advertisement
Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
2011 MacBook Pro 15" - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: March 19, 2020 02:27PM
REF: [realmacmods.com]



Using the above link, I performed RealMacMod's modifications on the following two 2011 15" Anti-Glare MacBook Pros:
- on a friend's 2011 MBP (late last year)
- on my 2011 MBP (yesterday 03-16-2020)

NOTE: I know there are other methods out there to consider from other sites for dealing with the failed GPU in the 2011 MBP. This is the method I selected which has worked well for me.



Per the site above, I performed the following 3 STEPs on both 2011 MBPs:


STEP (1) EFI Modification - first drop down at REF: [realmacmods.com]

Purchased the downloadable automated package from RealMacMods to perform the EFI modification
- $25 for the download - which included the following:
-- $10 for software download (this was all that was necessary to do the mod)
-- I added option for tech support for $5 (if needed)
-- I added appreciation of $10

Followed the steps as outlined in their downloaded package. Involved creating my own USB Bootable thumb drive which was used to modify the 2011 MBP's EFI. One can do this yourself as outlined on their site through a series of steps (which I was not interested in doing).

After modifying the EFI, shut down the 2011 MBP and rebooted in Safe Mode. Followed by a shutdown to perform next STEP (2).



STEP (2) R8911 Removal - second drop down at REF: [realmacmods.com]

Following the steps as outlined, I identified the correct resistor on the motherboard and removed it. I held a soldering tool tip to the top of resistor to get it warmed. Then I used a small precision flat head screwdriver to lightly move resistor off from position. Keep an eye on the resistor, if it takes off you will never find it - not that you need it for anything.

Fun pictures added below to show how tiny this R8911 resistor is that needs to be removed.



STEP (3) Password Protect the EFI - second drop down at REF: [realmacmods.com]

On the first power up, rebooted into Recovery Mode. Found the utility on the top menu that allows password protection of the EFI.

Then restarted with a normal reboot. No more mention of the AMD Radeon GPU in the hardware report. SUCCESS!


RESULTS on my Friend's 2011 MBP - I performed a fresh install of Sierra
- He has been running his machine without issue. It was unusable before the mod.
- Since he got a newer MBA, he said he mainly uses 2011 MBP for surfing, streaming, iTunes

RESULTS on my 2011 MPB (which was backed up) - I have existing High Sierra installed
- I set the computer to not go to sleep (since I plan on keeping it on High Sierra, for now)
- I am considering the jumper mod that follows to regain allowing computer to sleep.


Any MacOS supported on the 2011 MBP up thru Sierra does not require STEP (4) below.


__________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________


There is one more step to consider, a Jumper Wire Mod for those that want to run High Sierra and not worry about the sleep issue on the 2011 MBP (or for those that want to attempt running unsupported Mojave or Catalina per [dosdude1.com] ) :

STEP (4) Wire Jumper Modification - second drop down at REF: [realmacmods.com]

The details of the tiny wire jumping between the two locations on logic board shown on the site is beyond the ability of my existing soldering tools. I am hoping that setting the 2011 MBP not to sleep is sufficient. Maybe I will get bold and try the Jumper Wire Mod or find someone to do it. ReadMacMods offers to do everything above for $85 plus shipping.


Some rationale from RealMacMods for performing STEP (4):

EXCERPT 1:

There is a known issue with performing this modification [STEPs (1) thru (3) above] on High Sierra. Apple changed the way the backlight is controlled on High Sierra, and upon waking from sleep the backlight will not turn on. After much research and logic board probing, the issue has been identified as a Pulse Width Modulated signal to the backlight controller not being started. An additional Hardware Mod is required for High Sierra.

EXCERPT 2:

High Sierra requires an additional hardware modification. This jumper wire is different between 15" and 17", both are shown below. Without this mod, your screen WILL NOT turn on after going to sleep. On the 15" we just need to put a small jumper wire (enamel wire) between PIN 2 of R9704 and PIN 1 of C9711. Logic board does not need to be removed for this step.


__________ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________


I am amazed at how absolutely tiny the R8911 resistor is, it took a steady hand to keep the soldering tip on it.


This is area of the R8911 on the 2011 15" MPB: (location on the 2011 17" MBP shown on the site)




Target Resistor found:




Target Resistor removed:





Some pics to give scale to the removed Resistor R8911:









Edited 19 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/2020 11:47PM by SKYLANE.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: Buzz
Date: March 19, 2020 03:13PM
FDR's booger, eh? or blob of earwax?
==
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: hal
Date: March 19, 2020 03:14PM
FINALLY get to see this - nice work. Glad it worked for ya.

