Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Will my MacBook Pro 15" 2011 GPU services gonna die?

Hi there

Recently bought MacBook Pro Early 2011 15"

It is working great on Intels HD 3000 graphics engine. BUT, when "forced" to switch to the dedicated Radeon GPU (by unticking "Automatic Graphics Change" in Settings) MacBook showing kind of glitches after few moments. Sometimes I am able to click back to "Automatic Graphics Change" to switch back to HD 3000 and everything back to normal "on fly" sometimes MacBook suspends and have to do reset and back to normal.

I've read that Apple created BIOS that even if Radeon will completely die - BIOS will always boot to the Intel HD 3000. Basically, it will only suspend when I run game or other GPU demanding app (then only reset and go back to HD3000 and all fine). Is this true?

Is it true that MacBook will never die? Just will suspend when some game force it to switch to Radeon - or when Radeon will die completely - MacBook will die? (will not even switch on).

Thank You

Update (04/30/2018)

So :)

Still no answer for my question :)

Motherboard (GPU area) was heated up definitely - as all components brownish (do not know if GPU chip replaced or reballed).

My question was - if that Radeon GPU (which I guess is separated chip) will COMPLETELY die - will MacBook work on Intel HD 3000..... because BIOS will start it by default if it detect failed run with Radeon.

Because I can live on just Intel HD 3000 - and if somehow I force macOS to Radeon kick in (ie. using Final Cut Pro?) it will just suspend - will do restart - and all will be working.

Just want to know what will happen if or when that Radeon die - will be able to continue using MacBook - or whole MacBook will be dead = will not switch on?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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First, keep in mind the time frame this system was designed back in 2010. Now think back to what kind of games were available then. They tended to be the low-end graphical type of games. Now back to today what kind of graphics do the games have now? Very heavy graphical types with all kinds of high-speed actions.

So why is this important?? Because you are likely expecting more out of the system than what it was designed to do. This system was never intended to run a good 50% of the games people want to play and in doing so will kill their system as it does not have the needed cooling to run the high-end games for very long.

Even today's best MacBook Pro systems overheat when playing the heaviest of graphics games. You really want a gaming desktop system if you really want to push the limits.

As for your question on when you switch GPU modes: Let's re-read what the checkoff states

  • Disabled - When automatic switching is disabled, your computer will always use high-performance graphics.
  • Enabled - Your computer will automatically switch between the graphics modes for better battery life.

So the dedicated GPU will be used all of the time (disabled), or, will flip between the better energy-saving Intel onboard graphics engine when higher graphics is not needed (enabled).

So this is the reverse of what you think. As to enabling the Intel onboard graphics engine all of the time, you will need a program to force it like: gfxCardStatus. The other option is to disable the GPU's drivers (I don't recommend).

So the bottom line here is:

  • Don't expect your MacBook Pro to be a gamers system - It's not!
  • Playing or using your system to the point the CPU, GPU or memory overheat is a sure way to kill your system.

I would strongly recommend you get this app to monitor your thermals: TG Pro

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There is no suspension of graphics only the engine switches when in automatic switching is enabled. Sometimes you can get some artifacts when forcing things (which I suspect you did) but if you leave things alone you should not see any dis-jointness when switching takes place,

If you do have display artifacts you might need to have your logic board serviced as there is a tantalum capacitor which degrades that may need replacing.


Just want to know what will happen if or when that Radeon die - will be able to continue using MacBook - or whole MacBook will be dead = will not switch on?

Definitely it is giving signs it will going to die - as even watching Youtube 1440p display shows mess


Bart, The way you phrased your question did not explicitly state you had a failing GPU issue. I did express at the end if you did what you could do to force the onboard graphics services to run using gfxCardStatus

So, the startup POST would fail and your system will not finish POST. So yes if your Dedicated GPU or the circuitry supporting it failed your system will be dead!

If you get your system fixed before full failure it might be a simple fix otherwise the only way to toss aside the dedicated GPU so the system can run is to disable the OS drivers.


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