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Recently my 15 inch Macbook Pro (mid 2010, i7) hasn't been booting normally (No drops, no spills, etc). It just hasn't been able to boot normally. The issue I'm having is it only goes as far as the apple logo, the spinning dots, The keyboard then lights up, the monitor dims and it just hangs there forever.

Here is what I have tried:

  • Resetting the PRAM
  • Resetting the SMC
  • Reinstalling Mountain Lion via USB stick
  • Reinstalling Mountain Lion via Recovery Disk
  • Removing all peripherals from macbook ports
  • Repairing Permissions (from safe mode)
  • Deleting all start up items.

I can boot into safe mode and I have access to everything, but the graphics are choppy when trying to view widgets, expose, mission control, etc. Websites & web graphics are also very glitchy.

After a clean install of Mountain Lion, it SOMETIMES loads to the login screen normally, when I enter my password in, to the right the spinning load icon freezes, and once again I am not able to boot OSX normally.

A year ago, I had an issue with the Logic board and it was replaced by Apple it worked fine again until now. I'm wondering if this could either be a Hard Drive failure or possibly graphics or logic board issue. I made an appointment to the genius bar tonight, hopefully someone will be able to tell me something. Does anyone have the same issue OR have been able to fix this?

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The fact that it boots perfectly fine in safe mode points to a problem with your graphics card. Safe mode disables all hardware drivers besides those absolutely essential to the operation of your system, and that includes hardware graphics rendering. The reason your graphics are so choppy in safe mode is because everything is rendered in software (i.e. by your CPU) rather than in hardware (by your GPU). I doubt it's a hard drive issue simply because you have no problem installing ML or booting up.

The good news? Since your repair was around a year ago, you might be able to convince the Apple Store people (talk to the manager) to replace your logic board for free.

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Thanks for quickly responding. I also forgot to mention I tried using gfxCardStatus to disable the Nvidia 330 card by using the integrated graphics, Still no luck getting into OSX on normal boot. –  Jolil Ula Jun 10 '13 at 20:12
    
I think it might be a failure with the Intel 4000HD chip then. At boot the computer only uses the 4000 rather than the dedicated card to save memory overhead. When the computer is in safe mode, it's actually not using either chip; instead, it's rendering everything in software which is why it seems so slow. –  nameless912 Jun 11 '13 at 12:46
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