that works for an Apple shop in Copenhagen. I gave in a computer that could boot and chime and the harddisk spinning, and just had exactly the problem everybody describes with no video at all. Then they kept it forever, finally stating it was not the Nvidia chip. I then asked what the problem was, and they wouldn't say. As I got the computer back, it wouldn't start and is absolutely dead. So I complained, and now they state that they haven't tested the computer with the Nvidia software because the computer was dead. So how could they conclude, that it wasn't the Nvidia chip?

Now I insist that they bring back my computer to the point as I gave it in, where it can boot, but I am really afraid of what they will do to my computer. And I had to pay 120 dollar just for getting this information and my computer maltreated. The problem is that there are so few Repair Services to choose from, and they are all very arrogant and not that competent. So I am learning the downside of being stuck with Apple.
I don't know when this nightmare ends, but I will write if I somehow get the computer repaired (here it costs almost 3000 dollars (Krone? currently appx 5.08 Krone to one US dollar-Mike) to get the logic board replaced, so that's a no-option).
Best regards, Eva"

Don't give up - if there's no other apple service/store nearby, I'd talk to apple customer support and explain the situation.


(added 9/24/2009)
"I had my Santa Rosa MacBook Pro display die suddenly late last Monday night (21st September). Thanks to your page, I was able to quickly diagnose the fault. My local Apple Repair Centre is Opal Computer Solutions (http://www.opalcs.co.uk/) who booked it in first thing on the morning of Tuesday 22nd. They promised to have a response within 3 - 5 days.

Today (24th September), they phoned me at work... I was very pleased to hear that my diagnosis was correct and their nvidia test picked it up straight away. They have replaced the logic board and I'm now typing this email on the fixed laptop! Very good service from Opal with only a two day turnaround which I believe included ordering the parts as they did not have replacement logic boards in stock.
(While I was booking it in, the technican did state that an out of warranty repair would be approx ú600 and that I should consider a new laptop instead. I fully agree with that sentiment and was prepared to, but thankfully i've more time to save up!)
Kind Regards, Richard P."


(added 9/24, from 9/22/2009 mail)
"My clients out of warranty MacBook Pro screen went blank about 3 weeks ago. All the symptoms of the Nvidia failure. Took it to the local service provider and they said it did not pass the Apple Nvidia test and therefore did not qualify for coverage under the program.
Contacted Apple and decided to send to them. Following the repair online, it shows it was covered and they were replacing the part. Took more than a week as it showed the part was on order. When the computer returned the battery had been replaced as well. Impressive service by Apple.
-Rick"

Another reminder to not give up after a first refusal (some other readers took their systems to another store for a 2nd test). I've been told some techs may misinterpret the special test app's results. (Hopefully that's rare, but still worth getting a 2nd opinion/test done by another Apple tech/dealer.)


(from 9/19/2009 mail)
"My MBP started to get some graphical glitches and ultimately ended up stuck loading in this position: ref: blogspot JPG
After reformatting and performing a clean install of snow leopard I knew it was a hardware problem. Found your site, which helped me to diagnose the problem.

Took it into the the Apple store and they confirmed it was a failed graphics card. I was out of warranty but they replaced the logic board free of charge in under a week. A very quick and easy fix, thanks Apple!
-John"


(from 9/5/2009 mail)
"Yesterday my MBP (early 2008) exhibited the no video issue. MBP would boot with chime, num-lock key would light up etc, but nothing on the screen. I called support and they directed me to an apple store. When I got to my local Apple store (Dallas) they plugged in the Nvidia test drive and it failed the test (indicating that it had the Nvidia issue).
The MBP is out of warranty, but they are replacing the logic board at no cost. They did not have the part in-stock at the Apple store, so I had to leave it there and was told I should be able to pick it up early next week.
Regards, Todd"


(from 8/10/2009 mail)
"I was one of the unlucky ones to be denied on my June 2007 15" MacBook Pro. I was charged $326.28 for item 605-1791 - logic board - MB Pro NVIDIA Issue (Multiple Issues).
-Anthony"


FYI/Tip for failed MBP's that won't boot: (Later notes/feedback on warm-up tip are here and here for example. Can't always help but worth a try.)

(from 8/8/2009 mail)
"Some 2 and a half months ago, my Macbook Pro 15" 2.4GHz died - i.e. it stopped booting (or chiming) and screen was black; front light faint on case open and brighter on case closed. Before this happened, I got serious video scrambling and distortion. The first ASP (in Karachi, Pakistan) I took my machine to told me logicboard was fried and quoted an obscene amount of money for a replacement. I discovered the nvidia extended warranty online
(FYI: Here's the apple doc, listed at top of this page since first released in Oct. 2008, as well as updates to it.) and alerted the ASP to check it that was the case (needless to say, they didn't know of it, I had to tell them). But the ASP couldn't run the nvidia test on a machine that wouldn't boot or chime. (BTW: At unofficial Apple tech blogs this symptom too i.e. no boot, front faint light too is talked off as a classic nvidia issue. Apple, however, will only list scrambled/distorted video and booting w/ black screen as the only two possible symptoms.)

I then found a post by a user who suggested letting the machine heat up to get it to boot. So I retrieved my macbook pro from the ASP, let it sit on a flat surface and let it heat up. To my utter disbelief, two hours later, the machine booted after 2 months of sitting with my first ASP. When I this ASP to tell I'd like to bring it back for the nvidia test they refused saying that a) that they had no procedure from Apple to let a machine heat up before performing the nvidia test and b) if the nvidia GPU test worked and they replaced the logicboard, Apple Singapore, when trying to redo the test at their end, could "yell" at them for replacing a nvidia GPU/logicboard that didn't even boot up. And this place is considered the best ASP in town!

So I took my machine to a different, more reasonable ASP who have been able to run the nvidia test but keep getting a big "FAILED" banner but no validation code is written to the drive. I understand this means the test in inconclusive.

Now, I know from several other posts that a) for a number of people the nvidia GPU test doesn't work the first time but does work the 2nd or 3rd time at either the same or, in most cases, a different ASP and b) a number of people also got the same "FAILED" red banner without validation code initially, but eventually a validation code was written to the drive. So the big red "FAILED" banner (of death) is a step forward - at least if you start off with a machine that won't even boot.

But I wonder what the next step entails i.e. getting the test to successfully yield a validation code. Does the laptop have to get sufficiently hot for the test to work too - given that it worked to get the machine to boot up? Does the choice of test medium i.e. USB vs FW drive matter? Why does the test work in some cases and doesn't in others on the same laptop? What could be different? What could different ASPs or test runs be doing differently that yields or fails to yield a validation or error code?
Any insights/tips will be truly appreciated. Knowledge is power :-)
Thanks, Aftab W."


(added 8/7/2009)
"The day before yesterday I tried to wake my MBP (bought in Oct '07) from sleep but the screen never came on, and there was also nothing on the external monitor. I searched the web and landed on your page (which is *extremely* helpful - thank you very much!) This is obviously a big problem, as two other people in my office with MBPs from the same year have also had this happen.

