Dead MacBook = Minecraft server? Robot brain?
January 21, 2012 12:18 PM   Subscribe

What fun things could I do with my old 15" MacBook Pro whose graphics chip just kicked the bucket?

When I try to startup my computer it gives me a kernel panic. Although having a kernel panic at startup could be caused by numerous things, there are some graphics anomalies that make me think it is most likely the graphics chip and therefore the computer for all common intents and purposes.

That being said, I have been able to start the computer up in root mode through the kernel (hopefully this means I can get the rest of my data off) does that limited functionality offer me any oppurtunities I should know about?

For what it's worth I am not that tech savvy. I like to tinker, have done some web development, played with an arduino a bit, and took an Intro to CS class in college. However, I haven't really ever fiddled inside the shell.

I am an artist, so all ideas are welcome.
posted by Bengston to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You may want to see if your machine fits the criteria for a free repair due to a known issue with some NVIDIA chips. Details here.
posted by gimli at 12:33 PM on January 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

The GPU on my Spring 2008 MBP bit the dust a few months ago. I made an appointment at the Apple Store and they replaced the Logic Board for free even though the AppleCare expired long ago. They had it for about 5 days. It is good as new now (especially after I re-installed Lion from scratch and then manually re-installed apps as I needed them to undo a lot of the cruft that had been accumulating since 2008).
posted by birdherder at 12:59 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

For getting your data off, Target Disk Mode is probably the easiest thing. Hold down 'T' while booting, and the machine will pretend to be an external firewire disk, which you can attach to another computer.
posted by hattifattener at 1:17 PM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for pointing out to me that this may be an issue that I can resolve with Apple. I will definitely look into that. I just hope they don't try and deny me for upgrading the RAM, dual booting linux, etc...
posted by Bengston at 1:22 PM on January 21, 2012

I just hope they don't try and deny me for upgrading the RAM, dual booting linux, etc...

Neither one of those void the warranty.
posted by kagredon at 1:32 PM on January 21, 2012

They didn't care about my RAM. Mine didn't dual boot to anything, but in my efforts to get mine running before finding out about the return program I ended up messing up the boot sectors really bad which meant when I got the Mac back, I had to fix it on my own. I think they'll just replace the logic board, boot to their network to run the diagnostics and if it passes put it in a foam envelope and call you to pick it up. When you drop is off, you do sign the standard repair order which states that your data may get zapped during the repair, so it is best to back it up before dropping if off using Target Disk Mode as hattifattener suggests.
posted by birdherder at 1:55 PM on January 21, 2012

If you are unable to resolve the issue, a laptop with bad graphics card makes a great headless file server (aka NAS enclosure) with built-in UPN.

Numerous online how-tos media mail more for more info if interested.
posted by oblio_one at 9:30 PM on January 21, 2012

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