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I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason. It was all fine and dandy when Apple fixed them for free, but now I need to make a decision... and I'm not a fan of anything Apple has put out within the last few years.

Even if I can get the board replaced again for $600, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. I can use Adam's EFI and R8911 resistor removal fix to force the OS to only use the Intel 3000 integrated card. This will make it 90% useful, but I still need the ability to edit in FCP X and to run an external monitor when recording in Logic X. It "appears" (I don't know for sure without testing) that I won't be able to run HDMI out to my 4K 50" TV to use as a monitor with only the Intel 3000 graphics.

Here are my thoughts/choices at the moment:
  • Do Adam's $10 fix (great deal by the way) to keep the 17" from becoming a door stop. It will still run everything I need on a daily basis except possibly FCP X, and I lose the ability to run an external monitor.
  • Save the $600 for a new logic board and possibly buy a used 2012 15" MacBook Pro where I can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD, and it won't have the Radeon card issue. (I'd like to stick with something that I can upgrade myself, replace the battery when needed, and stay on Sierra, so I'm looking at a used 2012.)
  • I saw this at Best Buy: "Apple - MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M" for $870, but I will look elsewhere also if I decide to go in this direction.
Questions:
  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
Best deals will be on eBay and will range from about $500-$1000 for one that is good quality or higher, depending on RAM and hard drive configuration. Be careful and look closely at photos, check for any screen issues, out of flatness, bottom covers that don't quite fit right. If there are no photos or limited ones be very careful. Small scratches, dents are OK, cosmetic.

I recommend the 2012 MacBook Pro models to my customers, because they are the last Apple laptops that you can easily replace/upgrade the RAM and internal 2.5" drive, also still has a DVD player/burner. I like to find the best price, even if it has less than the maximum 16GB RAM and then order a SSD for its performance and RAM if needed. Also the 2012 models come with USB 3 ports for faster data transfer. I like to set up customers with external backups (1TB drives run about $50-60), one set up as a Time Machine backup and a second as a clone backup - that way if any problems occur, your data files are safe.
 


... Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
I am unfamiliar with the 2011 17" MacBook Pro, but I do have a 2011 15" MacBook Pro that eventually began having problems with the on-board graphics system. If the problem I had is similar to the problem you are having, it can be easily fixed by having the graphics chip replaced. I sent my computer to "rnrcomputer" in NY; there is at least one other business there that does that work also. Go to eBay/Advance Search/scroll down to "specific sellers" and you will find the listing for 17" MacBook Pro.
 


I have a 15" MacBook Pro with a bad AMD discrete graphics card. As it was an older machine and the "repair" is, indeed, a hit-or-miss thing, I just disabled the card (no hardware mods required) and removed all AMD kexts. This worked for me:

Boot into Recovery partition and run the following in Terminal:
Bash:
csrutil disable
nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00
reboot
Note: If Recovery Partition boot isn't possible, boot using an El Capitan USB installer and use Terminal in the Utilities menu.

Remove AMD kexts in /System/Library/Extensions if continued use with macOS is desired; otherwise, install Linux Mint and do not install any extra video drivers!

I've actually done the above with three machines. What you end up with is a 13" MacBook Pro (motherboard graphics only) with a 15" screen.

Do understand that any macOS upgrade will reinstall the AMD kexts that will have to be removed once again. I usually create an extra boot partition without the kexts, so I may boot into the other and make the kext removal a GUI affair.

As for a newer MacBook Pro to replace the old one: I bought a 2014 15" model as that year (and 2015) still had the good keyboard and an easily replaceable SSD.
 


  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
This was a couple years ago, but the video in my 2011 17" MacBook Pro died. The Apple Store wouldn't fix it, so I bought another from macofalltrades.com. I then found someone who could fix my original one. It cost about $400 - he did a component replacement, he didn't replace the logic board.

Since it is no longer supported by new versions of macOS, I'm not sure I would replace it, if it broke again. It would be hard to give up the many advantages over the new ones, though (ports, user replaceable battery, memory, drive, big screen, etc.).
 


Since it is no longer supported by new versions of macOS, I'm not sure I would replace it, if it broke again. It would be hard to give up the many advantages over the new ones, though (ports, user replaceable battery, memory, drive, big screen, etc.).
You may be able to hack your way around that limitation, should you care to try. Be sure to check things, such as your WiFi, to see if they will continue to work.
 


