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

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MacBook Pro Early 2011 - baking logic board to fix graphic error

Hey guys, wondered if you could help me out here. So I just had that issue with my graphics card on my 20011 Macbook Pro where suddenly I got jagged lines and artifacts on the monitor and the Macbook would hang shortly after booting up. I then followed the instructions to reflow the graphics chip, baked the board for 8 min. at 200 C° in the oven and the Macbook came back to live, hooray!

Only one thing I noticed when I put the logic board back together was that the two small heat spreaders for the Intel BD82HM65 platform controller hub (Red) and Intel L051NB32 EFL controller (Blue) do not touch the surface of the chips but just sit there about 0.3 mm or so above.

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I didn't really paid attention to that when I took them of, they where slightly sticking to the chips and there was quite a bit of thermal paste on them.

So I wonder ist it intentional for the heat spreaders to not touch the chips and is it sufficient in that case to just have a blob of thermal paste filling the tiny gap between heat spreader and chip? I was just worried that maybe the chips have sunken a litttle bit into the keyboard due to the solder becoming soft during the baking process in the oven? Did anyone noticed this before?

Cheers

Alex

Answer this question I have this problem too

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Sounds like your logic board has warped!

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Nope, board is not warped a single bit.

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As Dan suggested, your board was almost certainly warped which is one of several reasons why you should never bake your board. The whole premise of baking the board is centered around the idea of reflowing the GPU. Using an oven to perform this specific, localized repair is very messy. It heats up unnecessary portions of the board, warps the board, can cause heat damage to other (otherwise working) areas, and all sorts of nasty things. Reflows, if performed at all, should be done with proper equipment. I realize not everyone has a several hundred to several thousand dollar IR reflow workstation just sitting around and people still want to fix their stuff, but baking in an oven certainly isn’t the way to do it. A large kitchen hot plate for a bottom heater, some metal clamps to prevent warping, and a temperature controlled heatgun with a thermometer would have been a better “DIY” way than baking in an oven.

That said, your board is warped. You can try to use copper shims to fill the gap (with thermal paste on both sides). You’ll need to measure the space between to know what size shims to buy.

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Just as an update as it has been suggested, the board might have been warped; actually that’s not the case. The board is not warped a single bit but perfectly straight and refitting it into the macbook was no problem at all.

Although baking the board in an oven heats up the whole unit it provides equal heat distribution and using a heat gun has it’s own risks in frying the gpu and/or partial warping by unequal heat distribution if temperature and airflow are not carefully controlled .

If the board had warped, the two mounting points for each individual heatsink would have moved apart or away from each other which then would have resulted in some difficulty to screw the heatsinks back in, and not to mention the same thing would have happened to the mount of CPU/GPU heatsink as well.

But this is not the case either, all heatsinks are fitting perfectly into their mounts.

So far after a few days, the Macbook with its baked logic board runs perfectly smooth, all components are working, no hiccups at all. CPU and GPU temparatures are slightly lower which was expected due to cleaning of dust from fans and heatsink and applying fresh thermal paste.

So I would like to ask again if anybody had ever taken apart one of those logic boards an noticed that the aforementioned heatsinks for the controllers are not touching the chips.

Cheers

Alex

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They're not supposed to touch the ICs as the expansion caused by heat would likely break the chips if they'd touch the metal heatsinks. The gap has to be filled by thermal paste. Don't be too disappointed if the board will stop working again soon, fixes based on whatever reflow methods are usually short lived as the graphic chip is faulty and no reflow or reball will fix it in the long run. However I wish you'll be able to squeeze out of the board a long enough life to fill your needs :)

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Hey, thank you so much, that makes sense! I also wondered why the heatsinks where designed not to touch the chips. Is it ok to use standard thermal paste for this or would it be better to use something super-viscous like K5-PRO?

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You'll need to use a gapping thermal paste not the CPU/GPU paste that is compressed. Your other option would be to use a thermal pad.

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Alex will be eternally grateful.
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