The dreaded GPU failure on a MacBook is common. PCs get viruses. Macs get GPU failures. Yup, I’ve got a solution for you.
Let’s get into what a GPU failure is.
Many times, Apple will say you have a failed logic board. Okay, globally speaking that’s true. You do have a MacBook logic board that needs repair, but 90% of the time, that means that specifically your GPU has failed and you either can’t power up your Macbook or there’s no video output.
Now, onto some geek talk.
Technically speaking, a GPU is a graphics processing unit. Some MacBooks like the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro with and without the Touch Bar all come with integrated graphics, or built-in graphics where they are embedded into the logic board. The cheaper models contain these integrated GPU’s because they use less power than the discrete, power-hungry video chips. The loaded high-end models will typically have both.
Logically speaking, if you have two graphics card on your Mac, can’t you just use the one that’s working?
Good question, and we’ve looked for shortcuts too on this. Let me give you a few scenarios to help answer this.
Scenario 1: Your integrated (embedded on the logic board) fails. Can’t you switch it to the discrete, isolated graphics card. Well, on this one, if your main ingrained graphics chip on the board fails, your logic board will be rendered useless also. In turn, your discrete graphics card is moot due to not being able to toggle over to it.
Scenario 2: Your discrete graphics card goes belly up. Can you just downgrade to your integrated graphics card? Well, in this case, your MacBook is already prominently using the on-board integrated chip. But, the heavy-duty video rendering won’t be available when needed which is where the discrete, more powerful, graphics card comes in. If you don’t need high-end graphics, then with scenario 2, you won’t even notice anything wrong. As such, you can keep working as is if adequate for you. Of course, there are cases where a burn discrete graphics card may cause your logic board to stop working.
How do you know if you have a GPU issue?
Here are the most common symptoms you’ll experience:
- MacBook won’t start
- MacBook has a gray screen
- MacBook has lines on the screen
- MacBook turns off on its own.
Why can’t you just reflow the GPU?
Sure, hack techs can try this approach. This is where you reheat your GPU with a heat gun. The problem with this on MacBooks is that it is a short-lived remedy at best. Typically, it will damage the logicboard from the ability to actually fix the GPU issue the right way. Further, it may cause issues with other neighboring parts of the logic board. Don’t do it if you care about your Mac!
So what do you do to fix your MacBook GPU issue?
So, if your GPU goes bad, you can throw in the towel and look on the Apple forums for a recall or defect on your model. Or you can actually take action and do something about it!
- The first step is to desolder and remove the failed GPU chip.
- The next step is to install a replacement GPU chip.
Yup, it’s that simple. However, unless you have the right equipment that you’ve invested in, the right experience, the right skills set, etc., you may do more damage.