MacBook Pro systems freezing despite video update

Apple released video updates to address black-screen bugs with its MacBook systems, but for some these problems have continued.

When Apple released OS X Lion, a number of mid-2010 MacBook Pro users noticed that their systems began hanging or crashing after performing seemingly random tasks that involved graphics manipulation or when waking from sleep. When this happened, the systems would show a black screen and be unresponsive until the user forced it to reboot.

After acknowledging an issue with these machines in a knowledge-base article, Apple soon issued a couple of software fixes for both OS X Lion and Snow Leopard , which installed updated video drivers and OpenCL framework components. For many people these updates addressed the problem; however, for others the updates did not completely resolve this issue.

In one of several rather lengthy Apple Discussion threads on the topic, a number of those who were affected by this bug have described the problem persisting even after the software fixes had been applied. In some instances the problem happens less frequently, but it still occurs despite the new drivers being present.

When some of these users have brought their systems in to Apple for servicing, many times tests have shown no problem with the systems; however, when these same users have had the logic boards replaced on their systems, then the problem has gone away.

Apple discussion poster "zeroMPHfallover" writes:

Received my MPB back from apple with a new (free) logic board. My macbook pro PASSED the video test for this specific issue that the genius ran in-store...Basically, this confirms that the video test they run to diagnose this issue is indeed faulty as mine passed, but the new logic board has solved the issue for me.

Despite Apple addressing this issue with a software update, it is still possible that the system could have a hardware-based malfunction. Some in the discussion threads on this issue have claimed that the software updates could just be masking a true hardware malfunction, which would make it easier for Apple than to replace users' motherboards.

It is possible this is the case; however, the updates Apple has provided have fixed the problems for a number of systems, without any apparent removal of functionality, indicating that in many cases the problem was resolved properly in software. However, if you have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro that is continuing to show black screens even after applying the video updates from Apple, then it may be the problem is either beyond the software patch's ability to fix, or could be related to a different problem altogether.

In one case, a user was experiencing an apparent black-screen problem but was told by the Apple technicians that his problem was a CPU-related error and did not have to do with the graphics system.

Discussion poster "deepresonance" writes:

[Apple] found a problem with my processor on the logic board and not the [black screen] issue. I needed a new logic board but not due to the graphics issues highlighted in the KB article [on the black screens].

The discussion then went to that fact that this must have been a latent defect that was present in the system that was finally revealed by Lion's demands on the processor which lead to my free logic board replacement.

If your system is one that is showing continued problems despite the video updates from Apple, then it may be worth your while to pressure Apple into replacing the system's logic board. Some people have found they have had success with this by taking their systems to alternative Apple stores if one will not service the systems.



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About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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