MacBook Pro Monitor Glitching Resolution

First off, for the backstory, read my initial post – MacBook Pro Monitor Glitching.

Ok, now that your up to speed, I can go forward with this post.

I have resolution… not redemption however… ha!

I took my MacBook Pro 15″ Early 2011 with failing graphics card into the Apple Store.  At this point, I was lucky to see the desktop for more than about 30 seconds when I booted up the machine.  I’d get the glitching horizontal bars, but then it’d shortly go to a grey or blue screen and the machine was unusable.

The Apple Store ran some diagnostic tests.  These test are more sophisticated than the Apple Hardware Test (AHT) that I ran my self.  Their tests all seemed to come back fine – though the machine still doesn’t work.  The genius at the Apple Genius Bar took out my RAM and tested that – all good he said.  He felt that because I was running 3rd party RAM that may be the issue, but no.  So he said that then the only other solution was to replace the logic board – the root issue was the graphics card, but being that it’s attached to the logic board it’s all got to go.  Cost – $310.  $210 for the a standard parts replacement fee – plus tax on this line item, $100 for labor.  All in all, $325 and some change.

I asked the genius about the petition on, pointed out the numerous articles online regarding this issue and the fact that Apple has no reaction, and he at least showed interest in caring about my concern about the scenario.  Ultimately, my concern is that I pay for a repair and get an identical part, which has a ticking time bomb until it’ll fail again – isn’t that just insanity (repeating an action expecting a different outcome) and poor investment?  He checked some Apple engineering documents for further information on this issue but said he found nothing.  However he does acknowledge that there have been devices in the past that had similar issues (I believe it was a 2010 MacBook and an iMac prior to that) and Apple did do some sort of repair program on it – just not my model sadly.

So at this point I don’t have much of an option.  I’m kind of tied to a Mac in how I operate, what software I use, etc.  Regardless, say I scrap this machine, put an equivalent amount of money into a new machine – PC or Mac – I’m loosing because the quality and speed would not be the same as my MacBook.  So I cross my fingers and hope for the best that the repair works out LONG TERM and/or the digital movement to get Apple to recognize that there is a flaw some day pays out in my favor.

One step before sending off my machine – a backup.  I’ll admit, I’m not a religious backup-er like I should probably be….  So two options – the Apple Store would graciously take $99 out of my pocket to do the backup for me – to a drive I must own / purchase.  What is the $99 for then?  Option two is for me to figure out how to backup a computer that won’t start on my own.  I opted for option 2 – I’m cheap.  But I’ve done enough computer building in the past that pulling the hard drive and hooking it to another machine isn’t an issue.  Except I don’t own another Mac.  I’ll cut to the chase and say that I found MacDrive to work rather well for this.  I had a few hiccups on the way, but I’ll say most of those were self induced.  There were a few folders that came up empty when I did my restore later on, but I’m kind of thinking those were operator errors on my part and now a flaw in the software.  Not positive though.  I will mention that I tried HFS for Windows and that seemed promising but I had some limitations that were due to an OLD PC being in the mix and I didn’t try it on the newer PC I ended up using for the final successful transfer.

Ok, so to wrap this long winded story up, with backup on drive, I took the MacBook to the Apple Store, sent it off, and in about 4 days I just had to swipe my credit card to get it back and I’m off and running again.   So sadly the solution was to pay Apple to replace a part that may or may not last.  But I have a 90 day warranty!  ;)

MacBook Pro back in action after the graphics card failed.
MacBook Pro back in action after the graphics card failed.

And while Apple won’t admit to there being a problem, this thread on their own support community has 6,649 comments at the time of writing around the same issue.  It sounds like they pulled this thread down at one point, but that created more hubbub so they put it back.

I hope this issue doesn’t affect you, but if it doesn’t I hope my information can aid you in your research in some way…  Happy computing!

UPDATE: February 21st, 2015

Some good news on this saga.  A class-action lawsuit was filed against Apple Computers on the basis that the graphics cards were failing.  However, as I understand it, Apple Computers won the suit and was not liable to repair the affected MacBook devices.  DESPITE that, as of February 20th, 2014 Apple seems to be attempting good faith in this situation and is offering a repair / refund program for the affected devices.

Since I have already had my device repaired, it appears I should be getting a refund for the repair amount.  According to Apple, they will be contacting me regarding this matter.  It’s only been a day since this was announced, but no call yet.  If I don’t hear from Apple in the next few days I’ll reach out to them to begin the refund process.