MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2010

Released April 2010 / 2.4, 2.53 GHz Core i5 or 2.66, 2.8 GHz Core i7 Processors

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Logic Board Failure due to Nvidia Graphics processor GT330M

Hi all,

I purchased my Macbook pro 1.5 years ago in Aug 2010 (did not purchase Apple care for extended warranty) . Started getting kernel panics recently and after every panic attack the machine would beep 3 times repeatedly. However, after not bothering with it for many hours (busy with work) I would be able to turn the machine on and use it for 5-15mins and would experience another kernel panic. I recently took it to Genius Bar in UK and was advised it was a 3rd party conflict (Sophos anti-virus) issue. I was advised to delete Sophos and everything would be fine. But it wasn't the case and I had to travel to go again. This time I was advised that the technicians would run a detailed diagnostic test and they suspected that it was a Logic Board or RAM issue. Today I was advised by a store personnel that it was a "Logic Board " fault and had to be replaced (costs approx 400GBP). I wanted the technical details of the fault emailed to me so I could get a second opinion. Instead, I get an email advising me that I have to physically go to the store to get the technical details of the fault.This is so disappointing. It has lasted just 1.5 years and as a student I just don't have the funds to get this fixed (could probably get a decent PC for that money).

On Monday the Apple store informed me it was my Logic Board. I wanted to find out the exact details of what's wrong with the Logic Board and waited to hear from them for two days. Initially they said that I could not get this by email. Yesterday when I rang them again, I was advised that they were running more tests to make sure it was the Logic Board.

Today I get a call advising me that their diagnostic test LO AND BEHOLD highlighted that their "GRAPHICS CARD" ( Nvidea ) had failed. When I pointed out the whole "NVIDEA-MACBOOK PRO SAGA" genius bar member ( she was nice and empathetic) said to me that the problem with my GRAPHICS CARD was not the same problem. So, I asked her to specify what the problem was with " my graphics card". Apparently, they do not have the techinical knowhow (even it went to their factory or some sort of centre) to find out what was wrong with the GPU and all they do is plug in a gadget to test it. This seems like a party line that they have to tow. All in all, I will have to fork out 400pounds to get this fixed.

However, I am not going to accept this and am going back to witness the diagnostic test. I would like to arm myself with as much info as possible about this whole NVIDEA saga. Spoke to Apple Centre and they were very helpful. However, the ultimate decision to put in a new Logic Board FoC depends on the store manager.

People with new Macbook pro's (Nvidia GT330M) and not just the old GeForce 8600M GT seem to experience this as well. Help and suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Have you read this? Or this? Might be a driver problem, not logic board at all.

by originalmachead

Having the same problems. Except I can not even start up now. Charger light is green, but computer acts like it has no power. But...it all started the night I upgraded to Lion. Same issue with running only one RAM stick,etc. Now-dead.

by Jack Reacher

Jack - Sounds like you have a different problem. Can you start up under a Snow Leopard CD/DVD boot disk? If you can't then you have a different issue. This issue was the kernel panics do to a video driver issue with some MacBook Pro's when they switched video modes. If you are able to boot under Snow leopard then you should go to an Apple Store to get your OS upgraded to Mountain Lion as I hear they have fixed that issue within it (let us know if it does). I suspect the Genus hadn't heard about the driver problem and suspected the GPU (330M GT) was the problem thinking it was the same as the Nvidia 8600 GT chip issue in the older systems had (which its not).

by Dan

Only way to fix Mac Book Pro 15 Mid 2010 by software is older

gfxCardStatus 1.8.1(download site: https://software.com/mac/apps/gfxcardsta... or whenever you find it)

don't try newer versions !!!! it will no work. Then install gfxCardStatus 1.8.1. in menu check mark: Intel Only. in preferences, check mark:Load gfx.. at startup. and. Restore last used mode at startup

It will never shutdown but it will never use nvidia graphic card

by NHArq

I had this problem, the logic board issue did not arise until after my 3 year apple service, at which time I was forced to pay to get it replaced at the Apple store. It was replaced and now I am getting the same issue again. There should be a petition or lawsuit somewhere. I am not the only one, in 2010 everyone who attended Full Sail's program for Computer Animation received one, and a lot have posted this issue, Apple has never placed a recall for the mid 2010 MBP. Oh and their charging cables is a another scam, seriously these guys expect you to pay $80, for their cheaply CHINESE made crap of a charger, iPhone charging cable included.

by foxbobby78

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11 Answers

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Save all documentation on this repair and watch for a new class action law suit. If there is one, you may be able to recover everything paid for this repair as were the users of the failed 8600 GPUs.