Yesterday morning I dropped it off at the local apple authorized service center (Gravis in Leipzig, Germany), and they had it fixed by noon today. They replaced the logic board free of charge and it appears to work perfectly now.
Just wanted to share a success story where everything went smoothly :-)
-Kennon B."


Follow-up on an initially rejected (free) Repair:

(added 7/20/2009)
"I just wanted to let you know what's going on with my MacBook Pro... (Ref: his earlier report in June on a GPU related failure that was rejected as qualifying for the free repair.-Mike)
I went to the Apple Store, and my machine was rejected for free repair. Now, yesterday, I went to a different Apple Store and had a different person look at it, and I'm guessing he ran the same test, but now I'm told that I do get the free repair, and they sent it out.
I'll let you know how it goes, thanks for letting me vent.
-Dave
P.S. The store that rejected it was Bayside (WI) and the store that gave me the free repair was Mayfair (WI). I'm guessing that some of these techs don't know what they're really doing, so I guess it's a good idea to get a second opinion.

(A later mail answering the question if the 2nd Apple store knew about the 1st 'rejection'.-Mike)
As to not mentioning that it had already been checked... well, yes and no. At first, I didn't mention it, but when he typed in the serial number, he got my name and address, I hadn't given him that information. He had my phone number also. I'm assuming that they store all of that info in their database. (I don't know about in-store but typically support calls are logged (and often have a 'case number' for their database)-Mike)
What I think happened... The machine tested the same both times, but the first Apple Genius misread the test results. The second guy said the machine failed the test, and therefore I get the repair. The first guy said the machine failed the test and I didn't qualify for the repair. I guess it's always good to get a second opinion.
I wouldn't lie to the tech about anything, but don't volunteer information if you're not asked it. Let them tell you what the problem with your machine is. I'm sorry to say that most people are lazy. If you walk in and tell them your machine is already doomed, and that another Apple Tech already looked at it, chances are that the new person will feel you're just wasting his/her time. If you repeat what you've heard before, you run the risk of having that person agree with you, and take a shortcut to get you "out of there". The way he/she sees it, you already expect to hear the bad news. Now, there are some great techs out there, but just keep in mind that at some stores, you'll be one of 100's of people through the door on any given day. (IIRC you can 'reserve a genius appointment' online, although I've never done that.-Mike)

One mistake I made... I didn't charge up the laptop before I brought it in. I knew I should have, I was just pretty busy that day. The tech plugged it in and it was still dead. He first said I had a different problem with the machine, not turning on with AC, but I looked at the plug, and no light meant no juice. He had to go under the counter to find out his power cord came unplugged somehow.

In closing, I guess all I can say is little things matter. Be positive, but as silent as you can. Be prepared when you show up, and be prepared to go back for a second opinion.
-Dave"

Good advice and thanks for the follow-up. (Others may not be so lucky but definitely worth trying if there's another Apple store within range.)


(added 7/20/2009)
"Over a month ago I updated from 10.5.5 to 10.5.7 on my MBP 17" from 2007. Upon rebooting as part of the update, the screen failed to work!
(The "No Video after an OS Update" reminded me of an post/tip from August 2008 here - but that is not a fix for an actual failing (separating) GPU.-Mike)
I was mortified that my Mac no longer worked, was it the update? After researching the symptom, "black screen of death, keyboard works" I discovered that Apple had extended a warranty on the 8600M Nvidia card, the same as in my machine. (I've linked to the apple doc on this here when originally posted Oct. 2008 and also posted a FYI (above) when it was revised again in late May 2009 to add another year extension for affected models/SN ranges.-Mike)
I took it to a Genius and inquired about the warranty. However, the Genius told me that there was likely a hidden condition within my machine that may have been brought out by the update, causing the symptom to occur suddenly. This stuck in my mind because I was encouraged to update by this on Apple's site:
"The 10.5.7 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard version 10.5 to 10.5.6, and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac."
According to the Genius who was looking at my laptop, the 8600M Nvidia chip of my MacBook Pro which falls into the time frame of affected chips does not however fall into the specific serial range Nvidia is covering. Next he contradicted himself by first telling me the logic board needed to be replaced, and that the Nvidia card was fine... (the nvidia GPU is soldered on the main logic board.-Mike) and then after asking why I can take screenshots of working software if the logic board failed, he said it may be the GPU.
Without opening and inspecting the hardware he quoted a price to replace the logic board at only $330... if I understand correctly others have spent $1000 plus and $300 is a standard service fee. Still, if it is defective, and there is no way of predicting which chips are most affected, and my laptop is exhibiting the exact symptoms analogous with affected chips, I fail to see why I was denied coverage under the extended warranty for a free repair, as many others have received.
BEWARE ALL FUTURE MAC CUSTOMERS...
-Scott"

Although if Scott's MBP is not in apple's list of affected S/N ranges it may be a waste of time, but I'd be tempted to try another apple store if one was in the area.
[Update: Scott later wrote after another trip to the apple store, he's going to get a replacement logic board.]
Earlier this year (when I posted about the revised Apple doc on this), I posted the question above for affected owners after someone said in his experience many failures (w/models in the S/N ranges in the doc) were not being flagged as covered by the special test program. (These GPUs were also in many PC notebooks and it's been a nightmare for some to get failures covered.)


(June 26, 2009 - Last updated 7/6/2009)
"Bad news here - my Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz Model No: A1226, may have suffered the Nvidia Graphics Card meltdown. My serial number matched the range Apple put on their website. (in this doc) First thing this morning, I had white/pink pixels all over the screen, restarted same thing, then the machine froze, did a hard reset. Things seemed ok for 10-15mins then the pixels returned, machine froze again. On restart I had green and pink squares running in horizontal and vertical lines, got as far the Apple icon, then the black screen of death - 'Hold down the Power button' etc. Tried this twice same result.
Phone Apple Support UK, explained the problem, mentioned the Return program due to faulty Nvidia chips. I now have to take the machine to an Apple Store for confirmation, my appointment is next week in West London.
I'll keep you posted, as far as I'm concerned it's the graphics issue - here's hoping Apple see it that way and repair it free of charge. At present using my old G4 12" iBook - man this screen is small!! I keep a clone backup on an external Lacie FW drive (APM format), so that's my boot drive for now.
(Update 6/29/2009:)
A follow up on my Nvidia meltdown. Just taken my MacBook Pro to the Apple Store, they hooked up a test HD - labeled like 'Nvidia Macbook Pro test'. 2mins later I'm told the good news, it qualifies under the repair extension programme - should take 5-7 days.
I was a tad worried about having the pink/ green squares and some people not being so lucky with a free repair. I asked what gets 'done' - a new logic board. (The GPU is soldered on the mainboard.)
(Update: 7/6/2009)
Just a quick one - I picked up my repaired Macbook Pro on Saturday, had it running since then all seems fine [so far!] It was actually ready on Wednesday of last week, so only took 2 days to repair/replace the Logic board.
Regards, Phil"