Do you think the soldering iron is needed? Could you just grab the thing and yank it outta there?
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: March 19, 2020 03:27PM
I can't speak to this mod, but similar resistor remove on other electronic devices has been accomplish using a flush cutter such as this:



flush cutter
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: March 19, 2020 05:01PM
You are inspiring me to do this with my 15" 2011 MBPro but desoldering something the size of a fly's ass seems a bit daunting.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: hal
Date: March 19, 2020 05:17PM
I can't wait to try this sometime
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 19, 2020 05:36PM
Quote
SKYLANE
...

RESULTS on my 2011 MPB (which was backed up) - I have existing High Sierra installed
- I set the computer to not go to sleep (since I plan on keeping it on High Sierra, for now)

...

I have to admit that I do not fully understand what you gain with the hardware mod. My 2011 15" MBP had the same issue a few months ago and I did the nvram thing and it works great since, except it does not wake up from sleep and I cannot adjust brightness.

So if you really want to adjust brightness, you need to do those mods, why if you can live without adjusting brightness, why even bother? just curious. Thanks.

Quote
SKYLANE
...
- I am considering the jumper mod that follows to regain allowing computer to sleep.
...

yes, that is a very good reason to do the mod. But everything else can be done without opening the machine. Just do the dosdude1 method.

[dosdude1.com]

BTW: I could probably do the mod myself, or ask a colleague to remove that resistor and add the jumper. They do these all the time at work, soldering such small components under the microscope.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/2020 05:38PM by space-time.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: March 19, 2020 08:07PM
A brilliant post!

But I am clueless as to the nature of the failure and what this accomplishes, though I may have gleaned some info from s-t's post.


Do you think the soldering iron is needed?

As I've had some experience working with SMD, I wouldn't bother with any other way.

Flush cutting pliers might work, as there are no traces that might be compromised.

But I'd prefer an iron and very pointy tweezers.


-- I added appreciation of $10

The second best part of this thread.

Good on ya, SKY!


Out of the blue, in the Western Sky...




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: March 19, 2020 11:20PM
space-time

The blue text below is what the RealMacMods site states are benefits about their modification. After reading both sites, I settled in on ReadMacMods over DosDude1. For the permanent mother board change, the RealMacMods process was fairly simple. I liked how they stated that removing the resistor removes power from the AMD Radeon GPU as well. Since the AMD Radeon GPU was toast, I just wanted it unpowered. ( I believe having that GPU unrecognized in the computer allows for attempts of DosDude1's unsupported OS's Mojave or Catalina to be installed on it. )


RAMd®d

See red text below, the 2011 MPB has two GPUs on board. One was pretty much defective across the production of that MBP. At some point when the AMD Radeon GPU fails, it will drag the performance of the machine to finally unusable. Getting that GPU "effectively" out of the circuit allows the 2011 MBP to operate only with the Intel HD 3000 GPU. This restores the machine to full usability with a few "minor" exceptions (which can be addressed by a jumper wire mod, see Excerpt 1 in original post for additional info).


RAMd®d, space-time, hal, Lew Zealand

Regarding the need of soldering iron, I don't think I would attempt removing the resistor by just popping it off the board - not sure if it would do any underlying damage to circuit board. Holding the tip of the soldering iron right on top center of the tiny resistor, I figured that would sufficiently get heat to soften the adjacent solder joints. Once the heat softened up the solder a little bit, the flat end of a small precision screwdriver lightly pushed the resistor off of position - I used a magnifying glass while using the screwdriver. In both MBPs where I removed the resistor, one solder joint gave way first and then an extra light push got the other solder joint to let go. During the process, I held the heat on resistor for about 15 seconds. On first MBP the resistor didn't move right away, so I held the soldering tool on it again for about another 10 seconds. (I recommend touching the resistor first with a cold soldering tool, just to get a feel for what it will feel like to go in and hold on that resistor.)

With the experience of the first MBP last December, when my AMD Radeon finally failed early this week I was ready for it. I quickly re-reviewed RealMacMods site for the process. I already had the thumb drive prepared from the first MBP that I modified. When I decided to start modification on my MBP, it was less than an hour. Booting from thumb drive, modifying EFI only took a few minutes (review the video of that process at RealMacMods, it shows you what you will see during that process). While letting the soldering iron heat up, I removed the back cover of the MBP. Carefully and correctly identified the resistor for removal. The time from touching the resistor to removing it took less than a minute - fast process. Then replaced the back cover. (NOTE: My friend's MBP was completely un-bootable - the thumb drive boot process bypasses the faulty GPU so that you can work to initiate the script for EFI modification. My MBP was still bootable, but exhibiting odd behavior which was slowly getting worse.)


