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Macbook Pro whitescreen of death

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 26, 2011 4:55:01 AM

I've just had a MBP (13.3" Fall 2009) failure. Does not boot up - just remains on the whitescreen after pressing the power button and shows a flashing icon of a folder with a no entry sign on it. After some Googling, I've found that this is probably a motherboard failure. I haven't found out much about it as it doesn't seem to be a very common occurence.

Does anyone know anything more about this issue (or had this before) and how I could solve it without dishing out a load of money? It's almost 2 yrs old, but the warranty was only for 1 yr. I've never asked Apple support for help, and don't care to spend precious phone money listening to an answering machine telling me to wait.

Very pissed off about this and will probably just end up buying a competitor 13.3" laptop, now that the Apple 13.3" is no longer at the top of the field as it was some years ago.
July 26, 2011 5:23:38 AM

so much for apple being great. i have never had to pay for any support from my pc manufacturer and i have own a few different ones. but to answer your question, if its outside your warranty then take it apart see what you can see then try to find a mobo for it and switch it out. hopefully the gpu is not soldered down at which point things could get expensive or macs are not built anywhere close to the same as a pc.

this forum is mainly pc guys so you might not get a lot of answers but is there a reason you cant go into an apple store....?
July 27, 2011 8:59:09 AM

cbrunnem said:
so much for apple being great. i have never had to pay for any support from my pc manufacturer and i have own a few different ones. but to answer your question, if its outside your warranty then take it apart see what you can see then try to find a mobo for it and switch it out. hopefully the gpu is not soldered down at which point things could get expensive or macs are not built anywhere close to the same as a pc.

this forum is mainly pc guys so you might not get a lot of answers but is there a reason you cant go into an apple store....?


Thanks. I'm asking here cus I've already trawled some Mac forums, and I'm getting the impression that this is a very limited occurence among users.
Also, the reason I can't go is that I'm in a country without any official Apple stores and will be here another couple of months.
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July 27, 2011 5:01:14 PM

I had the exact same problem with my MBP (15.4 in, early 2008). Luckily I had the extended warranty and everything was covered. What they did when I took it to them: replaced mobo (Apple calls it a logic board... doesn't that make it smarter, haha?) and for some reason replaced my bluetooth seperately. The problem was the mobo but specifically the graphic card connection I think. After two times sending it off to their repair center, getting my s/n tag ripped off and sharpied back on by their repair center, being told it was fixed when the lid couldn't even open an inch, it was finally fixed. The total cost if I didn't have the warranty: >$600, not sure of the exact cost right now.

Long story short, if you can actually find a MBP mobo then you probably could do it yourself, just look up how the fasteners and connections work so you don't break them. Otherwise you now have a smooshed brick... I built a pc desktop when that fiasco happened for me, only slightly more than it would've cost me to pay for the repair itself.

The graphics card may be hard connected to the mobo, not sure about your model; its probably the root of my failure since they mentioned it. Probably due to heat from extended gaming though, glad they never tried to check and just assumed it was a bad part.
July 28, 2011 1:23:34 PM

TarHeelDead said:
I had the exact same problem with my MBP (15.4 in, early 2008). Luckily I had the extended warranty and everything was covered. What they did when I took it to them: replaced mobo (Apple calls it a logic board... doesn't that make it smarter, haha?) and for some reason replaced my bluetooth seperately. The problem was the mobo but specifically the graphic card connection I think. After two times sending it off to their repair center, getting my s/n tag ripped off and sharpied back on by their repair center, being told it was fixed when the lid couldn't even open an inch, it was finally fixed. The total cost if I didn't have the warranty: >$600, not sure of the exact cost right now.

Long story short, if you can actually find a MBP mobo then you probably could do it yourself, just look up how the fasteners and connections work so you don't break them. Otherwise you now have a smooshed brick... I built a pc desktop when that fiasco happened for me, only slightly more than it would've cost me to pay for the repair itself.

The graphics card may be hard connected to the mobo, not sure about your model; its probably the root of my failure since they mentioned it. Probably due to heat from extended gaming though, glad they never tried to check and just assumed it was a bad part.


Oh dear. That's doesn't sound good at all. I really don't have the time to wait for Apple repair once I get back. The 13" MBP 2009 uses a 9400 M motherboard GPU, so I really doubt there are many of those still left in Apple's stock, especially since the computer is 2 cycles old now. From what I've read online, this whitescreen problem may probably mean that the motherboard is fried, and in my case it's also probably due to too much gaming.
Right now I'm just looking for other 13" laptops. Screw Apple.

Thanks for sharing the story though. Now I have a shiny brick that I can't even try to sell.
July 28, 2011 5:19:05 PM

I wish my story was different... but it is what it is. There is a chance that apple carries your mobo though, they still had mine just over 2 years (and possibly 3 cycles) after I got it. So they still had the early '08 15 in mobo with 8600m graphics in fall '10. I'd be willing to bet you could buy a entire mini computer for the price of the mobo though, probably around $250 for it with shipping, they wouldn't advertise it though.

My repair story was an awful one, way worse than I'd expect but needless to say the manager was pissed when I reported it to him... he immediately got my repair number and was going to find out who did that with improper actions galore from his staff and told me to contact him directly if I ever needed another repair.
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