(from June 29th news page)
"Hey Mike, I've averaged an nVidia logicboard repair, once a week since beginning of the year. The replacement boards show rework to the nVidia GPU area. (replaced 8600M GPU) I've only seen 2 replacement boards show up as dead on arrival, needing to await a replacement. (I test them twice before returning to the owner)
For owners going through this, note your hardware MAC address (onboard ethernet ID) will change as the ethernet is built-in to the board that is replaced (i.e. If your security is based on the MAC address) Your mac repair person should note the label now covering the old MAC address in the battery bay.
Airport card (unless defective) is not replaced. (name withheld by request) "


(June 26, 2009)
"Mike, About three weeks ago, my mid-2007 MacBook Pro 15" started having video issues (video went off or had a "pinkish" color). On Tuesday I took it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider here, in Mexico City; the next day (Wednesday) they told me it qualified for logic board replace under extended warranty, and two days later (Friday) I had it with me already. It has been working fine these past weeks. The only "problem" I had, was to re-enable it to my router.
Obviously, I'm happy with Apple's customer support.
Best, Axel"


(June 26, 2009)
"I just had Phil's problem (ref: yesterday's posts) last week (colored stuff on screen, then the uniform pink/green pattern grid). I took my computer to the Apple Store, they ran the NVidia test, and it passed. In other words, the problem is NOT the one identified by the test, but there is clearly a second problem with the video in these laptops due to overheating not identified by this test. My machine was just nearing it's 2nd birthday.
Long story short, I had Applecare, so the repair was covered. But the list of replaced parts blew my mind, and the Apple tech who finished the paper work when I picked it up was just as baffled: main logic board, RAM, HD, both fans, all replaced! They replaced the logic board and fans first, but the machine would still not boot, so they replaced the HD, and it would still not pass the tests, so they replaced the RAM as well. I had tested the HD and RAM before I took it in and they were fine. And the heat inside was not out of range according to fan control and temp monitor software.
I am getting tired of the defective laptop designs Apple builds, where after about 12-24 months, a large number fail due to heat desoldering chips over time. (the Nvidia GPU pkg issue IIRC resulted in the GPU separating, not necessarily at the solder point to the motherboard) I've had an iBook G3 and 3 iBook G4s fail with graphics problems (my original and 2 replacements!), and now this MacBook Pro Santa Rosa 2.2.
(BTW - a common iBook G4 failure (due to board flex) was a cracked Voltage regulator chip solder joint - I've had several readers send thanks for the article here on iBook G4 Vreg Chip Solder Joint Repair Guide .-Mike)
If I hadn't bought Apple Care on each model, I'd have bought 7 machines now in 7 years or so. All from the same problem! That's unacceptable. If it's the price we pay for no fan noise, we need to suffer through some fan noise I guess.
-Mike K."

While on the subject of warranties, a reader (thanks Scott) sent a reminder that some credit cards may have an extended warranty feature for items purchased with it. (This came up years ago, where some cards doubled the std warranty on items purchased, although not sure how common that is now even with 'premium' class cards.)


(June 26, 2009)
"Just read your website now. I have a Macbook Pro 15" which booted up fine, but with no graphics display. The classic GPU problem. The laptop is only 18 months old. Apple (South Africa) quoted me R15,000 to repair (the laptop cost R22, 000). They said the main logic board needed to be replaced, and the laptop had failed the generic test for the GPU failure. (Apple's doc on MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues notes an extended GPU related warranty (originally 2 years, then 3 years and now 4 years from date of purchase for affected models) but I had a tech last month say in his experience many failures were not flagged as qualifying for the free repair by the special test they use.-Mike)
There was no way I could afford this quote, I'm still paying off the original purchase price! Apple SA offered no help, very disappointing service.
In desperation I took my laptop to a generic computer shop, and they repaired my Macbook Pro for only R1,000. The technician explained that the because of overheating, the graphics chip had separated from the logic board, and he was able to re-seat it. (rebonded? or resoldered?) The interesting thing was that he had a pile of Macbook Pro's in his shop, all awaiting repair, all with the same symptoms.
Isn't it disgraceful how loyal customers are being forced to pay for a genuine documented manufacturing fault. Apple US needs to be made aware of this terrible situation and the negative marketing that goes with it. Anyway, that is my story. ;-) Let me know if you need more detailed information.
Regards, Shawn
Cape Town, South Africa"


(June 26, 2009)
"I have a Macbook Pro that had the graphics card failure. One day, the video just stopped working. I brought it by the Apple Store and they confirmed a graphics card failure, but my Mac (purchased in 2008) didn't qualify for the free repair because the serial number was not on the list. (FYI - after the follow-up, I asked to confirm that his S/N was not in the affected range per the Apple doc. He then said)
I think my S/N was in the range, at first I was told that my Invida card had failed, but that it failed in a different way, and therefore was not covered.

They told me it would cost $1,300 to fix, so I left the store with a new 13 inch Macbook Pro and this time I bought Apple Care. At least if this one fries within 3 years, they'll fix it (I hope).
-Dave"

Update: See Dave's later follow-up noting that he later did get the repair covered after taking it to a different Apple store for checkout.


(added June 2, 2009)
"have a MacBook Pro a year out of factory warranty, that was just inside the original 2-year (flawed GPU) extension; no Applecare. I was having problems with the machine locking up when the GPU got hot, always dying in the Windowserver code. However, it was not the "classic" failure of the permanent black screen/no video.

Took the machine in on a very busy Sat. at the Apple Deer Park Illinois store (the main suburban Woodfield store is closed for renovation and they were extremely busy the day before Mother's Day). My appointment was handled on-time and the Genius on-hand booted the box off of a diagnostic USB drive. This started to write patterns on the screen but in my case failed almost immediately with an error message I couldn't read. The Genius wrote it up, and told me they happened to have the "part" on hand, and told me they would try and get the laptop back to me the next day, which surprised me.

About two hours later I got a call that it was ready. I have to say I was impressed. The "part" in question is a full main logic board swap, (as shown in photos, the GPU is on the mainboard which also had the CPU and other components-Mike) which the Genius cheerfully informed me would normally be a $1300 'repair' (might as well just buy another MBP).

When I went in, I made it clear I knew about the Nvidia GPU issue, but I wasn't asked about my warranty date or even whether I had Applecare. The Genius went through some procedure online for the repair, and I assume from the serial # they knew the machine build date, but the net of it for me was that I received absolutely no static about the issue - it failed the test disk, they took the machine, I had it back in three hours. I know mileage varies, but Apple got an A+ from me on the customer service side.

This may have been covered before, but let me mention two side effects of the fix that are less-appealing Apple issues.

  • Time Machine thinks your machine is now a different box, and refuses to recognize previous backups. There is also no Apple procedure for dealing with this, apart from doing a Restore from a Leopard boot CD. I ended up just having it build a new backup from scratch (which takes six hours). There are a number of online workarounds which are extremely complicated and not usable by average users. Apple better get this sorted, since they are going to be doing this a lot with the Nvidia chips.

  • There is another bug triggered by this, which is caused by the clock getting reset to before the Leopard build date. The binaries for mDNSresponder and one other binary needed for DHCP addressing for some absurd reason get re-signed with a self-signed certificate as a result of the clock reset, which then causes the Leopard internal firewall to disallow connections from them. Took me a long painful time searching before finding someone who had figured this out. Fix is to re-apply the latest Combo Updater, which restores the original binaries. There is no way of determining this from any logging info in the system, however, my hat's off to the guy who figured this out, he must have psychic powers.

