MacBook Pro 15 "late 2011 discrete graphics upgrade: re-soldering video memory from 512MB to 1GB



Continuing a series of posts on upgrading Apple computers. This time we will talk about the MacBook Pro 15 "(A1286) release 2011. A very decent device, in my opinion: a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, Ati 6-series graphics, support for 16GB of 1333MHz RAM. Its performance today is quite enough for most tasks.
Apple has released four configurations of this model, which differ in processor and graphics. See the table for detailed specifications. The experiment was carried out on the MD 318 (i7 2.2GHz, Ati 6750M (512MB)). 512 MB of native video memory (vram), soldered to more capacious chips and got 1GB vram.
Table. Specifications A1286 2011
Model MacBook Pro 15 "A1286
Year beginning of 2011 end of 2011
Equipment Mc721 Mc723 MD318 MD322
Identifier MacBookPro 8.2
Graphics
(vram)
1. Intel HD 3000
2. Ati Radeon HD 6 series
Ati 6490M (256MB) Ati 6750M (1GB) Ati 6750M (512MB) Ati 6770M (1GB)
Chipset Intel BD82HM65
Video chip 216-0809000 216-0810005 216-0810005 216-0810084
EFI Version MBP81.0047.B27
SMC Version 1,69f3 1,69f4
Pay 820-2915-A 820-2915-B
Processor
(cache)
Quad-core Intel Core i7
i7 2.0GHz (6MB) i7 2.2GHz (6MB) i7 2.2GHz (6MB) i7 2.4GHz (6MB)
Memory 1333MHz DDR3 (PC3-10600), max 16GB
All configurations have the same platform and the same EFI firmware (hence, the "video BIOS" is the same). Therefore, in any of them you can change the configuration of the graphics. You can hang any of the three chips and a different amount of video memory (256, 512 or 1024MB). The choice of configuration is carried out on the board by "strap" resistors.

I’ll tell you more about the key points, I won’t describe the BGA soldering process, anyone who wants can independently “google” how to do it.

We disassemble and get the board.





The board has 4 Hynix H5GQ1H24AFR T2L video memory chips. This is 1Gbit GDDR5 SGRAM (128MB single chip) and 5Gbps transfer rate.



Solder the chips.



In exchange we hang Samsung K4G20325FC-HC04. This is also a GDDR5 SGRAM with the same 5Gb / s transfer rate, but already with a 2Gbit capacity (256MB one chip). It is such a memory that is installed in custom configurations, where graphics with 1GB of video memory.

New chips.



In conclusion, solder the "strap" resistors. We install them according to the resulting configuration.

Strap Resistors.



The meanings of the "straps" are indicated in the circuit diagram for the motherboard. Different graphics configurations (video chip model, memory manufacturer, memory size) correspond to a certain combination of straps.

Part of the circuit with straps.


Now everything is ready. We collect poppy and enjoy the result.

Screenshot before and after.




Cinebench test result.



It turned out that from the stock picking MD318, we made a custom MC723. It would be possible to re-solder the video chip on the Ati 6770, but unfortunately this was not available. Moreover, the video chip has changed anyway. This poppy was brought in for repair with a malfunction of the video chip. We invited the owner to conduct an experiment and solder the video memory.