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Apple remains mum as complaints mount over 2011 MacBook Pro GPU failures

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
With an increasing number of early-2011 MacBook Pros suffering from what appears to be similar issues relating to built-in discrete AMD video cards, owners are now calling for a replacement program.


Screenshot of MacBook Pro graphics issue. | Source: Apple Support Communities forum member "Andy_Gee"


As AppleInsider first reported in October, a significant number of early-2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro owners saw system crashes and graphics failures seemingly related to the laptops' discrete AMD-built GPUs. A follow-up report in January found an escalation of reported problems with one Apple Support Communities thread covering 157 pages with 206,237 views and 2,348 replies.

It seems the problem is getting worse. Now being referred to as a "club," the group of users affected by the apparent hardware malfunction is growing by the day.

As of this writing the main discussion thread regarding 2011 MacBook Pro GPU-related issues has swollen to 338 pages with a massive 538,585 views and 5,061 replies. The latest entries are dated May 13 and come from the U.S., UK, the Netherlands and Japan.

While Apple has yet to officially respond to affected MacBook Pro owners, some have found luck in taking their faulty computer in for service. During the extended AppleCare Protection Plan period, which is quickly approaching its three-year limit, some customers were able to get their logic board swapped out. The procedure is reportedly hit-or-miss as there is no official standing order to replace the part, though unconfirmed reports claim a few specialists have said the problem is known to Apple. In any case, instead of paying the price to switch out the component, some users have chosen to simply abandon the laptop as broken.

With no response from Apple, affected owners have started a Change.org petition addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi in the hopes of shining a light on what they call a "manufacturing defect." The petition has 2,726 signatures of a required 5,000.

Apple has in the past issued product recalls and initiated replacement programs for malfunctioning parts. Last August, for example, the company opened up replacements for certain mid-2011 iMac models that shipped with faulty video cards. Coincidentally, a variation of the component -- AMD's Radeon HD 6970M -- happens to be one of the GPUs early-2011 MacBook Pro owners are finding defective in their computers.



Symptoms usually present themselves during graphics-intensive operations like watching high-definition video, editing large photos in pro-level apps or merely running computation-heavy operations. Many users see their screen go blank unexpectedly, while others have experienced visual artifacts and banding indicative of a GPU failure.

A number of forum users have seen constant system reboots that arrive at a blue or gray screen upon restart. Apple's own documentation suggests that restarting an affected Mac in Safe Mode or resetting NVRAM/PRAM will solve this particular problem. In severe cases, a clean install of OS X is recommended.

Temporary workarounds have been suggested, but few have had lasting impact. For example, owners have seen success in rebooting to single user mode and performing a fsck to check and repair possibly corrupted files sometimes works, while forcing an affected MacBook Pro to use its Intel integrated graphics chip also helps for a short time. After extended usage, however, most systems revert to an inoperable state.

AppleInsider has reached out to Apple for comment and will update when a response is received.
post #2 of 125
I have the same issue with my early '11 MBP. Gotta check the status of my AppleCare warranty.
post #3 of 125
Apple communications practice: measure twice, cut once.
post #4 of 125
My MBP 17" has not seen a problem that I can point to yet. It does seem to slow down substantially for no apparent reason -- without the CPU, network, disk, or memory stats showing even moderate use.

Because it is a 17" model, and I need that size, I cannot simply write it off and buy a replacement machine from Apple.
post #5 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosujin View Post

I have the same issue with my early '11 MBP. Gotta check the status of my AppleCare warranty.

 

Ditto. I've already be burned once by Apple's GPU failures (Nvidia 8600M GT).

Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic FUDmonger - Tallest Skil
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Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic FUDmonger - Tallest Skil
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post #6 of 125
I had my hard disk replaced 4 times and logic board 1 time to have it finally fixed!

1st visit (9/13): Took it to Burlingame, CA store - was told need to replace hard disk on site. Paid ~$200 (my warranty expired)

2nd visit: Picked up laptop, went home, restored my stuff and crashed again. Took it back to Burlingame store - was told: "probably just bad luck with a bad hard disk replacement", replaced another hard disk on site. No charge.

