4-years old MacBook Pro's logic board failed!

Rui


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Hi,

I have a 4 years old MacBook Pro 13'' mid2010, and it started to crash (during start-up, or a few minutes after it started) and showing a grey screen.
Took it to the Apple support centre ... and the logic board failed!!!
The 2-years warranty is long gone, and for a new logic board they asked more than half of what the computer costed!

Is this common in Mac computers?
I was expecting to still keep it for one or two more years before buying a new one.
But now I really don't know if I should go for a Mac again. I mean, one would expect a computer to last more than 4 years, wouldn't one?
 
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Is it "common"? I guess that depends on how you define the term. It's no more common than any other computer, probably less so, and can happen with ANY piece of electronic gear in existence. I have a mid-2010 iMac that is still running strong, and many members here have even older Macs of various types that are even older and still run strong. So yes, Macs can and quite often do last for a very long time.

I should point out that for at least some people, their computers fail earlier than typical due to issues with the electrical supply in their home. Case in point: my mother-in-law had a MacBook that started acting up just past the warranty period. When I opened it up to inspect it, I found scorch marks leading from the power supply and found wires partly melted through. It appeared quite obvious that it had gotten hit by a power surge, and as it turns out, her son had been using it while plugged in without a surge protector. We've seen other instances where members saw drastically reduced life spans of their gear and our best guesses were that it was related to their electrical service.

Of course I have no idea what your habits are or if they had an impact on the lifespan of your particular MacBook, but it's food for thought.
 
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The logic board on my 2011 15" MacBook Pro failed after 18 months and Apple replaced for a much reduced price. As an alternative I was offered a package of a new notebook + 2 years Applecare at about £400 off list price. I refused, not wanting to spend another £1000+ after such a short time.

When the replacement logic board failed four months later it was replaced FOC and was then covered by their 2-year warranty. It rattled my faith in Apple computers but, fingers crossed, the notebook (I later upgraded the RAM) is still performing well.

It's always worth bargaining with them on price and ask how much they will knock off for a new computer instead. You should also weigh up the difference between the cost of the repair (which in UK would have a two year warranty) and another notebook, Apple or otherwise.
 

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Thanks for your replies and comments ;)

But, it seems, the problem isn't that uncommon in MacBook Pros from that time: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4266922 :(

I took the computer to my local Apple shop/service, where they did the diagnostic ... and they mentioned nothing about possible electrical issues. And there's nothing that makes think there's any problem with power supply where I usually used my Mac (at home and at work).

The cost of repair (a new logic board and installation) is €590 ... and a new MacBook Pro 13'' (the cheapest one, the one without Retina and without SSD) is €1060.
Thus I don't know if it is worth paying €590 to have a 4-years-old computer. But, on the other hand, this new MacBook Pro 13'' is not much better than my 4-years-old one (500GB of disk space instead of 250GB, 1600MHz RAM memories instead of 1066MHz (but the same 4GB) and 2.5GHz processor instead of 2.4GHz).
What are your opinions?

But, as with you, badshoehabit, my faith on Macs has fallen down ... and now I really don't know if it's worth buying one.
I mean, for the same hardware a Mac is like around 40% more expensive than some other laptop, and, besides a good Apple service during warranty, one would expect a more reliable and durable computer.
 
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I read that thread when I had my problems and mentioned it to Apple. Do the same - though you have had four years' use.

The question is - do you really want to use Windows? I was fine with XP but fell out with it afterwards and would not revert.
 
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Thanks for your replies and comments ;)

But, it seems, the problem isn't that uncommon in MacBook Pros from that time: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4266922 :(

That's not necessarily a sign of a widespread problem of that particular model. I can guarantee you there is a discussion about a problem someone somewhere had with nearly every Mac ever made, and that discussion has a bare handful of people saying they had a problem. Now Apple has made some lemons, don't get me wrong, and they have done out-of-warranty repairs for many of them. The discussions on Apple's forums for THOSE models run into dozens of pages!

