Macbook down!

Yesterday was a sad day for me. It was the day that my trusty and hardworking Macbook Pro finally expired.

To be fair to it, I could have treated it better, it was grubby and worn at the edges, it’s aluminium bent and frayed from it’s short but brave life filled with perilous adventures. It had barely ever been allowed full REM sleep, only the type you get with one lid closed. Waiting eagerly to resume it’s task within seconds of my call.

It had done the donkey work of a beast much larger than itself after me having cast aside desktop computers two years ago after having quite spectacularly destroyed my previous one in a death worthy of a hero. A death filled with blue sparks and flame.

For one who had lived life on the precipitous edge its end as it would come had been somewhat underwhelming.

It was happily chugging along, Debian and Solaris VM’s running in the background, a few ssh shells open along with 50 or so tabs open in Chrome and then with the blink of an eye appears the Apple gray screen of death.

I power it down and turn it back on, my ears pleasantly relived by the reassuring whir of fans, hard drive spindles and the cha-chunk of the cd-drive but my hopes are just as soon dashed when I fail to hear it’s yawning chime and it’s face light up with radiant colours.

Instead it sits there, brain-dead, soulless, breathing yet unable to perform.

Today I took it apart and isolated out all removable parts. Leaving the only possible culprits the logic board or it’s integrated graphics card.

Upon doing some research I find out that there is actually a known problem with a batch of Nvidia 8600GM’s present in some Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz models and that due to an unexpected failure rate apple has extended the warranty on effected units to 4 years along with free repairs. The problem seems to have been nicknamed the ‘Black screen of death’ and although this all sounds great, noises from forums and the blogosphere don’t seem to indicate the situation is as perfect as it seems.

Many seeming to have hit and miss results in actually claiming their free repair or having be charged upfront and then having had to demand a refund upon finding out that the problem is a known one and that they are entitled to their money back.

Here is a link to the Apple article laying out the details of this problem,

I’ve seen reports of those who had screen or files sharing enabled having still been able to access their machine remotely or by having booted the it in to target disk mode and retrieve their data that way.

Myself, seems as I’d had it striped down, I chose to stick the hard drive in my external disk cloner/caddy and connect it via USB to another machine and pull off the things I’ll need in the coming few days until repair.

So, has this happened to you? What was your experience in getting it repaired? Did you manage to get it done free of charge first time or did you have to battle?

Mine is being picked up by courier tomorrow and  am hoping for a smooth resolution.

Until then I’m stuck on a tiny and underpowered netbook hooked up to my 28″ monitor. As I type this I’m currently installing a Debian VM on it so I don’t have to miss out on my Unix fix.

Watch this space.