MacBook Pro Santa Rosa: A Fatal Flaw

2008.06.27 in personal and thoughts

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Recently, an unknown number of first-revision Santa Rosa MacBook Pros began exhibiting issues with their onboard video cards. After a reboot, or on wake from sleep, the machine refuses to acknowledge the presence of a display, either internal or external. From that point on, the computer never regains its displays — not after a reboot, etc. Subsequent debugging indicates that the machine is misidentifying its NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT card as the MacBook's Intel X3100 card. This issue is known to affect at least 50 people — a group of affected users has formed a Google Spreadsheet in order to document and organize cases.

AppleCare is recommending replacing the logic board, which some have gone through with, only to have the machine return to an unusable state shortly afterwards. Compounding the issue is the fact that this problem has arisen only shortly after the expiration of the default warrantee on these machines (this issue seems to only affect machines shipped around June, 2007), thus causing the logic board replacement to cost upwards of 400$ for those who did not purchase extended warranties. If you are experiencing the issues detailed below, please add yourself to the spreadsheet and visit our thread on the Apple Support forums, so we can get a reasonably accurate count of affected users.

Symptoms & Notes

  • Blank screen, both on the internal and external displays
  • The computer boots; it is accessible over the network or with Screen Sharing
  • Target Disk Mode works (this can be used to backup user data!)
  • ioreg and System Profiler both report an Intel X3100 video card, which is incorrect
  • Affects people even with MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5.1 installed (which was released to fix a similar problem, introduced in Firmware 1.5)
  • Seems to be independent of any software updates, hardware changes, etc.
There are a great number of potential fixes floating around on the Apple Support forum thread. These include PRAM/NVRAM/PMU resets, firmware restores, changes in memory configuration, deleting Safe Sleep files, etc. However, none of these appear to be permanent fixes; apparently, even replacing the logic board is not a permanent fix, at least for some!

Someone has mentioned the disabling/deleting Boot Camp might fix things. Replacing my machine's logic board seems to have worked, at least so far!

Comments (legacy)

Trudny wybór | My First Mac

[...] nowymi będąc mogą mieć jakieś niedopracowane rzeczy. Tak jak było z pierwszą edycją PRO (po ichniemu tutaj). Tego się trochę [...]

hortont

I'm not entirely sure what "known" means, as Apple hasn't admitted to the problem yet.

Constantin

Hortont,

In my limited experience, Apple is loath to step up to the plate, at least officially. The graphite Airport Base Station (ABS) was a thermal disaster and eventually Apple agreed to replace defective ABS', if you called them with a magic case number in hand for the phone drones to look up. Even that program got discontinued eventually.

I imagine that it will be no different with the current Santa Rosa NVIDIA issues- that is, unless NVIDIA agrees to reimburse CPU manufacturers for their incurred costs (unlikely that this will happen in full). So, I am disappointed, knowing that the MBPro I am typing this on could very well be a ticking time bomb and there is nothing I can do about it but smile and wait for it to happen.

Christopher

I had the same issue. Apple replaced the logic board. Apparently this is a known issue with the June 2007 models.

Apple Technology - News, Review and Download » Does the Santa Rosa MacBook Pro contain a fatal flaw?

[...] group of over 60 owners believes it does. A recent blog details the trouble, which seems to be apersistent blank screen problem. After a reboot, or on wake from sleep, the machine refuses to acknowledge the presence of a [...]

BerzerkerWeb » Does the Santa Rosa MacBook Pro contain a fatal flaw?

[...] group of over 60 owners believes it does. A recent blog details the trouble, which seems to be a persistent blank screen problem. After a reboot, or on wake from sleep, the machine refuses to acknowledge the presence of a [...]

fooresags

hm. thanks :)

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