The cost of repair (a new logic board and installation) is €590 ... and a new MacBook Pro 13'' (the cheapest one, the one without Retina and without SSD) is €1060.
Thus I don't know if it is worth paying €590 to have a 4-years-old computer. But, on the other hand, this new MacBook Pro 13'' is not much better than my 4-years-old one (500GB of disk space instead of 250GB, 1600MHz RAM memories instead of 1066MHz (but the same 4GB) and 2.5GHz processor instead of 2.4GHz).
What are your opinions?

Not much better? Oh that is soooo wrong. You are looking at the bare surface specs, something that most PC manufacturers prey on. There are many and major improvements to the underlying hardware, and the benchmarks show it. For a 2010 13" MBP, the Geekbench scores are:

Geekbench 2 (32): 3346 Geekbench 2 (64): 3661
Geekbench 3 (32): 1306 Geekbench 3 (32): 2166
Geekbench 3 (64): 1402 Geekbench 3 (64): 2315

For the 2014:

Geekbench 2 (32): 7621 Geekbench 2 (64): 8628
Geekbench 3 (32): 2820 Geekbench 3 (32): 5849
Geekbench 3 (64): 3127 Geekbench 3 (64): 6602

I'm pretty sure that double to triple the performance is indeed much better.

As for what to do in your case, I for one wouldn't put the money into fixing it. If it breaks again in 1-2 years, you are back where you were. I know this is discouraging, but this is the risk with electronics in general. Some people get a bad draw. For it to have lasted as long as it did, quite frankly that's a pretty good sign that whatever has caused it to start failing may be a consequence of environment, not a defect. Perhaps a little of both. Laptops are often exposed to a lot of abuse, unintentional perhaps, but they get toted and tossed around a lot. If it's been used and pushed hard, that can take an additional toll. It's the same risk and same thing with any laptop, no matter who makes it.
 
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pigoo3

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That's not necessarily a sign of a widespread problem of that particular model.

@OP: Agree with "lifeisabeach". Anytime a thread is started on an internet forum where someone has a problem with a computer. This sort of thread will always attract all sorts of other folks with the same problem. A single thread with approx. 4-5 folks posting…"I have the same problem"…certainly does not spell a "widespread issue".

There are probably thousands upon thousands upon thousands of other folks with the same computer…and their computers are running just fine.

I know that this doesn't make your situation any better. But finding a thread on an internet forum where other folks are posting with the same problem does not necessarily spell a widespread issue. There isn't a computer model that has ever been sold…that has had ZERO % problems. There will ALWAYS be a small number of individual computer units that will have components fail. NOTHING is 100%.

And let's also remember. There are failures due to manufacturing defects…and there are failures due to use or abuse by the owner of a computer. Which of these that apply in this case is difficult to say. Since laptop computers are EXTREMELY portable (which they are designed to be)…they are exposed to a lot more potential hazards than a typical desktop computer is exposed to.

- Nick
 

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Thank you guys again for your comments.

I understand there will always be failures in electronic, or any other, products. And that the lifetime of a given product may vary a lot.
But those statistics just sound really nice when it hasn't been your computer that has broken down.

Yes, I agree that the environment could be the cause of the problem. I carried my laptop almost everyday in my backpack ... but, as pigoo3 said, that's what portable computers are for.
I don't think my laptop had had a harder life than most laptops.

Lifeisabeach, thanks for those scores ... but that mid-2014 Mac has i5 2.6GHz processor and 8GB of RAM, SSD and Retina, and it costs €1700! Well above what I intend to pay for a laptop.
The new Mac I was referring to, is the cheapest one (the one on the left: MacBook Pro - Buy MacBook Pro with Retina display - Apple Store (U.S.)) ... I didn't find this one in those scores.

badshoehabit, you said you mentioned that thread to Apple. To what contact, more precisely, in Apple? Do you remember?
I'm asking this, because the only contact I've had with Apple has been with my local Apple shop/service.
 

