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Discussion: 2011 MacBook Pro

in: edwarddes; edwarddes > 2016-12-09

Dec 12, 2016 2:28 AM # 
bl:
on an extended warranty or some other happy solution?
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Dec 12, 2016 4:46 AM # 
edwarddes:
The early 2011 models had issues with GPU failure due to the lead free solder used. The GPU is a large BGA chip with a large power dissipation, so it can get very hot. The substrate used for the BGA, and the PCB have different coefficients of thermal expansion which puts stress on the BGA balls. Lead free solder is a lot worse for this than the older alloys, so now you see a lot more epoxy underfill used that tries to spread the stress. Something about the specific GPU used in these models was an issue they never seemed to completely fix.
I had the laptop repaired once that I paid for, and they they finally formally recognized the problem and started an extended warranty repair program for it, so I got the first repair refunded. Then in February this year it failed again and went in for another logic board, and then a week later was back for another one. When it failed again this week they decided it wasn't worth it for them to fix anymore and just replaced it.
I'm sure over the life of the laptop they had already spent thousands on it in shipping, parts, and techs time repairing it.
I can be pissed that the engineers screwed the design up, but every time apple service did a great job taking care of me. Even with the first repair the tech put it in as a flat rate repair and fixed everything in the machine that was worn or broken. Each repair has also been overnight shipped both ways by apple, and turned around quickly.
Dec 12, 2016 2:18 PM # 
kadley:
Interesting how the most frequent problem with chip boards ends up being mechanical engineering -- thermal expansion and fatigue failure of the connections. Chips don't go bad, but their attachment does.

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