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My Late 2011 Macbook Pro 2.2 MD318XX/A can't make up it's mind if it's dead, dying or possessed...
It can be in any one of those states depending on it's mood.
I'm pretty sure it's the graphics card.
I'm not sure I can do the soldering replacement.
Eyes and dexterity are not what they used to be.
I love this model. This is my second one. The first one died under similar circumstances.
So I may get both of them fixed if it's not too expensive.
Where can I send it to be repaired?
Quite honestly, there is no reasonable solution at this point that doesn't cost 3x what the laptops are worth, and even if you have it fixed, it's prone to dying again. It's just a never-ending rabbit hole that's not worth anyone's time.
I strongly recommend giving up on 2011 and picking up a 2015 15" A1398, which you can get in the $2xx range. It's a comparable form factor, and FAR more powerful.
Or even get a 2012 15" A1286. They can be had even cheaper. 2012 is more powerful and more reliable. The only conceivable reason to stay with 2011 is to have a 17", but even that I would argue is not worth it.
Thank you so much for the advice.
You pretty much reinforced what I was already thinking.
I spent a good part of yesterday looking at those 2 models on ebay & Mercari.
They seamed like the best alternatives and I wasn't sure which way to go.
Any advice on the best place to pick one up?
I may even take a crack at repairing the 2011's after I get back up and running.
Do you know if they still make that solderer-able by pass chip? or where to pick one up?
eBay's definitely the place. Just make sure it's working and condition is what you want.
I think this is what you're looking for:
Hugh Jeffreys demonstrated it in his video:
I hope my answer doesn't arrive too late.
You also have the option to flash the GMUX chip (the one muxing between internal GPU and dedicated GPU). There is a firmware out there (and the flashing device is not so expensive) to flash your GMUX IC so that is ignores your GPU. Your 2011 15 Macbook Pro basically becomes a 13 2011 MacBook Pro in with a 15 screen and case...
Here are some paying or non paying links to do so:
I hope this helps !