MacBook Pro video repair experience

contact_serviceAs everything else in this worlds, computers do not live forever, and even top brands like Apple experience hardware failures.

Fall 2014

After about 3 1/2 years, my MacBook Pro started to show signs of weakness. The dedicated video chip began to add green artefacts in the black areas. The other video chip, included in the processor, was fine, so in my dual screen setup only the image on the laptop screen was sometimes affected, the big external monitor was ok.

The problem seemed to get worse in time. A short research on the net identified a known problem with this family of 15″ MacBook Pros; apparently due to thermal stress the dedicated video chip, or the connection between it and the main board, ages and starts to create problems. The reports mentioned that, in its final days, the computer repeatedly crashes and finally no longer starts.

Feb 20th, 2015

Although the laptop was still functional, a bad feeling pushed me to visit the iStyle Apple service. They knew about the problem, the solution was to replace the main board and the cost was 2500 RON (about 550 EUR), pretty high I should say, not something to accept easily.

Feb 20th, 2015, late in the afternoon

Just returned to my computer late in the afternoon, and, to my surprise, all news sites announced that Apple acknowledged the problem and initiated a large scale MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues. The program was available immediately in the US, and starting Feb 27th in Europe.

Feb 21st, 2015

One day after the repair program was publicly announced, on Saturday evening, probably feeling resuscitation is near, my laptop died. During the day it crashed for several times, hanging in various positions. Later the display started to show various strange images and patterns and finally it crashed and refused to start again.

I got my screwdriver set and salvaged the disk, which was generally not affected by the crash. It didn’t took me long to plug it into a LaCie USB enclosure, connect it to my backup Mac and continue work.

Feb 30th, 2015

I contacted the iStyle service, and we arranged to bring the laptop to their lab on Monday, to diagnose it.

The hardware diagnostics showed no surprises, the video subsystem test failed. They accepted the laptop for repair and ordered a main board replacement, but since the repair program was pretty new, they had no details on how long it’ll take Apple to send the board. We agreed to contact them again after a week, and get an estimate time for the repair.

Mar 1st, 2015

Two days later, in the afternoon, I got a notification that the main board was delivered and the repair was completed!

Mar 2nd, 2015

The next day I visited again iStyle, and I got my computer, fully functional.

A discussion with the iStyle engineer confirmed the problem to accelerated ageing aggravated by thermal stress; to lower this stress, periodic maintenance to clean the vents and to replace the thermal paste was recommended.


Thumbs up, Apple! Thumbs up, iStyle!


About Liviu Ionescu (ilg)
Hi! My name is Liviu Ionescu (ilg, ilegeul or eunete for colleagues and friends) and I’m a senior IT engineer. Or should I say a real programmer?

3 Responses to MacBook Pro video repair experience

  1. Pingback: My backup Mac setup | ilg The Geek's blog

  2. Pingback: Preventive maintenance & thermal paste replacement | ilg The Geek's blog

  3. Pingback: OS X: Time Machine backup after hardware repairs | ilg The Geek's blog

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