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MacBook Pro Monitor Glitching

I am having issues with my early 2011 MacBook Pro.  It started maybe 2 weeks ago – I was using it running off of the battery, just browsing the web (I did have Photoshop and a few other things open in the background), and the monitor started twerking out!  The desktop shifted about 1/8 to the right, so part of it wrapped to the other side.  The cursor got all sorts off odd – taller than it should be, etc.  There were horizontal lines across the whole screen, and it shifted mostly to a grayscale display.  I tried clicking around to see if I could reset the display settings or something, but didn’t get far and ended up having to restart the computer.  All seemed fine then.

Since then, it’s happened a few more times, and more frequently to the point that it’s almost unusable. And when the display starts to freak out it’s getting worse, sometimes resulting in a solid grey or black screen and almost always the computer does not respond.

20140622-210859-76139060.jpg

I did a bit of Googleing but didn’t come up with a solid solution – just some ideas….

  • I took the back panel off of the computer, pulled out the fans and cleaned the fans and the vent ports.  The inside looks cobweb free now.  But the issue came back…
  • I reseated the RAM chips.  That seemed to be a promising lead, but then it came back….
  • I tried running the Apple Hardware Test software thinking that my issue was a hardware problem.  The basic scan and the deeper scan both came back with no issues.
  • I updated the operating system from Mountain Lion 10.8.3 to Mavericks
  • Zapped the PRAM
    http://support.apple.com/kb/ph11243

I was having a hard time tracking down what would trigger the issue as well.  I was thinking it was heat related, but not sure if that is true or not…  I thought maybe having too many programs running was the issue, but it happened when I had 5 programs open or just an internet browser open with 5 tabs.  It seems to happen when running iPhoto though. It seemed to happen when I had the display brightness turned up to 100% but not if I took it down a few notches.  Not sure if that is a positive lead or not….  It didn’t matter if I were running on batter or power connector.  Sometimes I could run the machine for 5 minutes, other times 5 days.  I don’t recall installing new software around the time this began, or anything to that extent.

The Solution

From what I’m able to find on the internet, the solution is to replace the Logic Board. Well actually it’s the discrete (add on – AMD in this case) graphics card that is the issue, but given that it’s soldered to the Logic Board with such precision that it’s installed via robots and a baking process, it’s not repairable by most logical means. So here’s the breakdown that I’ve learned I online research only (thus far)

    • If you are covered by Apple Care, which would have costed you something like $350 for 3 years, the repair would be covered. While I didn’t purchase Apple Care, I’ve owned my machine for just over 3 years now. So I would have been out of luck anyway.
    • I’ve seen some people say that there is some flat repair rate of $300 that will cover this repair. I’m skeptical if that is true or not…

The more common price I’m seeing is more like $630 for the repair

 

So where does that leave all of this? Sadly I don’t know… I have a pretty looking laptop that won’t display anything pretty… I plan on stopping into the Apple Store and see what diagnosis they can give me… I’m sure I’m not going to be happy with it, but it’s hard to stomach that your overpriced laptop that you have to defend yourself for buying is dead but not dead, your not able to back it up, and you’ll need to shell out an arm and a leg to get it back running till the ticking time bomb explodes again… I’ll update when I know more.

Update

This story does continue – you can find out more by reading this article:  MacBook Pro Monitor Glitching Resolution

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