Mar 31 2015
This morning while reading feedback on some Stack Overflow and Information Security posts, my MacBook Pro’s screen started glitching and getting progressively worse until it completely seized and everything came to a grinding halt. After attempting to switch if off and on again, I just got a black screen followed by a white screen and then it would power down after a few minutes.
Tried the recommended procedures, recovery mode, startup manager, booting from CD, NetBoot, Safe Boot, Resetting PRAM with no success, none of these options did anything, not even opened a screen where I could select a boot device. Seeing as this is a 2011 MacBook Pro, I was kinda expecting it to be getting close to end of life, but was hoping that I could still squeeze a couple more years out of it.
Back in the days when I was still building PCs, what usually worked for a bricked PC was to take it apart, dust the components, put new thermal paste under heatsinks, resolder any cracked solder on the motherboard and put it back together. Seeing as that would probably take me half a day to disassemble the whole MacBook Pro, I decided to just clean the fans and swap the RAM modules and see if it makes a difference, otherwise take it in for repairs.
After some cleaning and swapping the RAM modules, I could actually boot back into my OS, but only for about 2 minutes before I started getting screen glitches again followed by an immediate shutdown.
Seemed like it was overheating for some reason. So I left the bottom open, put a big fan underneath it which kept it cool enough for long enough until I could install smcFanControl. Turned up the two fans from 2000rpm to 6000rpm and left it running for about 15 minutes while putting all the screws back in place and closing it up. Gradually decreased the fan speeds back to 2000rpm again and it seems to be rock-solid again.
The fans will probably need replacement in the not so distant future, but until then, at least I can get some work done without having to spend cash on repairs or a new MacBook Pro!
Apple replaced my motherboard free of charge, apparently there was a flaw in the 2011 MacBook Pro range that caused overheating.