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

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Is it worth repairing the graphics card/logic board?

I have had this laptop since 2011 and it has held up pretty well along the way. I had the logic board replaced years ago during the recall program that Apple had. The repair was due to damage to the GPU presumably caused by lots of overheating, which I hear is common with this particular MacBook Pro model. Anyway, I've had it replaced once, and it's kicked the bucket again, leading to blue lines across the screen on boot and not being able to get passed the loading screen.

I just wonder if its worth sinking another ~$800 into this laptop so that I can try to use it through to the end of grad school, which I'll be done with in about 2 years. I have 16gb of RAM in it and a 1TB SSD and those upgrades have helped significantly in extending its life but I'm just unsure which way to go with this. I use a lot of CAD/CAM programs like Rhino and Revit as well as alot of Photoshop/Illustrator, just as a hint as to why it gets so overheated.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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So with these, pretty much any chips we can get for them will not last very long. Most supposed "New" AMD chipsets are either rejects or reballed garbage, so while soldering a new chip to the board is not a problem, getting a good chip that can last and be reliable is.

Sellers on ebay that claim to replace the GPUs are more often than not heating the chip up with a heatgun. Heat will make the chip work for a short amount of time.

Others will claim to reball the GPU. This again will only last for a short amount of time. The issue is not the solder balls. It's the bumps in the die itself. The heat involved in reballing will do the same thing that a $30 heatgun from home depot will do.

These machines are nice as far as serviceability... You can replace the battery with easy contrary to the 2012 and up Retina. If you have a 15 inch, I'd say get a 2012 board for it. These use a different chip and will work. You may need to do a slight modification to the LCD cable to get it to fit in the new board.

The board you want is a 820-3330. It uses a completely different GPU and will last you a good while into the foreseeable future.

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I’m about to ship my laptop into these guys. Looks like they do great work!

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