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The problem is not the GPU but in fact the CPU!! Update below:

I have some interesting news on this subject. I have read everything about "baking" and reflowing the GPU and also some repair shops that say the only reliable solution is to replace the GPU. But in a discussion with a reliable repair source I got this input from him. Seems tough luck for all of us with the problem!

"Unfortunately there is no repair that can fix this board. It is actually the CPU that fails. There are no new CPU’s availabel. Be careful if other people offer a repair as we know this board very well and carried out multiple tests. .....

Yes it is not very well understood. We repaired approx 40 of these and nearly all of them failed within the first year. We only like offering permanent repairs so withdrew the repair. It's the memory controller inside the Cpu that fails. The Cpu also carries out the graphic switching functions."

by asle

UPDATE 3/10/16

asle - The class action suit that did get filed and announce in Feb 2015 - https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro...

Was short of the 2010 models and the 13" models and it was the GPU

by mayer

Apple admitted this was a fault and there was a specific Quality Program for this 2010 model. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203554

Unfortunately this ended last summer, about the time my 2010 MBP 15" started to crash ;-(

by asle

@asle - %#*@ Apple for hiding these things and not making them more public. This is the first I have heard of it. The lawyers prolong settling so the window for repair is shortened and the customer gets it in the tukas. But if there was a law suit and a repair was made and paid for, Apple should have to cover the cost.

by mayer

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Kernel Panics are often corrupted memory blocks caused by a misbehaving process. While it's possible the cause could be bad hardware (RAM or the GPU) I've seen more software causes than hardware failures.

Did you upgrade your OS or add/upgrade any applications just before you started seeing the kernel panics? There have been reports of some video driver problems during the Lion upgrade process that cause odd kernel panics.

I would first try isolating out the software causes. The easiest is by using an external HD (Firewire would be better than USB here) which has a fresh copy of Mac OS-X 10.6.8 on it (not Lion 10.7.x if that is what you had been using). Then select it as your boot disk (you can still use the internal HD's apps). Did the problem go away? If that did make a difference you'll need to make a full backup of your HD wipe it down completely then using an external HD to boot from install a fresh copy of OS on the internal and use the migration tool to copy back your files.

One note here: if you did upgrade to Lion you want to boot under a straight Lion OS external HD not one had was upgraded or copied from an upgraded Leopard or Snow Leopard OS (to make sure you don't copy over any of the older drivers). To prep and install the fresh copy of OS.

If the panics are still happening after booting up under the external HD you could try exchanging out the RAM with a fresh set of SIMM's. I wouldn't spend the effort moving your current SIMMS from slot to slot or removing one, unless you upgraded the RAM after you bought your system (different manufactures). Otherwise I suspect one of your Apps has an issue, remember what apps you use and the order you use them after a fresh reboot to see what apps could be suspect then focus on making sure you upgrade these to the newest versions (don't forget OS add-ons and virus checkers).

As far as the Nvidia issues of the older MB Pro's ('08) Nvidia had a bad run of chips do to a design flaw. Depending on where your chip was located on the wafer the thickness of the layers are very slightly different. The inner core are thicker and the outer edge are thinner (think how centrifugal force works). The current theory is the dies (chips) closer to the edge just couldn't hold up as well under stress as the others. Normally these outer edge chips get tested more fully and depending on what happens they are tossed out. Some how the process failed so some got released. As far as I know only the 8600M GT was effected. As your system has the 330M GT it does not relate as being the same problem.

Check this out about the older Nvidia 8600 GT chip: http://www.macrumors.com/2008/10/10/some...

Bottom line here is your issue might be a new issue with the 330M GT chip which so far has not been acknowledged by Apple or Nvidia. So far no other system manufacture has had issues with this chip either as far as I can find.

References:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeFo...

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeFo...

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Just got back from the Apple Store today with a system that had been repaired before just over a year ago for the Nvidia problem still again. This time had to pay out $40 bucks to cover the labor but at least they paid for the part. So don't give up!

by Dan

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kernal panic always come due to Ram. took out the 1 ram from the laptop and run the laptop. check kernal panic is coming or not . if coming then remove that one and put back the old one. if still same problem then reinstall the mac means first back up all your data the reinstall the mac with restore dvds or retail dvd. it will solve you problem. i have a same mac core i5 mid 2010 15 inch. i already faced this problem of kernal panic . this was solved by changing 1 ram . i m happy becoz my mac is covered with apple protection plan. try this will help you

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Kernel panics are NOT always caused by RAM.

by mayer

i know but i faced 3 times this only caused by ram only ... and one time error recover by only reinstalling mac

by SIMRAN

sim - you might want to change this to " kernel panics can be caused by:", rather than "always come".

by mayer

I had the same problem and it was not the GPU itself neither RAM or software issue. The tantalum capacitors are ALWAYS fragiles. By replacing C9560 (330uF 2V) on the mother board, the problem was solved. Cost : 50cts!

by Axel

@Axel I think you have to put in some more info about what and where (pictures?) because this was a complete mystery to me. Never heard of this solution.

by asle

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remember the sale of good act gives up to 6 years protection...

http://conversation.which.co.uk/technolo...

