MacBook Pro 2011 GPU Issues

Solution: Downgrade to Lion

MacBook Pro Late 2011 Video Card Issues
April 15, 2015 Eddie Renz

It’s been a month now with video issues on my MacBook Pro. I have a 17 inch with 16GB of RAM and it has worked FLAWLESSLY since I purchased it in January of 2012. However, a month ago it just started to reboot at random. I quickly went online to see if I could find a solution and found many, but none of them worked. After changing out the hard drive and going to the Apple Genius Bar twice, they told me that my logic board needed to be replaced, but they would need to keep my computer for 3-5 business days. What? 3-5 Business days? That’s a lot of time lost when I have so much work to do, so I decided to just hobble along and try to fix it.

I could go through everything I tried to fix my MacBook Pro, but what finally fixed the problem was downgrading my OS all the way down to Lion. At least that worked temporarily, eventually the logic board had to be replaced.

This was the only solution that worked. I thought the problem was my hard drive so I replaced it. I thought it was Adobe Photoshop CC so I downgraded it. I don’t know what was causes the conflict but I knew that it was software/kernal related because the problem would get worse over time. However, when I would do a reinstall of my OS, I would have no problems with the video card, except one time.

This issue has cost me about 40 hours of time troubleshooting and working with Apple on the phone and in person. I was so glad that I finally decided to try this downgrading solution, which someone had suggested early on, but it took me a while to figure out how to do that!

My new MacBook Pro will arrive via UPS tomorrow and I’m so thankful that I will be able to use this one as a backup… and since Apple is going to fix my logic board for free, I’m going to drop this one off and get it fixed so that I can run Yosemite on it without a problem. I am no computer genius, but I think there must be some driver conflicts with Yosemite and the video software drivers in the late 2011 MacBook Pros.

If you are having this issue, it may not be just a GPU or Graphics Card issue. I would suggest downgrading to Lion and see if you can at least use your MacBook. It’s not the best workaround, but Lion isn’t all that bad!

Image Issues

I had the blue screen with lines, gray screen with lines, split screen and even a garbled screen on the initial install. Also, because I had used File Vault I couldn’t use command +R to get into my recovery partition so I had to use Command +I+R to do an internet recovery. It was a lot of hoops but seriously, since downgrading to Lion I haven’t had any issues and it’s been about 48 hours. Which is longer than it lasted in the previous 3 weeks. I was getting shut downs about every 2-3 hours, sometimes sooner.

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