    Apologies for long email - love the site!
    Cheers, FB"


  • (added June 2, 2009)
    "I applied the SMC Firmware update 1.3 at about 2:00 last saturday and at 4:15 the GPU died, took it to the dealer they confirmed it was an effected model (early 2008) and are replacing the motherboard. On question they can't answer is if it is likely to happen again, e.g. have Apple ever fixed the problem?
    -John"

    The problem is really in the Nvidia GPU's mfg (pkg defect, where IIRC separation can occur from thermal cycling, etc.) - I'd like to think that any replacement motherboards have 8600M's that do not have that issue, but I can't say personally. (Not sure nvidia is even making those GPUs anymore - although the 9x00 series are commonly called just renamed versions) although in replies (older articles linked below) reportedly better adhesive is now used (although there's been debate about the issue of lead present IIRC). I've been too hammered on hundreds of other problems to keep up with this, but some of the previous article links below here may be of interest to read.


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "I'm hoping to have my MacBook Pro fixed under this extended warranty, but I fear it's not looking good.
    Even though the machine runs and I can use remote desktop to connect to it and show that it cannot find it's own GPU, the tech is telling me it likely won't be covered (at an Apple-certified shop, not an Apple store).
    He "ran his diagnostics" and submitted the results, and Apple asked him to run some additional ones, and the status has been "Pending Approval" for a few days. Let's just say I'm not optimistic, but I'll keep you posted.
    Steven P."


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "I wrote last week regarding graphic issues after installing the MBP SMC 1.3 firmware. I was unable to resolve the issues and took the machine into the Apple Store today. They are replacing the logic board free of charge even though the machine is out warranty since it falls under the GPU repair program.

    So some people are getting free repairs. I've been following the forums about graphics failures after the SMC update and some people are being charged for repairs so I'm not sure what criteria Apple is using to determine if the repair should be covered by the GPU repair program.
    Regards, Charlie"


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "I own a (MacBookPro4.1 - aka early 2008) MBP and had rather serious graphics distortions right from the start. After lots of trying I finally found a web site that showed it almost always--most of the time the display did not act up when I tried to demonstrate the problem. Dozens of others had the same kind of experience Our local Mac service center (not an Apple Store) finally (nearly a year later) sent my unit in and the return paperwork showed a replaced main circuit board.
    But scrolling is still rather uneven and jumpy. The Apple test program shows everything passing. So, I'm kinda stuck! I guess time may tell--I hope that the graphics system holds together, but the extension of coverage is a pretty clear indication of ongoing problems with the GPU. I doubt if Apple would replace my system again.
    -Fred R."


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "I had 2 MBP's repaired with no problems. (both were under AppleCare)
    The first was my 17" SR 2.4GHz and the second was my son's 15" SR that they wouldn't replace a failed disk because the case was dented.
    -Mike W."


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "Mine was covered with no problem once I brought it to the Mac Genius's attention. They also fixed a few other things not under warranty. So all's well here.
    (I asked if the MBP had any warranty (std or applecare) in force at the time of the repair and for the record the model (early 2008 aka MacBook Pro 4,1 or the 2007 series).-Mike)
    No warranty on it or apple care. I believe it's a 2007. Sorry no time to check. it's a 2.4ghz intel core duo if that helps.
    -Jeremy "


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "Had no problem getting mine fixed (under Applecare warranty) through my local Apple store. 2.2Ghz Santa Rosa.
    -Adam B."


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "I have one of those pesky nVidia 8600s in my Mac Book Pro (MacBookPro3,1 model, 2.2GHz). Screens (built-in and external) went utterly dark upon my upgrade to 10.5.6. Took the MacBook Pro to my local Apple Store. The Genius ran some type of video test from an external HD, had my fill out a form and took my Mac. They had a logic board in stock and were able to swap it out and have the machine back in my hands the next day. No issues whatsoever since then and everything was covered by warranty. (My laptop was NOT under standard warranty or AppleCare at the time of service. It was handled under Apple's policy regarding the nVidia GPU.)

    What I've read is that the failure tends to manifest sooner on MacBook Pros connected to external monitors since it drives the GPU harder. (and I suspect from owners that regularly stress it heavily - i.e 3D, gaming, etc.-Mike) Dunno if that's true, but it makes some sense. Thanks for your site!
    Best regards, Ty"


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "I had three Macbook Pro GPU failures. One on a 15" and two on the same 17", both with GeForce 8600M GT. All were covered under warranty. (Both had a warranty in force at the time.)
    The 17" was one of the first to fail in the USA so it took two tries to get it fixed.
    The question I have is what about AppleCare? Does my AppleCare warranty get extended as well? (I'm sure it doesn't - the extension is for GPU related failures only per the Apple doc. And since even the GPU extension is only 3 years from date of purchase, does applecare even extend beyond that? (can't recall if AC is 3 years from date of system purchase or from date of AC purchase))
    Actually, the second time the 17" went in, it was One Year and One Week but as it was an open issue, there was no discussion.
    I get your drift on the AppleCare, I think you are right.
    Best regards and thanks for everything you do for the Mac community - your website ROCKS!
    -Jim"


    (added June 2, 2009)
    "The video card failed on my 2.2GHz MacBook Pro at 9.5 months. I have Applecare, so there was no argument at the Genius Bar in the Lehigh Valley Apple Store. Three weeks later the HD died and was replaced. If I didn't have Applecare all this would have happened at 13 months.
    -Art"

    I asked about that last comment - as 9.5 months + 3 weeks is still under the std 12 month (1year) warranty) - unless the first repair took 2 months to get back? (and then 3 weeks later the HD failed)


    Earlier info/posts from 2008 follow

    (Dec. 10, 2008) FYI: INQUIRER confirms (new) Apple Macbook Pros have Nvidia (GPU) bad bump material w/Analysis of 9600 GPU material - per an Oct. Apple doc (see below) this affected only earlier MBP models.) Also see the replies to the Inquirer article, which reference rebuttals such as Cnet's Allegations, denials of 'bad' Nvidia chips in MacBook Pros. Time will tell if these really have a higher than normal failure rate. (There's a LOT of notebooks out there using the 9600 GPU, and others (9700, 9800) that were assumed to not be affected by the previous issue. And now also wondering about desktop 9x00 GPUs.)

    (Oct 10th 2008) Apple Comments on MacBook Pros with Flawed Nvidia GPUs I've been waiting for this and thankfully Apple has finally commented on the flawed Nvidia notebook GPU issue noted in Nvidia's July Financial statement (and by Dell, HP and others earlier this year - see previous links here).
    See Apple's doc on MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues that lists affected production (appx. May 2007 to Sept. 2008), a graphics warranty extension (2yrs from date of purchase) (Doc revised on 5/29/2009 to note 3yrs) and says any owners that paid for a related repair will get a refund.


    This page is a catch-all for reports from MacBook Pro owners on GPU failures, Tips, Notes from Nvidia on "weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of its previous gen. GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems.

