Model A1297 Unibody: Early 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010 & Late 2011

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Systems crashes randomly, beeps three times

Hi everyone,

I have a mid-2010 17" MacBook Pro with a great track record since the day I bought it. I did have to upgrade the RAM from 2 x 2gb original sticks to 2 x 4gb ones three years ago because I was running some heavier software, but it held up great since then.

A couple weeks ago, though, it froze and crashed while I was watching a video (could only shut it down with power button) and it's been downhill ever since ; I was inconsistently able to restart the computer (sometimes the fan would start, but nothing after that, sometimes it would let me login, but then restart on its own again and again untill I would shut it down myself), sometimes it would beep three times, some only once. It even beeped morse code for S.O.S. Most of the time I'll have to try and restart it 3-4 times after it crashes before it runs normally again.

It has kept crashing ever since, after variable usage time on CPU demanding tasks (graphics intensive video games) as well as normal tasks (mostly TextEdit stuff)

I've been at the Apple store and they figured it had something to do with the RAM. They suggested I take it out and put it back again, which I did, but it only seemed to make the problem slightly worse.

I've read a bit about this on the forums here but I couldn't seem to find a straightforward solution, and I have to admit I don't quite know in which direction to go from here.

Can anyone help?

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Carefully take the bottom cover off and locate the plastic cover receivers marked in green here:

Block Image

See if they are broken or damaged. If they are your system may have gotten a bang which has damaged the RAM socket assembly.

You may want to try using only one module at a time as well as try the different sockets. Is the systems better one way or another?

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So I've reopened the Mac and saw that one of the plastic covers was indeed broken, the one that would be to the right when looking from the same perspective as the picture you sent. The middle section of the cover had broken off and was sort of lodged in another component nearby.

I've also tested every combination of chips in every slots (I'll name them chip and slots 1 and 2 for clarity).

I first took out C1, leaving C2 in S2. Had to try 3 times for the computer to boot correctly, beeped thrice for one of those.

Then i tried C2 in S1 alone, C1 in S1 alone, C1 in S2 alone, and all those tries went fine; couldn't get the mac to crash.

But then I tried leaving C-A in S-B in putting C-B in S-A, and I was able to boot normally and used some pretty RAM-intensive apps when the screen froze, but the sound was still working and my cursor was still moving. I shut the lid a couple of times and in the end all i got were some weird artefacts made from what the screen was showing.

Thanks for the quick response btw!

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I think you'll need to look at getting a new logic board here

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Crap... Is there any other test I could try and run just to make sure?

If not, do you think i should stick with the exact same model of logic board, or should I try to upgrade it at all?

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You are limited here to one of these: MacBookPro6,1.

I think it's a wise investment as this model has increased in value .

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Well, alright. Thank you so much for helping me sort this out, i was quite overwhelmed by it all!

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Louis Dunnigan Raymond will be eternally grateful.
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