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MacQue
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Can you install any A1286 logic board in 15" Unibody?

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I have an Early 2011 MacBook Pro 15 Unibody with a Core i7 2.0 Ghz that recently had water spilled on. Now the Apple Logo comes up but the screen goes black after the system loads. Apple told me it need a new logic board (not under warranty if there is caused by spillage). Being that logic boards are expensive I found a mid 2010 Core i5 Logic Board that is relatively cheap. Can I install it on my Early 2011 A1286 MacBook Pro and have it work?

Edited by: oldturkey03 ( ) , ABCellars ( )

It does seem to be the case that the boards fit physically, and I can't think of anything that would make other parts not work. But it would be nice to know for sure before shelling out the cash.

goblecoque,

Did you get an answer to this? I have about the same problem. I have a mid-2010 15" A1286 2.4ghz with liquid damage. I wonder if I can replace it with a i7 2.66ghz logic board. I can get one for about $500 which is decent compared to my MBP with 500gb disk and HR screen.

asle,

Just an update. I read that since all these MacBook Pros are model A1286 any board should fit being the architecture should be the same. I am not sure. Waiting for an expert answer...

asle,

It is not worth trying to figure out unless you are in the business of rebuilding these for a living, have all the spare parts lying around and just want a test rig for sorting through motherboards. The parts that are different at a quick glance: Uppercase, battery, heatsink, left speaker, bluetooth bracket, airport/bluetooth cable, hard drive cable.

ABCellars,

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asle
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I had success now replacing my A1286 15", 2.4Ghz i5 with a 2.66Ghz i7. All the parts fit fine. But like mentioned here there is a difference from 2010 to 2011. The lowercase is the same but the let speaker and the plastic bracket with the cables (bluetooth,airport etc.) are different. Still I had no problem getting the 2011 Quad-Core i7 logic board to fit and start up in my original 2.4ghz, i5, 2010.

+ Did the motherboard mount to the upper case in a slightly different position in the 2010 & 2011 so that everything so that the differences in left speaker, airpor, etc... did not matter? Which battery did you have to use for this, the 2010 or 2011? Thank you.

ABCellars,

The bluetooth/airport housing on the 2010 model has 3 cable contacts + camera cable (http://guide-images.ifixit.net/igi/UoJNE...) whereas 2011 model has 4 cable contacts + camera cable (http://guide-images.ifixit.net/igi/yILuc...). The physical size of the housing is the same and the screw holes fit so I guess the 2011 has a different cable setup from the screen. You would have to move over the old housing I guess. The camera cable from 2011 may be too short to fit the contact on 2010 board since the camera cable contact on 2011 is closer to the fan.

asle,

The battery, (A1321 in 2010 and A1382 in 2011) , (they increased it from 73wh to 77.5wh from 2010) seems almost the same but 2011 has the contact on top of the board while the 2011 connects from the side. The battery is listed as two different parts for 2010 and 2011 and I think that is because of the cable connector. You can change the cable from the battery to the board but do not buy 62wh or 73wh. I always buy original Apple battery. So I guess I answered the question to myself that this may not really work well. From my investigation there is not much a price increase from the a 2010 logic board to a 2011 if you look around and I would stick with 2011 logic to make sure everything fits. My conclusion is you can exchange any logic board from the same year (2010, 2011). Sorry if I am confusing here!

asle,

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Brad S
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I recently had a logic board accident with my Early 2011 MBP a1286 (my bad) but was thinking of replacing it with a Mid-2012 (non-Retina) board for the CPU/GPU boost (I'm a gamer and a Mac user... figure that one out) as well as the USB 3 ports.

I found a decent deal online but for the life of me I can't find the opinions of anyone who's ever tried it. The iFixit teardowns and logic board replacement guides for both models (2011/2012) seem identical along with all of the tech specs about the wattage/voltage/etc. but the only opinion I've heard is from a repair shop guy on e-bay who says the upgrade wouldn't work (but I think he's just trying to sell me his repair services).

I'm actually amazed that there isn't more information about this kind of thing on the internet (with all the menial stuff like hacking your xbox and tricking out your iphone). For the life of me, I can't see why this 'upgrade' wouldn't work, and you guys have instilled some modicum of confidence in me so since the shop I'm buying from has a money-back guarantee I think I'm going to try it. I'll try to make a video (since there seem to be none concerning this) about it to document my failure/success.

Wish me luck!!

Edit: Placed my order for a logic board but I'm still a bit worried so I got board (hehe) and decided to see if there were any significant differences I should worry about. This is an overlay of the two boards using photos of the iFixIt teardowns (with a grain-extract filter thanks to Gimp) and there seems to be no real connection issues. Apologies for the slight distortion, I imagine the photographer was at a slightly different angle when he/she took the photos:

Block Image

Update

Ok, so after a long time waiting, I've actually ordered two separate logic boards and they both finally came on the same day.

There was a minor issue when I was re-applying the heat sinks for the USB controller and the platform controller hub (assuming the heat sinks are necessary on the 2012s). It could have been the supplier I chose or possibly these models don't heat up as much. Either way, I came up with a unique solution where I cannibal-ised my old system, popping off the screw-holders used on the old circuit board and super-gluing them to the new one in the same position. Turns out super glue is non-conductive so it was perfect solution to hold down them down so I could apply some thermal paste.

The rest of the ports, cables and screw holes lined up perfectly. Even the cables to the fan that I had broken (pulled instead of lifted). My system has officially gone from 2.3 GHz > 2.6 GHz, USB 2 > 3, bluetooth 2.1 > 4, Radeon 6750M > GeForce 650M, etc, etc. Not mentioning the previous upgrades I had done to the RAM (16GB) and the hard drive(s) [1TB Hybrid in the SuperDrive bay and a 120GB SSD in the main bay]. So YES, it is totally possible to interchange the unibody logic boards if you are so inclined. I don't think anything in my system (aside from the magsafe adapter, battery, speaker, and display) is the same as when I first purchased it.

Definitely cheaper than purchasing an altogether new system and the upgrade/repairability factor of my unibody (A1826) makes me think I'll have it around for a while longer. When I get better (I recently had jaw surgery so I can barely talk) I may even make a video about my experience as I'm surprised there aren't any on youtube already.

Edited by: Brad S ( )

Asle's correct, the cables are different leading from the display (more pixels, more data to transmit). Theoretically, you could replace the display with a Retina display, but you'd have to replace the logic board as well at which point it would probably be cheaper to buy a new system or a refurbished one from Apple. For a non-Retina display, the highest you could go would be a Mid 2012 A1286, which is no slouch I can tell you. Personally, I purchased my upgraded board from dvwarehouse.com and depending on what model you select they may or may not have it in stock, but they can order it for you. I can also vouch for the Late 2011 A1286 as being no slouch in performance either. Couple either one of those with an SSD and an optical drive caddy and you're set to go with a solid gaming machine.

Brad S,

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huedrant
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great, good to know! Any idea where to get those logicboards? And any idea on whether I can put a retina display into my early-2011 MBP on core i5?

Sorry, you can not put a retina display in a early 2011 MBP. It will not fit, the cable will not fit and I doubt the logic board has support for it. When they release a model you switch parts within the same model e.g. the 2010 MBP 15" can use a i7 2.6Ghz logic board in a 2010 MBP i5 2.4Ghz.

asle,

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