    "Subject: Mac Book Pro 17" 2.4Ghz Dead Graphics Adapter
    I want to bring you up to date with a quality problem with my 2007 Mac Book Pro 2.4Ghz 17" with HD screen. Six weeks ago, I had random screen artifacts, that included lines, faded text and muted colors. Went away with a reboot.

    Next day, more of the same and it wouldn't go away with a reboot. Called AppleCare and they promptly suggested all the nonsense blather that they recite every time (reset PRAM, SMC/PMU, etc.), culminating with the recommendation to "reinstall the operating system". As I repeatedly pointed out during my time on the call, booting off the Mac OS X Install DVD (and doing the same resets mentioned above) and seeing the exact same problems, pretty much eliminates the installed operating system, preferences, user account, etc, as a possible root cause. Believe it or not, they couldn't get their mind around this.

    In any case, the problem went away on it's own in a couple of hours of fiddling and I went on my merry way. In the mean time, the repair box arrived but the computer wasn't broken so I just held on.

    Well, yesterday morning, it was over. I opened the lid of my sleeping computer and no display. Attached an external monitor... no display. Rebooted, reset, tried everything I've learned in 23 years of Apple ownership (well, not everything, like slamming the side of the computer as hard as possible to "help it").

    No display.

    So, I am at my partner's office when this happened so I sat down at his desk and used his Mac Book Pro 15" to see "Shared" items and there is my computer, so I sign on using Screen Sharing and everything is normal as far as I can see. I run System Profile and mercy me, no NVIDIA 8600GT graphics adapter is installed in this computer. What do I see? An Intel GMA X3100. I don't know if that is a virtual adapter used by VNC during Screen Sharing or part of the Intel chipset that is not normally active with the add-on NVIDIA card installed or what.

    In any case, I call AppleCare and they advise me that the previous case number issued is defunct and they have to issue a new number and send a new box (how retarded is that?).

    This time, however, there are no questions and silly suggestions. They know exactly what is happening and I might be reading too much into their response... but I think it's happening a lot to MBP users with this NVIDIA card. (There's been complaints over graphics issues/bugs, etc. for some time in Apple's MBP discussion forums (and some threads on no video like this one with a couple hundred replies), as well as other graphics/GL bugs that are not MBP specific. A reader had also sent a link (javascript reqd) to a google spreadsheet with over 90 reports from MBP owners w/no video at boot, but of course there's been many thousands shipped - however even Nvidia mentions a suspect batch of GPUs in their Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 Business Update (item 2) from July 2nd, 2008 regarding a $150-200 million one-time charge related to "weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of its previous generation GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems". The doc doesn't mention specific Nvidia GPU model numbers, but by searching for specs on the Dell laptop models in a related cnet article I found some used Nvidia 8600M GPUs.-Mike.)

    NVIDIA promised a new driver some time ago to address overheating problems with the Apple version of the driver but so far, nothing. (We hoped that the 10.5.4 update would include some GL/driver bug fixes also, but it didn't.)

    So now, for the first time ever, I have to send my computer to Apple to be repaired (all those years of buying AppleCare finally paid off). Please note the dates of failure, I bought this computer exactly One Year & One Week before the first problem. Those Apple engineers are better than anyone thought they could be! I'm sure it's a coincidence but it's pretty funny to note.

    SO how does a guy who works five days a week in another State than where he lives and relies 100% on his laptop to do his job, survive without his computer? I went to Apple's store and bought a 2GHz iMac, Restored the MBP internal hard drive to the iMac and bang, back up and running. When I get my computer back, I will sell the iMac, take a small haircut on the cost and move on with my life. I couldn't think of any other solution!

    So I close with a warning to your readers for this graphics card, don't delay when problems appear. It will die - contrary to your hopes and wishes, so get it fixed promptly!
    Best Regards, Jim"

    A certain % of anything will fail (sometimes infant/early failures) but some think their MBP's had 8600M's that were part of a suspect batch mentioned in Nvidia's 2nd QTR (2008) financial results (See notes below regarding Nvidia's comments on the subject in their (July 2nd, 2008 dated) Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 Business Update PR) - some replies here on failures go back to the early models and there could be some variation in assy build quality/heatpipe mating (efficiency) - remember the posts here and elsewhere on the first gen MBP's heatpipes having thick gobs/slabs of thermal paste - not ideal... although the first runs had ATI X1600's running at lower GPU clock speeds).
    If you've had a similar failure with your MBP, let me know the details. Thanks.

    Other MBP owner Replies: (from 2008)
    (FYI: Here's some links to articles related to flawed Nvidia GPU chips - Dell issues update for (laptop) Nvidia graphics chip glitch that has quotes about "affected GPUs (graphics processing units) are experiencing higher than expected failure rates causing video problems....The issue is a weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations. If your GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms" - this is mentioned in NVIDIA's Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 Business Update (item 2) from July 2nd, 2008 regarding a $150-200 million one-time charge related to "weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of its previous generation GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems". The doc doesn't mention specific Nvidia GPU model numbers, but by searching for specs on the Dell laptop models in the cnet doc I found some used Nvidia 8600M GPUs, as well as others like the 8400M. There's also other related articles - HP: Nvidia graphics defect an issue since November 2007 and Dell Takes Heat for Faulty Nvidia Chips)

    Broken Thermal Sensor Connection:

    (added 8/14/2008 - reply to report from yesterday)
    "I wanted to give Sebastian as well as anyone else a bit of advice. SMC FanControl2 (and the other similar programs out there) ARE wonderful ideas; but don't rely on them for long term solutions.. I would suggest taking your Macbook/Macbook Pros in and having the thermal sensors inspected for damage or other general defects.

    I too was having trouble with fatal graphical corruptions as well as random shutdowns of my Core Duo MBP and finally had enough of it on Sunday August 9th.

    Thinking that it was the known issue of the amount of heat sink compound on the CPU/GPU/Chipset units, (this was noted on very early (ATI X1600 based) MacBook Pros years ago (early MBP page here had several posts on this) with some pix showing thick slabs of compound. There were also some notes (years ago) on a wire being replaced due to contact/shorting against a heatpipe IIRC.-Mike). I completely disassembled my system intending to clean it and start from scratch.

    I was almost finished removing everything when I discovered that one of the wires attached to the right thermal sensor had broken at the solder point. I completely removed it and reassembled my MBP then turned it on. (Removed it? (not resoldered the wire) With no sensor connection (open ckt) to the thermal sensor (if a PTC thermistor type) the system would see that (NC) as max temp (infinite resistance) and downclock speeds/increase fan speeds, etc. But not sure what type of sensor is used there. I'd be curious what Apple Hardware Test reported also (before take-apart) but if it was shutting down the test may not have completed.-Mike) It is now 5 days later and my system has not had a single shut down or issue with graphical corruption, even when running programs like Second Life and Phantasy Star Universe (natively in XP) at their highest settings. I will admit that I am glad that the new sensor I ordered from iFixit arrived today, but all things considered, I'd say it was a chance well taken.

