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Apple keeps replacing my Logic Board

I have a MacBook Pro 17" Early 2011 and this year the Logic Board finally went on it.

I read a lot of stories online with logic board issues and MacBook Pros from 2011.

Anyways, every time it goes, Apple now replaces the Logic Board and gives me a new 90 day warranty.

1) If this is going on with others how long do they expect to keep this up? Will they finally replace it with a different model?

2) Can I install a logic board from a different model (new 15") into my 2011 MCP?


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How many time have you brought it to Apple (Apple Store or Authorized Service Center) and how many logic boards have they installed?

Can you give us an idea what you do with your system. Are you watching a lot of You Tube vids or other video (streaming or iTunes)? Are you editing pictures or doing any 3D object design?

This will be the third time logic board will be replaced.

I use it for medical imaging (extensive 3D rendering and large data sets). It ran this task for years without problems. It spends 90% of it's time on a stand supplying a cinema display external monitor. Strangely, the medical imaging it performs runs fine. It has previously crashed when I'm looking at youtube or vimeo (flash video?) and it felt hot at the time.

The university apple service center I bring it to say this is so common they can't believe Apple haven't recalled these models. They told me I'm likely to be going back and forth with them replacing the logic board with original parts forever.

I'm in a position to do this so if it costs Apple more than the cost of a new MBP then I'm happy as they should know better and sort this issue once and for all.

I disagree what you said how common this is .... I speak to so many students at the university here that have similar issues for these 2011 models.

I will look at temp app for future.

OK, that may explain things. You Tube & vid streaming uses more processing which creates more heat. If the system stays in this hot zone for long periods it can weaken the solder joints of the CPU & GPU and can lessen the life span of the system. When we get a new system (we buy used systems) we strip it down and redo the thermal paste as the quality of the paste Apple used is not as good as what you can get today and we give it a good cleaning if needed.

Make sure your systems vents are clear and try using gfxCardStatus ability to control which graphics services to use. I would recommend forcing it to use the AMD Radeon HD 6750M and watch your temps & RPM's. Temperature Gauge Pro offers a logging function to track things see what happens over a few weeks of your normal usage and let us see the log.

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First, We have quite a few of these systems and we have not had that many failures. While we have had our fair share of problems, I don't see this system as so problematic as some have stated.

I have a suspicion a lot of the issues people are having is the dual graphic engines these systems have. Here's a good Apple TN: MacBook Pro: How to determine which graphics processor is in use.

You see, the OS & system firmware decides which Graphics services to use: The internal Intel CPU HD Graphics 3000 services or the dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor.

The OS needs to switch between them as you jump from the finder services which uses the built-in CPU graphics engine, to the application that requires the more powerful graphic services using the AMD Radeon. The fact you are powered via AC vs. battery also effects things as well. Here's a good Apple TN that goes over how to bias the system: MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina display computers: How to set graphics performance.

I would recommend doing the following install a good temperature monitoring app like: Temperature Gauge Pro. Make sure your systems firmware is also upto date: EFI and SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Macs as starters. Then I would look carefully at my apps making sure I've got the newest releases.

OK, here's the last thing here on this: download this app: gfxCardStatus. It will also help you identify what graphic services is running.

See what you discover on your usage, and if you do encounter problems see if you can identify if the graphics services is the issue, or something else. Let us know what you discover.

To your questions:

1: If Apple does find something I'm sure they will offer a fix as it likely is firmware or OS based issue. If its a hardware issue then Apple will address it as well. We have no crystal ball here Apple is in the drivers seat on what they will do.

2: No, you can't change your graphics services it is what it is. Review the IFIXIT guides to get an idea how your system is built.

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Apple fussed up after a class action law suit. Here's the repair program: https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro...

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All of these 2011 AMD based systems are JUNK. They fail the same way the NVIDIA 8600 did in 2007/2008, just they took longer to fail. My fume extractor gets good and busy inhaling smoke from all the dead HD 6750M I am replacing everyday in my office.

You can fit an 820-2849 In there, BUT it is a downgrade in CPU. It is this downgrade in CPU power that actually saves you. The 820-2849 has a dual core CPU compared to your 820-2914 board's quad core, which produces less heat. Do keep in mind that this dual core CPU board has the SAME COOLING SYSTEM AS YOUR QUAD CORE CPU BOARD because Apple is clueless when it comes to proper thermal design.

The 820-2849 also has a GPU that is NOT a piece of crap like the 820-2914's HD6750M that will not keep failing. Keep in mind that the combination of crap AMD HD 6750M GPU + quad core sandy bridge processor is what is killing that GPU to begin with. Even if the HD 6750M wasn't junk, it is paired with one of the hottest running mobile processors of the past five years which will kill it just by sharing a heatsink with the GPU.

You already have a bad GPU and a bad cooling design. Put a QUAD core sandy bridge processor of the 820-2914 board you have in that system, instead of the DUAL CORE processor of the 820-2849 board in there, and you have a recipe for disaster. What Apple was thinking when they made this is beyond me, but it definitely wasn't that you would have a working machine 3 years from your purchase date.

The right thing to do is to keep killing it within the 90 days by running GPUtest & furmark until they give you a retina for free. It works, and is what they deserve for taking $2000+ of your money and giving you this pile of junk. Be kind and courteous to them while insisting that this canot keep happening because you use the laptop for work. They do not have classic unibodies to give you as replacements, so they will replace it with a retina which is a far better and more reliable machine.

If you want to mess with putting a different board in there, you can put an 820-2849 and it will be fine. It does not share any of the lvds_mux issues or the kernel panicing because of dropping VRAM pgood signals of the 820-2850. But in this case, you are paying for a downgrade.

The right thing to do here is to keep killing it natrually and keep bringing it back to Apple until they give you a retina.

