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Released October 24, 2011 / 2.2, 2.4, or 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Upgrade the Graphics card on MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2011

Hi guys,

I was wondering if there´s a way to replace/upgrade my graphics card.

On the System preferences I see that I have two graphic cards. One of those is integrated and the other one is using a PCIE connection, that's the one that I want to change.

Is that possible? Anyone did it?

Thanks you guys and thank you iFixit!!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Exactly the same happening to me. Logic board replaced 2 years ago... same issue now. I am pretty sick of paying that much cash for computers that will probably break if you actually use their computing power. Not happy at all.

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I am right there with you all, Replaced Logic Board once, just went out again on Friday. Took to APPLE STORE and the cost to replace is nearly $600. I am heartsick about this having taken excellent care of my MBP15". Any resolutions out there?

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I agree, I actually have had to have my logic board replace 3 times!!! and now in October I had a screen panic with lines and I could no longer boot up. I went to iCare in Chiang Mai Thailand and was told the graphics card is broken but that they cannot get the part from Singapore because it is over 5 years old. I think Apple should have replaced everyone's computer after the first replacement failed.... because I have so many expensive programs such as Photo Shop on my computer I will lose them all. Right now if I do ControlOptionRP to boot up...it shows lines several times... and restarts several times and only SOMETIMES actually boots up but freezes up when I try to open my Photo program. (One thing that helped me was that I was using Lion and I had them upgrade to OS X. I am now trying to find out if there is a way to get a used graphics card.... which one of the two is the problem? the built in one or the AMD Radeon HD 6770M??? I don't know enough about this.

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Sorry for my bad english. I had the GPU problem with my macbook pro early 2011. In the first time that the problem happens (2014), i paid a flat rate to apple to fix my macbbok. 8 months after, apple refound me because they recognized the problem with a recall of those models. In jun 2018, my macbook presented the same problem. In brazil, Apple told me that they didnt have the logic board to my model. I sent my macbook to Apple NY and they said the same thing, offering me a repais with used parts for the cost of 500 dollars. I didnt fix my macbook because i know that it will be broken again. In Brazil, a macbook pro costs around R$24.000,00 that equates to the cost of half a Hyundai HB20 car. I had to buy a PC again. I´m totally disapointed with Apple.

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Hey roberto_grassia ,

You can safely send your Macbook early 2011 to a super German repair place which has the micro tools to replace the GPU graphic board, which is overheated and fried by the extensive heat from this model. A grave issue that Apple does not (want to) fix themselves, but rather replacing it with the same misfit of a GPU. That will break again. And again.

But the Germans will replace the GPU with a slightly different model which can take the heat, and will not break. They even offer a 4 year warranty.

I tried their expert fix on a Macbook Pro late 2011 and is VERY happy after one year.

Here is their info:

LRZT

(Laptop Reparatur Zentrum Thüringen)

attn. Uwe Stegmann

Grüner Weg 4

99094 Erfurt

Deutschland Germany

Mon-Thu 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

info@lrzt.de

+49 361 6534878

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15 Answers

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Sorry, no you can't replace it.

Yes, the GPU is connected via a soldered PCIe connection, just as the keyboard, trackpad & camera are connected via USB (internal dedicated connections).

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Soldered PCIe connection? So, your answer is inaccurate. I've got custom MBPs with RGB backlit keyboards. They were soldered.

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How does a custom RGB keyboard have anything to do with the dedicated graphics chip?

As far as my reference it was in regard to the USB bus the system has internally and you can't add to it or modify it.

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Hi there,

had a similiar issue with my MBP late 2011 -black screen , no booting, ... .

I sent it to the those LRZ(Laptop-Reparatur-Zentrum Thüringen).

They checked it for free and told me my GPU has to be replaced and that it is possible.

They made an offer to do so for nearly 280€ including tests and a 12 month warranty on their work and 24 month warranty on hardware they built in.

My Computer works just fine since then (July 2017).

Can´t say yet what happens after the given time of warranty but so far i am super happy and can only recommend those ppl.

Best,

Giorgo

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Thanks a lot for letting us know about his possibility. The price is definitely not incredible expensive and at least they offer warranty.