    I'm not 100% certain as to what was occurring, but it seems very likely the broken wire was shorting out and causing the sensor to report incorrect temps from the nearby GPU and forcing the shutdowns.
    (He later wrote)
    I completely removed it (sensor connection). Surprisingly I did not notice a serious increase in fan activity as a result of this action. (If ran with no sensor connection it would have been interesting to see what was reported with (freeware) utils like iStat Pro or Temperature Monitor as well as reported clock speeds.-Mike) I submitted a question to Apple Tech Support about that observation, but it appears that (on the original Core Duo models at least) it is possible for a MBP to function at a normal capacity with just one sensor installed.

    Then again, I wasn't too anxious to really push my system either... It is out of warranty (even applecare) and I haven't saved enough to purchase a new one yet.
    -Joel S."

    I asked he report back after replacing the sensor.
    With later (C2D) MBP's the possible use of flawed Nvidia chips (see links above) is still another concern (I wish Apple would officially comment if any production runs of MBPs used those flawed GPUs.)


    (added 8/13/2008)
    "I own a 15 inch bottom line Macbook pro (128mb Nvidia 8600M GT) that I also bought about this time last year (about a month before the begining of college). I noticed the problems just 4 days ago for the first time. I was playing Civilization 4 on my windows partition when I suddenly got a grainy checkerboard pattern on my screen. So the first thing I did then was restart and see if it also happened in my Leopard partition and it did about 10 minutes into my game of Warcraft 3 TFT. After fiddling with it for a while I came to the conclusion that anything video intensive set this off (the checkerboard distortion).
    I started to monitor the video card temperature using iStat pro (freeware system stats widget) and my guess is that when i reach about 80 degrees C I get the mentioned problem. Oh and I forgot to mention that this error is fatal.. as in shortly after everything else stops working my mouse stops moving on screen as well. The first thing I did to try to combat this was to reinstall Leopard after clearing the drive. I didn't call apple for this because I am out of warranty... very convenient that this happens within a month of losing coverage. Then it happened again shortly after completeing the install.

    So I shut the damn thing off and turn it back on. Then I installed FAN CONTROL. (I think he means SMC FanControl2, which some readers have used to boost fan speeds during gaming (increase cooling/reduce throttle down due to heat)-Mike)
    I set the upper threshold temp to 70 degrees (the lowest allowed). I also set the minimum fan speed to 2500 rpms. Since then I have not had the problem once. I even just played warcraft 3 for about 2 hours straight with no issues. I don't know what will happen when and if I try to play Civ 4 on windows, but I'm just glad I don't have to get a new video card for now. I always had a feeling that 80 C was just way too high, so I guess it finally took its toll on my card, that now (w/boosted fan speeds) seems to operate completely fine. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that it was just a fluke or a software issue....
    -Sebastian"

    Still nothing official from Apple if any MBP production runs included Nvidia GPUs with the mfg/pkg issue (see links above on the issue from Nvidia, Dell, HP and another article today $196M Should Cover Costs of Bad Graphics Chips, Nvidia Says) - but cooler is always better and thermal cycling reportedly is a factor in failures for those suspect GPUs (i.e. temperature cycles of heat/cool down of the GPU).


    (added 8/12/2008 - later updated)
    "The instructions for connecting an external monitor, turning on and closing the lid worked. (See notes in 8/4/2008 report below this one.) My LCD screen now comes on 'phew'. I thought my graphics or LCD was busted.
    (Just for the record I asked model of MBP? (when was it bought, etc.) and was this the first time you had any problems? )
    It was a mid-2007 MBP 2.4. I've had intermittent wake from sleep issues but would resolve at least via a hard shutdown and reboot. No recent firmware updates. Last update was done same day as the latest leopard update was released which was a while ago. (The reader below that posted the tip said his problem happened after the Security update 2008-005 (from July 31st). 10.5.4 was released June 30th.)
    This is the first time it's actually been unresolvable following a reboot.
    Prior to it happening, it was connected to an external monitor, put to sleep, external monitor disconnected, then attempted to wake from sleep. I've yet to retest it to see if I can repeat the bug.
    (So your last update was the 2008-005 security update then?)
    Hmm interesting. Yes. Well this was the first time I had connected it up to an external monitor since that update. Perhaps that's related?
    (he later wrote)
    Update: The trick with plugging in an external monitor, turning it on, and closing the lid, doesn't always work (even after resetting NVRAM). It works sporadically, so you have to keep trying it until it does work.

    I've decided to soon, take a shot at calling Apple support despite it being out of warranty and try to claim its a known issue citing the Apple forum thread on it.

    I've also tested the theory on the problem being due to recent software updates. (May not be related, just that he tip came from someone that saw the problem right after the 2008-005 update, but that could have just been coincidence. Again if a hardware issue tips like that won't fix that - and again some that had failures initially had intermittent problems.-Mike) I installed replaced the MBP hard drive with a fresh one with Leopard installed with the latest updates EXCEPT 2008-005 Security Update. It didn't make a difference.

    My belief is that if the problem is indeed a software issue, then it would have to be an update that involved a system firmware update. (If I had $1 for every (uncommmon) problem with an OS X update over the years here I'd be richer than Bill Gates. (I guess you missed the past posts from even developers on this...) - although nothing is a sure thing this is why I always suggest A) using download updaters and B) doing a clean reboot (with nothing else running) when installing any OS X update. But I've even had some PB owners report no video after a blizzard game update once (nvram reset fixed it) - although the main question on recent MBP's is the possibility of flawed Nvidia GPUs being used (see above links on the subject, although nothing to date from Apple on that.)-Mike) Although I also believe it's a hardware issue thus requiring logic board replacement to fix. Either way, this is a real pain in the ass.
    -Paul"

    Let me know if the problem reappears (as for those with suspect hardware, the problem can be intermittent at first) - but hopefully not.


    Tip for Intermittent Problems: (This won't help if the GPU has failed/separated of course but something to try. And initial problems with these flawed pkg's may be intermittent at first, but eventually fail completely/permanently.)

    (added 8/4/2008)
    "Well, on Friday night, I thought my NVidia 8600M GT had bitten the dust. After applying the latest security update on my MacBook Pro 17" 2.4GHz and rebooting, I faced a black screen. The laptop was still working just no video. I tried to hook an external monitor and there was no video signal. Rebooted a few times. Tried resetting the PRAM, no change. Since the laptop is provided to me by the company I work for, I reported my problem (I work from home and losing my laptop would be a catastrophe).

    One of the tech's suggested that shut it down, connect an external monitor, turn it on and close the lid. Which I did and this time, I got a video signal on the external monitor. Since I had forgotten to plug an external keyboard and mouse, had to open the lid to shut it down. Well, upon opening the lid, the image came back on the internal LCD. Shut it down, disconnected the external monitor and turned it on. This time, the image appeared on the LCD. So, it looks I'm back in business for now but am still very suspicious.

