No display but Macbook Turns on – Why?


A couple years ago, Apple released the much-awaited iMac and MacBook Pro that promised users a more powerful and efficient graphics chip; the Nvidia GT. Little did Cupertino know just how much this decision would later come back to haunt the tech giant. Bluntly put, The Nvidia GPU was a bust, defective in more ways than one! The flawed chip experienced extremely high rates of failure to the logic board between the years 2007 and 2011 in what was a catastrophic generation of MacBooks.

In fact, one Apple customer took the case to court when his Mac’s GPU died and Apple refused to cover the warranty. Much to the people’s awe, the guy actually won the case. The verdict saw Apple agree to repair all defective logic boards when they failed as opposed to replacing the entire machines. So, why are the there so many Nvidia video chip failures in MacBooks and iMacs?

The Nvidia Defect in your macbook pro and imac

To understand the reason for the video chip failure, we need to get to the very root of the problem; at the very heart of Nvidia. Not too long ago, Nvidia disclosed that due to some flaws in manufacturing, several laptop computer graphics chipsets and processors were rampantly overheating and failing. The numbers were too significant to be random, and the symptoms seemed a bit too similar as well. In addition to affected computers displaying a black screen, others refuse to start at all. However, the symptoms also depend on what brand you have. In Dell and MacBook computers, the defective graphics chip leads to random characters and multiple images on the screen. For Hp computers, you might not even be able to detect wireless networks. But what makes Nvidia video chip doomed to fail at one point or another?

What Is The Real Cause of The Nvidia Defect?

Pinpointing the root cause to one individual element in the chip is close to impossible. The reality of the things is that it was bound to go haywire from the beginning. The real cause is tremendously complicated and involves an unfortunate combination of compound engineering failures, horrible accounting options and indigent choices by the top management.

Basically, the Nvidia chip consists of a substrate the size of a US quarter with a black square at the center. This black square is referred to as the die which is the silicon chip while the substrate is a complex, multilayered green fiberglass-like organic material. These two components are bonded by an underfill that looks like glue. Now, here’s where the real problem comes in. When the video chip is in use, it consumes power according to the intensity of use and in return, produces heat. You might even get the occasional flash of light and some smoke, but don’t expect your chip to survive two or three of these.

While the heat is more of a consequence than an intended product, it has to be tapped away from the chip; otherwise, things start going off the rails. The problem with the Nvidia video chip is that it too has to follow the rules of thermal expansion. This means that as the substrate gets heated and expands at one rate, the black center die expands at its own rate as well. This uneven expansion and contraction wrecks havoc on the unit and could result in the bottom bumps breaking off. Losing power and signal bumps is never a good sign, and your computer is sure to let you know with time (refer to the above symptoms). Due to the Nvidia defect, the video chip succumbs to thermal cycling and eventually dies off; the end result being a cracked or separated chip.

Looking Forward

While your iMac and MacBook computers might be at risk of falling prey to the Nvidia Defect, there are some steps you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen. The most important step starts with you and involves running regular tune-ups and maintenance. You should also make a habit of getting your machine cleaned and checked out regularly by a certified computer technician. For the hardware, make sure that all vents are not blocked by dust and that the fans are fully operational to prevent overheating. For the software, you can install superior power management tools and cooling systems as well as regular BIOS updates. If your computer starts acting up, make sure you call up certified computer experts to fix it up.