Probably the issue is going to happen again in 3 years or so, but in 3 years a MBP 2011 is going to be 10 years old.

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Yes, Will keep things posted about any updates and true that: in the near future it's time for a new one :)

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Actually, the lrzt.de quote is €219,- + €20,- return shipping. Really excellent value!

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PowerBook Medic is now doing this. They are working on a 2011 17" MBP for me now. Costs:

PBM estimate was $245 for the board repair, another $95 labor for the disassembly/reassembly and $35 2day return freight

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@mayer Are you happy with the repair? Does your laptop still work? I'm considering their services.

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Montag PowerBook Medic failed and I had to buy a used board.

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Thanks for a quick response, @mayer! Could you elaborate on your meaning of "failed"? Did PowerBook Medic fail to repair the board or did they repair it and it later failed? I've been in correspondence with their technicians and they seemed quite optimistic about the outcome of the repair.

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PowerBook Medic failed at the repair, then sold me another board.

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Anyone with a little background on electronics can do it all you need is a rework station 852d+ will do that’s the one I have I have done it plenty of times 100% success rate you can buy a new gpu on eBay brand new already reballed

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Hey, you can find a company which specialises in soldering BGA components. It should be fairly easy for them to upgrade your GPU with a version, which isn't plagued with overheating issues. The repair is very cost effective and eliminates the issue completely. Changing the logic board will likely cause the issue to come back.

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Well yes & no: Yes if you can find someone with the correct tools and skills replacing the GPU chip alone might be possible. The only rub here is you can't use a different series chip as the board is designed for a given chip (need to use the exact same GPU chip). So the answer is No you can't swap it out with something different. Besides often when the GPU goes some of the support chips also go so it often needs a bit more than the one chip. The bottom line here this is to advance a repair for a DIY person, hence swapping out the logic board is the way to go. Besides you would want someone who does this level of work to have done quite a few of these boards i.e. Apple.

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YOU THE MAN!

I changed my logic board (luckily for free.. but now the replacement program is over for good) on my late macbook pro 2011.

Now I had the problem again and I figured out it's the goddam stupid AMD integrated $@$*!& card. (not blaming AMD, totally apple's fault).

Now, wit gfxCardstatus I figured out that the AMD chip IS the problem. Every time it switches it collapses.

I can't believe Apple changed twice my board instead.

Now I understand why some people were claming (it's just a 5 min soldering and it's fixed) while my Apple guys said (no worry, we couldn't just solder it, we had to replace the logic board).

They have no idea what they did.

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Daniele - It's really both! AMD used a flip chip design which has soldered connections within the chip its self that shear as the system is heated and cooled. Then you have the crappy Lead-free solder Apple used to solder the chip (one of the places a bit of Lead in the solder would be useful) And then again for not having a more effective cooling system.

But its also US! While we can blame the hardware as being AMD & Apples fault, our demands for using more and more powerful applications pushed the system beyond what it was originally designed to do.

Heavy graphical apps like: games and photo/vid editing can push the system beyond what the cooling was designed to do. This gets into the differences between a Laptop Vs Desktop as we think they can do the same thing sadly they can't always do the same as well or as long.

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I have the problem, twice, as @Daniele... and I never used the computer with really demanding apps. The most demanding things I've been doing lately is is connecting the laptop to external screens. AMD, and of course, Apple since it the one selling you the laptop, are completely responsible for the mess. Even more, when it happened once and the happens again, instead of fix it for good.

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Well well, difference in laptops and Desktops , heh

As it turns out, Apple's Mac Pro late 2013 ALSO has this graphic problem

https://www.macrumors.com/2016/02/06/lat...

I replaced my MacBook Pro 17" late 2011 with a Mac Pro late 2013, and guess what,

the same graphic thing is happening to the Mac Pro. However, much more seldom. I can still work with heavy workloads.

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Hi, Just had the same issue - for the second time!

First time, just under a year ago the GPU issue was resolved by apple under the recall.

