I've hit an issue with my late 2011 17" Macbook Pro, and was wondering if anyone here had some advice.
Shortly after updating to 10.9.4 (which is likely coincidental), I experience a crash, where the screen froze and all input was unresponsive. Restarting resulted in the computer hanging on a grey screen after the Apple logo came and went. Trying to enter safe mode resulted in a blue screen with no writing, sometimes with black pinstripes. I reset the PRAM, entered recovery mode and fixed disk permissions, and everything was back to normal.
Another crash occurred a week later. Attempting the same remedy failed, where whenever I attempted to enter Recovery Mode, AHT or safe mode, a blue screen, sometimes with black pin stripes, would come up. After a number of attempts, recovery mode loaded properly. I repaired disk permissions, and it was back to normal. Both times there were a few things that were repaired, the only one I took note of was GPURestartReporter.
A few more days went past without issues, then I got some weird graphics artefacts while using Chrome yesterday. There was a digital mess, then my desktop came back with everything offset to the left, with the former left side of the screen wrapped round to the right hand side. Restarting presented the same issue after Chrome had opened/restarted. Quitting Chrome and restarting resolved the issue.
Later that night, the screen froze, and the start-up issues reoccurred. The previous solution is not working. Booting into Single User Mode works, and I was able to repair disk permissions using:
/usr/libexec/repair_packages --repair --standard-pkgsAround the same number of issues from previous runs were repaired, but I'm not certain. However, this time, the issue was not resolved, which makes me wonder if disk permissions were the issue, or if it was just a coincidence.
AHT using the traditional 'D' on start up doesn't work, but 'option-D' does. The simple hardware test passes, extended hardware test throws up 4MEM/62/40000000 0x84a61098 at 19 mins 16 secs. A bit of Googling revealed that this is a ram issue. I'm using 3rd Party G.Skill ram specified for Mac use. I've reseated the ram, and tried every combination of modules and slots. All variations result in the same error, which suggests a faulty memory controller. However, I'm not sure if this is conclusive, as support forums are full of users getting similar errors with 3rd party ram, without experiencing any issues.
I think I've confirmed it's a hardware issue by attempting to boot Linux from a USB stick. Using 'ISO-2-USB EFI-Booter for Mac 0.01 beta' and 'Ubuntu 14.04 x64 MAC' it loads the RAMdisk, but hangs on the 'OK, fasten your seat belts now, we are booting the kernel' message.
While there's no indication that it's causing the issue, it's worth mentioning that I've swapped the DVD drive for an OptiBay HDD, to create a Fusion Drive with an additional SSD.
This is the first serious issue I've had with a Mac, and after previously owning two systems with zero problems, I became complacent about purchasing Apple Care. Shallow research suggests that a logic board replacement is going to cost me $1000+, and it's not something I can purchase the parts for and do myself, as Apple don't make them available to non-authorised dealers.
I'm fairly sure my machine is dead, but if anyone has any suggestions on what else I could try, I would be most grateful. Everything is backed up, so I haven't lost any work, but it's still a bit sad to have my primary machine fail after ~30 months of flawless use.