My late 2011 Macbook Pro finally bit the bullet. The graphic card problems that eventually affect all of that line finally got mine. Apparently, the GPU, an AMD Radeon 3000 HD, is the main problem, or at least a chip on the GPU. It's entirely possible to replace the whole GPU through removing and replacing it with a good one - a process that needs a technician like Louis Rossmann and a working GPU. There are a handful of problems with this though
It's time consuming
Parts are difficult to find at this point
Even if you find replacement parts, the defect in the cards in ubiquitous and will happen again given time due to bad design
There is a way to salvage the macbook though!
Apparently, someone found a way to disable the discrete gpu and switch it back to the onboard intel card. God, who'd of thought switching to the on board card would be a good thing...
The process was relatively well known that DosDude01 even made a program to simplify the process, as long as you could get into the OS.
Personally, I found this guy's instructions on YouTube
But for those who don't want to watch the video, here are the instructions:
Turn off the machine
When the machine is completely off, turn it back on and hold Left Shift + Control + Option. The screen is supposed to flash, mine did, his didn't. This resets the SMC.
Now hit turn on the macbook and hold Command + Option + P + R for 2 chimes. This resets the PRAM.
Shut down the computer again, you may need hold the power button depending on your GPU and the what comes on the screen.
If you have a recovery mode turn on the macbook while holding Command + Option + R. This will bring up some kind of prompt for reinstalling the OS, potentially through a network download. I could never get the download to work for me, maybe because I'm Still on 10.10 and Apple is Apple, but not sure. I finally worked around it by holding the Option key on boot and choosing a recovery partition. But only bothered with getting into recovery mode later on, so I skipped to the next step without too much trouble. The dude has the same issue.
Turn on the macbook and hold Command + S to get into Single user Mode. This is basically the Bash prompt before MacOS loads up.
at the prompt enter the following code which will disable the discrete gpu
Now enable verbose mode to be able to see what's going on
Before you reboot you'll need to get into the Recovery mode I mentioned above, so on reboot hold Command + Option + R. When ready to reboot just type "reboot" (without the quotes) and hit enter. The graphics are fixed but only temporarily.
We need to disable Crucibal in recovery mode, it will take time depending on your internet connection. The newer OS's have a recovery partition that might be able to boot faster but for some reason mine didn't. Once it's finished loading click next on the language or welcome screen and then in the menu choose utilities and terminal.
In the terminal window, type "csrutil disable" (again without the quotes) and hit enter, this disables the security check for the os.
This is where it got messy for me. I got command csrutil not found. It took me a while to figure out, but apparently MacOs 10.10 does not have the command. I even tried running it like this: /usr/bin/csrutil. No luck. So for the most part as far as I can tell, it doesn't exist on 10.10. If you hit this problem on another os, you can always run an installer off a usb to get to this same point and run the command and everything should work.
Reboot the Macbook again, if you have the same graphics problems then run the above mentioned steps in single user mode one more time to change the nvram....gpu-power-prefs and then reboot. Now reboot and get back into single user mode.
When you can, type sbin/mount -uw / basically you're mounting and givign writable permission to the root of your hard drive.
Fair warning, you can mess up your macbook from here out so be very careful.
Now we're going to move some .kext files that reference the AMD card that's died, so we're going to type mkdir -p /System/Library/Extensions-off This creates a backupfolder the files we're going to move.
Now we're going to move the files by typing mv /System/Library/Extenstions/AMDRadeonX3000.kext /System/Library/Extensions-off/
Now we have to touch the folder to make the OS aware of the changes. touch /System/Library/Extensions/
Reboot the machine two or three times to make sure everything is working properly.
It's working, great, let's brings things back to how they were. Reboot into single user mode and undo the verbose command to show all the text on boot up sudo nvram boot-args=""
And if your OS has it, let's reactivate Crucibal. Get back into recovery mode (Command + option + r) open terminal and type this csrutil enable
Congrats, this should make your macbook pro usable again but with a low end graphics card.
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