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MacBook Pro errors due to bad NVIDIA hardware?

updated 01:35 pm EDT, Fri August 8, 2008

NVIDIA fault in MacBooks

Long-standing graphics errors in MacBook Pros may be directly attributable to faulty hardware from NVIDIA, reports say. Although NVIDIA has denied accounts of problems in its G84- and G86-based mobile graphics cards, other sources say they have learned that all cards with the chips -- including the GeForce 8600M GT used in MacBook Pros -- may be prone to failure, likely due to ineffective material causing overheating.

Pro owners have been regularly complaining of systems that continue to function, but display only a blank screen when powered on. Investigation has shown that the computers are misidentifying NVIDIA cards as integrated Intel chips, which may be a sign of hardware failure, possibly forcing MacBooks to revert to secondary graphics.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Smurfman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My MacBook Pro did this

    I had these exact problems (and more) with my 1 year old MacBook Pro.

    I've used Apple products for about 15 years and have helped bring a number of individuals to the Mac platform. Of all the Macs I've used and owned, this Macbook Pro has given me the most trouble.

    I have already sent it to Apple service twice to replace logic board and hard drive components. Even this week the hard drive failed -AGAIN- and I installed a new one myself (since the warranty ran out in June).

    The Macbook Pro's, at least from this time period, seem to have a very high "lemon" percentage. It's a shame to pay $3000 and get lockups, black screens, "jumbled" screens, hard drive failures, etc., etc. for an entire year.

    With the new hard drive installation, it seems to be running smoothly. However, it's only been 2 days. ;-)

  1. sUNtiGEn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    happened to me. :(

    My MacBook Pro which I purchased in June of last year died like this. I'm out of warrenty, and neglected to purchase AppleCare, so I took the laptop into The Apple Store, and was told that the logic board needed to be replaced due to a faulty NVIDIA graphics card... cost to me was going to be $317 tax.

    Since I bought a replacement when this happened, I opted instead to wait and see if Apple does the right thing. I posted a message on Apple's forums expressing my issues, and had my post deleted by a moderator... :(

    I hope Apple steps up here. This is obviously a hardware problem which should be covered by a recall or something like that.

  1. panjandrum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seeing this a lot

    We've been seeing overheating video chipsets in other Apple models as well. I think this is part of the result of the market demanding that Macs get less expensive. Unfortunately, it also means they get less reliable.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Me too

    My MacBook Pro is away at Apple having the logic board replaced as I type this. Luckily (if there is any luck in this situation), it happened just a week and a half before my warranty was set to expire. After reading up on the issue I decided to extend the Apple Care on my MacBook Pro since this will not be the first time the faulty Nvidia GPU goes bad. I'm hoping for an official recall from Nvidia but on the Windows side they've done nothing but suggest that the bios allow the fans to run more often to cool the chip. Failure is inevitable and they are just delaying it.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Me

    Purchased my new MB Pro last September (17" Santa Rosa). Been working perfectly ever since. Just thought I'd try to balance things out a bit.

  1. rtamesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Me three

    My Macbook Pro which I purchased in 2006 died last week. You could hear the fan running and see the light on front, but there was no startup sound and there was just a dark screen. I brought in into my local Apple Store, and they said that the logic board had failed and needed to be replaced.

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Early adopter advantage

    I never thought I'd actually see an advantage to being an early adopter. I have a first-generation MacBook Pro with an ATI X1600 Mobile chipset and haven't had a bit of trouble with the graphics.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What, no zealots...

    ... rushing to the defence of Apple? To drag up some recent history, remember that the iBook logic board problem a few years back that Apple actually admitted to (eventually) was a graphics chip issue also and by coincidence, heat related. On that occasion the (ATI) chips mounted using BGA technology were becoming unseated as a consequence of either or both thermal and physical stress. I had an iBook fail four times under Applecare and, like Smurfman, the fifth (hard-disk) failure, out of warranty, I fixed myself. Where are the fanbois now?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: seeing this a lot

    I think this is part of the result of the market demanding that Macs get less expensive. Unfortunately, it also means they get less reliable.

    I'm sorry, my MBP cost $2500, add in $350 for AppleCare (which I feel is a no-brainer for any computer with built-in screen, esp. a laptop, regardless of maker). I'd hate to see what Apple would be charging for 'more reliable' components.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    and, like TheBum, I'm apparently a lucky one with a Radeon 1600 card.

    And just went to the 'genius' bar to get my battery replaced, since it was defective (despite there being an extended replacement plan or some such nonsense on it, I had to be given a lecture about how battery life diminishes over time and isn't normally covered, but he gave me a 'break' and replaced it anyway).

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