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Torture test or GPUburner can be found here: http://www.geeks3d.com/gputest/

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Dude, this has been a pain in my particular side for a couple of years. I am an old Systems Integrator in the US back when it was all bleeding edge technology and there were no schools to certified you (actually, Apple did have us certified at both personal tech levels and then my company being Apple authorized) because we were the ones figuring it out between the Mac/Apple OS, DOS & eventual every variation of windows fun plus the different flavors of Unix. My world was integrated them all together when "that can't be done!" Bah Ha Ha, watch me. Anyway, all I'm saying is I know enough about all of these to be dangerous. The thing is, there are enough similar where you know what to look for when diagnosing issues and at the very least, ruling out WHAT IS NOT WRONG. With the new Apple OS's, my knowledge of UNIX has been very helpful.

Now, my !&&* with my MacBook Pro. During its warranty period, no problems of course. Then I started having the bizarre issues of it scrambling the screen and unable to get it to a startup screen or even a prompt thru safe mode or verbose. I was essentially retired so I no longer had my usual contacts in the industry as I had also relocated. I did my usual due diligence to rule out what was NOT the problem and being a little lazy, decided to take it to the local "Apple Store" along with the list of what was not the problem AND the info on the known issue with the logic board and their double secret probation recall program.

Now, I understand how leary places as this do not like to be told what joe blow thinks is wrong and especially when it's a woman. I gave them a copy of the recall issue and they essentially scoffed. It took them over a week to finally reach the same conclusion I did and they ordered the logic board that took longer than it should have based on my knowledge of how well Apple does with turn around when they know it's a known issue - they kick butt to get you back up and running. After the amount of time it took them to diagnose the issue and how they did it gave me my first thought of "hmmm, this feels wrong". After the amount of time it took to get the replacement, it really made me wonder if I shot myself in the foot by just bringing it in to this store before calling Apple direct. When I got the exorbitant bill and the non technical cashier conveniently couldn't locate a service ticket detailing the Service call and all that was done set off my bullshit meter plus the numerous smacks to my own head for following the route I took. I realized I had let a store that goes out of their way to look so official that they were actually not an authorized service center. I still do not know where they got the replacement board. I originally chalked this up to my laziness and stupidity for knowing better and letting this happen but it worked and I just let the episode fester in my head.

Then, a year later, after the "double secret probation recall" had expired, I started having a similar issue. Again, I went thru many gyrations of ruling out every possible problem that left it with an obvious video board issue which was also being recalled in my model. I called Apple support this time and after listing all I did and the results, they agreed and after I told them of the local store that was not authorized and I was unwilling to go 90 miles to another, they gladly set up the shipping swap. EXTREMELY helpful and based on having used this same processed years earlier on a warrantied different macbook mother board failure, I knew this was the way to go and again kicked myself for my mistake the year before. They had me a shipping box the NEXT day and had it not been a holiday weekend, I'd probably have it back today. There is still the Murphy's law chance that it started working for them or it gets lost in transit or that I jinxed the whole process, but I'm feeling pretty confident I'll get a happy laptop back in a day or so and a refund of the "deposit" I put down since it is out of warranty.

Once this is done, I do hope I can find out a way to have Apple look into this store I used and their actions. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never get any $ back from my stupidity of not calling Apple first and they could have given me the heads up that they did not see this location as one of their blessed stores - but at the very least, I hope they can look into them and make them make sure to inform future customers they are not working with APPLE. Shame on them and shame on me because I, more than the average bear, should have known better!!

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I'm sorry you had a rough time with the servicer. Apple does authorize repair centers and they are limited on how they can mark their establishment. If they follow the Apple Store layout and don't clearly mark they are not Apple you have a case! Speak with your local consumer law center. Apple was rebating people the moneys they paid-out if they paid a authorized service center. Don't wait to long here as the time is against you.

by Dan

Naming & shaming of place please. Not mentioning name makes this a very long, albeit useless rant, since someone else will surely go there and get scammed!

by zzz

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I tried Gfxcardstatus version 2.0.1, it resolved my GPU issue on my Macbook mid 2010.

after running the app, choose Integrated only.

