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My 2008 MacBook Pro suddenly stopped booting the other day and now the screen looks like this each time it attempts to boot: dodgy looking screen

The boot time sound still happens, but I just see the dodgy pink with the apple in the background for a few seconds before it reboots. I can hold alt as it boots but bootcamp and recovery fail to start in just the same way.

Is the laptop dead? What's my next step otherwise?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If this is an early 2008 Macbook pro (4,1) then you may finally have encounted the infamous horrible Nvidia 8600 hardwarelproblem that everyone with this model is waiting for.

Nvidia problems

Possibly affected systems include 17-inch, 2.4GHz MacBook Pros, 15-inch, 2.4 and 2.2GHz MacBook Pros, and MacBook Pros manufactured in early 2008, all with Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics chips. All such systems were made between May 2007 and September 2008.Macworld | Apple offers MacBook Pro Nvidia graphics repair

MacBook Pro: Distorted video or no video issues

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Yes it might very well be this (support.apple.com/kb/TS2377?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US). Call Apple, tell them you suspect it is the Nvidia problem, they'll run a test to diagnose the problem. They replaced my main board, out of warranty, for free. –  root Sep 28 '12 at 21:28
    
Genius diagnosis was that either the graphics or processor chips were failing. Either way its £350 to replace both and I just have to decide which to do. Useful info was that they're likely to stop building replacement parts for the model soon and fixing it months down the line might be difficult. Food for thought. –  Rob Oxspring Oct 8 '12 at 21:33
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If your screen wasn't flipping out I'd say your HDD has gone out.

When the HDD goes out you'll get this screen but it won't be able to boot so it will just be stuck, or restart and try again.

read this: http://balloflightning.com/2010/12/io-error-os-x-hard-drive-failing/

The screen you're seeing is different.. that suggests a graphics card problem to me.

I know the genius bar has this diagnosis rig set up at the Apple Store. They simply plug your computer up to it and hit 'run' and it outputs a list of statuses on all the hardware on your device. I don't believe they charge to do this (they didn't charge me to diagnose my battery problem). My suggestion is setup an appointment with them and have them help you diagnose what's wrong so you can then decide what to do from there.

Statistically harddrives have a life span of ~5 years, so you and I with our 2008 model MBP need to start preparing to upgrade :/ haha

hope that helps and good luck!

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