3rd visit: Picked up laptop, went home, restored my stuff and crashed yet again. Took it to Stanford, CA store (just happen to be able to get a Genius appt there). Told my story. Genius said let's sent back to the factory. Told to pay a one time fee of ~$250 (when I pick it up) to get in fixed or until it get fixed. I researched in forum and figured it is probably either the AMD card or just a bad hard disk cable. So related my 2 cents to the Genius.

4th visit: Factory replaced AMD card, hard disk cable and hard disk. I told Genius that I already paid for the hard disk once and Apple should waive the $250 fee. The manager waived the fee (great service). Took it home, restored everything and crashed once again!

5th visit: Genius said she happens to have that specific hard disk in store, told me it will only take 15 minutes to swap it out and said I should give it a go. If it doesn't work, she is more than happy to send it to the factory again. So I let her replace just the hard disk.

It has been working since 10/13.
post #7 of 125
This is one area I wish all companies were more transparent.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 125
This was my exact issue with my 2010. I talked to Apple for months about it and finally they admitted it was a lemon. Turns out, it wasn't the only one, huh? I'm not sure what the guts are between mine and the 11 but whatever the common denominator is, there's the issue.
post #9 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post

Ditto. I've already be burned once by Apple's GPU failures (Nvidia 8600M GT).
It isn't Apple failure, but rather the GPU manufactures that design and run chips right at the limits of the process technology. GPUs just are not reliable. Think about it a bit, why did Apple under clock the GPUs in the new Mac Pro? I'm willing to state that reliability was a big factor.

While not the same thing my MBP from 2008 is also showing signs of a GPU failure. In this case the internal display seems to loose every other column. It could be LCD related as external displays work fine. Sadly things are much better in the PC world.

I wish this wasn't the case bu the fact is video cards go bad frequently.
post #10 of 125

Those are so ancient MacBooks. It's not Apple's fault. Come on folks. Upgrade! Upgrade!

P.S. Joking! Joking! Joking! :smokey:

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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post #11 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This is one area I wish all companies were more transparent.
Unfortunately it can't happen in the USA. If you don't have all your ducks in a row some lawyer will take a public comment as policy or a sign of a defective part an sue to no end. Basically nothing can be said publicly until the problem is identified and an official solution planned. Otherwise every creepy lawyer out to make a buck tears into you using any public comments as fodder for his legal cannon.
post #12 of 125
Apple should just instigate three years of defects warranty across all it's computer products, except maybe the Airs to maintain a low end price competition...
post #13 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disturbia View Post

Those are so ancient MacBooks. It's not Apple's fault. Come on folks. Upgrade! Upgrade!
P.S. Joking! Joking! Joking! 1smoking.gif
Actually my 2008 is ancient, I'm just not ready to up grade. Hoping for something next generation real soon.
post #14 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Unfortunately it can't happen in the USA. If you don't have all your ducks in a row some lawyer will take a public comment as policy or a sign of a defective part an sue to no end. Basically nothing can be said publicly until the problem is identified and an official solution planned. Otherwise every creepy lawyer out to make a buck tears into you using any public comments as fodder for his legal cannon.

Good point, and that's sad.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disturbia View Post
 

Those are so ancient MacBooks. It's not Apple's fault. Come on folks. Upgrade! Upgrade!

P.S. Joking! Joking! Joking! :smokey:


If a 2011 Macbook will not last to 2014 I don't think that user will buy another Apple product.  Lets face it, Apple products are premium products.  They should last.

 

PS - My 2011 Macbook pro is currently working fine. 

post #16 of 125
I'm on my 3rd logic board. The first one failed after 2.5 years, the second one after 6 months (probably because they used an old board as a replacement. Fortunately they were both replaced under AppleCare. However, I'm now without AppleCare or a repair warranty and am concerned about how long it is until my 3rd board fails.
post #17 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

My MBP 17" has not seen a problem that I can point to yet. It does seem to slow down substantially for no apparent reason -- without the CPU, network, disk, or memory stats showing even moderate use.