Now 12 months later it has failed again - This time I'm being told that the MBP 2011 is not covered as it's considered 'vintage'. Really, really annoyed that the original 'fix' was to replace a known fault with a part that still had a known fault - Apple should be ashamed - Originally cost over £2K and now a piece of junk unless I pay a 3rd party £420 to put a new chip in as a fix.

Another fix that may break again?

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Yep me too. Took it in and was told it was age because it's now 'vintage' and there was nothing they could do. Did some research and discovered the problem with the graphics card, so I contacted Apple again to find out what they could do to fix the problem. In the end, they said there was nothing to be done and stopped responding to my inquiries. I escalated this to a phone call to Apple Care, and after spending a half hour going in circles about whose responsibility it was to repair/replace the part, I was offered a credit for "maybe an iPod or something" but they definitely couldn't give me credit enough to equal the cost of the estimated repairs. After I laughed in disbelief, the agent hung up on me.

Way to go Apple.

Now what do I do with this expensive poc??

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I just bought a replacement (same model- will swap RAM and HD) on eBay, $400

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I'm so sorry to hear about all of your issues. FWIW, in May or June this happened to me and so I called Apple expressing my being a loyal customer and wanting to keep it that way, if they'd be willing to honor the repair for my "vintage" MBP that would be an act of good faith on their part. I asked to speak with a supervisor after they claimed they wouldn't be able to, spoke with the supervisor/specialist whom offered to comp a repair at an Apple authorized repair center. He actually found a spare logic board and had it shipped to a local Apple Store. I bought thermal paste to apply to my 2008 MBP (to prevent the heat issues) as well as in case of another repair for my 2011. I might buy an extra logic board just in case. That way if this GPU goes out I can put in the logic board while repairing the defective one with heat, thermal paste, or whatever the DIY repairs advise (there's a handful of them out there). Point is, some research on the class action lawsuit, and catching the flies with honey (I told the supervisor I'd send him a glowing review to his superior) led to a replaced logic board even though my early 2011 MBP was "vintage" .

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hello, i had the same problem with the GPU, at least it matched all of the known symptoms. i found a repair service on e bay ($240)and sent it off to NY with great hopes ! They returned it within two weeks. It would not boot from the SSD and only booted once from the backup sata drive. it displayed the same exact problems. I contacted the outfit and they claimed it was fully tested and burned in etc., to send it back and they would look at it. i escalated the case with e bay and that got their attention. i sent the unit back. they claimed that it was a cable leading to the display, which they ordered. after weeks of waiting and getting run around answers, they claimed that the cable did not do the trick and the it was the display, which is total bs. they said they would remove the cable and chip they installed and return the unit, they refunded some of the costs. all in all i think that tad vaas, et al. are correct. get a motherboard and drop it in and save yourself the exasperation of dealing with unknown shops. hopefully the aftermarket boards are lead soldered, which i understand is the source of the problem, a solder change mandated by the EU to eliminate lead solder in electronics, etc.

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Hi, I would like to note that the solder isn't the main problem and it's only one of them. The one and only solution is to change GPU with updated model, which operates at lower temperatures. Leaded solder + Updated GPU + professional soldering laboratory is the only answer to the problem. People selling their services on eBay are usually a one man company and most likely will provide bad after sale service.

Component replacement isn't simple process, see this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y67Qp-8m...

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where does one get an updated gpu? I've had my logic board replaced twice and its failing again. supposedly I have the leaded solder in now, but the problem is coming back anyway

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You can definitely get a newer date code GPU, which isn't prone to internal bumping failures.

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@tfixrepairs

where? how? :)

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Ya exactly - where? Since the Apple quality program ended Dec 31, 2016 there will be no more extended warranty replacement logic boards that only lasted about two years after the swap anyway. Does anyone know where to get an upgraded GPU for these models, as the stock one is a POC.

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In case people haven't found this:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-r...

Explains how to put the logic board in the oven and lots of people clalm it worked. It's the solder not the chip it seems

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Lots of people think the world is flat. Lots of rats and cockroaches live in New York City but that does not make them the dominate life form there (yes, I know is this is debatable).

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@captainsnowball - I don't tin foil hats for the same reason!

Pushing the laptop to to point it needs extra cooling it the sure sign the system is being pushed beyond what it was designed to do.

