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Summary:

Following NVIDIA’s July 2008 announcement that a number of their GPUs were experiencing higher failure rates than should be normally expected, Apple today finally released an official support article acknowledging the problem. The article claims that NVIDIA told Apple graphics cards in Macintosh computers were not […]

Following NVIDIA’s July 2008 announcement that a number of their GPUs were experiencing higher failure rates than should be normally expected, Apple today finally released an official support article acknowledging the problem. The article claims that NVIDIA told Apple graphics cards in Macintosh computers were not affected by the problem, which is supposedly related to improper packaging. The reason for the lag time between NVIDIA’s and Apple’s announcements concerning the faulty GPUs is an internal investigation by Cupertino itself which eventually found that MacBook Pro NVIDIA cards were indeed affected.

The GeForce 8600M GT, specifically, is named in the article as having problems, which were used in MBP’s manufactured between May of 2007 and September of 2008. Symptoms include distorted video or no display at all on either the built-in or connected external displays. Anyone affected is directed to take their machine to an Apple Store or authorized service provider to receive a repair free of charge. Those who’ve already paid out of pocket for a fix are also eligible for reimbursement. The offer is valid for two years from the original date of purchase.

Though Apple claims that not all MBP’s made between those dates are necessarily affected, it seems unlikely that consumers who haven’t yet experienced problems will find this terribly reassuring. The two year time limit will have many wary, as well. Still, Apple should be given credit for admitting the full, potential extent of the problem and offering the free remedy for affected customers, both past and current. They’re clearly in damage control mode, and will likely succeed in shunting most of the blame onto Nvidia, who caused the problem in the first place and then apparently lied about it. A steep increase in failures following the two-year mark could come back to bite Apple, but those using MBP’s seem to have a higher laptop turnover rate so they might even dodge that bullet.

If you’ve had or are having problems, share your symptoms below so that others will know what to look for.

  1. My 15″ 2.4Ghz Macbook Pro bought on june 2007 experienced this problem around 3 weeks ago.

    One day I came to the office and when turning it on, I could hear it boot, but no display, and no display on external monitor either.

    Sent it to Apple authorized service provider and a couple of days after they told me there was something broken on the Logic Controller (motherboard), very possibly the video card.

    Despite of the fact that my MBP was already out of guarantee, Apple took care of the repair. :)

    The new motherboard left USA on the 26th September, it’s still at customs, they take a lot in there here (between 15 and 20 days) so I hope it’s ready for next week.

    Another guy from the local MUG here had the same exact problem some days after me.

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  2. They REALLY need to own up to the problem with vid cards in the late 2006 iMacs. People are having strange graphics artifiacts all over, and Apple won’t own up to it. I have to run all my fans twice as fast just to keep it from happening.

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  3. Is there a way to replicate the problem to see if we have the issue? I have a late 07 MBP and would like to get it fixed if need be, but haven’t experienced the issue yet.

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  4. @Gideon Yeah, I paid a bunch of money to get the GeForce 7300 in my 24″ plastic iMac fixed earlier this year. It was getting really bad. I’m still hoping Apple will eventually fess up and reimburse me, but not holding my breath.

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  5. Does it include THIS:

    http://digg.com/apple/Apple_ignoring_display_problems_on_latest_MacBook_Pro_2008

    ??????????

    Check out the Apple Forums Thread to discover the extent of the issue

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  6. I have an 07 model Imac 2.4 with an ATI Radeon HD 2600 pro graphics card. My whole desktop has strange black and white patterns, except near the icons. I can drag a rectangle over the whole ldc and the problem disappears.

    Now that is strange and it’s ATI, not Nvidia.

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  7. [...] It’s also a nice jab at its rival Intel, whose integrated graphics chips are what Nvidia is replacing. However, Intel plans to launch its own standalone graphics processor in 2009, which means Nvidia’s success could be short-lived. Especially if computer makers continue to see problems related to Nvidia’s chips in their desktops and laptops. [...]

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  8. [...] of video problems begin to take on ominous connotations. Nvidia chips, after all, are behind video problems on older model MacBook Pros, a problem which was acknowledged to be the fault of the chip maker [...]

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  9. [...] are failing at higher-than-normal rates. For readers who are not aware of this story, TheAppleBlog covered this piece of news back in [...]

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  10. I had the same problem and took it to the service centre. They immediately found the root cause to be the 8600Gt and immediately dispatched a new logic board from the US. Took time and I felt crippled without my mac but now its back in my hands.

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