Because it is a 17" model, and I need that size, I cannot simply write it off and buy a replacement machine from Apple.

Severe slowdowns can actually be the result of overheating caused by dust accumulated in the heat sinks and fan ducts.

Open up the computer and clean everything up with a compressed air can. Pay particular attention to the fans and fan blades.

It can make a dramatic difference, and at the very least it's worth a try.

post #18 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post
 

Severe slowdowns can actually be the result of overheating caused by dust accumulated in the heat sinks and fan ducts.

Open up the computer and clean everything up with a compressed air can. Pay particular attention to the fans and fan blades.

It can make a dramatic difference, and at the very least it's worth a try.

Opening up a unibody MacBook Pro is easier said than done...

post #19 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Actually my 2008 is ancient, I'm just not ready to up grade. Hoping for something next generation real soon.

It's not ancient. It's a symbol of beauty and class.

 

On the same note, I see a top of the line MacBook late 2014 in your future ;)

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

Reply

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

Reply
post #20 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsBear View Post
 


If a 2011 Macbook will not last to 2014 I don't think that user will buy another Apple product.  Lets face it, Apple products are premium products.  They should last.

 

PS - My 2011 Macbook pro is currently working fine. 

Agreed. You are absolutely correct.

 

And, I am sure Apple will do something about this as they've done in the past and many times.

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

Reply

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

Reply
post #21 of 125
Apple should just replace them all, no hassle. That would be the right thing to do.

Apple has to be extremely careful about admitting fault, however, because that is ringing the dinner bell for class action lawyers who will advertise on late-night TV like "have you or someone you love been experiencing difficulty reading text on a MacBook Pro? Does the screen look like a bunch of lines that don't look like the Mac desktop? Then you may be a victim of MacBook Pro graphics card failure syndrome and entitled to relief. Apple Inc. has admitted a flaw in their graphics hardware. Call the toll free number on your screen to speak to the lawyers of Bagum, Tagum and Billum. There is no obligation."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #22 of 125
I am also part of this "club", my failure happened on Christmas Day 2013. Since then my 2011 17-inch Macbook Pro has been sitting in a cupboard collecting dust and I'm still waiting for an official response from Apple.
post #23 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Apple should just replace them all, no hassle. That would be the right thing to do.

Apple has to be extremely careful about admitting fault, however, because that is ringing the dinner bell for class action lawyers who will advertise on late-night TV like "have you or someone you love been experiencing difficulty reading text on a MacBook Pro? Does the screen look like a bunch of lines that don't look like the Mac desktop? Then you may be a victim of MacBook Pro graphics card failure syndrome and entitled to relief. Apple Inc. has admitted a flaw in their graphics hardware. Call the toll free number on your screen to speak to the lawyers of Bagum, Tagum and Billum. There is no obligation."

Why couldn't it be handled like other product recalls? Apple likely knows what serial numbers would potentially be affected. That's what they did with some of the Macbook Airs. Not saying it's the proper way to handle it but curious if you or others might have an opinion why it wouldn't be.
Edited by Gatorguy - 5/13/14 at 6:47pm
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #24 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Actually my 2008 is ancient, I'm just not ready to up grade. Hoping for something next generation real soon.
Ancient? Ha! I've got a 2007 MBP. Now THAT'S ancient.

Seriously though, other than it being (understandibly) slow it's still a fantastic machine. It has a couple keys missing and some won't work but a regular keyboard hooked up to it works just fine. It's one of the main reasons I will never choose another computer company to buy from. The build quality is second to none with Apple
post #25 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

Ancient? Ha! I've got a 2007 MBP. Now THAT'S ancient.