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I have done this with a 2010 & 2011 Mac mini's both with discreet graphics issues and it worked like a charm. I just got an Early 2011 MBP from GoodWill with the same issue. I will be baking the MLB in the next day or two.For those of you who are reluctant, I will tell you that how Logic Boards are made. A blank board with all the traces is fed into a huge machine that lays all the components onto one side of the board. The board then goes through a Wave-Solider machine that heats that side of the board up to the solider melting point, thus soldiering all components in one pass. The boards are tested and if pass, go to another machine that lays down the other side. Then goes through a wave soldering machine again doing the same thing. So if the defect is due to a bad solider connection, reheating the board as instructed has very little risk to the board other than fixing the solider issue.

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NOTE: Rapped cool down of the logic board is one thing that can cause further damage to the logic board. So follow the instructions to the "T"! Don't ever shut the door once the board is in and just turn off the oven at the end of the time and let it cool down naturally with the door cracked open. (DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR ALL THE WAY UNTIL THE OVEN HAS COMPLETELY COOLED TO ROOM TEMP. )

If it doesn't fix the issue you can try it again. One of my Mac mini's needed a 2nd bake to fix the issue.

ALSO- DON'T FORGET TO USE COMPRESSED AIR TO CLEAN OUT DIST FROM VENTS AND FANS!

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Cant a new chip be simply soldered onto the logic board?

I am asking because i too have fallen to the GPU issue that has plagued MacBook Pro Late 2011 models.

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Sadly its time for a logic board swap out. You need very specialized tools to de-solder and then re-solder the GPU onto the logic board.

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As to this being a big issue, nope its not. We have over 150 systems in this series and we've only had three that needed a new logic board due to a bad GPU luckily they were still covered under warranty.

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My GPU died, and to my surprise and glee, the Apple Store "genius" told me it was covered under Apple's quality assurance program. So I had a free replacement installed there in the store. (They couldn't ship mine out for faster repair because of my aftermarket upgrades.) So if you still have your old MacBook, it may be salvageable if you have an Apple Store in driving distance. :)

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How old was your MacBook Pro when you brought it in? The graphics card (no idea which one) on my early-2008 just died this morning.

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So, so upset, my mac book pro has died and Apple are saying it's the faulty graphics card that's caused the problem! Other than this the computer was in perfect order. I'm told that Apple have stopped providing the fix? After 5yrs the £1,600 plus machine is now only fit for the bin.... Why oh why did Apple not offer this fix when I dropped my computer in for repair in 2014? Why did they not send a fxxxing email to their "valued customer" to say I'd bought a faulty product? Another mis selling scam??

Can anyone advise if there is anyway to fix this? Can anyone recommend somewhere I can bring the laptop to safely retrieve the data? This product was a huge investment for me, it will be a longtime before I can afford a new computer. I have all of my photos of my 4yr old on the computer (of course I have backup) but I have nothing to view on.

Any advice would be very welcome. Is there a place / forum where I can post to shame Apple? Can take a claim against them? Through trading standards for example?

Tia

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It might be time to reinstate the Class action Lawsuit which initiated the Apple callback in the first place. I think 15-20.000 people where signed on to it, me included. 2 years ago I had Apple replace my logic board (for free) with another erroneous one, the ladder failing 2 years after the first one failed. And like the good people mention above here, Apple has pulled their deal.

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Please let me know if a class action lawsuit comes into fruition.

I am !#^&@@ - apple knew we owned two of these laptops - never said a frigging word and we had been in our apple store numerous timesThey should have notified EVERYBODY...!!! They said I have a new paperweight...

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Once a new logic board is put in, does the OS and all the programs need to be re-registered with their manufacturers, since a new logic board is basically a different computer with its new ID #?

Also, besides just providing a funtioning graphics card, what other benefits will a newer logic board (like from a 2012 model) provide for a late 2011 MBP?

Thanks!

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The 2012 boards will fit into the 2011 top case. You will just need to shave down the sides of the LVDS cable (cable that runs from the LCD to the logic board) in order to make it fit the board. Works great!