As for a newer MacBook Pro to replace the old one: I bought a 2014 15" model as that year (and 2015) still had the good keyboard and an easily replaceable SSD.
Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...

I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
 


I have a lightly used 15” 2011 MacBook Pro. Basically, I have barely used it since finding out about the graphics issue. I bought a cooler gizmo that can be placed under it when I do use it.

Two years after getting the 2011, I bought a refurb 2012 15” MacBook Pro, maxed the RAM, and eventually installed a SSD. It is a good upgrade from a 2011, since it can run a more recent OS and has Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3. If you don’t need the optical drive, you could look for a 2014 or 2015 Retina MacBook Pro. The display is lovely, and it still has a decent keyboard.
 


Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...

I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
2012 was the last model with upgradable RAM.
 



2014 and 2015 MacBook Pros do have replaceable batteries, but, due to Apple's poor design that actually glues the battery into place with w-a-y too much adhesive, it requires some patience and effort (and more patience) to remove the original battery. You may use a small amount of double-faced "cushy" tape in a couple of spots to keep the new battery from sliding around (although any movement would be minimal). As well, the trackpad may be replaced separately from the top case. Should the keyboard fail, DTT Service can replace it for about $195. My intention is to keep my 2014 MacBook Pro running for another 5-7 years.
 


Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...
I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
Only the SSD is replaceable. Sort of. it is a non-standard part, only used by Apple. There was a big discussion about it a while back. From what I remember, none of the 3rd-party replacements are anywhere near as fast as a real Apple part. Some have weird issues due to being configured in some sort of RAID configuration. Apple won't sell you one.

RAM is soldered onto the logic board (not user-replaceable). The battery is glued in (only replaced with great difficulty).
 


Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...
I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
The Retina models are less upgradable. I believe the battery is glued in on all of them, making replacement an expensive proposition. The weight is nice, and the display is really nice, but the Retina models represent some early steps in what I see as the wrong direction: soldered RAM, glued battery, etc.
 


I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason. It was all fine and dandy when Apple fixed them for free, but now I need to make a decision... and I'm not a fan of anything Apple has put out within the last few years.

Even if I can get the board replaced again for $600, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. I can use Adam's EFI and R8911 resistor removal fix to force the OS to only use the Intel 3000 integrated card. This will make it 90% useful, but I still need the ability to edit in FCP X and to run an external monitor when recording in Logic X. It "appears" (I don't know for sure without testing) that I won't be able to run HDMI out to my 4K 50" TV to use as a monitor with only the Intel 3000 graphics.

Here are my thoughts/choices at the moment:
  • Do Adam's $10 fix (great deal by the way) to keep the 17" from becoming a door stop. It will still run everything I need on a daily basis except possibly FCP X, and I lose the ability to run an external monitor.
  • Save the $600 for a new logic board and possibly buy a used 2012 15" MacBook Pro where I can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD, and it won't have the Radeon card issue. (I'd like to stick with something that I can upgrade myself, replace the battery when needed, and stay on Sierra, so I'm looking at a used 2012.)
  • I saw this at Best Buy: "Apple - MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M" for $870, but I will look elsewhere also if I decide to go in this direction.
Questions:
  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
We also have two early 2011 17" MacBook Pros, and Apple replaced the motherboards due to failed Radeon 6750M GPUs twice in mine and three times in my wife's. The last time they failed, they were beyond all extended AppleCare/hidden recall/etc. terms and replacing the motherboards be about $1k each.

One of our MacInTouch members had a similar experience and had good luck with MrComputer in Brooklyn NY via eBay. I checked them out, and they seemed to know what they were talking about. We sent ours to them, one at a time, and opted for the GPU upgrade to a 6770M, which did not have the failure problem. Both came back safely but with minor issues that MrComputer said they may be able to fix if we paid for shipping both ways. One was on my wife's, where the ethernet port would no longer hold any cable (I think the motherboard was positioned slightly off), and on mine my right speaker is dead. Annoying but not worth the expense.

However, this discussion brought something to mind. I was not sure that I had checked the System Profile to see if it indicated we have 6770M's now instead of the flaky 6750M's. Will have to do that when I get home from work....
 