Seriously though, other than it being (understandibly) slow it's still a fantastic machine. It has a couple keys missing and some won't work but a regular keyboard hooked up to it works just fine. It's one of the main reasons I will never choose another computer company to buy from. The build quality is second to none with Apple

I'm running a 2001 iMac, the kind with the round base and swivel flatscreen display. It's just being used as an iTunes Server and Time Machine backup with an external RAID10 setup connected via FW400 and the iMac connects to my AEBS via 100Mbips ethernet, but it still functioning. That said, I am patiently waiting for the Mac minis to be updated so it can be replaced.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #26 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This is one area I wish all companies were more transparent.

 

Ditto. It's too often the squeaky wheel that gets the grease when they're not. I sent off my DSLR a few weeks ago because I was getting spots of oil on the sensor. This is a fairly widely known problem on support and fan forums with early-production-run units, but the company has never officially offered to fix or recall it. In my case the warranty was long expired before the problem arose. 

 

The company first offered to clean the sensor (I would have to pay for it), but I knew that that would leave the underlying problem to recur later. I sent a reply to their service quote with links to many of the forums where people have presented evidence about the problem, and they agreed (without any additional back and forth) to not only clean the sensor for free but also to replace all of the affected parts for free.

 

I suspect that it got elevated when I complained, and the more senior tech support agent knew what was up. But the *right* thing to do would be to acknowledge the problem openly and invite users to submit their cameras for inspection if they can show that their photographs are affected.

 

Good service can be expensive when your designers or factory make a mistake, but it buys customer loyalty. 

post #27 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


It isn't Apple failure, but rather the GPU manufactures that design and run chips right at the limits of the process technology. GPUs just are not reliable. 

 

True, but Apple's selling a whole system. Unless you think the affected users should be petitioning AMD for help?

post #28 of 125
post #29 of 125
It's very similar to the 2010 MBP and Nvidia cards problem and there were problems on earlier MPS, always the GPUs. Apple replaced my motherboard, so I was lucky but not so, many others. Perhaps it is time Apple took GPU development in house.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #30 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

Ancient? Ha! I've got a 2007 MBP. Now THAT'S ancient.

Seriously though, other than it being (understandibly) slow it's still a fantastic machine. It has a couple keys missing and some won't work but a regular keyboard hooked up to it works just fine. It's one of the main reasons I will never choose another computer company to buy from. The build quality is second to none with Apple

I've got a Mac Plus ... that's ancient! 1biggrin.gif My Apple ][ and Apple /// were stolen from my dad's basement in Grange over Sands, UK. If you read this and you have them .... burn in hell ... slowly and for eternity.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #31 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'm running a 2001 iMac, the kind with the round base and swivel flatscreen display. It's just being used as an iTunes Server and Time Machine backup with an external RAID10 setup connected via FW400 and the iMac connects to my AEBS via 100Mbips ethernet, but it still functioning. That said, I am patiently waiting for the Mac minis to be updated so it can be replaced.

Why do you need an iTunes server with iTunes Match now available? Or is it for videos? I got a new Mac mini recently for playing around with as a server ... now I am wondering why I bothered.
Edited by digitalclips - 5/13/14 at 8:16pm
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #32 of 125
It is a manufacturing defect, hence Apple's responsibility. The discrete graphics were silver soldered to their subassembly. They develop cracks and instability due to poor connections. This is apparently made worse by higher temperatures. These were designed to be high performance machines and aimed at a market of professionals who use these computers to do high speed rendering, etc. Just the conditions that will cause the failures.

Apple needs to offer a complete replacement program to a new MacBook Pro that has been redesigned to meet these more stringent requirements. Hopefully the current Retina 15". Although frankly, I would be hesitant to buy any MacBook Pro with discrete graphics (all high end models) given Apple's public inattention to the soldering problem. Who is to say the new machines don't have the the same problem? I anticipated at least a 5 year life for my MacBook Pro 17", not less than 3 years. Cost over $3500. They will replace the logic board. That is their solution to this problem thus far, but that only comes with a 90 day warranty when out of Applecare, which all of these systems will be within a few months. (I still have it for 6 weeks) Is Apple stringing us out until Applecare expires?

