2011 15″ & 17″ MacBook Pro – GPU failure

Applies to:

  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2011)

Component affected:

  • GPU

Symptoms:

  • Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
  • No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on
  • Computer restarts unexpectedly

Apple Repair program:
Started: February 20, 2015
Ended: January 2017 (the program continued but excluded the above mentioned 2011 models)
Archived URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20150220164447/https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/
Current URL: Not available, Apple has deleted the URL contents from it’s website.

The program covered affected MacBook Pro models until February 27, 2016 or three years from its original date of sale, whichever provides longer coverage.

Repair Program Issues:
As the AMD graphics chips were faulty straight off of the assembly line, replacement boards that were given by Apple under it’s repair program had the same chips and thus the same issues.

The Issue:
AMD Radeon HD 6490M, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics chips were found to be faulty. The adhesive keeping the chip together is no good and heat makes the chip fall apart.

The Fix:
AMD never created a revised version of the chip so even soldering a new one on today will result in another failure down the road. Some work has been done to bypass the AMD chip completely and run the Mac off of the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 only. Thanks to solutions such as MuxHat and DeMux this can reliably be done but there are drawbacks. Without the dedicated AMD GPU there is no signal to external displays for example. LCD backlight brigtness control also takes a hit but this can be resolved with a DyingLight module.

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