Apple not acknowledging 2011 MacBook Pro graphics errors

MacBookProIconXDo you have a 2011-model MacBook Pro, and if so, have you been experiencing odd graphics issues that hinder your ability to use your Mac and even cause it to crash? This problem has been noted by a number of owners of the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook models, with the problem suspected of being rooted in the discrete AMD graphics chips used in these models; however, according to AppleInsider, while some Apple employees are aware of the problem, Apple so far is not expected to implement a replacement program for those affected.

The problem appears to be from a progressive failure in the AMD-based graphics system of these models, where in late 2013 these models began showing crashes and failures, to the point where affected systems have been unusable. At times the issue may be odd color patterns that display on screen, where at other times the system may freeze or go blank and require a hard reset.

While AppleInsider is reporting this problem with early-2011 systems, it may stem into later models released during this time, with one case being my own late-2011 17-inch MacBook Pro, where in about December of last year it began showing the exact same visual artifacts, and eventually crashed so much that I had to replace it. The system currently will only boot to the Apple logo, and then display artifacts before freezing and shutting off, with no troubleshooting or repair effort of mine making any difference.

As with many who own these systems, I had not purchased extended AppleCare so the system was not covered for repair when these issues began. However, at this point, even those who did purchase AppleCare will find the coverage is reaching the point of expiration, and as a result it may be unlikely that Apple will implement a repair program.

If you or others have had similar experiences, then even though Apple is currently not addressing the issue, there is a petition gathering signatures to encourage Apple to fix or replace these units. Unfortunately, if this effort fails and Apple does not otherwise recognize the problem, then those affected will have to pay about $1000-1500 for repairs, or fork over even more for a new system.

8 thoughts on “Apple not acknowledging 2011 MacBook Pro graphics errors

  1. tingo

    Have such one, early 2011. Has beenn running like a workhorse, 24/7/365. OK, modify the 24 to 16 or so, I do shut it down to go to sleep. Anyhow, never had the slightest problem with the graphics, even though I’m using an external Cinema Display. Of late, however, I’ve started to get a bit more glitches at bootup, possibly related to the USB controller.

    Just to dam up the panic… although I’m waiting for Apple’s planned obsolescence program to step in now that my Apple Care has run out.

  2. hydrovacing

    So a question that comes out of this is, “Is Apples AppleCare extended coverage worth it anymore?” It seems like it’s a money maker for Apple in the long term if they don’t have to pay out on it.

    1. Strod

      Very good question. Nowadays, AppleCare costs $350 for the 15″ MacBook Pro and $250 for the 13″. SquareTrade’s warranty costs $400 for the high-end 15″, $300 for the low-end 15″ (barely makes the mark) and the high-end 13″, and $230 for the other two 13″s.

      So depending on your MBP you pay a little more or a little less. Each extended warranty program has advantages and disadvantages. For example, SquareTrade will cover damage done by you as long as it is not intentional: stuff like cracked screen from dropping and water damage, and AppleCare won’t. Neither will cover lost or stolen laptops.

  3. Shawn DuGay

    I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro. I purchased it June 30, 2011. I started having the video related issues in May, intermittently. It got progressively worse until it would no longer boot up. I took it to the Apple store on June 27, 2014 and the “genius” suggested re-loading the OS to see if that would fix the issue. It worked great for about two days. I returned to the Apple store to have them send it away for diagnosis and repair on July 1, 2014, ironically 1 day AFTER the AppleCare warranty expired. They came back with an estimate of $320.00 to replace the logic board. I figured it was my only choice. The next day, Apple called me and stated that they were going to cover the repair under the warranty. When I received a phone call two days later to come pick up the laptop, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did they re[place the logic board, they also replaced the optical drive and the RAM modules (which I purchased for 4159.00 AT BEST BUY) with Apple certified RAM (8 GB). I am extremely happy.

  4. BMC

    I have the Early 2011 17″ Macbook Pro affected by this. The GPU failed around 8 months in & Apple replaced the logic board under warranty.

    Now it is having the same problem only months after the end of the 3 year warranty.

    2 complete GPU failures in just over 3 years with no other issues?

    I’m one of the lucky ones & if I can get it started up gfxCardStatus will let me select the Integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics only & it will run just fine.

    Glad to hear the success story from Shawn.

  5. TERRY

    Same here 2011 early MBP and graphics card issues a month after Applecare extended warranty expired. I was traveling for a month and unable to discover the problem until after warranty expired. Paid around $350 for motherboard repair sent to the outpost for repair then returned a bad Thunderbolt so another port in-store repair. Apple rep told me after the machine goes out once it is repaired in store the next time. The charge for in store repair was close to $500 but covered by the extended 90 day warranty. As with other comment, I had crucial RAM and that was replaced with Apple RAM with originals returned back to me. At first I was ticked off but considering a replacement would cost me $2K or more I was relieved the repair was not the cost of replacement.

  6. edwins

    It is not worth it. Why? If you take care of your MBP, you can ship it as a flat rate repair around $330. If you are spending $350 for the Applecare, and you always take care of your MBP (no damage), why not invest the $350 into a dividend stock and in three years, if no issues, cash out for next MBP?

    It is too bad that Apple is not like Dell where you can have a complete care program. But then we know Apple is about AAPL, not you.

    Do I agree with Apple not taking care of this? No. There are design issues that most never see (flex cable, halogen-free battery housings, feet coming off, …). Growing pains or rushed engineering…

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