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

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MacBook Pro 17" early 2011, possible revival?


1 1/2 year ago, Apple replaced my motherboard as per their program on defectuous motherboards on this model.

This summer, suddenly: black screen. My hard drive is ok, mounted in another computer and running great... My repairman said the "motherboard is dead". And now, my model is obsolete.

The thing is: I work with my computer 12h/day and I need photoshop badly.

Now I'm on an old computer and it's just so slow, I'm running crazy.

I invested last year in 16Go RAM, a SSD hard drive and a new battery few months ago... I admit I'm really !#^&@@-off the motherboard changed by apple just died.

You understand, I'm not really happy with the idea of buying a new macbook pro and this for 3 reasons:

1/ really too expensive for me at this time,

2/ I'm a graphic designer and 17" is much much better than 15",

3/ I want to make a statement by waiting 2018 new macbook pro : I hate the "soldered strategy", it's not fair for people with low budgets, it bound us to their after-sale costs, the whole market will suffer from it, I really hope the sells will drop down this year so they go back to reason.

The motherboard cost 1200€ on the market... at this cost, I better change my computer for an earlier one.

My question is: is it possible to build a new machine with my macbook pro for a basis. Can I replace components such as the motherboard, the processor and whatever is needed and come up with a good speeding machine for a good price? Is there anybody who tried this?

If I'd like to make a powerful machine to run the last system, is it possible to find some pieces of recent mac or even pc compatibles in order to work until I can buy a new expensive mac. Or is it completely crazy?

In other words, can I make kind of a hackbook with my macbook pro. And what components should I expect to change to do so? Would it worth it?

Update (08/17/2017)

On a good lead... I hope

I tracked the specs of my macbook pro here, very usefull website by the way

And I saw on a website out of stock that they sell the same logic board for both 17" early and late 2011. Seams to be the same ref when I try early 2011 and late.. not sure about that accuracy yet.

Beetstech logic board ref

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So I looked up to this references for the logic board : 820-2914-A, 820-2914-B and A1297 i7 2.5Ghz

2,5Ghz instead of my 2,2Ghz would be great, hû?

Now, I need to see my logic card to see if it's A or B, according to this seller picture

but it looks like it's possible to buy it from china supplier

Exemple of supplier on alibaba

Does anyone have bought one of those in this marketplace?

Update (08/17/2017)

The A model is for 2010.. Supplier exemple in alibaba

I'm going to look further in the ref to be sure which one fit the macbook pro early 2011 and know more.

If anyone is looking for this kind of motherboard, let me know! Maybe we can buy more pieces together to lower the price. I'm in Paris, France. It can be tricky if we are in different parts of the world but we may think of a solution, maybe threw ifixit e-shop, I don't know, any idea is welcome.

Mise à jour (19/08/2017)

I looked into mine. It's a A.

The alibaba seller answered me A & B doesn't matter.

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BUT, I went to look their seller's review and it's very very bad. People says they waited very long and in the end, the motherboard didn't work + they have only a 45 day guaranty.

... it doesn't fill like the solution. I'm going to ask a friend who goes in China often for buying electronic to look for this motherboard with my dead computer so he can try it on site. If he finds a reliable seller, I'll let you know.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Beetstech was making them when Apple had a contract with them. The page is very old. As far as I know they are nolonger making them.

Which is why I was suggesting if we can get a GoFundMe page put together and someone has the energy to put into it we could give Apple a run.

Remember we're only making a replacement board not competing with Apple as there are some legal risks here that would need to be explored.


It seems that I might have this same problem too - and I have a question about re-applying thermal paste, and whether or not that is helpful?

My MBP symptoms:

1. The MBP will most likely work (boot) when left for a while to cool. When it does boot, all seems well.

2. At some point (especially under use) the machine will shut off, freeze, either with the current screen, blue screen, grey screen, etc.

3. If I let it sit for several hours, I might be able to turn it back on successfully. Many times, it will get stuck on a grey screen about 2/3 through the boot process.

