Update: If Apple refuses to fix your Mac Book Pro free of charge, check out this article: Blogger Victorious over Apple in Small Claims Court on NVIDIA GPU Failures (22 April 2012)
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Thanks to a commenter on my earlier post (Mac Book Pro blank screen problem) I found out that Apple is now repairing, free of charge, Mac Book Pros that experienced the same problems. These are Mac Book Pros manufactured between May 2007 and September 2008. Here’s what Apple says:
In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.
People who paid for repairs will get refunds. According to Apple support. I need to take my Mac Book Pro to the Apple store in downtown SF because that is where they shipped it from to the repair center.
UPDATE (6 October 2009): I have to highlight this comment from Lavina:
WOW, I just got off the phone with apple and they told me the nvidia video card is covered whether you have a warranty or not because it is a known issue and they will continue to support the replacing of the card, since it is nvidia who is paying in the end. 1-800-275-2273 is the number to call apple.
http://www.apple.com/support/contact/phone_contacts.html is the web page.
When you call you cannot expect the customer service rep to understand. you must be transferred to a tech specialist who is aware of these problems and will start a case # for u. whether you have paid already or not. So sweet!
UPDATE 30 Sept 2010 (via TUAW): MacBook Pro owners who bought a laptop with an Nvidia graphics processor in 2007 and 2008 may be eligible for free repairs as part of a settlement agreement for a class-action lawsuit . . . .The affected Mac models include 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros bought between May 2007 and September 2008. Not every laptop sold during that period is eligible for the settlement—the MacBook Pro models have to contain an Nvidia chip and feature an eligible serial number. (You can check on the former using the About This Mac panel, and confirm the latter on this lawsuit settlement page.) The laptop also needs to be experiencing the scrambled video or blank screen issues. Read more about Mac Book screen problems.
TOTALLY DEAD Mac Book Pro: if this is your problem, the logic board needs to be replaced. See my post on a dead Mac Book Pro.
UPDATE 8 July 2011: Perseverance pays. Read this comment from Claire in Canada:
What follows is what happened after I followed Esme’s advice.
It took me a while to be able to meet with the senior manager of the Mac store in Ottawa, but I finally did. He first wanted to have a technician have a look at it even though I told him that a genius looked at it last week. So I had to be patient and let the technician say exactly the same thing as the one last week as well as what I read in these posts. Then, I spoke again with the senior manager and showed him the posts I had printed and explaining to him why I thought my MBP should be covered. I think what made him “tilt” was the following question: how can you prove that it’s not the NVIDIA card that created a failure in my logic board?
He went away to discuss about it with the technician, came back and… WOW! the senior manager told me that he would put a new logic board for free! My 2007 MBP has now a new logic board and is working perfectly fine. So – la morale de l’histoire (moral of the story): have perseverance and speak to the manager or senior manager because they are more inclined to ensure a good business relationship than a “genius” who would be more focused on the technical issues related to the computer. Thank you, thank you SO much for starting these posts Esme!