I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models?
2012 was the last model with upgradable RAM.
For the 2015 model, according to iFixit, replacing the battery is incredibly difficult - 74 steps, 2-3 hours. Looks like you need to take the computer completely apart to get to the glued battery:


You can update the SSD pretty easily (7 steps.) The RAM is soldered. So, one for three - a decent batting average in baseball, not so much in computer upgrade/repair.
 


Cool. Can you swap out drives and batteries in the 2013-15 models? If I buy one with the RAM already maxed out, it should be fine.
Hi, Dave G; these links from iFixit might help you:


The SSDs are easy to replace, but the batteries are hard, due to the glue used in production.
 


Discovered something new (at least new to me) on my 2017 15"MacBook Pro screen. I was cleaning it, and there was "a particle" stuck to the screen, so I thought. Apparently, somehow I nicked the screen as the "particle" would not come off. So I looked at it with a strong magnifying glass, and there appears there is a very thin and extremely tough plastic film over the screen. It is slightly noticeable with a white background and much less so with a dark background.
I had something like that happen once. I took it into the local Apple Store and they replaced the screen for free (out of warranty) because they said it came from a bad batch of displays manufactured with a defect that caused the screen to delaminate over time. Apparently it would have become far worse over time. Not sure if that's what you're seeing, but might be worth checking out.
 


For the 2015 model, according to iFixit, replacing the battery is incredibly difficult - 74 steps, 2-3 hours. Looks like you need to take the computer completely apart to get to the glued battery
This is my main gripe with Apple's current laptop lineup. One of my business laptops is based in France with no local Apple Store. It suffered an almost total battery failure and was taken to the nearest authorised Apple repairer. In summary:
1) €480 cost (just for the battery swap - the following was done free)
2) Three attempts to achieve a functioning machine over a period of 2.5 weeks
3) Two motherboards destroyed
4) One display destroyed
5) At least one top plate and keyboard replaced.

…for a swap that should cost a fraction of that and take an amateur 5 minutes to do.
 



I have a 15" MacBook Pro with a bad AMD discrete graphics card. As it was an older machine and the "repair" is, indeed, a hit-or-miss thing, I just disabled the card (no hardware mods required) and removed all AMD kexts. This worked for me:
Boot into Recovery partition and run the following in Terminal:
Bash:
csrutil disable
nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00
reboot
Note: If Recovery Partition boot isn't possible, boot using an El Capitan USB installer and use Terminal in the Utilities menu.
Remove AMD kexts in /System/Library/Extensions if continued use with macOS is desired; otherwise, install Linux Mint and do not install any extra video drivers!
I was previously aware of this possible solution, but since I boot up with different OS'es (back to Mac OS X 10.6.8), it will likely make more sense to use the EFI fix and then possibly look at removing the R8911 resistor a bit later to help manage the power drain from the still connected Radeon card.

I am not able to boot to any Mac OS Recovery Partition at this point, but I can easily boot into Linux via a USB stick and bypass the Radeon card and then make the necessary Terminal changes. (When I was playing around with Linux about two years ago, I did have to change every "grub.cfg" file for each Linux OS to get them to boot trying to access the Radeon 6750 card.)
 


I have a lightly used 15” 2011 MacBook Pro. Basically, I have barely used it since finding out about the graphics issue. I bought a cooler gizmo that can be placed under it when I do use it.

Two years after getting the 2011, I bought a refurb 2012 15” MacBook Pro, maxed the RAM, and eventually installed a SSD. It is a good upgrade from a 2011, since it can run a more recent OS and has Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3. If you don’t need the optical drive, you could look for a 2014 or 2015 Retina MacBook Pro. The display is lovely, and it still has a decent keyboard.
Thanks for the info. I believe that the Thunderbolt on the 2012's are Thunderbolt 1, but I will double check that.

My major concern with a 2013-2015 would be battery replacement. It appears it's possible, but not easy. I might look into the cost for paying Apple to do that or a local Apple repair shop.
 


Only the SSD is replaceable. Sort of. it is a non-standard part, only used by Apple. There was a big discussion about it a while back. From what I remember, none of the 3rd-party replacements are anywhere near as fast as a real Apple part. Some have weird issues due to being configured in some sort of RAID configuration. Apple won't sell you one. RAM is soldered onto the logic board (not user-replaceable). The battery is glued in (only replaced with great difficulty).
Yes, all that seems to be the case for those later year models which is why I'm drawn back to the 2012 15" with easily replaceable parts, including the hard drive and optical drive.