4. I'm running Mac Fans, and notice that under use the CPU/GPU can get up to 90 C. While not being used it will sit around 50 C. (BTW I have it set to spin the fans at max when it hits 75 C, and they can't get the job done even at high RPM).

Thermal paste redo? Or is it toast???


Weigh the cost between getting another motherboard from a seemingly trusted seller OR another working well treated MBP17, costs might not differ much. To begin with I suggest try the thermal paste job, nothing to lose.


I just had the same thing happen with my 2,5GHz, i7 , 16GB late 2011 (last of the 17” models) BUT this only happens when I update to the latest macOS version of High Sierra. I’m now looking for a way now to install the version that doesn’t have the new file system APFS=Apple File System.

The OS version before 10.13 has the HFS Plus file system that also works with latest version of Disk Warrior 5.1.

And I don’t think I’m going to update anymore, at least not until there’s a stable version of the latest MacOS that works with both the 17” MacBook Pro and Disk Warrior. I got my work cut out for me! And of course it’s happening right now when I need my Mac the most


They did something similar at the beginning of this year with the older iPhones. My iPhone 5s was all of a sudden working really slowly and I thought that it was old and I needed to upgrade anyway and that’s what I did, I went and bought an iPhone X . A while after I bought it the media’s went at Apple showing that Apple consciously slowed down to earlier models of iPhone and Apple’s explanations where that it was to conserve battery life on older devices?!??!?!!


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I hear you!! Apple missed the ball with the mobile creatives like you. I wish they hadn't dropped the 17" either.

Maybe Apple will see the light and re-intro the 17" as well as offer a 15" which is modular (replaceable RAM & storage as well as type A USB ports and MagSafe power) system for the REAL working pro's.

For now your only hope is getting your logic board repaired. The whole issue with the GPU was the tantalum capacitors cooked from the high heat of the dedicated GPU which was the real issue of the black or white screen problems. Finding someone with the skills and parts to replace them is the answer Vs replacing the logic board.

As for building a hackintosh laptop using your current system. I don't see this as a possiblity with what there is out there for parts as all laptops simular to yours use custom parts.

Maybe we can collectively get the needed money to contract a board maker to create a replacement board with current CPU & GPUs. Wouldn't that surprise Apple!

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Actually, I'm on a good lead... I post it below on the rich text area because I want to upload pics and links.


I updated my question with the leads... let me know what you think about it.


The Board Maker solution would be awesome.. definitly a kick-ass idea.

When you look at the company who made SSD compatible for last Macbook Pro, they invested a lot to make an SSD same as the proprietary Apple one for finally having their market down when Apple released the full soldered model.

They need a lesson.

This can't happen on older model. But how many people are still using 17"... would be great to do a 15" size motherboard with some "connectors kits" for each models 15" and 17" according to years. Old macbook pros revival!

They would be very mad... and it would force them to sell us better models to more reasonable prices.


Dan, Could you clarify for this for me? I've looked at multiple sources on this site and others and am still confused. The C5960 capacitor failing was responsible for the issues in the 2010 model, but what about the 2011 model? Some resources say it is the same issue (like here), while others (like in the Q&A section here ) say the issue is with the Radeon GPU itself and that changing the capacitor won't fix the display issue.

Can you clarify whether I should bother switching the capacitor on the 2011 (not 2010) model, or should I skip to switching to the Intel GPU (

Thanks in advance!


Its a great idea, how much would it cost to do something like that, dan?


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I know this is going to sound simplistic, please give a try anyway ;-)

Zap the PRAM three times. I had the identical machine come in with a black screen last week. Tried replacing the display, nope, ldvd cable, nope, clean logic board, nope. Zapped the PRAM and there it was. The 17" 2011 is the only machine I've had, that this fixed it.

Reboot holding down the P,R, Command & Option keys let it tone three times

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I tried that already. My repairman took it to heat repair and it's not stable. The motherboard is actually very dead.


