I have a 2011 MacBook Pro i7 and I have upgraded the memory to 8 GB and the HD to an SSD 500GB. The other day I had it running for 3 days non-stop and when I tried to use it it was frozen. I reset it and when it went to the boot screen the graphics looked funny like 16bit color mode, and it got stuck after a couple of seconds. I removed the hard drive and I noticed that I can access all the files and I backed them up. I downloaded Yosemite and I tried to install it from an USB stick but after loading for a while the screen turned gray and it froze. I'm a bit baffled as what might be the problem? Do you think it's the hardrive or is the hardware failing? I'm attaching screenshots of the bootup srceens.

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Unfortunately you may have hardware issues if yours is an "Early 2011" model, many owners have reported symptoms similar to yours with the culprit being failed ball grid array solder on the graphics processor. There's some info here. The article has a link for a utility that will allow you run solely on the integrated Intel HD3000 graphics so at least you'll be able to continue using your MacBook (in theory at least, we do have an Early 2011 i7 15" on campus but so far it's not had any problems).

Ultimately the fix will either be a replacement logic board or you can try any one of a number of companies offering to "re-ball" or "re-flow" the solder on GPUs. Any company offering Xbox 360 or PS3 repairs should be able to do this.

Here is a link to the "MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues" for your Mac model.

  • Thanks for the info! Very helpful. Do you think that Apple might be able to fix it for free since it's a known problem? – Manolis Mar 26 '15 at 9:19
  • @ScunnerDarkly Added a link to the extended repair program to your answer – klanomath Mar 26 '15 at 9:37
  • It's always worth a go. You may get somewhere with Apple if you're prepared to make a few phone calls. Be persistent, if the first person you speak to isn't helpful the next may be. We've had this on a handful of devices that have failed out of warranty, and where one person has said it will be a chargeable repair another has offered a free repair. As I said, it's worth a go. – ScunnerDarkly Mar 26 '15 at 9:40
  • @klanomath - cheers :-) – ScunnerDarkly Mar 26 '15 at 9:42
  • I chatted online with an apple representative and they asked me to take it to the store. And luckily enough it was covered under the extended repair program, so I'm getting s new logic-board! WOOHOO! But I have to say there is a huge difference between apple customer care during the 3year warranty vs outside. – Manolis Mar 30 '15 at 9:15

Does your system come up normally if you hold down the shift key while powering up? (That puts you into "safe mode".) If so, there's a simple software-only fix.

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