I don't need retina or 4k, but I wish there was some way with the discrete GeForce 650 1GB video card to force it to display 1920x1080 versus the 1440x900 which appears to be the best resolution that you can get out of it. This is my one disappointment with the 2012.
 


One of our MacInTouch members had a similar experience and had good luck with MrComputer in Brooklyn NY via eBay. I checked them out, and they seemed to know what they were talking about. We sent ours to them, one at a time, and opted for the GPU upgrade to a 6770M, which did not have the failure problem. Both came back safely but with minor issues that MrComputer said they may be able to fix if we paid for shipping both ways. One was on my wife's, where the ethernet port would no longer hold any cable (I think the motherboard was positioned slightly off), and on mine my right speaker is dead. Annoying but not worth the expense. However, this discussion brought something to mind. I was not sure that I had checked the System Profile to see if it indicated we have 6770M's now instead of the flaky 6750M's. Will have to do that when I get home from work...
.
I appreciate you sharing this experience - this is yet another option I can consider. I am interested in the 6770M upgrade, but it worries me that a tech would send out a repaired computer without first checking all the ports.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Yes, all that seems to be the case for those later year models which is why I'm drawn back to the 2012 15" with easily replaceable parts, including the hard drive and optical drive. I don't need retina or 4k, but I wish there was some way with the discrete GeForce 650 1GB video card to force it to display 1920x1080 versus the 1440x900 which appears to be the best resolution that you can get out of it. This is my one disappointment with the 2012.
You can force higher resolutions with SwitchResX, though I don't like high resolutions on laptop screens, much preferring an external monitor, which the MacBook Pro easily drives at higher resolutions. (See EveryMac.com for all the details.)
 


The Retina models are less upgradable. I believe the battery is glued in on all of them, making replacement an expensive proposition. The weight is nice, and the display is really nice, but the Retina models represent some early steps in what I see as the wrong direction: soldered RAM, glued battery, etc.
I totally agree that battery replacement on Retina MacBook Pros is a bear (royal PITA). DTT Service can swap in a new battery for $195. You pay outgoing shipping; they'll pay for the return. Considering the cost of a replacement (3rd-party) battery is about $50-60, and the time to make the swap is about 90-120 minutes (for novices), the $195 cost isn't excessive. I think this is a task best left to the pros. (I have no financial arrangement with DTT. They've done a number of repairs for me involving liquid spills and motherboard swaps. I'm just a happy customer.)
 


You can force higher resolutions with SwitchResX, though I don't like high resolutions on laptop screens, much preferring an external monitor, which the MacBook Pro easily drives at higher resolutions. (See EveryMac.com for all the details.)
I was hoping that there might be something like this out there. I took a look at the linked site, and it's not clear from the description that I would be able to force a 1920x1080 resolution on the 15", as it's not a default option in the Mac screen preferences for the 15" model, but I can give it a shot when I get to that point.

It seems to me that it should be doable, as my 17" MacBook Pro can do 1920x1200 with a 1GB video card. The 15" also has a 1GB video card, just from a different manufacturer. It seems reasonable that it should work?
 


I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason.
There are shops that do the "reballing" fix for this. I wasn't willing to relinquish my 2011 MacBook Pro so I sent it to these guys:
Cost for this is $199 plus shipping. Works perfectly now, and I expect this repair to last for a long time.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I took a look at the linked site, and it's not clear from the description that I would be able to force a 1920x1080 resolution on the 15", as it's not a default option in the Mac screen preferences for the 15" model, but I can give it a shot when I get to that point.
SwitchResX lets you do just about anything, including crazy things like 3840x2400 on my 2015 MacBook Pro 15". It can also do 1920x1200 at double (i.e. Retina) resolution.
 


SwitchResX lets you do just about anything, including crazy things like 3840x2400 on my 2015 MacBook Pro 15". It can also do 1920x1200 at double (i.e. Retina) resolution.
That sounds great, I will pick it up when I get the "new" 2012 MacBook Pro 15". Aside from just having more perceived real estate for daily work, it would be nice to be able to take 1920x1200 screenshots when I want include something from my screen in a video edit.
 


There are shops that do the "reballing" fix for this. I wasn't willing to relinquish my 2011 MacBook Pro so I sent it to these guys:
Cost for this is $199 plus shipping. Works perfectly now, and I expect this repair to last for a long time.
I've not heard the term "reballing" before. I just took a look at their website and was instantly annoyed by the popups and lack of info for my specific issue. I would likely need to call them first, but will keep them on my list of options.
 


