MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issue

I bought my 15″ Macbook Pro back in January, 2008. Since I bought it, it has been quite an exceptional piece of hardware with not many issues. One issue it had within the first year of when I bought it was that the magsafe power adapter failed. I took it into Apple and they supplied me with a new one. I was so happy with my Macbook Pro that I figured I didn’t need to purchase AppleCare.

A couple weeks ago I was home working on my computer. I put the computer on standby by shutting the screen so I could go make dinner. After dinner I wanted to use my computer again so I opened up the screen. I sat and stared at it for 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds and finally about 2 minutes before I realized something was wrong. The screen was still blank!

Macbook Pro Repair Receipt

I tried to put it in standby again and then reopened it. Same issue. I restarted the machine, same issue. I restarted the machine with the reformatting disks inside, same blank screen issue! I was starting to get nervous that my computer fried and actually started researching my next computer. Realizing how much of an investment this computer was, I decided to try to fix it before I even considered buying another Apple product or switching to a PC.

I set up an appointment with a Genius at the Apple Store and took my dead Macbook Pro into the store. The lady hooked up my computer to a thumb drive while doing numerous resets and holding different combinations of keyboard keys. She then put the thumbdrive into a different Mac and started reading the data. She told me that there’s good news and bad news and I was expecting the bad news to be really bad. She said that the good news is that this is a known problem and Apple will repair the computer for me for free and the bad news is I’ll have to be without my computer for a few days. I was obviously very pleased to hear that this was covered despite me not having Applecare.

Apparently in 2007-2008 while building a number of Apple laptops, some Nvidia video cards that were attached to the logic board (The Mac equivalent of Motherboard) were defective and causing the whole logic board to fail and screen to blank out.

In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within four years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

Typically when a laptop dies, the manufacture of the computer won’t touch it if it is out of warranty. The fact that Apple went out of their way to investigate this issue and work with Nvidia to fix it was a very pleasant surprise to me. It shows me that Apple really stands behind their products. If I had to get this repaired and it wasn’t covered it would have cost a whopping $1,187.50, about the same price of a new 13″ Macbook Pro. Going through this situation has really made me realize that I want stick with Apple computers from now on.

More @ Apple.


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