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Chip shattered on Logic board

Hello there

I work in a small Apple repair shop here in Denmark

A customer came into the shop today with a Macbook Air 13” 2013 that won't boot.

I took the computer apart and could not see any visual problems on the board, but figured I would see if the CPU had any signs of overheating. So I took off the heatsink and this is what was revealed

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Having only worked on Mac’s for 1 year, I am uncertain what could cause this, I have never in my 20+ years repairing computers (Not Mac’s!) seen a chip fractured like this…

Best Regards Jonas

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Wow! That is a sight!

The only thing I can think of is thermal shock.

I haven’t seen this happen in quite a few years, I had a chip fail this way when I was over clocking it with Nitrogen for fun. We chilled chip before turning on, as soon as we turned in on bam! As the chip heated up too fast.

I’m sure you’ve seen a cars windshield have a stone strike which chipped the glass to slowly turn into a crack as it heats from the sun and cools at night. If you live in the desert area of Arizona or New Mexico where the temp swing can be quick its explosive! Or have a nice wine glass or even an everyday glass with a small chip on its edge fracture when you put it in or out the dish washer.

When Intel breaks down the silicon wafer to the discreet chips it uses either a diamond or laser cutter to score or cut out the discreet chip out of the silicon wafer. If the cut was not clean the failure can get to this point.

Block Image

Sadly, there’s nothing you can do other than replace the logic board.

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The lack of thermal paste cracked the CPU in this case - the customer didn’t repaste both cores or they took it to a repair shop who missed it.

Needless to say, the CPU needs to be replaced and a BGA reflow machine is required. However, that requires advanced experience and it’s easier to replace the motherboard for most people when this happens. However, it can be cheaper to do a CPU swap if you can find one that’s new since the cost of the CPU tends to be cheaper then the board - but the experience requirements go from 1-10 instantly.

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@nick - I think Jonas just cleaned it off as you can see some still stuck in the crack within the chip.

@danj I see. Usually this happens when someone who doesn't know to wait tries to repaste their system - especially laptops. Desktops are less time sensitive due to the IHS, but it's still a good idea to wait.

I usually wait 30 minutes to give the cooler time to come back to room temperature in a properly cooled laptop. I gave my old Dell an hour because of how hot it ran when I had to go in and redo the paste - especially if I ran it hard or an extended amount of time.

I have a hunch the board may cost more then a used 2013 Air that's identical in spec or comes with the 8GB board - possibly even a 2014/15 Air.

Yeah i have Macbook's in my shop that are cheaper then the repair would cost, so I'm advising the customer to not get it repaired

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