MacBook Pro 15 or 17 inch 2011 Graphics Card Repair
If you own a 2011 15" A1286 or 17" A1297 MacBook Pro which is causing you trouble, the chances are that the graphics card has failed.
This model has an inherent design fault with its ATi Graphics chip. The fault is often misdiagnosed as a BGA problem with the 'solder balls' under the chip and many shops and companies have falsely believed that 'Reflowing' (Heating up and melting the solder balls) or 'Reballing' (Removing the chip and applying new solder balls) the chip fixes the fault.
The act of heating up the chip temporarily fixes its internal fault for a short space of time ie 1 Day to 1 Month - there is a reason why these companies don't offer anything longer than 30 days warranty.
Symptoms of this fault can be any of the following:
- Random Crashing and Restarts.
- You can hear the MacBook turn on but the screen remains black.
- Starts loading MacOS and then halts half way on a white or grey screen.
- Pink vertical bands down a white screen.
- Coloured bands across the screen.
This was a recognised design fault by Apple and they started an Extended Repair Program allowing customers to return their A1286 for repair free of charge. Some of these went back 4 or 5 times as this wasn't a permanent fix and the same 'Time Bomb' graphics chip was received back.
Which Models are Affected:
MacBook Pro A1286 Early 2011 15" - MC721LL/A - MacBookPro8,2 - A1286 - 2353-1*
MacBook Pro A1286 Early 2011 15" - MC723LL/A - MacBookPro8,2 - A1286 - 2353-1*
MacBook Pro A1286 Early 2011 15" - MD035LL/A - MacBookPro8,2 - A1286 - 2353-1*
MacBook Pro A1286 Late 2011 15" - MD318LL/A - MacBookPro8,2 - A1286 - 2563*
MacBook Pro A1286 Late 2011 15" - MD322LL/A - MacBookPro8,2 - A1286 - 2563*
MacBook Pro A1286 Late 2011 15" - BTO/CTO - MacBookPro8,2 - A1286 - 2563*
MacBook Pro A1297 17-Inch "Core i7" 2.2 Early 2011 17" - MC725LL/A - MacBookPro8,3 - A1297 - 2352-1*
MacBook Pro A1297 17-Inch "Core i7" 2.3 Early 2011 17" - BTO/CTO - MacBookPro8,3 - A1297 - 2352-1*
MacBook Pro A1297 17-Inch "Core i7" 2.4 Late 2011 17" - MD311LL/A - MacBookPro8,3 - A1297 - 2564*
MacBook Pro A1297 17-Inch "Core i7" 2.5 Late 2011 17" - BTO/CTO - MacBookPro8,3 - A1297 - 2564*
If you have a 2010 MacBook Pro 15" A1286, a Late 2012 - Mid 2013 MacBook Pro 15" A1398 or Late 2013 -2015 MacBook Pro 15" A1398 this repair does not apply. Please check our other repair pages or get in touch as we have fixes for these machines too.
How does the GPU Work?
Luckily this model has 2 x Graphics chips (GPU's); The ATi chip for powerful 3D Gaming and CAD Design and an Intel GPU built into the i7 Processor for Office and Internet work. The system automatically switches between these GPUs depending on what applications you are using to save power.
We have a permanent fix for this fault, not a repair as such as there is way of fixing the design fault that plagued this ATI GPU.
We solder a lattice programmer to a MUX chip's JTAG connector on the logic board which controls the switching of the graphics chips . We then install some new firmware. This new firmware forces the MacBook to only use the reliable Intel GPU Forever!
We then permanently disable the failed ATi GPU by pulling input resistors rendering it completely redundant.
This fix basically turns the 2011 15" into a 2011 13" which never had the extra ATi Graphics chip and was a very solid MacBook Pro.
- 30ºc Cooler Running
- No Crashing or Random Restarts
- Better Battery Life
- Photoshop and 2D Applications Unaffected.
- Powerful 3D Applications and 3D Games wont run as well if at all. Although the Intel card is 3D Capable for basic 3D Apps and Games.
- External Monitors cannot be connected - The ATi GPU controlled external video outputs and so these will never work again unfortunately.
- Native Brightness Control wont work. The Brightness controls on the keyboard will no longer work although we install an App which allows screen brightness control from the top menu via a 'slider'. We can add Native brightness control but this will be an extra service at extra cost as it involves tapping into the 'balls' under the chipset and adding an extra connections.
2 x 2011 15" A1286 and a 2011 17" A1297 fixed and ready to collect.
We charge £165.00 inc VAT for this repair.
If your still running a slow 'spinning' hard disk we are happy to do a deal for fixing the graphics and upgrading the machine with an SSD - please get in touch to discuss.
We tend to do these in batches every 2 weeks. If you drop it off a day before the next batch is worked on for example we should have it ready to collect in 2 -3 days once it has been tested fully. Our online repair portal will keep you updated with pics and diagnostic information throughout the repair process.
If you want to go ahead please try our online booking system , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us.
We offer a 6 Month Warranty with our logic board repairs covering the Issue that we have fixed.