    Anyhow, thought you could maybe update that page with this additional trick that I didn't know about, even though I've been owning Macs for well over 20 years.
    -Lauren"

    I asked he report back if the problem reappears (i.e. was the 'fix' due to the chip cooling down, or just another odd/uncommon problem seen after an OS X update.) If anyone else finds this helps, let me know. This won't fix a case where the GPU has actually failed of course and there can be intermittent problems seen before a (hardware) failure - as Jim noted in his original report above, however at least one user (report just above this one) said this tip helped after he had no video following an OS X update.
    If it's -not- related to the GPU failing (pkg separating, etc.), other things to try are clearing the nvram, checking for corrupt prefs/files, reinstall the update from download updater (via Target Disk mode if necessary), making sure you don't have any installed haxies, etc (that may not be compatible with the OS update).


    (added 8/4/2008)
    " Hi Mike, Just a quick update...

    ----------------------------------
    From: Apple (do_not_reply@apple.com)
    Date: August 1, 2008 5:00:21 PM CDT
    Subject: Apple Mail-In Service Request

    Dear James,
    The repair of your MACBOOK PRO (17-INCH 2.4GHZ), is currently on hold, pending receipt of a needed part. We will notify you by email when the repair is complete.
    Your repair status is available online.
    Apple
    ----------------------------------"


    (added 8/4/2008)
    "Hello Mike, I'm the owner of a Santa-Rosa-MBP which was bought at 06/15/2007, a couple of days after the launch of the new MBP generation. I have the basic model with a 2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 120GB harddrive and a GeForce 8600M with 128MB VRAM.

    For about a year I had only some small problems (at least I thought those problems are "small"), like freezing after waking the MBP from sleep (after hitting a key with no screen output or with a frozen screensaver and very high fan speed afterwards). My first opinion was that this was maybe related to ACPI (ACPI is very complicated, the current ACPI specification is a document with about 600 pages and Intel is researching a new hardware-based replacement to replace ACPI sometime in the future because ACPI got very difficult to implement over the time). In cases I had a freeze after waking the MBP from sleep I had to do a forced shutdown. In some rare cases, I had problems turning it on again (no reaction after pressing the power-button). Resetting SMC and PRAM did not solve the problem. My OSX-Tiger was OK in every aspect (latest patches and firmware installed, no damaged file-systems etc.).

    Unlike many others I had no screen-flickering and no vertical lines, everything seemed OK. The quality of the display was very good.

    Two days after I found first news reports about the NVIDIA issues, I had the problem again (freeze after waking it, no screen output and problems to restart it). This time I had no luck. I tried everything: SMC and PRAM reset. Booting from OSX-DVD and external disks. Removing and reconnecting the power-supply etc.

    Then I gave up and decided to repair it through my Apple reseller. Because I had sensitive (private) data on the hard drive, I tested if target-mode was working, because it was a must to remove and overwrite the data before I gave the MBP out of my hands. I was very surprised to see that MBP worked absolutely flawless in target-mode. This was the last proof I needed to believe I had a problem with the NVIDIA GPU... To bad my warranty had run out a couple of weeks before :(

    I told my reseller what I had found out. Apple repaired my MBP and I had it back about two weeks after sending it in. My reseller told me they had replaced the logic-board.

    First tests with the repaired MBP are fine, it seems to work for the moment. I'm really doubtful the repair solved the NVIDIA problem permanently (I have not seen an official confirmation the problem is really related to the NVIDIA graphics). My guess is, the wake-up problems I had are in direct relation to the GPU problem. NVIDIA says is related to thermal fluctuations which are much more often in notebooks. If you put a notebook to sleep temperature decreases rather fast and if you wake it up temperature rises fast again... it's exactly what NVIDIA wrote the problem is about!

    My MBP serial number is the same after repair as it was before (I noted the serial number months ago to have it in case the MBP would be stolen). Before repair I had the newest firmware installed (Boot-ROM-Version ending with .B07). After repair I had an older firmware (ending with .B05), so I guess the motherboard was really replaced although I'm not sure where the serial number is stored and if Apple can manipulate the serial number of a logic-board.

    I'm not really happy how Apple handled this problem. Not a single line of official information. But dozens of users complaing about the problem in various forums. Dell and HP reacted very quickly and replace failing notebooks beyond their warranty.

    I remember many cases of bad designed Apple products (remember the bad IDE chips in the Rev.1 B/W G3 (yes, noted here back in 1999 in article w/IDE chip P/N - I had one.-Mike) or the SATA problems with the 2003 G5's?). (Issue with some drives or the PCI/PCI-X slot/bus sharing?-Mike) In every case they gave no official information. I guess it's their policy to deny as long they can. Same thing which the DNS poisoning fix: No official information for weeks although a patch for BIND was available as source days after the disclosure of the problem. And even M$ was faster which a patch...

    Maybe Apple has the most user friendly operating system and the most interesting hardware. But it terms of product quality and response to user complaints they are not the best. Maybe Steve Jobs should have a look at this and correct Apple's policy.
    Regards, Christian V."

    I wish Apple would comment about the flawed Nvidia GPUs (HP and Dell have - see links above), and if this does affect some production runs of MBPs that they list those and offer a warranty extension program.


    (added 7/31/2008- from Jim that previously wrote (top of page above) about a failure a few days out of the 1yr warranty)
    "Less than 48 hours after return of MBP, exact same failure repeats!
    I am again sending my MBP to Apple for service.
    -Jim"


    (added 7/28/2008)
    "I just wanna say that I had the same problem. My MBP died yesterday. I had similar symptoms every one is describing, but I thought it was software related. Unfortunately my MBP died 8 days after my warranty. Tomorrow I'm going to try to convince apple support in Poland that this my case is not alone and maybe they will help me.
    -Jacek M."


    (added 7/28/2008)
    "Hi there, I just want to submit my crappy experience with NVIDIA's GPU, my MacBook Pro and its replacements. Not to be repetitive, so I'll just summarize what's happened throughout the use of TWO MacBook Pros (including one that had a logic board replacement).

    1. MacBook Pro (2.2Ghz Merom/Santa Rosa/128MB VRAM)
    - 3rd month of usage, NVChannel(GL) errors
    - 5th month of usage, graphic texture corruption
    - Did a logic board replacement. Service note onboard TEMP sensor faulty
    - problem not fixed, texture corruption still happens, condition was even worse than it was before taken into service.
    - brought it in for another service
    - machine got screwed up by the service centre.

    2. Replaced with MacBook Pro (2.4GHz Penryn/Santa Rosa/256MB VRAM)
    Within 24 hours of opening the brand new machine.
    - More random NVChannel(GL) and screen-freeze
    - GeForce8xxx kext induced application crashes (in QuickTime)

    Within 3 weeks since machine first arrived.
    - Front Row texture corruption/system freeze
    - this is where I'm at NOW.

    Problem persisted even after SMC and PRAM resets, and clean re-installations. I have posted my issue as well as instructions to get people to try and replicate the issue but unfortunately it has been unsuccessful.

    I also have a gallery full of NVIDIA crap to document all my blabbering.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28516734@N05/sets/72157606141870377/

    I'm sick on waiting and replacing my logic board just to get the same fault coming back over and over again. A month's worth of downtime had cost me too much. I do hope some action to be taken by Apple as soon as possible before the consumer decides to take action into their own hands.
    -Jay"


    (added 7/28/2008)
    "My 1-year-old MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz has been experiencing some weird video artifacts recently. I upgraded to Leopard about 6 weeks ago and honestly don't recall whether I had the video problems under Tiger.

