We hate to be the harbinger of bad tidings but there have been sporadic reports littered all over the internet from owners of 15″ Macbook Pro Mid 2010 (6,2) experiencing intermittent restarts that result in what appears to be a kernel panic.
The really bad news?
It seems Apple’s repair extension program covering this known defect has ended.
What usually occurs is users suffer a sudden restart.
The screen goes black.
Seconds later the machine powers up from a restart and displays the latest incarnation of Apple’s kernel panic message:
Whether you “wait a few seconds” or press a key, the machine eventually restarts and prompts the user to relaunch all the applications that were running prior to the sudden restart.
If there is an application that originally triggered the restart, it will trigger another restart if the choice is made to relaunch all the applications upon restart. To avoid this choosing to not relaunch applications by selecting “cancel” instead of “Ok” will restart your Mac in a more stable state.
As mentioned. Apple’s repair extension program covering this has officially ended:
Notwithstanding the cessation of the repair extension program, the really nagging issue at hand is the complexity in attempting to diagnose the source of the sudden restarts.
The triggering event – whether its really caused by:
- a defective Graphic Processor Unit (GPU) in this case the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or;
- some application or;
- some lines of code
Some of the triggering events shared by the web community, include:
- installation of Mavericks, 10.9.5
- installation of Yosemite 10.10
- extensive demands of java-based applications
- defective GPU (as per repair extension program)
None appear conclusive.
The commonality between all reports is that they exhibit Console panic logs that usually contain the following in the header of the log:
"Mon May 11 12:26:20 2015 panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff7f8788ff1a): "GPU Panic: [<None>] 5 3 7f 0 0 0 0 3 : NVRM[0/1:0:0]: Read Error 0x00000100: CFG 0xffffffff 0xffffffff 0xffffffff, BAR0 0xd2000000 0xffffff80f63c5000 0x0a5480a2, D0, P3/4\n"@/SourceCache/AppleGraphicsControl/AppleGraphicsControl-3.4.5/src/AppleMuxControl/kext/GPUPanic.cpp:127"
We have a unit suffering similar symptoms and the following is what we did so far:
- uninstalled Klei’s popular Don’t Starve game because it was the last application we installed prior to experiencing the sudden restarts and so far, we haven’t encountered any sudden restarts yet
- installed gfxCardStatus v2.3 by Cody Krieger (“props to you Cody! Many thanks!”) which alerts us whenever the system switches between the integrated Intel HD Graphics GPU and the discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPU. gfxCardStatus also allows a user to manually force the system to use either GPU but we haven’t had to do that so far and the system still appears stable
- reset PRAM – restart the affected machine and held down CMD + ALT/OPTION + P + R
We hope that this cures it because otherwise the sharing by other afflicted users on the internet seems to suggest that the probability of getting an exception repair free-of-charge from Apple is purely discretionary that will most likely involve long hours wrestling with AppleCare.
So far our system has returned to a stable operating state but we are continuing to monitor it for now.
Unfortunately, we do not have a cure-all solution for this issue.
Given its elusive behaviour its quite hard to nail down whether the issue is a latent one that is triggered only now with the interaction of the GPU with advanced versions of OS X and applications or simply a weakness that only now becomes a full-blown hardware failure over the period of ageing of the machine.
Notwithstanding either of the above, the big question is whether it is conscionable that Apple rejects making good on this defect if in fact this latent defect is only now manifesting itself, especially in cases which are triggered by the latest versions of OS X itself and/or applications.
Most of the Mac loyalists who are only now discovering this defect (past the repair extension program) are in this unenviable position because they could not or had no reason to claim on the defect during the repair extension program since their machines were not exhibiting faults at that time.
Its only now, it seems that the latest OS X and/or applications seem to be triggering these unexplained restarts and kernel panics.
The latest Apple Repair Extension Program for Video Issues covers Macbook Pro systems manufactured between February 2011 and December 2013 but not the 2010 series. This program runs until 27 February 2016 or three years from the original date of sale.
If you find yourself suffering similar issues on your 15″ Macbook Pro Mid 2010 (6,2) please do join us in providing feedback to Apple requesting a solution otherwise, officially there does not appear to be a satisfactory recourse.
Update: system still randomly restarting. Might be hardware (GPU) or OS X/driver related but its difficult to pinpoint as restart appears random and difficult to replicate. Lets hope Apple looks into this and does something about it real soon!
*A few months after the update above: Ok, the last time our affected system was still intermittently restarting and recording Console logs that were similar to the above but we have since updated from OS X 10.8.5, Mountain Lion to OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite and so far (strangely) the system has become stable and so far has not restarted by itself…