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Model A1297 Unibody: Early 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010, Early 2011 & Late 2011

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MacBook Pro 17" early 2011, possible revival?


1 1/2 year ago, Apple replaced my motherboard as per their program on defectuous motherboards on this model.

This summer, suddenly: black screen. My hard drive is ok, mounted in another computer and running great... My repairman said the "motherboard is dead". And now, my model is obsolete.

The thing is: I work with my computer 12h/day and I need photoshop badly.

Now I'm on an old computer and it's just so slow, I'm running crazy.

I invested last year in 16Go RAM, a SSD hard drive and a new battery few months ago... I admit I'm really !#^&@@-off the motherboard changed by apple just died.

You understand, I'm not really happy with the idea of buying a new macbook pro and this for 3 reasons:

1/ really too expensive for me at this time,

2/ I'm a graphic designer and 17" is much much better than 15",

3/ I want to make a statement by waiting 2018 new macbook pro : I hate the "soldered strategy", it's not fair for people with low budgets, it bound us to their after-sale costs, the whole market will suffer from it, I really hope the sells will drop down this year so they go back to reason.

The motherboard cost 1200€ on the market... at this cost, I better change my computer for an earlier one.

My question is: is it possible to build a new machine with my macbook pro for a basis. Can I replace components such as the motherboard, the processor and whatever is needed and come up with a good speeding machine for a good price? Is there anybody who tried this?

If I'd like to make a powerful machine to run the last system, is it possible to find some pieces of recent mac or even pc compatibles in order to work until I can buy a new expensive mac. Or is it completely crazy?

In other words, can I make kind of a hackbook with my macbook pro. And what components should I expect to change to do so? Would it worth it?

Update (08/17/2017)

On a good lead... I hope

I tracked the specs of my macbook pro here, very usefull website by the way

And I saw on a website out of stock that they sell the same logic board for both 17" early and late 2011. Seams to be the same ref when I try early 2011 and late.. not sure about that accuracy yet.

Beetstech logic board ref

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So I looked up to this references for the logic board : 820-2914-A, 820-2914-B and A1297 i7 2.5Ghz

2,5Ghz instead of my 2,2Ghz would be great, hû?

Now, I need to see my logic card to see if it's A or B, according to this seller picture

but it looks like it's possible to buy it from china supplier

Exemple of supplier on alibaba

Does anyone have bought one of those in this marketplace?

Update (08/17/2017)

The A model is for 2010.. Supplier exemple in alibaba

I'm going to look further in the ref to be sure which one fit the macbook pro early 2011 and know more.

If anyone is looking for this kind of motherboard, let me know! Maybe we can buy more pieces together to lower the price. I'm in Paris, France. It can be tricky if we are in different parts of the world but we may think of a solution, maybe threw ifixit e-shop, I don't know, any idea is welcome.

Mise à jour (19/08/2017)

I looked into mine. It's a A.

The alibaba seller answered me A & B doesn't matter.

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BUT, I went to look their seller's review and it's very very bad. People says they waited very long and in the end, the motherboard didn't work + they have only a 45 day guaranty.

... it doesn't fill like the solution. I'm going to ask a friend who goes in China often for buying electronic to look for this motherboard with my dead computer so he can try it on site. If he finds a reliable seller, I'll let you know.

Respondido! Ver a resposta Também tenho esse problema

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Beetstech was making them when Apple had a contract with them. The page is very old. As far as I know they are nolonger making them.

Which is why I was suggesting if we can get a GoFundMe page put together and someone has the energy to put into it we could give Apple a run.

Remember we're only making a replacement board not competing with Apple as there are some legal risks here that would need to be explored.


It seems that I might have this same problem too - and I have a question about re-applying thermal paste, and whether or not that is helpful?

My MBP symptoms:

1. The MBP will most likely work (boot) when left for a while to cool. When it does boot, all seems well.

2. At some point (especially under use) the machine will shut off, freeze, either with the current screen, blue screen, grey screen, etc.

