Owners of early 2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros are reporting issues with the AMD GPUs in their computers. In some cases, the component completely fails, requiring an expensive replacement of the logic board.
The problem, as highlighted by multiple threads on Apple’s Support Communities forum, first presents itself as a graphical glitch — or, in more serious cases, complete system lockup — when an affected MacBook Pro switches from the integrated Intel graphics chip to the discrete AMD graphics processing unit, or GPU. Reports of the issue first cropped up in February, but have become more frequent over the past month.
Apple introduced an automatic graphics switching system back in 2010, which automatically decides which graphics chip to use, the integrated chip, or the discrete chip, depending on the graphics task the user is working on.
Affected machines display discoloration, banding, and image distortion as the most common symptoms, however, users also report that their computers suddenly freeze without any graphical warning signs. Rebooting is reportedly not a remedy, and some users are attempting to remedy the problem by forcing the MacBook Pro to use only the integrated chips. These attempts have been met with only modest success.
Apple Support Communities forum user “saramwrap” has compiled data showing that the majority of affected machines are early-2011 MacBook pros equipped with the AMD Radeon 6750M GPU. However, users whose computers are equipped with Radeon 6490M, 6750M, and 6970M GPUs are also experiencing the problem.
Apple has not yet addressed the issue, and many users report the only repair option given to users without AppleCare coverage is a pricey $500 logic board replacement.
I have a early-2011 MacBook Pro equipped with a Radeon 6490M, and have so far not experienced any of the issues mentioned above. How about you? Have you experienced any GPU issues with your early-2011 MacBook Pro? Please let us know in the comments section below.