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I inherited a Mid-2010 15" Macbook Pro (2.66 GHz Core i7 (I7-620M), A1286) from a relative a few years ago, and since then it started GPU-panicking (a la here, here etc). AppleCare has obviously expired, and would not be an option since they'd inevitably ask for the receipt, which I doubt my relatives would ever be able to find (10 years later). I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be able to pull off the "make-a-fuss" approach suggested by a lot of answerers.

The standard correction for this nowadays seems to be gfx.io (which is now the only software option, thanks to Apple discontinuing their software patch. Grrr). The problems with this are:-

  1. that this forcefully disables the nVidia adapter (shifting graphics handling onto the CPU, which is not ideal when I want to use external monitors)
  2. that this and similar patches have not always been reliable (I have memories of it not working consistently in the past).

I am aware of numerous other potential fixes (Kext purge, PRAM reset etc), but I have run through all of these at one point or another.

Anyway, so I was thinking about the process they used when they were running the official replacement program. Although I've read in some places (comment) that it's the logic board that was replaced, this article suggests it's in fact the "defective video card" that is replaced. Either way, I'm assuming they just replaced the defective board with a newer revision - meaning that parts sites (like this) probably have these revised boards knocking about that won't suffer the same issue.

Considering the still-incredible spec and condition of this machine, I don't mind spending the money for a new logic board if it means I can reliably use macOS on it. Of course, I'm only willing to spend the money if I'm sure it will actually solve the issue.

So my question is two-part:

  1. Was it definitely the logic board that caused this fault?
  2. What is the part number for a logic board that is known to not suffer from the GPU Panic issue (assuming it actually entered circulation)?
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    It is absolutely not worth the money to put a 200 buck logic board in a 10 year old laptop.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 17:49
  • This is actually a great question - normally I’m quick to vote to close multiple questions, since we prefer one question per question, but I see this as an exception to the rule.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 17:52
  • The spec is not that incredible. A 2-core Arrandale CPU is not going to win any prizes, and it can only take 8 GB of RAM.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 19:27

2 Answers 2

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I have a mid-2010 15” MBP in which the NVIDIA GPU on the original motherboard failed, around 2014. Apple replaced the motherboard twice under their Extension Repair program, each failing after about 6 months. I put the MBP away in storage until about a month ago when I found this solution by user LangLangC: GPU problem - Boot Hangs on Grey Screen which is for a 2011 MBP using a AMD Radeon GPU, but it is the same problem, poor thermal design.

To make it work you need to specify the NVIDIA kext files rather than the AMD kext. There are several kext files; search for GeForce*kext and NVDA*kext. I wasn’t certain which were relevant to the GPU so I moved all these using the directions in the post. Follow the instructions of @LangLangC - they work!!!

I have my 2010 MBP running well now using only the internal Intel GPU. One caveat is that it cannot support an external monitor. So don’t waste money on a replacement motherboard, just follow the detailed instructions in the post. Tedious but only costs time.

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  • I sincerely hope this works for anyone wanting to extend the life of a computer +1
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 1:44
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The normal method of knowing a product is good is a proper return policy and warranty. Why not rely on that - buy from someone you trust to have proper buyer protections?

That’s a lot cheaper than being able to have all the gear and skill to test something as complicated as a processor - let alone knowing the processor works with other processors when mounted on a logic board.

If you’re worried about the cost of a used part, you’re really not going to like the cost of a test suite to be guaranteed your board works and paying someone to guarantee they put it in and place a warranty on their work.


On a human level, I would let go of the concept you can have anything close to Apple 2020 reliability on something they designed starting 12+ years ago and shipped in 2010. If you can source parts for pennies on the dollar and want to learn, this era hardware is a great learning place and you will learn a lot and hopefully responsible e-cycle all the parts eventually. Other than saving these parts from premature recycling or worse (like being trashed outright) is commendable, but for reliability and value - Raspberry Pi 3 and newer can’t be beat. If you need reliable macOS - you’ll need newer hardware if you can’t pool lots of parts and spend lots of time on it.


Finally your answers.

  1. You can’t know without spending a lot of money on your failed board.
  2. See above, except for the other board.

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