3. If I let it sit for several hours, I might be able to turn it back on successfully. Many times, it will get stuck on a grey screen about 2/3 through the boot process.

4. I'm running Mac Fans, and notice that under use the CPU/GPU can get up to 90 C. While not being used it will sit around 50 C. (BTW I have it set to spin the fans at max when it hits 75 C, and they can't get the job done even at high RPM).

Thermal paste redo? Or is it toast???


Weigh the cost between getting another motherboard from a seemingly trusted seller OR another working well treated MBP17, costs might not differ much. To begin with I suggest try the thermal paste job, nothing to lose.


I just had the same thing happen with my 2,5GHz, i7 , 16GB late 2011 (last of the 17” models) BUT this only happens when I update to the latest macOS version of High Sierra. I’m now looking for a way now to install the version that doesn’t have the new file system APFS=Apple File System.

The OS version before 10.13 has the HFS Plus file system that also works with latest version of Disk Warrior 5.1.

And I don’t think I’m going to update anymore, at least not until there’s a stable version of the latest MacOS that works with both the 17” MacBook Pro and Disk Warrior. I got my work cut out for me! And of course it’s happening right now when I need my Mac the most


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I hear you!! Apple missed the ball with the mobile creatives like you. I wish they hadn't dropped the 17" either.

Maybe Apple will see the light and re-intro the 17" as well as offer a 15" which is modular (replaceable RAM & storage as well as type A USB ports and MagSafe power) system for the REAL working pro's.

For now your only hope is getting your logic board repaired. The whole issue with the GPU was the tantalum capacitors cooked from the high heat of the dedicated GPU which was the real issue of the black or white screen problems. Finding someone with the skills and parts to replace them is the answer Vs replacing the logic board.

As for building a hackintosh laptop using your current system. I don't see this as a possiblity with what there is out there for parts as all laptops simular to yours use custom parts.

Maybe we can collectively get the needed money to contract a board maker to create a replacement board with current CPU & GPUs. Wouldn't that surprise Apple!

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Actually, I'm on a good lead... I post it below on the rich text area because I want to upload pics and links.


I updated my question with the leads... let me know what you think about it.


The Board Maker solution would be awesome.. definitly a kick-ass idea.

When you look at the company who made SSD compatible for last Macbook Pro, they invested a lot to make an SSD same as the proprietary Apple one for finally having their market down when Apple released the full soldered model.

They need a lesson.

This can't happen on older model. But how many people are still using 17"... would be great to do a 15" size motherboard with some "connectors kits" for each models 15" and 17" according to years. Old macbook pros revival!

They would be very mad... and it would force them to sell us better models to more reasonable prices.


Dan, Could you clarify for this for me? I've looked at multiple sources on this site and others and am still confused. The C5960 capacitor failing was responsible for the issues in the 2010 model, but what about the 2011 model? Some resources say it is the same issue (like here), while others (like in the Q&A section here ) say the issue is with the Radeon GPU itself and that changing the capacitor won't fix the display issue.

Can you clarify whether I should bother switching the capacitor on the 2011 (not 2010) model, or should I skip to switching to the Intel GPU (

Thanks in advance!


Its a great idea, how much would it cost to do something like that, dan?


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I know this is going to sound simplistic, please give a try anyway ;-)

Zap the PRAM three times. I had the identical machine come in with a black screen last week. Tried replacing the display, nope, ldvd cable, nope, clean logic board, nope. Zapped the PRAM and there it was. The 17" 2011 is the only machine I've had, that this fixed it.

Reboot holding down the P,R, Command & Option keys let it tone three times

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I tried that already. My repairman took it to heat repair and it's not stable. The motherboard is actually very dead.


Where in the world are you located?


France, Paris


Hi all, a question- If I change my present logic board for a different but identically spec'd one what kind of software issues are likely, like with the different serial number, or other; will the programs on the machine with the older logic board run on the different/similar board?


