Owners of the 2011 MacBook Pro owners with Discrete AMD GPUs have long been reporting hardware failures and other system crashes. Problems typically occur when doing graphics-intensive work. Users say that their system will go completely blank or become completely distorted with visible striations present. A reboot can sometimes fix the issue temporarily, but for others, it quickly returns after a short period of time.
A change.org petition on the matter has reached nearly 22,000 signatures and Apple has yet to respond.
After researching the matter, Whitfield Bryson & Mason felt it warranted a class-action lawsuit. Here's their announcement:
Our firm recently filed a class-action lawsuit in a California federal court against Apple, Inc. on behalf of residents in the States of California and Florida who purchased 2011 MacBook Pro Laptops with AMD GPUs who experienced graphical distortions and system failures.
We are actively investigating other similar cases across the country. We have prepared a short survey for those of you who have had one or more logic board replacements due to graphical issues with 2011 MBP laptops. This survey should take no more than 5 minutes of your time. Please complete the survey here: MacBook Pro Survey
Notably, the lawsuit states that the issues is related to the lead-free solder used on the AMD graphics chips in the 2011 MacBook Pro models.
"When the lead-free solder cracks it degrades the data flow between the GPU and the logic board. A small crack can cause the laptop’s graphics to become distorted on occasion. But as cracks in the lead-free solder propagate over time, the graphics issues worsen and system stability decreases, until eventually the computer is completely unusable. This defect related to the lead-free solder connecting the GPU to the logic board (the “Graphics Defect”) limits all computers at the point of sale forward from performing as advertised and warranted."
Apple's only solution to the problem is a logic board replacement; however, that remedy is ineffective as the replacement logic board has the same problem.
Check out action.mbp2011.com or the 2011mbp Facebook page for more details.