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Louis, I respect your convictions and your skills, we don't need to berate someone or the hardware. We have over 30 of this series and have not had that many fail. Yes, Intel & AMD's chips Apple used in this series can run on the hot side, and yes we have seen the AMD chips fail when over stressed due to heat. Which is why we are aggressive on replacing the thermal paste Apple had used with something better. Our usage is CAD and 3D modeling. And most of our users are not running video's that often which likely explains why our systems don't fail as we tend not to over stress them.

Remember most of the people posting here are not at your skill level and likely are not interested in making logic board conversions. I suspect Steve also wants the larger display this system offers (which is why we like it too). So over stressing it to force Apples hand may not be want he wants and it may not work (depending on what his consumer laws allow where he lives).

@ Louis - + Good information for others to have down the road.

@ Dan - Louis offered OP ways of keeping his screen size. The only thing he didn't mention on that front, which you had already addressed in your early comment to Steve, is better thermal compound. One thing he offered in his answer, that you did not, is alternative logic boards - such is specifically asked for in the question. Irrespective of the consumer laws in a "customer's" area Apple will replace the laptop vs replacing the motherboard 4 times a year for life, about the 5th time they may offer an "upgrade" over replacing the logic board, they may even insist on it. Who knows I don't have a crystal ball but, Apple does take care of their customers better than other computer companies.

Dan, absolutely no one here is being berated. Feel free to google and find petitions where 20,000+ people have reported the same issue with this same hardware which is a defective design.

He asked for options and I gave him two actionable solutions that answer his question and get him a working laptop. If he wishes to keep his screen size and change his logic board, he can go from 820-2914 to 820-2849. If he wishes to get a more reliable machine, he can run furmark/gputest within the warranty period repeatedly and bring it back to Apple until he gets a retina.

My skill level nor the OP's skill level have anything to do this. Both solutions I proposed are actionable, correct, and reasonable to someone with a low skill level. He asked if he can install a different logic board into his machine and I gave him exact model numbers of compatible boards he can install. If this is too high in difficulty, he can bring it back to Apple, which I feel he has the capability to do.

@Louis - Yes, I'm aware of the petition and have reviewed the DB that lists the issues people have had. I'm not discounting what people have encountered. I wonder if their usage pattern is what Apple expected or did they exceed it. Sometimes we fail to understand equipment has a breaking point when we push something too far and then get angry of its failure.

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Thanks for all the discussion points.

Louis - the model I have (Early 2011 MBP 17") is actually retina display already. One of the many reasons I love(d) it. It would break my heart if I had to exchange it but of course that trumps a working replacement in a newer 15".

If they replace the logic board again, I am really interested in maximizing it's life as my diagnostic imaging workstation feeding a external cinema displauy. I have upgraded ram to 16GB, and SSD to 500GB and it worked so much faster. I use OsiriX that open large CT datsets - commonly using volume rendering and planar reconstructions. I travel often so I have a travel case for the cinema display and my macbook.

Am I understanding correctly that flash video (Youtube, Vimeo) are more taxing on the logic board compared to my DICOM viewing and rendering software?

If so I will avoid the flash videos entirely. Also, what instructions (video or step-by-step) could I follow to improve the heatsink or attachments. I don't mind some minor "surgery" ( I replaced the Ram and the HD as described above.

Should I always have it elevated on a M-stand (or equivalent). What about fancy cooling attachments?

Thanks again Dan, Louis, ABCellars

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If it is 17" it is not a retina.

Best thing you can do is download an app that allows you to run the fans on high speed all the time. I am unsure on what taxes the GPU & CPU more, but what I am sure of is that if you keep it running cool it will last longer.

Yes, watching streamed video (Flash) is hard on your system as it needs to do a few things at once (buffer and decode the stream and then display it). Thats not to say you can't do it, only give your system a break once and awhile (monitor the temp & fans). Make sure you have the newer 64bit version of Flash as it runs cooler than the older stuff. Apple won't even allow Flash to run on the iPhone or iPad as its just too taxing on these systems (battery & heat). Its like many things, a little bit won't hurt you, but over-doing it can! FYI: I'd be saying the same thing for a Windows laptop too here. As to using a stand many are designed to protect your legs from the heat, they don't really help in lowering the heat buildup in the system (I don't use them). The trick here is to make sure the vents on the back of the system are clear and not use any keyboard covers (spill guards). While I like the idea of them, the problem is the system is designed to vent though the gaps of the keyboard which these covers block.

@ Steve - I use Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound, have used it since the 90's. There may be some slightly better products out there today. The product I mentioned will give you measurable temperature reductions over what is used by the factory. Read the Applying Thermal Paste guide first, then keep it handy - How to Apply Thermal Paste. Follow the heat sink replacement guide to get you where you ncan change the thermal paste/compound - MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Heat Sink Replacement The thermal compound should be replaced on the video and CPU chips - all chips protected by the heat sink.

Steve, Apple announced on Sunday that they are reimbursing customers for the cost of the repair of their 2011 through 2013 mac Book pro with video display issue's.

Here's the info direct from Apple: MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues.

Give them a call I'll bet they will make things right for you.

is this reimbursement still valid in Jan 2017...? yesterday I visited Apple store, he didnt mention anything about it but 90 day warranty and he run diagnostics and told Logic Board need to replace for $487.50 + $79 for labor. My MBP is late 2011, 15" and I swapped my HD to samsung SSD

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Your warranty agreement or local consumers law should allow you to refund or replace a equal or better product if repeated repairs didn't solve your problem.

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California does not have a computer and electronics lemon law yet. Personally Hard drive manufactures should be mandated to warranty a hard drive for at least 5 years, especially since the claim that they are tested to run 100,000 hours under normal use.

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