After much demand and a class-action lawsuit (PDF), Apple has officially launched an extended repair program for certain models of Macbook Pro and Retina Macbook Pro that display video issues as a result of a damaged GPU, resulting in shutdowns and graphical instability. Apple has extended the program to include Macbook Pros from 2011 to 2013 in this program, but the 2011 model running an AMD Radeon HD 6750M appears to have the most complaints, and is the focus of the lawsuit.
In December, the law firm Whitfield, Bryson & Mason LLP served Apple with a class-action suit in the United States District Court Northern District of California. The issue is alleged to stem from inadequate cooling on the GPU, causing the solder to deform and to crack, similar to the Xbox 360’s infamous Red Ring of Death. The suit also alleges that Apple internally knew there was an issue, and that “In subsequent updates, Apple surreptitiously decreased the graphical performance capabilities of the laptops in order to reduce the laptops’ operating temperature and, hence, the failure rate of the solder attached to the graphics processor. “ The suit notes that the update reduced performance by nearly a third.
GPU’s from both AMD and nVidia were used in the time frame specified by Apple for the repair program, so it is unlikely that the problem is with the GPU’s themselves, but rather the solder process used and the cooling solution.
Apple lists the following models as affected:
- MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)
- MacBook Pro (17-inch Early 2011)
- MacBook Pro (17-inch Late 2011)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15 inch, Early 2013)
To those with affected models, repairs can be set up by making an appointment at your nearest Apple Retail Store, or other Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple also provides a mail-in option for those that contact Apple through their support page. The program officially starts on February 20 2015 and will last until February 27, 2016, or three years from original date of sale, depending on which is longer for the customer.
Disclaimer: The author does work for an Apple Authorized Service Provider.