Merrill you should have no problems. Before going to this expense you might want to post a question letting us what is going on with your current board.


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I'm in exactly the same boat. I am a graphic artist running Adobe suite also. I am trying to decide if I should invest in a new MacBook Pro or refurbish my old 2011 17" MacBook Pro.

What is the reason you are waiting for 2018 before you invest in a new one? I hate when they come out with the latest and greatest a month after I just bought one!!

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Apple acknowledged it dropped the ball on the working high end creative Pro's in a meeting with some tech reporters. They talked about the intro of the now shown iMac Pro which will be coming out this fall. They also talked about a replacement Mac Pro which will be a more traditional desktop with a modular design due in 2018.

The one subject they didn't talk about was the high end creatives which are mobile.

At the time with the intro of the new MacBook Pro's they realized many Pro's where doubling down on the buying older MacBook Pro's (pre-retina & retina) not buying the new MacBook Pro touch bar systems. While the new systems have sold many high end pro's have returned them as the touch bar and new keyboard was just not working for them. The ones who did do their research also realized the lack of replaceable memory (also limited) & storage was not going to fly, In addition if the pro was heavily invested in older USB 3.0 devices (USB-A connector) the need of dongles to get anything plugged in was also a killer.

Clearly Apple did hit a market in need the mobile sales force who want a powerful ultra light weight system as the sales have been strong. Unlike this group which don't need ports to the degree as as the high end Pro. Nor is the risk of not getting to their work if the system fails. In fact I suspect the lack of removable storage was also to protect the information at a deeper level (which I think is good as well) But in the end we need to find the middle ground.

Rumer has it Apple is now in the process of re-visiting the MacBook Pro line with a more high end user in sight. The hope is Apple addresses the failings of the current design and then ups it with what serious creative need in a mobile system:

- 15" & 17" models

- RAM to 32 GB Using two high density modules (4, 8, & 16 GB modules)

- Fixed & Removable storage, fixed base 512 GB/1 TB, removable RAID 0 SSD modules (2-15" & 4-17") which can be RAID'ed to RAID 1: 1, 2, 4, 8 TB total storage options

- USB A ports (2 at least)

- MagSafe type of power port (flush mount)

- Older style keyboard (full travel)

- Function keys not Touch Bar

The hope is something is at least announced in the fall for 2018 intro.


Great tech description of the MacBook Pro 2017 here and perspective of the 2018 model explained

And I hope they will make a smaller pad because many guys says it's a nightmare to work with because you can't access the keyboard with your hands on the side and I'm a huge workaholic so, I can't see myself with both hand in the air all the time.. changes the way you work and how body hurts when you work a very long time straight. Steve Job wouldn't do such pad because he knew that.


Still a DOA for the real pro's.

All Apple did was jump to more powerful i7 & i9 CPU options. Sadly, the i9 is a waste! As you really can't take it to the limit as the chip is throttled by the poor cooling system this series has.

Apple was expecting the 10


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So I purchased an SSD drive. I am curious once you install it how do you format it using your time capsule back up. If it has no bootable system on it how do you install one?

I will remove the 2 4GB ram cards from the computer that is failing (since I have two of the same computers). There where no 4 GB available.

Also, how I came to have two of the same models is crazy. I bought a new 17 inch computer at the same time I brought an older 17 inch model in to repair (a recall deal). Apple replaced my old one with a brand new one rather than repair it! I have been using the one I purchased with 8GB ram but now it is having problems so I am beefing up the replacement computer.

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What graphics card is compatible with the 17 inch and yes I have the same problem.

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I’ve fixed the issue. This worked for me:

First I tried to restore my system from a time machine backup, and that worked for a while but then it went back to the “old habit”. I made the choice to install a completely clean copy of the latest version of OS X and that fixed my problem. Try that maybe it will be effective for you as well. Also try the command + option + p+r , as mentioned before here.


