Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Occasionally when I open my new (April 2011) Macbook Pro I'm greeted by an unusable system with a garbled display. Most often I have to force a reboot (hold down power button for 10+ seconds), but occasionally it will fix itself if I close the lid and re-open it.

  • What is the problem, or what should I look at to find the problem?
  • Are there other things I could try to wake this laptop from this state?
  • I can't reliably reproduce the problem, so it doesn't seem that taking it to the genius bar is going to yield useful results, but tell me if I'm making a bad assumption here and I should take it back.

Garbled display output

System info:

  • MacBookPro8,3
  • ATI Radeon HD 6750M
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • If anything else is relevant, let me know and I'll post it. It's a standard 17" MBP, though I've added memory (notably this problem did occur prior to adding memory as well)
share|improve this question
    
Have you run the latest updates? There was specifically one in the latest batch to address video issues. It may help? –  RobZolkos May 26 '11 at 22:18
    
@RobZolkos Yes, I remember when that one came through, and I was hoping it might fix it. It doesn't seem to have worked, though. –  Adam Davis May 26 '11 at 23:43
    
Firmware updates need to be run manually, they are only downloaded by software update. You can find them in Utilities. –  Digitalchild May 27 '11 at 2:05
    
@Lyken Looking at the system profiler, I have the latest firmware (compare to SMC version here: support.apple.com/kb/DL1381 ) and I do recall that software update performed this for me - it went through the whole reboot, grey screen with progress bar, etc process. Is there another firmware I should be worried about? –  Adam Davis May 27 '11 at 2:39
    
No there isn't that I know of. If everything is up to date, the next logical step is a visit to an apple authorised repairer. –  Digitalchild May 27 '11 at 2:52

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It was bad memory. I had upgraded to 8GB, but at some point suspected the memory for some other problem, so put the original Apple 4GB back in. Both problems went away (tested for 3 months) so I ditched the 8GB and got 16GB of higher quality memory that more closely matched the timing specifications of the original Apple memory.

So far, after two months, I haven't seen this or the other issue yet. So in this case it was bad (or wrong) memory.

share|improve this answer
1  
Fascinating. I think in your shoes, if Apple had told me it was the RAM I wouldn't've believed them. –  Steven Fisher Mar 22 '12 at 16:10
    
@StevenFisher Yeah, I ran that 8GB configuration for 9 months with a problem 2-3 times a month, not often at all. Just right on the edge of flakiness. I was inclined not to believe it, but I had to do something about it, and I knew I couldn't take it back to apple with nonstandard memory in it and expect them to help, so I dropped the old memory back in and viola. Memory used to be so simple... –  Adam Davis Mar 22 '12 at 16:12
    
I had different problems with a 15" Macbook Pro which went away when I finally removed my modules. The screen issues did occur too, but rarely. –  Coyote Oct 24 '13 at 12:06

Definitely take it to an Apple Store if you have one close by. Even if you can't reproduce it right then and there, show them the photo above. It might be a hardware problem (loose connection, faulty graphics chip, etc.), so you'll want to get it looked at by a professional.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.