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I got a 2011 MacBook Air 13”, the device was slowly dying. Now it only boots intermittently and crashes/freezes within 15 seconds of boot up. Many times it does not boot at all - just black screen and 3 beeps followed by 5 second pause.

It appears to be memory (RAM) corruption, maybe; logic board corruption.

I think my hard drive is encrypted/password protected (asks for password when I boot with ⌘ Command^ Control⦿ Pwr

How do I fix the logic board/ memory corruption on 2011 MacBook Air 13”

I'm trying to determine the most economic way to fix my Mac, so I am looking at various options:

I can buy a working, used MacBook Air off ebay (~200$ on auction or 350$ buy now) and swap hard drive into that one using a set of specialized screwdrivers

-or-

I can buy a refurbished logic board for up to 250$ and pay a technician 100$ for an hour labor to swap it.

Do I have other options? I tried hard reset and reset NVRAM (which got the device to show login screen). As I log in, the screen gets progressively more corrupted - see screenshot. Then, the Mac turns off shortly after.

If I buy a new device I would still have to pay for data recovery and transfer service, as the old device is non functional?

MBA Corrupted Screenshot

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You have several options to fix this issue:

  1. Have the board professionally repaired. This is a common repair that can be done, but it's not economically feasible because the cost of the labor is very high in comparison to what you can get a new MacBook Air for
  2. Swap out the logic board for a known working one (available on eBay for less than $200USD). This may be a viable option, but keep in mind, your MBA is 8+ years old. You will be expending money to get another 8 year old machine.
  3. Buy a new machine and transfer your data using an external enclosure. The 2011 MBAs had a removable SSD that you could remove and put into a replacement machine or you could put it into a USB enclosure so you can extract your data.

Personally, I would buy a new MacBook, MacBook Air/Pro. I would remove the SSD from the dead machine, put it into an enclosure to extract the data and then sell the 2011 MBA as salvage parts.

If I buy a new device I would still have to pay for data recovery and transfer service, as the old device is non functional

This is what Time Machine backups are for and it's extremely cheap insurance in case of a failure (see the section titled "A Word About Backing up Your Data"). That enclosure could then serve as a USB drive for future Time Machine backups.

  • I'm also confused as to the correct logic board for repair - I see that there are at least 3 different part numbers of the logic board listed on Ebay. Good points on getting an ancient machine - data transfer is probably the best option – Alex Stone Aug 17 '18 at 11:37
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    There are 3 different PN"s because there was different CPU configurations (1.6GHz i5, 1.7GHz i5, and 1.8GHz i7). I believe they all came with 4GB RAM as the max. If it's a 2011 MBA logic board, it will fit. – Allan Aug 17 '18 at 12:04

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