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The problem in general is the AMD graphic card, you can find the chip itself on ebay. But you have to replace it also with your damged chip. So you have to look for a company who does that. Try google 'macbook pro 2011 video card replacment shop' or if your up to it try a liitle coding as an altenative fix. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2012 Disable 2nd GPU to prevent white screen or green stripes during boot process. or if that does not work try https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/for...

Depending on the situation of your Macbook pro it can be real easy or kinda complex.

hope this helps

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Keep in mind this is an outdated graphics chip that can’t do Metal and will only allow OS X up to High Sierra. Do you really want to keep throwing money at an 8 year old computer? However, if it meets your needs, go for it. There are postings at other sites that show you a Terminal command that disables the problem AMD chip and then only the built-in but less capable Intel graphics chip is used - but the AMD problems go away. I also found a YouTube that says the underlying problem is NOT the graphics chip and solder joints, etc but a near-by capacitor on the logic board that eventually fails from over-heating - he walks you through replacing it with a sturdier capacitor and demonstrates how it fixes the problems - this same brand capacitor is also the cause of similar problems on other MacBooks falsely ascribed to the graphics chip.

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Interesting. Do you care sharing the specific links for the terminal and capacitor solutions? I actually followed the "bake it in the oven method" and it did fix the problem (to my surprise), although I don't know for how long. Thanks.

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The capacitor YouTube person placed his soldering gun on the problem capacitor which temporarily fixed the problem (seems counter intuitive). He claimed the oven baking solution is not fixing the solder joints but heating up this capacitor which temporarily fixes the issues. Please give me a few days to track down the links.

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The links - Google and YouTube searches on these topics will yield additional info. I have not tried these nor are endorsing them.

https://youtu.be/DzcgT_fiVTA

http://dosdude1.com/gpudisable/

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@macgraphics This Rossman video is for a 2010 MBP, not a 2011. No idea if the same thing works or not, just wanted to clarify.

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Dan: I'm afraid you're wrong. It is possible to change the defective GPU for a 2nd generation one. Total cost: about $200

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There is no 2nd generation GPU. Apple's repair program was just a swap out of the same chip. The chips that where failing were a bad lot. So you are only getting a different lot chip. AMD has long since stopped production of the chip and its just not available as new. All you're getting is a recycled chip if that. $200 does not cover the cost of the chip and the labor. So this sounds like a ripoff! I would suspect all they are doing is heating the chip hoping the chip comes back to life (just long enough for you to give up). And, lastly you need specialized equipment which most repair shops just don't have.

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Dan, stop discouraging those who would like to try to replace their GPUs. You keep saying "no, you can't do it", which is a complete pile of B.S. Yes, you absolutely can replace components on your logic board, including the GPU chips, and no, the tools needed to do so are not made from some magical unicorn horn that you can only find on the surface of Mars. Apple isn't special, ok? It's a computer company and computer chips and motherboards can and should be tinkered with. You're being completely inaccurate and misleading by telling people they "can't" make changes to their MacBook Pros, including admittedly complicated changes to their logic boards. Quit telling users they "can't" make these repairs and say "yes, you can.. it's difficult, but you can do it if you have the patience and time and the right tools... here's where you can get all the right tools and parts for it". Stop just shutting down people with this "only Apple can do it" baloney.

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Sorry to bust your bubble. Apple had a extended repair program which one should have taken advantage of when it was offered. Thats the only reason Apple was mentioned.

As far as upgrading the GPU sorry not going to happen as the soldered in chip would need to be pin compatible with what was used and Apple only offered drivers for a given subset of GPU's. Other GPU's cooling requirements may in fact need more than what this system can offer. Finding the chip new is also very difficult! And I don't recommend recycled chips.

The last issue is you need specialized tools to do it right. Don't take my word for it take a look at Louis Rossmann's vids on YouTube. As I stated before this is not a DIY project!

So the answer is still not something I would even do! I know enough not to even try as I would end up needing to find a new logic board for my customer do to me messing his up! Instead of making money I would loose money!

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Sorry not even an ultra advanced DIY job! Strictly a Pro who has the gear like Louis! I don't think anyone is going to spend 20k on the needed tools to do it for the one time repair.

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Eduard will be eternally grateful.
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