This is not the Apple I have known for the past 35 years of buying and for the entire period where it was possible to represent Apple as a Video VAR. I have sold dozens of Apple based systems and rely on them for my current production business. Reliability is directly related to stock price, if nothing else will move them to action, perhaps this will. Apple, provide us with an answer to this problem. Stop ducking it.
post #33 of 125
I had the same issue with my 2010 Nvidia 17%u201D MBP and when I went to Covent Garden after a second failure within a month of my first repair I tried to calmly reason with the manager there and he treated me like garbage! I decided to sell the machine on ebay, then I had to spend money that I had specifically put aside for further university tuition to pay for an early 2011 replacement. I remember at the time I had just started a new job and instead of being at work I was running around trying to get this sorted out and twiddling my thumbs at the studio since I could do bugger all without a computer while my boss just glared at me. I%u2019m just so angry with the way I was treated by Apple.

By the sound of it loads of other manufacturers are having similar issues with the same products, perhaps they need to sit Nvidia and AMD down and have a long hard talk, I can%u2019t afford for my current machine to fail%u2026 I always keep it elevated on a stand to make sure it receives adequate air circulation after the nightmare of the 2010 model.
post #34 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Why do you need an iTunes server with iTunes Match now available? Or is it for videos? I got a new Mac mini recently for playing around with as a server ... now I am wondering why I bothered.

Mainly for videos for the Apple TV and Macs via Home Sharing. I wish that iDevices could also be connected to Home Sharing so they could stream from this server but that ideally will come with a dedicated RAID Home Server form Apple.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #35 of 125

I had a mid-2010 15" MBP with the well-known 'defective video card' issue. It went in for service three times during the first two years - once for a optical drive replacement and twice for graphics issues. The next time it failed, the Genius at my local Apple store consulted with the store manager and replaced it with a new MBP.

 

I ended up exchanging the MBP for a top-of-the-line Haswell 13" MBA. Within the first year, the MBA had its logic board replaced twice, and its IO card once. It is unfortunate that Apple's products are not as rock-solid as they used to be, but I am more than satisfied with the way Apple handled the issues. 

post #36 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosujin View Post

I have the same issue with my early '11 MBP. Gotta check the status of my AppleCare warranty.

Have you tried packing it in dry ice when using it?  That should keep it cool enough so it won't have any heat-related problems.

post #37 of 125
You can find more pictures and footage on the problem at http://fixmymac.tumblr.com/
post #38 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I wish that iDevices could also be connected to Home Sharing so they could stream from this server but that ideally will come with a dedicated RAID Home Server form Apple.

How exactly do you mean: 'stream from iDevices'? If you want to control playback from an iDevice simply open the Music app/More/Shared and pick the PC/Mac that has the media you want to play back. It does time out on my MacPro, might be due to the excessive amount of media (66,000) with a 135MB .xml file.




It does work instantly when using the Remote.ipa




Since you're IT affluent I take it you mean something different then this....
How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
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How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
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post #39 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

How exactly do you mean: 'stream from iDevices'? If you want to control playback from an iDevice simply open the Music app/More/Shared and pick the PC/Mac that has the media you want to play back. It does time out on my MacPro, might be due to the excessive amount of media (66,000) with a 135MB .xml file.

[image]

It does work instantly when using the Remote.ipa

[image]

Since you're IT affluent I take it you mean something different then this....

1) Thanks! I just checked the Video app on my iPad mini. I had no idea I could access all my movies and TV shows this way. Although it's still limited as there is no List mode or search option like you can use with iTunes connecting to Home Sharing.

2) It would be nice if that XML file was looked at like Time Machine and Dropbox files, insofar that the local and remote files are compared and the changes are brought over. That could save a lot of time as my iTunes Library DB file is also quite large.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #40 of 125
It is not GPU fault.
It is soldering fault.
Over time and temperature GPU lose contact with motherboard.
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