I recommend the usage of this old version 2.0.1 instead of the last version, it works perfectly on OS El Capitan - Mac mid 2010.

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Had the same problem--apple genius, after video test, reported GPU failed, replace logic board. They offered a replacement logic board for $310 (including two way overnite shipping and labor). Told me that free fixes ended 12/2013. I had the fix done and I'm hoping for reimbursement either via executive letter or class action. Now I'm looking for a torture test for the Nvidia 330M gpu.

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Worked for me. I baked for 10 minutes at 385 degrees F. Make sure that there is plenty of silver compound between the heat syncs and the processors, as my fans initially ramped way up and a hardware test ("D" key upon startup with install disk 1 inserted) identified a system error related to the temp sensor failure. After removing the previously baked motherboard a second time, adding silver compound to each of the three heat syncs, and reinstalling e motherboard, then the three processors made better contact and the issue was solved. My Mac has never been as fast as it is now! Simply incredible!

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Hi Matt, I'm not new to fixing my own computers, but I do it by researching a lot and trying different recommended fixes. I have a macbook pro (A1286 model) with the video card failure. Took it to an "expert" and because his work load it took him more than a year to answer me what I already knew I than a new logic board was needed, so I took back.

Well, my question is what do you mean by "baked for 10 minutes at 385 degrees F"? Is it a process in an special machine (oven)? Please help me, I'm not interested in investing in another "professional" and I'm considering the last option to sale the machine in parts so at least I can recover some of the money invested. Thanks in advance for your reply.

by mizqhc

mizqhc - Matt was talking about baking in a normal stove oven. I will caution you while some have has limited success, others found it didn't help at all. Of the few cases listed here worked and then within a month or two the system died again. The problem here is thou aren't really fixing things just band-aiding it. At this point there is little to loose so go for it.

by Dan

My MacBook Pro 2.6 Ghz 17" works better than ever. Yes, I wrapped the majority of the logic board in tin foil, but left the processors exposed. I then placed it in the oven in my standard kitchen.

The process reflowed the processors and the video chip. It worked perfectly for me and my Mac is faster than ever, but I have read that it didn't work for other. I can say that the "blanket" method did not work. I would certainly give it a try before scrapping your Mac for parts. Just make sure to follow the iFixit video and remove any plastic bits that may melt - the use of tin foil will protect any other plastic parts that are permanently fastened to the board.

One thing to remember, make sure to either save some silver paste to place between each processors and the heat sinks OR buy some silver paste on Amazon (or the internet) and place droplets on the heat sinks. This will allow for the Mac to properly sense the temp of each chip and the video card.

Good luck!

by Matt C

I will try it in the coming days, when I do I will let you know if it worked it or if I cooked it. Thanks Matt and Dan... =D

by mizqhc

Hi @mizqhc - did you do the baking thing and did it work?

by asle

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gfxcardstatus has been my answer - allows you to manually force the integrated or discrete graphics. Free software - download and try it. Once installed, I stopped having kernel panics. You will also want to go to system preferences, energy saver and turn off automatic graphics switching.

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This only works on dual graphic based systems which has an internal Intel HD graphics engine in the CPU & a discrete GPU. Make sure to check your systems specs. You may want to also see if your system is covered under this extended warranty program: MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues.

by Dan

I used GFXcardstatus 2.0.1 and it solved my problem. I even forced it into discrete mode and it seems to work fine. I don't think it likes switching back and forth between integrated and discrete modes.

by ne2i

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I had the same problem with a mid 2007 macbook pro running under Mavericks, i played some music on it on a friday noon, i went to the gim for about 1 hour, i did put the macbook pro in sleep modus, and when i got back from the gim and when i opened the lid of my computer, it wouldnt wake up anymore, i removed the power cord and battery, i tried to reboot this macbook pro, nothing, just a boing, and my screen stayed black, i tried everything, booted it up with the ram removed, only powercord, only battery, harddrive disconnected, and when i searched the web with my iphone, i realised it whas the GPU that failed, an Nvidia chip, i disassembled the complete macbook and i did a logic board reflow in the oven ad 200 degrees celcius for about 7.30 minutes, hoping and praying offcourse, and when i putted it back together . . . It jus booted up like nothing happened . . . Crazy, why is this happening to computers that costs SO much money? I have an old pc, with a Nvidia chip also and i had NEVER the kind of problem i had with my old macbook, now i am using a 17 inch macbook pro with a dual Nvidia chip and i am just scared that it would happen again over time so my fans are blowing ad full speed all the time, i clean out the dust once a month and i have a temp monitoring app and cpu activity monitor installed now . . . I hope that this macbook doesnt die on me . . .

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DBcell will be eternally grateful.