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But those statistics just sound really nice when it hasn't been your computer that has broken down.

I understand completely! Statistics are no comfort when it's our own personal computer that has the problem.

My main point was…to be careful labeling problems "widespread" when finding info on the internet. And not to let one problem "sour" a person's opinion of Apple and Apple products.

- Nick
 

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I never said "widespread", I said "the problem isn't that uncommon" ;)
 

pigoo3

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I never said "widespread", I said "the problem isn't that uncommon" ;)

In the Big Picture not really a very important detail. But yes…you used the word "uncommon".:) Save the "spunk" for getting the computer fixed!;)

- Nick
 
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I understand there will always be failures in electronic, or any other, products. And that the lifetime of a given product may vary a lot.
But those statistics just sound really nice when it hasn't been your computer that has broken down.

Completely understandable. Knowing the odds are 1 in 100 (or 10,000 or 100,000,000) of getting the short straw is never of consolation to the guy who actually draws it.

Lifeisabeach, thanks for those scores ... but that mid-2014 Mac has i5 2.6GHz processor and 8GB of RAM, SSD and Retina, and it costs €1700! Well above what I intend to pay for a laptop.
The new Mac I was referring to, is the cheapest one (the one on the left: MacBook Pro - Buy MacBook Pro with Retina display - Apple Store (U.S.)) ... I didn't find this one in those scores.

Oh well a non-Retina version should be even faster then if it otherwise has the same hardware because it's not pushing as many pixels. Actually there are some differences, but let's spell out some underlying specs of the current low-end MBP:

2.5 GHz i5 CPU built on the 22 nm process with Intel Graphics 4000. The RAM is DDR3 clocked at 1600 MHz. There are more details, but let's focus on these for the moment. The closest I can find on EveryMac is this MacBook Air:
MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.8 13" (Mid-2012) Specs (Mid-2012, MD231LL/A*, MacBookAir5,2, A1466, 2559) @ EveryMac.com

That has a 1.8 GHz CPU, but otherwise same class of CPU and same GPU. Here's the benchmarks for this MacBook Air:

Geekbench 2 (32): 6029 Geekbench 2 (64): 6757
Geekbench 3 (32): 2303 Geekbench 3 (32): 4598
Geekbench 3 (64): 2498 Geekbench 3 (64): 5073

That 2012 MacBook Air has easily double the performance of your existing 2010 MacBook Pro. The new low-end MacBook Pro, although it has comparable hardware, it still has a faster CPU and should have other improvements to the hardware (L3 cache, for example) that will help it outperform this still some more. So yes, the new low-end MBP is absolutely a lot better than your existing one.

There's always the alternative you haven't mentioned yet: buying a refurbished or used MacBook.
 

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Lifeisabeach, thanks again for finding that information :)

Regarding your suggestions of a refurbished or used MacBook, I don't think Apple's portuguese store sells refurbished computers at all (at least couldn't find it in its website neither on Google). And, anyway they aren't that much cheaper than new ones.
About used ones, yes there's that chance ... but you never know what you get. And I would be paying for one like mine about what I would pay to get mine repaired.
 
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Regarding your suggestions of a refurbished or used MacBook, I don't think Apple's portuguese store sells refurbished computers at all (at least could find it in its website neither on Google).

Many Apple Stores in many countries do sell refurbished computers. I went to the Portugal Apple Store to take a look…but since I don't speak Portuguese I wasn't 100% sure if there were refurbished computers (I did click on a few of the links to check). If you go to the Apple Store…and scroll to the very bottom of the page…this is where the link usually is if refurbished computers are offered.

And, anyway they aren't that much cheaper than new ones.

