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Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Is it worth repairing the graphics card/logic board?

I have had this laptop since 2011 and it has held up pretty well along the way. I had the logic board replaced years ago during the recall program that Apple had. The repair was due to damage to the GPU presumably caused by lots of overheating, which I hear is common with this particular MacBook Pro model. Anyway, I've had it replaced once, and it's kicked the bucket again, leading to blue lines across the screen on boot and not being able to get passed the loading screen.

I just wonder if its worth sinking another ~$800 into this laptop so that I can try to use it through to the end of grad school, which I'll be done with in about 2 years. I have 16gb of RAM in it and a 1TB SSD and those upgrades have helped significantly in extending its life but I'm just unsure which way to go with this. I use a lot of CAD/CAM programs like Rhino and Revit as well as alot of Photoshop/Illustrator, just as a hint as to why it gets so overheated.

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Unlike the 2011 the 2012 does not have this problem. You can replace it with a 2012 macbook pro unibody logic board. The only problem is that connector socket for the display in the 2012 is a bit smaller. You can fix this by timing the sides off the connector avoiding the gold. I did this repair and I am currently using my 2011/2012 15” macbook pro with 16gb or ram and a 512gb ssd. My MBP runs like a beast.


Ship it to these guys who have a permanent solution for this problem. here is the link https://www.computerstar.ca/macbookpro-e...


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So with these, pretty much any chips we can get for them will not last very long. Most supposed "New" AMD chipsets are either rejects or reballed garbage, so while soldering a new chip to the board is not a problem, getting a good chip that can last and be reliable is.

Sellers on ebay that claim to replace the GPUs are more often than not heating the chip up with a heatgun. Heat will make the chip work for a short amount of time.

Others will claim to reball the GPU. This again will only last for a short amount of time. The issue is not the solder balls. It's the bumps in the die itself. The heat involved in reballing will do the same thing that a $30 heatgun from home depot will do.

These machines are nice as far as serviceability... You can replace the battery with easy contrary to the 2012 and up Retina. If you have a 15 inch, I'd say get a 2012 board for it. These use a different chip and will work. You may need to do a slight modification to the LCD cable to get it to fit in the new board.

The board you want is a 820-3330. It uses a completely different GPU and will last you a good while into the foreseeable future.

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Hi! Any tips where i could find a 2012 board?

Small detail: I live in Belgium.


Any new developments for GPU long term solutions for the 13" Mid-2010 ? My graphics work fine except with an external monitor, it crashes. Thanks,


I have followed @tcrs_circuit advice and now have a working MBP 2012 in a 2011 unibody! Thanks much!

The connectors for the LCD display don't mate very well and you either have to shave off a bit from the sides of the male/cable side or press-fit the two connectors, board and cable. The cable connector retainer will not close but if you go with the press fit option it's not needed


@Charles Louwagie

ifixit or amazon


Apparently on the 2011 15" Macbook Pro there is a capacitor that feeds power to the GPU that fails and shorts to ground or loses poser and if you change this capacitor it fixes the problem. It wasn't the GPU as everyone thinks. Make your own mind up: here is the YouTube link:



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I’ve saved about twenty 2011 15” MBP using this gem, it’s also free ;-)

To turn off the dual graphics capability of the GPU, install gfxCardStatus for Mac

Download https://gfx.io

This will disable GPU switching and force the MacBook Pro to use the higher powered discrete graphics card rather than the integrated GPU.

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences” and then go to “Energy” control panel
  2. Uncheck the box next to “Automatic graphics switching”
  3. Note the text which states this may decrease battery life on the MacBook Pro “When automatic switching is disabled, your computer will always use high-performance graphics. This may decrease battery life.” – if you are not OK with that do not disable this option
  4. Close out of System Preferences
  5. You can always return to the Energy preference panel to re-enable the GPU switching feature if desired.
  6. For MacBook Pro users who want to manually control their GPU use, you can use a third party tool like GFXCardStatus which has been around for quite some time and still works on most modern MacBook Pro models as well.
  7. https://gfx.io/switching.html

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Ho do you do this when you can't boot because the graphics card has gone. I just get a grey screen when booting recovery, safe, single user, internet recovery etc etc. So I have heard about this workaround but I don't see how to use GFXCardStatus if I can't get it to boot.


Reset the SMC will do it. But you need to get into Safe Mode after the reset otherwise you'll end up back with a grey screen again.

You can also boot up under Target Disk Mode and using a second system delete the kext files.


@mayer - I stumbled upon your GFXCardStatus fix and I'm throughly confused.

EDIT - success below was short-lived. I suppose I do need to be only running on integrated to run the Mac now. older post below


I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro. During the recall period I had the logic board replaced twice. The second replacement seemed to work but now years later I've got the vertical lines again and booting problems that I saw with the beginning stages of the other logic board graphics chip failures.

I got curious after reading your post and plugged in external monitor to force the discreet card to run and it booted up. I promptly ran GFXCardStatus and set it to Discrete Only and I appear to be running fine now.

Beforehand, at most I could run the laptop for less than a minute and the screen would go black and I'd be forced to shut it down. Forcing the MPB to use discrete graphics has appeared to help.

What has me VERY confused is why would this work when the recall was for the discrete graphics chip? You'd think I would need to force my Mac to NOT use the discrete chip with GFXCardStatus. Am I completely misunderstanding something here?


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I’m about to ship my laptop into these guys. Looks like they do great work!

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Hello Arron, how did you make out? I'm in same exact boat. LB/GPU failed and replaced once thru recall a few years ago. Since then I 2x RAM, added SSD (dual HDs) and this weekend the GPU seems to have failed again!!

@tcrs_circuit really gave me some food for thought above! Sounds like they know their stuff as I've been reading about re-balls and heating etc. Also apprehensive to add more $ into late-2011 model that's getting older. So curious how you made out seeing some time has past...


i am from india i have same problem graphic problem i have 2012 macbook pro core i 5 4 gb ram should i replace motherboard its worth or not help me


@southpaw14 I would also like to know the results of the repair.

Thanks for the warning on mods and heating. I want to add RAM and a SSD but only have the GPU issue with external monitors. I don't want the issue to arise after I upgrade. I'll keep this in mind, thanks.


@sury Did you replace your motherboard ?


Little late but for future lookers I sent mine to them and the repair barely lasted a year. And I was WAY more careful about keeping it cool and not overloading the GPU after the repair. I wouldn’t use them again.


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Check this post on how to deactivate the discrete AMD chip.

very useful!


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