RAMd®d, space-time, hal, Lew Zealand, rjmacs

I look forward to utilizing DosDude1's installation patches for getting Mojave or Catalina onto both my 2011 MBP and 2011 Mac Mini Server. Apparently, DosDude1's methods would not work on the 2011 MBP with the problematic GPU in place (functioning or not) - now that it is "gone" from the circuity (physically disabled, not physically removed), I believe that DosDude1 claims Mojave or Catalna can be successfully loaded onto the 2011 MBP.

Any pros or cons over Mojave or Catalina on either of those machines? Experiences to share before I try to conquer that. I ran into issues getting Catalina on the 2011 Mac Mini Server, will try again as one of you had suggested in another post from a few months back.



Per: [realmacmods.com]

EXCERPT from link above:

We have bad news and good news.

The bad news, your GPU is failing. There is a widely known defect in the Radeon GPUs on these MacBook Pro models. You are not going to be able to fix the GPU. You can extend its life for a few weeks with a reflow, or attempt to replace the GPU. Replacing the GPU is very dangerous (brick warning), and you are just putting another defective unit on your board. The final option is to replace the logic board. This is insanely expensive, and again, just putting defective parts into service.

Onto the good news. With the removal of an EFI variable and 1 resistor, the GPU will be completely disabled, and you will never have to worry about it again.

But wait, why would you disable your GPU, you need that thing right?

The 2011 MacBook Pro actually has 2 very capable GPUs inside. One is the AMD Radeon, and the other is an Intel GPU. If you know anything about Intel GPU (and CPU), you know they are extremely reliable. So utilizing the Intel GPU means your Intel GPU is going to live longer than you will.


A few other fun facts about this modification:

Cooling:
Your MacBook Pro will run cooler. The Radeon normally pumps out a ton of waste heat. Now your Radeon is not powered on. No waste heat. Even better, now you have 2 fans and 2 heatsink pipes dedicated to cooling the Intel GPU/CPU only.

Less fan noise:
Since you now have 2 passive cooling systems working on one chip, your fans will run less, and quieter.

Linux Support:
Getting Linux running on this MacBook Pro is a nightmare. Normally involves complicated boot arguments to bypass the AMD Radeon GPU. Guess what, now that it is not there anymore, Ubuntu Linux (and others) boot up natively with no modifications what so ever.

Battery Life:
Now that you don’t have several watts of power turning into waste heat, you now have improved battery life.

No need to modify KEXTs:
KEXTs or Kernel Extensions are the Drivers of the OS X world. As far as the OS knows, the AMD chip is not even there. It will not attempt to load the KEXT for it. Why would it, right?




Edited 12 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2020 02:43PM by SKYLANE.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: March 20, 2020 05:50AM
Sky, thank you for a terrific post.

Very informative.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 MacBook Pro 15" - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: March 20, 2020 01:15PM
I accidentally dislodged one of those tiny resistors on my Sonnet Crescendo 1GHz G4 upgrade card that was in my PowerMac 8600. I'm still grieving.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 15" MacBoo Pro - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 20, 2020 07:13PM
Thanks for the clarification.

Indeed, a few less watts dissipated and more straightforward support for Linux and Mojave/Catalina may convince me to remove that resistor and install the jumper when I get back to work after the situation returns to normal.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: 2011 MacBook Pro 15" - Modifications for Failed GPU - SUCCESS!
Posted by: SKYLANE
Date: April 08, 2020 03:18AM
Does the 2011 Modified-MBP put video out over the TB port? Sadly, apparently not.


Interesting thread to read here: [forums.macrumors.com]

So, from what I have been able to pick up online is that the dGPU (Radeon AMD) provided the graphics trough the Thunderbolt port on the 2011 MBP. Apparently, the iGPU (Intel HD 3000) can not physically get video to the TB. If you find anything different let me know. I believe that physicality deficiency is mentioned at least once in the cited thread above such as this one:

Patcell (SEP 23, 2017), Comment #6

... the display outputs are physically linked to the dedicated GPU. It is not possible to connect an external display to the integrated GPU in a MacBook Pro. This is true of all generations of dual-graphics Macs.



I hooked up my 2011 M-MBP (Catalina) to my Dell 26" monitor via TB and was not able to find an output to the monitor. I also tried when I initially modified my unit and it was still on High Sierra, no go there either. However on High Sierra, I believe I was able to mirror it to my Apple TV. For some reason on Catalina, I can't figure out how to repeat that - maybe a setting somewhere I have not figured out yet? However on Catalina, I can send videos to Apple TV from within Safari (YouTube, etc) with no issue whatsoever.

That all being said, in the thread cited above, apparently some people have found usb devices that apparently were made to work with a second monitor (check around ~Mar 2018, Comments #21, #22, & #23).
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 107
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 2330 on October 25, 2018