How do you know if the Portugal Apple Store doesn't have a refurbished section?;) Generally speaking. The Apple refurbished price is about 15% lower than the price of a brand new unit. This is enough of a savings for many folks to consider a refurbished computer.:)

About used ones, yes there's that chance ... but you never know what you get. And I would be paying for one like mine about what I would pay to get mine repaired.

Buying a used computer is not for everyone. But for what it's worth. I haven't purchased a brand new Apple computer since the mid-1990's. Only used computers for me for the last ~18+ years!:)

- Nick
 

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I had a look at other countries Apple Store websites, and at the bottom (as you said) where others have the link to 'refurbished', the portuguese store doesn't.

I said they aren't that much cheaper than newer ones from what I saw on the US store. Yes, they are about 15% cheaper.

About used ones, as you said they aren't for everyone. I guess you need to know more about computers than I do, to check if they are in good condition and so on.
 

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I had a look at other countries Apple Store websites, and at the bottom (as you said) where others have the link to 'refurbished', the portuguese store doesn't.

Ok…that was a great idea!:) I do that from time to time as well.

I said they aren't that much cheaper than newer ones from what I saw on the US store. Yes, they are about 15% cheaper.

Apple refurbished computers are just like new…they just don't come with the "pretty box" with the nice Apple graphics on them.;)

- Cosmetically they look just like new.
- Functionally they work just like new.
- They come with the exact same 12 months of included Applecare.
- They qualify (just like new computers) for extended Applecare (if a buyer chooses to purchase extended Applecare).

So unless someone want's the "pretty box"…there's really no need (for example) to pay $1500 for a new computer…if the exact same refurbished version is $1275 (15% less).:)

But of course. If the Portugal Apple Store offers no refurbished computers…then this isn't even an option.

About used ones, as you said they aren't for everyone. I guess you need to know more about computers than I do, to check if they are in good condition and so on.

Even if a used computer checks out 100% when it is examined (before buying). This of course is no guarantee that something won't happen 2 weeks or 2 months later. So maybe I've just been very lucky buying used computers.

Or maybe luck has nothing to do with it. Yes…experience & what to look for does certainly help when buying a used computer. Including using your eye's, your ears, and your nose. Yes…believe it or not…sometimes what a computer smells like can be an indication of good, bad, or neutral!;)

- Nick
 

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Hi again,

I've found there are some computer service centres, where they do reparation of logic boards.

The diagnostic from Apple was just "logic board failure", without any details. And the proposed solution was the installation of a new logic board for €590.

Do you guys think my MacBook Pro's logic board could be repaired?
The computer centre I've contacted said they don't do reflow or reball, they substitute the damaged chip/component!
 
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Hi again,

I've found there are some computer service centres, where they do reparation of logic boards.

The diagnostic from Apple was just "logic board failure", without any details. And the proposed solution was the installation of a new logic board for €590.

Do you guys think my MacBook Pro's logic board could be repaired?
The computer centre I've contacted said they don't do reflow or reball, they substitute the damaged chip/component!

Since we don't know what the problem is exactly, we don't know what it takes to fix it. If it's a component that failed, then that component would need to be replaced. If it's a matter of a solder point that has lost contact, then that would just need to be re-soldered (that's what they mean by "reflow" or "reball", if I'm not mistaken). I had an audio-video receiver that started acting up once under warranty once, and on reading the service ticket when it came back, that's basically what they did... re-solder a couple bad spots.
 

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I can start up my Mac, and if I do nothing it stays on ... but if I start opening applications and doing things, after a couple of minutes it shows the grey screen and it blocks.
It also shows the grey screen and blocks when I move/shake it.

So, I guess the problem could be with some soldered contact, that with thermal expansion (when the computer heats up) or with movement loses contact. But from what I've read, it could be a contact between a component and the main board, or a contact within a component.
But this is just a guess.

The guys at the Apple shop didn't go any further than saying the logic board failed!
Do you know/think the diagnostic can go up to the detail of finding the local fault?
 

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