I just took a look at their website and was instantly annoyed by the popups and lack of info for my specific issue. I would likely need to call them first, but will keep them on my list of options.
Looking further, I did find the Macbook GPU Reballing repair service 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 page and a blog page with photos: The truth about 2011 MacBook Pro graphics failure. I'm not sure any of that inspired confidence for me in this company. I have also read here and elsewhere that these fixes don't always last. Still, I'll note it as an option. Even a few extra years might be worth it.
 


For the price of "reballing", you can have a new, faster chip installed. It solved my graphics problems on a 2011 15" MacBook Pro.
 


However, this discussion brought something to mind. I was not sure that I had checked the System Profile to see if it indicated we have 6770M's now instead of the flaky 6750M's. Will have to do that when I get home from work....
When you do get a chance to check, could you also check the VRAM amount? I've been researching this card and some sites show it as 512MB and some as 1024MB.

As an aside, the company is "rnrcomputer". It certainly does look like MrComputer at eBay in all lower case, but it's RNR Computer. I did find it, though, and the reviews are excellent. For about $200-220 for repair and shipping both ways, this may be the way to go.
 


For the price of "reballing", you can have a new, faster chip installed. It solved my graphics problems on a 2011 15" MacBook Pro.
Yes, looking into that right now (see my previous post). Can you tell me exactly which model graphics RNR Computer installed and the VRAM? 512 or 1024MB?
 


Yes, looking into that right now (see my previous post). Can you tell me exactly which model graphics RNR Computer installed and the VRAM? 512 or 1024MB?
I have checked my receipt and his eBay listings and am unable to determine what chip he installed. I do know that I requested and paid extra to have the upgrade chip put in. It was a small cost compared to the overall charge of him getting in there and fixing the problem.
 



2014 and 2015 MacBook Pros do have replaceable batteries, but, due to Apple's poor design that actually glues the battery into place with w-a-y too much adhesive, it requires some patience and effort (and more patience) to remove the original battery. You may use a small amount of double-faced "cushy" tape in a couple of spots to keep the new battery from sliding around (although any movement would be minimal).
Probably worth noting that Apple will replace the battery in your Retina MacBook Pro for $199, which is an absolute steal given the amount of hassle the glued-in battery is to replace. It's possible however (does anyone know?) that this only applies to machines that are not yet "Vintage" or "Obsolete" - that is, less than 5 or 8 years old - depending on your circumstances. Mac Service and Repair for more info.
 


Probably worth noting that Apple will replace the battery in your Retina MacBook Pro for $199, which is an absolute steal given the amount of hassle the glued-in battery is to replace. It's possible however (does anyone know?) that this only applies to machines that are not yet "Vintage" or "Obsolete" - that is, less than 5 or 8 years old - depending on your circumstances. Mac Service and Repair for more info.
Once a machine lands on the vintage list (5 years after going out of production), Apple won't repair it or sell you replacement parts under any circumstances. They will only replace failed components like-for-like.

For example, if your Retina MacBookPro has a 256 GB SSD, they will only replace a failed one with another 256GB SSD. They will not sell you a bigger one.

California gets 7 years.
 


You should be able to see that in About This Mac.
Ric, does About This Mac show the actual GPU in a MacBook Pro or only the GPUs that it originally came with from Apple? Instead of the 6770 I paid for, mine is still showing:
AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB​
Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB​
 


When you do get a chance to check, could you also check the VRAM amount? I've been researching this card and some sites show it as 512MB and some as 1024MB.

As an aside, the company is "rnrcomputer". It certainly does look like MrComputer at eBay in all lower case, but it's RNR Computer. I did find it, though, and the reviews are excellent. For about $200-220 for repair and shipping both ways, this may be the way to go.
Our 17" MacBook Pros that they repaired both show:
AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB​
Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB​
The 1GB Radeon was a build-to-order option. The standard 17" had the 512MB graphics.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Does About This Mac show the actual GPU in a MacBook Pro or only the GPUs that it originally came with from Apple?
I don't know, as I don't have a hacked/upgraded MacBook Pro to check. (I just assumed it would show the actual hardware.)

Another option might be to run a Geekbench "Compute" test and see what you get.
 


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