Where in the world are you located?


France, Paris


Hi all, a question- If I change my present logic board for a different but identically spec'd one what kind of software issues are likely, like with the different serial number, or other; will the programs on the machine with the older logic board run on the different/similar board?


Merrill you should have no problems. Before going to this expense you might want to post a question letting us what is going on with your current board.


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I'm in exactly the same boat. I am a graphic artist running Adobe suite also. I am trying to decide if I should invest in a new MacBook Pro or refurbish my old 2011 17" MacBook Pro.

What is the reason you are waiting for 2018 before you invest in a new one? I hate when they come out with the latest and greatest a month after I just bought one!!

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Apple acknowledged it dropped the ball on the working high end creative Pro's in a meeting with some tech reporters. They talked about the intro of the now shown iMac Pro which will be coming out this fall. They also talked about a replacement Mac Pro which will be a more traditional desktop with a modular design due in 2018.

The one subject they didn't talk about was the high end creatives which are mobile.

At the time with the intro of the new MacBook Pro's they realized many Pro's where doubling down on the buying older MacBook Pro's (pre-retina & retina) not buying the new MacBook Pro touch bar systems. While the new systems have sold many high end pro's have returned them as the touch bar and new keyboard was just not working for them. The ones who did do their research also realized the lack of replaceable memory (also limited) & storage was not going to fly, In addition if the pro was heavily invested in older USB 3.0 devices (USB-A connector) the need of dongles to get anything plugged in was also a killer.

Clearly Apple did hit a market in need the mobile sales force who want a powerful ultra light weight system as the sales have been strong. Unlike this group which don't need ports to the degree as as the high end Pro. Nor is the risk of not getting to their work if the system fails. In fact I suspect the lack of removable storage was also to protect the information at a deeper level (which I think is good as well) But in the end we need to find the middle ground.

Rumer has it Apple is now in the process of re-visiting the MacBook Pro line with a more high end user in sight. The hope is Apple addresses the failings of the current design and then ups it with what serious creative need in a mobile system:

- 15" & 17" models

- RAM to 32 GB Using two high density modules (4, 8, & 16 GB modules)

- Fixed & Removable storage, fixed base 512 GB/1 TB, removable RAID 0 SSD modules (2-15" & 4-17") which can be RAID'ed to RAID 1: 1, 2, 4, 8 TB total storage options

- USB A ports (2 at least)

- MagSafe type of power port (flush mount)

- Older style keyboard (full travel)

- Function keys not Touch Bar

The hope is something is at least announced in the fall for 2018 intro.


Great tech description of the MacBook Pro 2017 here and perspective of the 2018 model explained

And I hope they will make a smaller pad because many guys says it's a nightmare to work with because you can't access the keyboard with your hands on the side and I'm a huge workaholic so, I can't see myself with both hand in the air all the time.. changes the way you work and how body hurts when you work a very long time straight. Steve Job wouldn't do such pad because he knew that.


So I purchased an SSD drive. I am curious once you install it how do you format it using your time capsule back up. If it has no bootable system on it how do you install one?

I will remove the 2 4GB ram cards from the computer that is failing (since I have two of the same computers). There where no 4 GB available.

Also, how I came to have two of the same models is crazy. I bought a new 17 inch computer at the same time I brought an older 17 inch model in to repair (a recall deal). Apple replaced my old one with a brand new one rather than repair it! I have been using the one I purchased with 8GB ram but now it is having problems so I am beefing up the replacement computer.


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What graphics card is compatible with the 17 inch and yes I have the same problem.

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I’ve fixed the issue. This worked for me:

First I tried to restore my system from a time machine backup, and that worked for a while but then it went back to the “old habit”. I made the choice to install a completely clean copy of the latest version of OS X and that fixed my problem. Try that maybe it will be effective for you as well. Also try the command + option + p+r , as mentioned before here.


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