MacBook with dead logic board: how to proceed?
May 28, 2008 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Logic board died on my friend's two-year-old MacBook (one year out of warranty). Should she pay for repair ($700 + labor), or sell the carcass for parts and buy, say, a used iBook?

She's kept it in flawless condition and the screen is perfect (no bad pixels), so maybe she could get a decent amount selling it for parts? She does not have an eBay account and is not in an active Craigslist area.

I don't know the exact specs, but it's whatever was the least expensive new white MacBook in early summer 2006. (Its HD is 80GB, and I know she got the stock drive, if that helps.)

She does not have much money and this is her only computer (in fact this is her FIRST ever computer). The 700+labor quote is from an Apple Authorized Repair Center (she's a long drive from the nearest Apple Store).

Ugh. :(
posted by sparrows to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Same exact thing happened to me. The repair isn't worth it, and I'm loving my new used iBook (typing on it right now).
posted by iamkimiam at 9:01 AM on May 28, 2008

This might be a longshot, but your friend can still purchase the AppleCare package for her MacBook, which is available up to and good for 3 years from the date of purchase. This will cost ~$300, but it might put her in a position to get the logic board replaced for free.
posted by JohnFredra at 9:07 AM on May 28, 2008

Response by poster: Has the rule changed recently? I thought you only can buy AppleCare within the first year you own the computer.
posted by sparrows at 9:08 AM on May 28, 2008

Best answer: Did she buy it with a credit card? My card offers a 1 year warranty extension as long as I retain a copy of the receipt. Also there are some resellers who sell parts like logic boards for a DIY out of warranty repair. I did this with an iBook years ago through, but they don't seem to have macbook boards in stock.
posted by Science! at 9:11 AM on May 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Sparrows -- I just read the FAQ, and you're right. Sorry if I got you hopes up with that!
posted by JohnFredra at 9:15 AM on May 28, 2008

700+labor sounds like in the end it will be getting close to the price of a new low end MacBook so it doesn't sound like a good idea to repair it, i would definitely explore other options such as the used iBook or used MacBook.
I think it is worth a try to sell it on ebay, just do a little research (no selling out of the country, i am looking at you Nicaragua) on selling on ebay and hope for the best (i don't know the market for that but ~$100 seems like as much as a reasonable person would pay for it if it costs 700+ to fix but that is why ebay is great, you can find two people that both think its worth more and you win).
posted by humanawho at 9:45 AM on May 28, 2008

Best answer: Second Science!'s suggestion. Amex's Buyer's Assurance Program (doubles original warranty up to one year) has covered the repair of an optical drive on one laptop and the (failed) repair of an LCD screen on another. They also reimbursed me for the purchase price of the latter laptop after the repair didn't fix things.
posted by roomwithaview at 9:54 AM on May 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

1. Have you taken it to an Apple Store? I had a problem with a G4 Powerbook once and, if I recall correctly, they had a standard repair fee for almost anything warranty-like which was basically equal to the cost of the Applecare Plan.

2. I don't know how much she can spend, but I recommend checking out the "Special Deals" link on the Apple Store main page. I bought a refurbished Macbook Pro and a refurbished iPod, both over a year ago, saved a few hundred bucks, and I'm happy with both of them. (I just signed up for Applecare for the MBPro last month, though - just in case)

3. I second the DIY repair idea. I smashed the screen on my G4 Powerbook and bought the Macbook Pro before I realized I could buy a used replacement screen on eBay, for around 50 bucks. Now I have 2 laptops.
posted by lordrunningclam at 9:56 AM on May 28, 2008

Oops, I just saw about the long drive....
posted by lordrunningclam at 9:57 AM on May 28, 2008

ifixit has those boards in stock. But, that is a difficult repair unless you've done them before. Just opening the Macbook upper case is kind of intimidating if it's your first time. I don't know if I would make a logic board replacement my very first Macbook repair. Do you guys know someone with experience who could help with a DIY repair? If so, that would be my suggestion as well, since it probably wouldn't cost more than $360 including tools (jewelers philips, torx 6, spudger, wrist strap, egg carton).

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but has your friend tried resetting the SMC? I ask because I was looking at an Ebay listing for a similarly defective Macbook a couple of weeks ago and the seller withdrew the auction because he did an SMC reset and it fixed the issue. I know an Apple Authorized Service Center told you it was a bad logic board, but I haven't really been that amazed by the competence of the ones I've interacted with so far (and why exactly must a 30 minute repair job cost ~$300 in parts markup and labor fees? That's unprofessional in itself IMO) so I would try any appropriate reset/reinstall procedures before accepting their diagnosis.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 10:19 AM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

humanawho, your selling price estimate is a little too low, since the people who buy defective Macbooks on Ebay are for the most part people looking for parts to do their own repairs. It will most likely sell on Ebay for a bit less than the consumer-market cost of whichever of the two most expensive parts (either the lcd or the logic board) still works, i.e. around $300. This makes financial sense for someone who can do a DIY repair and then resell the other parts in the case that they don't need.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 10:35 AM on May 28, 2008

Do you have statutory rights in addition to your warranty rights? In Australia, if a laptop failed catastrophically after just two years you're entitled to a refund or a replacement because you have a legitimate expectation that something that expensive should last a lot longer. The warranty can only supplement, not replace, your statutory rights as a consumer. Could be worth checking with a local fair trading / consumer affairs authority to see if something similar applies in your jurisdiction.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:33 AM on May 29, 2008

Response by poster: *** OMG *** is metafilter amazing. Science!, you saved a starving artist around $1000 by typing four sentences. Credit card company covered it.
posted by sparrows at 5:14 AM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

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