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Hello Fellow Ancient MBP 17” users!! I’m running an early 2011 model. I’ve maxed out the RAM to 16 GB, installed a 2 TB SSD (Samsung 860 EVO) and installed some random China-made ExpressCard USB 3.0 Type A x2 card that sits absolutely flush with all other ports AND required NO drivers whatsoever to fully work with both Mavericks AND High Sierra (partitioned my SSD so I can run both OS’s)…so there is not much more I can throw at this old beast.

Recently, I dropped my precious…from a height of 42”…and it landed on a concrete bumper…because it slid off the hood of my SUV. It’s dead right? I thought so. But I had to know. It was on when it fell but had a black screen upon picking it up. Likely due to weight, the corner where the battery (and IR sensor) sits took the full impact…and somehow only the chassis was hit; the display “clamshell” was completely missed…meaning my hinge still works and the two “halves” of my laptop still line-up flush.

So I took a deep breath…and pressed my non-keyboard power key… and this dinosaur fired right up!! Tell me any retina or post-retina Apple laptop would survive such a brutal blunt force impact?!?! I do not think so! But wait, there is more…with the corner “crush” damage, the battery was now jammed into place…and the battery itself was cracked. I didn’t realize this (cracked battery) until a month later, when the machine began having spontaneous and frequent shutdowns. Failing motherboard was feared, but after a quick Apple Store diagnostic (which I had to beg for since our lovely 17” models are now all “legacy” products and worthy of no support in Apple’s eyes), it was the battery that was dying.

After some major effort, I was able to extract the massive battery and this is when I first saw the crack. Should’ve been expected since it was really the battery that took the brunt of the impact energy (saving the rest of the laptop in the process). Ordered a new battery…but again, with corner crush damage, a replacement battery would not fit in its designated compartment. So…I took my multi-head screwdriver…put a blunt hexagonal bit into it…grabbed a hammer….and yes, I started hammering that corner back outward…with only the bottom plate and battery removed. I hammered it…over and over and over again…I had no other choice. I tried running my laptop without any battery at all installed and it ran so painfully slow…constant beach-balling…and the only way to get another battery into it…was by punching out the crushed corner.

I could have disassembled the entire laptop…but that brings with it its own inherent risks. So I just went for it as it were. And here I am, typing this very post on my drop-proof hammering-proof MBP 17”!! But my IR cable did not survive the hammering :( Do any of you know a repair guide to replacing this component? Also, I wanted to share this story about how amazing Apple’s wrongfully discontinued MBP 17” truly is!! Modular laptop also equals more than hairline amounts of internal chassis space…and it was this ‘extra’ internal dead space that allowed for one of the leading corners to be smashed without killing the entire laptop!!

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Still running a Macbook Pro early 2011…it is my main workhorse… literally runs 24/7…

Motherboard died in 2017, the day I updated to Sierra, a month after the date limit for the extended warranty… bought a new Apple board ($1300… thanx for nothing Apple) at the time… updated this to Sierra and again…pooof… luckily where I bought the board, they replaced it…

A few months later, again, the board started going (those having the issue, know the signs) ..I opened it up and, while I will be the first to say it is defiantly not by the book, removed the motherboard, and CAREFULLY heated the processor/graphic chip with a heat gun, then added 2 small flat copper heat sinks between the processor, graphic chip and heat sink (cleaned and new thermal paste also), and have not had a problem since.

Have since, maxed the memory, updated to high sierra and recently added an SSD hd…

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I have the two I mentioned up and running (Pattie). I found some code on the internet that fixed mine. Not sure if this is the code I used but in theory its what I did. It was all done in the terminal. I assume if I update the system I will need to run the commands again.


Oh and...I think these macs have two video cards one is supposed to be more high end. This code turns that off so that it defaults to the lesser card. Personally I don't see the difference and I am a graphic designer. Maybe if you are a gamer you would notice?


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