    The most common and irritating symptom is that text display becomes corrupt on slow or irregular scrolling. In this case moving another window on top of the text (or in some other way forcing a redraw) corrects the problem. Also when reloading web pages the entire window contents blinks and stutters with flashes of garbage on screen until the reload finishes. It's a little thing but distracting.

    When I upgraded to 10.5.4 I began having problems with Parallels video display in Windows, as appeared to have been common. The most recent build of Parallels fixed this, EXCEPT that after being awakened from sleep the Windows display is corrupted with garbage in big blocks, and I've found no way to recover other than to hunt in darkness for the shutdown button and restart.

    I have AppleCare and am on the fence about calling it in for a repair. Following this issue carefully to see whether Apple has a real fix or is just as perplexed as everyone else.
    -Jeff B."


    (added 7/28/2008)
    "Read about the MBP graphic problems. I had the same thing happen to my 15" MBP. I bought my MBP (Santa Rosa board) at the end of june 2007. The screen went out at the end of april. Had to go to an Apple authorized technician (horror story as Apple doesn't pick up Macbooks anymore) and get the logicboard replaced. Since then it has worked but I got AppleCare just to be on the safe side for the next 2 years.
    Regards, Robert"


    (added 7/24/2008)
    " Our MBP (std config 15in/2.5GHz/2X1GB RAM/250GB 5400rpm/512VRAM), purchased on line and shipped May 29 from Johnstown stock, failed after about two weeks. Started with screen artifacts and went to full lock up after a few days. Sometimes would boot after sitting for a day, sometimes not.

    Took it to the genius bar mid June and they replaced it with one from their stock. This one has been flawless. Tech at the store said they had been getting back more than the usual number MBPs (rare). Disc drive and CPU worked fine in target disc mode, so thankfully they were able to transfer all our stuff to the machine.

    I did not see any discussion on this topic in early June, except that the MBPs were said to be sold out in many places, which added some anxiety. But the local Apple store had a few.

    I'll dig out the SNs if you need them. If I recall correctly, there was a significant difference, the replacement looked like a newer number.
    -Sam"


    (added 7/24/2008)
    "I have a 17-inch MBP santa rosa, and I lost video and had a logic board replaced about 6 months after I took possession.
    It was under AppleCare and the replacement gave me an upgrade from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz. Seems to have been fine since.
    -Derek"


    (added 7/24/2008)
    "I have been having a video issue that sounds similar to this. (No info on MBP model, series, when bought, etc. but I've asked.-Mike) Sometimes it is hard to tell by just a verbal description so I have managed to capture a sample of the problem I am having on my camera phone. I thought I would send you a sample of what is happening to me and maybe others can tell you if they are seeing the same thing I am. The flickering you see in the video is NOT from the camera phone, that is the way my screen looks. Feel free to post it (video) if you want.

    I have a couple of other samples including on of the screen flickering in Single User mode so it is definitely a hardware or low level software issue.
    -Craig"


    (added 7/24/2008)
    " After about 11 months I had a blank screen failure (computer clearly working behind the screen). Apple replaced the logic board but it happened again in about a week. Apple replaced it again* and, this time, the graphics diode runs about 15°F (not C?-Mike) cooler under a heavy video load, e.g., video skype. It turns out that 4 of 5 Apple laptops that I have owned (serially) over the past 15 years, have had at least one hardware failure.
    (*Different people said different things to me about the source of the problem and the repair. I believe both repair sheets said the logic board was replaced.)
    Love your site, Neil I.
    (Apple system profiler info follows) Model Identifier: MacBookPro3,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo (2.4GHz)
    L2 Cache: 4 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 800 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: MBP31.0070.B07
    SMC Version: 1.16f10
    Serial Number: W873╔G

    Chipset Model: GeForce 8600M GT
    VRAM (Total): 256 MB
    Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)
    Device ID: 0x0407
    Revision ID: 0x00a1
    ROM Revision: 3175
    Displays:
    Color LCD:
    Resolution: 1440 x 900"


    (added 7/23/2008)
    "I've just recently had the motherboard of my CD2 2.4GHz 15" MacBook Pro replaced because I was seeing similar problems. The screen would glitch out and it wasn't related to heat or software. The tech guys weren't able to reproduce the problem and all hardware passed inspection so it was only my word that they went on that there was something indeed wrong with my machine. Hope that this helps.
    -Dave"

    It would be nice if the MBP's graphics were a mini-PCIe card that could be replaced. (Many years ago I used a Dell Inspiron (8100 IIRC, thick slab design w/dual battery option) notebook at work that had mini-PCI based (upgradeable) video card.)


    (added 7/23/2008)
    "I had my 17" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro (original, not Santa Rosa) die on me on July 10. It was the same symptoms as what's been described elsewhere- the machine is completely functional with the exception of video- there is nothing on the built-in display or the DVI connector. I can shell in, and I can remote desktop in. Apple System Profiler reports the video subsystem to be an Intel GMA X3100 instead of the GeForce 8600M.

    In my case, the machine was out of warranty by a month.

    The failure was sudden: there were no artifacts or other video problems beforehand. I had been using the machine with the lid closed with an external LCD; I put it to sleep and took it to a meeting, and never got the video back. After I swapped the drive out with an older, spare machine to get myself back up and running, it powered up to have video once. I swapped the drives back, and it resumed its former, failed state and never came back again. I don't know if this is indicative of a loose solder point, or if it was just chance.

    I'm hoping that Apple will acknowledge the problem and offer some sort of extended support on these systems; if not, I guess it will make a good headless server - after all, it's got a built-in UPS. ;) Thanks for running such a great site for all of these years!
    -Matt"


    (added 7/23/2008)
    "Yes I did get the vertical lines thing. I was running FCP and the machine was extremely hot then all of a sudden these vertical bars appeared and went away after about 45 minutes. This MBP was only 10 days old then but has not failed since. Here are the specs of my video card. Hope it helps
    Salutations, Denis C.
    (Apple system profiler info (french))
    GeForce 8600M GT:
    Jeu de composants: GeForce 8600M GT
    Type: Moniteur
    Bus: PCIe
    Longueur de la voie PCIe: x16
    VRAM (totale): 256 Mo
    Fournisseur: NVIDIA (0x10de)
    Identifiant du peripherique: 0x0407
    Identifiant de revision : 0x00a1
    Revision de la ROM: 3212
    Moniteurs:
    Ecran LCD:
    Type de moniteur: LCD
    Resolution: 1440 x 900
    Profondeur: Couleurs 32 bits..."


    (added 7/23/2008)
    "About the MBP video failure, I had a first Intel gen MacBook Pro 15". After the 14th month, the screen suddenly would only display 16 or 32 colors like an old macintosh. I first thought it was a software problem and went to system (display) preferences, but nothing to do.
    At the time, a GPU failure was found, 800 euros to replace the mother board, I bought a new MBP instead...

    Some months ago I checked it again to use it as a server and I discovered an external display was working fine, no color problem... so was it really the gpu? I probably won't know what happened!
    Sincerely, Emilien"


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