Many early and late–2011 MacBook Pro owners with discrete graphics cards seem to be experiencing GPU failures and system crashes on their machines. In addition to several tips received by MacRumors, there’s a lengthy thread on the issue on the Apple Support Communities, a Facebook group, and many reports of trouble on our own forums.
It appears that the MacBooks, first released on February 28, 2011, are displaying screen glitches primarily during graphics-intensive work or games. MacBook owners have noted visible striations and image distortion or an entirely blank screen, which can often be temporarily fixed with a reboot.
Along with graphical issues, MacBook Pro owners are also seeing frequent reboots to a gray screen. Apple has several suggestions for customers seeing a gray screen, including booting into safe mode and reinstalling OS X, which has not managed to solve the problem for MacBook Pro owners experiencing issues.
Apple has done logic board replacements in some cases for affected users, but reports indicate that the issue has reoccurred after a logic board replacement as well. It is unclear why the MacBook Pros are experiencing problems, but Apple forum users have speculated that it could be heat related.
The issue appears to affect 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros that have discrete graphics cards. All of the 2011 MacBooks use AMD cards, including the AMD Radeon HD 6490M, the AMD Radeon HD 6750M (both 512MB/1GB variants) and the AMD Radeon HD 6770M.
Mid–2011 iMacs with AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics cards experienced similar failures and in August of 2013, Apple initiated a Graphics Card Replacement Program for the computers, replacing the graphics cards of affected iMacs at no cost.
This tutorial will walk you through the complete process of installing new RAM in your MacBook Pro. From deciding which RAM to purchase to how to tell if the installation worked, we’ve got you covered.
What is RAM?
Random access memory, or RAM is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to upgrade your MacBook, and it can also be one of the most effective. Upgrading your RAM will not necessarily make your apps run faster, but what it does is increase the capacity for having apps open and switching between them.
Upgrading your RAM will not necessarily make your apps run faster, but what it does is increase the capacity for having apps open and switching between them.
So having more RAM means your Mac can juggle more apps at once without having to slow down, making opening and jumping between apps much faster – which in turn makes your Mac feel a whole lot faster. A lot of Mac’s come preinstalled with just 2 or 4GB of RAM which may not be enough for many.
You’re much more likely to notice the difference, or rather notice the need to upgrade your RAM if you use apps like Photoshop or GarageBand which require more memory to run, than if you are simply using Pages and Spotify. Nonetheless, whatever apps you are using, you should feel a decent boost in the overall speed of how your Mac operates if you upgrade.
Finding your New RAM
Before you go about buying new RAM, you should find out what RAM your Mac requires. To do this, simply select “About This Mac” in the Apple menu on the top left of the screen, and go to “More Info.” From there, navigate to “Memory” and you will be given information about your current RAM.
As you can see, my Mac accepts 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM, I now know that will work with my setup. Prices vary depending on manufacturer but you can find RAM pretty cheap online if you search around. My advice would be stick to the large manufacturers because in my experience they are more reliable. A simple Amazon search brings up plenty of results or visit Crucial or high quality RAM. They also have a compatibility tool that can detect your system needs and recommend compatible RAM. Once you’ve got your new RAM you can move on to installing it in your machine.