So today, my trusty Early 2011 15 inch MacBook Pro had its screen go black with the backlight and keyboard keys on, audio still playing, but unresponsive to keyboard input. This happened twice more after a reboot. I fear this is the dreaded GPU Failure (the repair program for which it is no longer eligible).

Being that I have a sentimental attachment to the lil guy, I thought I might take the opportunity to upgrade the motherboard to one compatible with MacOS Mojave. My guess is that anything that’s not a unibody MacBook will have a similar motherboard layout, but I haven’t found an authoritative source. Anyone have a list of compatible part numbers between chassis and motherboards?

  • Before you do major surgery lets check few things. For the GPU test, plug in external monitor. For they keyboard test plug in USB cable keyboard.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 3:54
  • Best Buy is discounting MacBook Pro models by up to $250.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 4:00
  • Logic board replacement $300 to $500 if you can find one that fits.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 4:03
  • I would recommend you paste your serial number or EMC number here: EveryMac - Lookup everymac.com/ultimate-mac-lookup
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


I found this for you :

I have an early 2011 model 15" MBP with a matte screen. I purchased a mid 2012 non-retina logic board (without the heat sink → reused my original one) and installed it successfully, upgrading my USB ports, Thunderbolt port, CPU, and GPU. It's like having a new computer!

The display cable was a tight fit, but working carefully and with a gentle yet firm hand, I was able to fit it into the logic board port. The only other difference is that the new boards do not have the small heat sinks over the USB controller and one other controller (not sure what they are). I've read that one guy butchered his old board and superglued the screw mounts onto the new board. Another person reported superglueing the heat sink directly to the controller. Both of these ways seemed a bit barbaric and unclean to me, so I just left the two controllers be; figured they would have the screw mounts if they needed the brackets, but they don't.

So over a week later, my laptop has been running completely fine. Actually super, because of all the upgrades! I have installed iStat Menus and have been monitoring my temperatures. Everything is within normal ranges during various workloads! I have also swapped out my DVD Superdrive with my original 750GB 5200RPM HDD, replacing the main drive with a 1TB Samsung 850 Pro. Oh, and my bluetooth module has been changed a long time ago, to allow AirDrop and Handover to work... as you see, just about everything in my laptop has been changed. I just really like my matte screen, and cannot believe they don't make them any more. These new "anti-glare" displays have nothing on the matte!

So the answer to whether an early 2011 logic board (15" MBP) is swappable for a mid 2012 non-retina one is: It absolutely is, and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise!


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