If you own a MacBook Pro with an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M… you might want to hear this. You may know it’s under recall, if the graphics chip fails. Apple has doubled the warranty to two years on the system’s GPU.
But, if I know my readership, you don’t want to wait for it to fail two-years-and-a-day from when you bought it. So, what can you do to quicken the process.
Basically, the chip burns out after long periods of high utilization. So, our goal is to subject the 8600M to as much of that as possible. Now, playing 3D games all day long is a good start… but maybe you value your time a bit much to play Halo seventeen times over… weekly.
There is a better solution, but it involves Boot Camp. The good news is, it’s for a good cause. After installing Windows XP or Vista, download the GPU2 client for Folding@home, and run it.
The GPU2 client for Folding@home uses the computational ability of your graphics chip, to help better understand how cellular tissue works. Basically, it helps us better understand the fundamental building blocks of life. The Folding team at Stanford found that GPU processing is much better for this type of research than CPU processing… and it was a major step towards developing OpenCL, which will be in Snow Leopard.
So, just set the GPU2 client to run at startup when Windows loads. Then, when you go to bed, reboot into Boot Camp (you will probably want to set Windows to automatically log in as well, running the GPU client as a service in the background is a pain).
After a prolonged period of doing this (I have no idea how long, it depends on your specific MacBook Pro), there’s a good chance your GPU will burn out and fail. And, that will obligate Apple to fix it for you.
It’s Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death all over again… at least Apple didn’t listen to NVIDIA, and did the right thing with a proper, public recall.