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Mid 2010 Model A1278 / 2.4 or 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Is gpu dead? black screen at startup

Hello, I have a macbook that powers on, you can hear the startup chime but shows no video. I can clearly see that it sends signals to display, because once I turn it on the screen becomes slightly darker than before, but there's no video after that. The fan connector on the motherboard is broken, so it heats up really fast and then shuts off. Plugging minidisplay port did nothing, still no signals(I guess it's useless because it recognizes the video only once it fully boots up, plus this macbook has no hard drive with mac os x installed, so I guess I can't get it to connect to my monitor and try it out whether gpu is alive) . The display is 100% working along with all the cables and everything inside it.

I would like to know if the GPU is dead or maybe there's some sort of other problem that could fix it? (I have an external fan which I use for the computer to cool it down during power up)

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Go ahead and hook it up to an external. You should at least get a folder with a question mark. Without a fan it will automatically shut down when it get to hot to protect itself.

With no internal or external drive, no programs and no system you can't use it anyway.

Shine a flashlight at an angle to the screen and see if you can discern that flashing folder.


You mean there WAS an oily residue? Eureka! If so, your heat sink has sprung a leak and no longer cools correctly. It will need to be replaced and the thermal paste replaced.

Here's how: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Heat Sink Replacement

Here's the part: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2010) Heat Sink

Here's how to do the thermal paste: How to Apply Thermal Paste

Here's the paste: Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2010) Heat Sink Image


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2010) Heat Sink


Arctic Silver Thermal Paste Image


Arctic Silver Thermal Paste


Electronics Skills Image


How to Apply Thermal Paste



5 - 20 minutes

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Heat Sink Image


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Heat Sink Replacement



1 - 2 hours

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The flashlight thing is really a good tip, never thought of that. I was able to inspect the lcd itself more, I noticed that once I hold down the power button to shut the computer off, the screen strangely fades away back to it's greenish/black color. Maybe this is how the lcd shuts off on macs, I'm not sure. Anyway, no luck doing all of these things so far:(


OMG! I found my old hard drive with mavericks installed. I plugged it into a display, and waited for computer to boot up, after 40seconds or so(probably when computer booted up into mac os) the display works on external monitor!! so is it still gpu related problem"?


What system were you booting from before? You didn't install Sierra Beta did you? See if the external stays on after the machine boots up and gets hot. Play some videos and stress the GPU. YOU may have come upon an answer that may help a lot of people!!!


No, this laptop didn't have Sierra Beta. It had a faulty hdd, so i plugged in another hdd that had El Capitan installed(it used to be in my 2009 15inch macbook). GPU doesn't seem to overheat, even with external fan that has way less of a contact with heatsink, it idles 38-48 celcius, and while browsing or watching a video goes up to 57. I noticed one thing, that once I hook it up to external monitor, I can't unhook it, because once I plug the cord again the display is not recognized and computers restarts on it's own and works again with external display. It's such a strange problem. I tried to run the computer without external fan, so it just shuts off and that's it. Once I got a blue screen too, but this never occurs again. I tried pram reset, smc reset. If I won't manage to get some answers or forum answers, I'll try to get it to a technician and write down what was wrong with it.


By the way, thank you for answers/tips


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