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(I'm assuming heat eventually closed an open ckt/trace, etc.). June 2009 and Later Reports on GPU/Video Failures/Repairs: Below are replies to the original request for feedback on repairs, later first.(Note some have gotten repairs covered after a to run the external drive GPU failure qualification 'test'.Thanks for the info to everyone who posted, and a big thanks to xlr8yourmac.com, and will update soon.-Andres M.(from 8/20/2012 email) Subject: 15" MBP NVIDIA 8600M fixed under 4-year (extension) warranty Thanks again and again for all the tips on such a totally awesome tech site! Apple Genius took my 15" early 2008 MBP NVIDIA 8600M for repair under the 4-year warranty extension yesterday.(I don't have any special apple contacts on this but here's the page.) (from 8/27/2012 email) In reference to Warm-Up Tips here The warmup trick worked!I used a hairdryer directed at the vent underneath the display.
( The Apple doc was revised several times since then, again on Sept 7, 2011 but still lists 4 years from purchase date.
And still has the note (bottom of page, Emphasis mine) "Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.") BTW: In Oct 2010 at the main news page I linked to a class action/settlement page - The NVIDIA GPU Litigation (Claims Phase closed on March 14, 2011.
Settlement now over) which was not Apple specific (included any brand/model that shipped with an affected GPU - It originally had a brand/model check page when I posted back then, but isn't online as of fall 2011.) And if you missed the front page news on May 28th 2009, Apple released SMC firmware update v1.3 for the affected range of MBP models to modify fan speeds in high load conditions (per their doc "This SMC Firmware update adjusts the fan behavior in Mac Book Pro systems (15-inch and 17-inch) when running under high workload conditions.") - although some have regretted applying the firmware update (not everyone had a problem however, but what else is new with updates - frustrating).
And with every OS update some are going to have problems due to bugs/driver issues, incompatible 3rd party addons, corrupt files/bad installs, etc.) Several owners have reported they suspected a GPU failure (from earlier symptoms) but eventually the Mac Book Pro would not boot/power-up properly at all - therefore unable to have the "Qualifying" test run from the USB HD at the dealer/service center.
It doesn't always help (as there could be many different reasons for the problem) but have found the tip from a reader in August 2009 on warming up the MBP allowed it to boot.