Starting a few days ago my Mac froze mid usage, was using Chrome when it did it. I got all these crazy colors everywhere, and it froze. I turned off the power, waited a few, then turned back on.

It came up with some text telling me it didn't shut down correctly and hit Esc to reboot. I did, it showed that text again. So I turned off, took out the battery, waited 10 min.

After that, I turned back on and it came on and booted up. Again, I used it about 10 to 15 minutes and the colors went crazy again and it froze. Had to turn off again. I've done this a few times since then, trying to figure out what's wrong with it.

I booted into Mac+S console, ran fsck and it said drive and files were good. I mounted the drive, all my files are there. So I exited console and rebooted.

At this point, I can't get past that text telling me to hit Esc to reboot.

It's a MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2008) with Sierra.

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3 Answers 3


Those visual artifacts are very typical of a failing GPU. This looks pretty advanced and you can usually confirm by seeing an external display fail as well.

It could be cabling or the LCD, but that’s far less likely. Super rare would be driver or software issue.

Make sure you have a good backup in case when the GPU fails it takes down the logic board as well. Worst case, removing the drive or booting in target mode is likely to be an easy data transfer if it should stop booting our the display finally fails.


As @bmike mentions, the issue is the nvidia GPU. The early 2008 MacBook Pro was later covered under an Apple repair program due to the common event of its nvidia GPU failure. More on that here. Sadly, the machine is well outside the terms of the repair program by now. To be absolutely certain of GPU failure, connect the computer to an external monitor through the machine's DVI port. If the same issue appears on the external monitor, it is certain the issue is not related to the internal video cable running to the LCD. A new logicboard can be found on eBay, used, for roughly $50. Another option is replacing and flowing a new GPU on the board though this is difficult and impractical.

If the original disk is still in it, I recommend cloning it for safekeeping. You can find a SATA USB reader on eBay for $5 that will allow you to read the contents of the disk on another Mac.

  • Can this SSD Hard Drive be put into another MacBook Pro and run since nothing is wrong with it?
    – jfreak53
    Jul 25, 2019 at 11:46
  • 2
    Yes, it could if the Mac with the drive supports the operating system on the disk. If it is the original disk, it should be replaced. Disks are inexpensive these days and that disk is ancient. A disk that old is more likely to fail.
    – www139
    Jul 25, 2019 at 13:59
  • 1
    Thanks! No, it's a Kingston upgrade SSD I installed a year ago.
    – jfreak53
    Jul 25, 2019 at 17:27
  • 1
    Excellent. It's worth mentioning also that only Macs with SATA 2.5" interface will support it internally. You should examine the 2012 A1278 or A1286 era machines as those support your disk, are inexpensive, and upgradable. I don't recommend the retina 2012-2015 machines and I strongly don't recommend the post 2015 machines.
    – www139
    Jul 25, 2019 at 19:01
  • 1
    The newer models run circles around the old stuff. One of the big reasons behind the built on SSDs is the 'drive' consists of two SSD drives striped together with a hardware RAID. Look at the performance benchmarks on the SSDs and you'll see it. My 2016 MacBook SSD is as fast as the Samsung 960. Jul 26, 2019 at 4:02

Try this... (resetting the SMC)

This is how to reset SMC on most modern Mac laptops, none of which have a removable battery:

Shutdown your MacBook Air / MacBook Pro Connect the power adapter to the Mac On the MacBook / Pro’s keyboard, hold down the Shift+Control+Option keys and the Power button at the same time Release all keys and the power button at the same time – the little light on the MagSafe adapter may change colors briefly to indicate the SMC has reset Boot your Mac as usual

Also try resetting the PRAM...

You reset the PRAM / NVRAM by doing the following:

Reboot a Mac and then immediately hold down the Command+Option+P+R keys You will then hear the Mac reboot sound again, signifying that the Macs PRAM or NVRAM has been reset successfully.

You must hit the key combination before the grey screen appears otherwise it won’t work, you may need to try it once or twice until you get the timing right during restart, but once it works you can let the Mac system start as usual.

Let us know if you're still having issues after this... it works most of the time.

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