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2.0GHz, 2.3GHz, or 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.

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Why does an external display prevent my MBP from freezing & crashing?

My MBP goes to black and freezes after a couple of minutes (usually between 5 and 10 minutes). I’ve described my problem here:

MacBook randomly goes to sleep then shuts down

The strange thing is that this doesn’t happen with an external display attached. So the workaround I now have is having a dummy display adapter plugged in all the time. This forces the use of the discrete graphics card (GPU) instead of the integrated one. The strange thing is that you can force the use of the discrete graphics card through the ‘energy saver’ settings (system preferences). As described here:

http://osxdaily.com/2017/01/08/disable-g...

But that somehow doesn’t solve the problem. So the question I have is why the external display prevents my MBP from crashing (while forcing the use of the discrete GPU doesn’t).

It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the CPU temperature (I checked).

Update (09/25/2018)

Here is a way to workaround that broken ThunderBolt chip: Simply turn off the ThunderBolt chip/ports (you can likely live with that):. Steps:

  1. Disable SIP and reboot
  2. Open terminal and enter:

sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext.BAK

Voila. Afterwards you may want to turn SIP on again (‘csrutil enable’)

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I've seen this before in that particular MBP, what cellphone do you have??

is it an iPhone???

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What could my cellphone have to do with this problem?

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I've seen this before, the same freezing and crashing. Did you sync your iPhone while using an external Display???

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maybe it was my problem - now for me it is even more CRAZY - as it is unusual problem - especially when nothing wrong been done to MacBook

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try sync your iphone again, with the external display connected

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You have a Thunderbolt chip failure! Did you not go to Apple to have them service this? MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues. This chips logic pushes the video signal to either the internal display or via the Thunderbolt (DisplayPort) connection.

Here’s the chip in question in Green:

Block Image

At this point if they won’t service it you’ll need to replace the logic board MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Late 2013 Logic Board Replacement In the guide you’ll find the possible logic boards your system supports.

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but I think we both have 2013 LATE model - free replacement program is for EARLY 2013 models

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Thunderbolt chip? The external display is connected by HDMI, is the thunderbolt chip involved in that case? Or only when the integrated graphics chip is used? Because the latter would make sense (the system crashes when using the integrated graphics chip).

Anyhow, replacing the logic board is ridiculously expensive so if that's the only real solution I'll stick with my dummy hdmi dongle. @Bart is right that our late 2013 models are not included in the free replacement program.

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thanks for letting me know about to test MacBook under Windows (10) and..... it is working PERFECT under that system!!!

BUT - I did not purchase MacBook to run Windows on it :(

So - we know macOS is FAULTY (or its firmware or something) - I still wait for Mojave soon (definitely there will be firmware update involved) then I make final decision (to sell it as faulty)

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Yes! It is it’s the traffic cop sending the signal either to the internal or external monitor via the Thunderbolt port. In your case you’ve connected either a dP or Thunderbolt adapter to HDMI.

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No it’s not software as much as you want it to be. I’ve had two systems come in this year which had blown chips which reacted this way ended up replacing both logic boards as I don’t have the needed gear to replace this chip.

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I’ve got EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM!!!!!!!

MacBook Pro 15 2013 random shut downs and sleep

and to be more CRAZY - I do not have dedicated GPU - just Iris because 2.0GHz 2013 model

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Same issue your Thunderbolt chip is bad

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so we both tested our MacBooks under Windows and they are working great under that system - so is Windows fix that Thunderbolt Chip?

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The problem disappears under Windows? Maybe because Windows circumvents the ThunderBolt chip?

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maybe - but it would be VERY strange - as all drivers installed (by BootCamp) additionally Thunderbolt connected to TV... works

So integrated Iris GPU is not a problem - especially for me - as I got MacBook with JUST that Iris only

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As I've stated it's not a GPU issue it's the Thunderbolt chip logic!

As for the reason why Windows works is how the system drivers within BootCamp work Vs how the Mac OS drivers work. This gets complicated! As we are trying to link two different OS architectures as acting the same which is not always the case.

I recommend you bring your system into an Apple Store and let them check it out. I'm sure they will tell you the chip is gone.

If you really want to understand whats happening I would recommend you try to locate the schematics and board view drawings then you can see the pathways of the signals.

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Two questions for Berco as I’m experiencing the same symptoms but on a late 2014 MBP.

  1. My MBP works fine when it’s plugged into the external thunderbolt display, but shuts off after 3-5 minutes when it isn’t. I tried just putting a dummy thunderbolt dongle in the port, but that didn’t do anything. What kind of dummy dongle to you have in the port to keep it from crashing?
  2. Your suggested work around of turning off thunderbolt chip/port via Terminal, won’t that deactivate my thunderbolt ports so I won’t be able to use my external display?

Thanks.

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I've mentioned the solution Caitlin Mann copied below in another post. That works.

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I did this fix and it worked but once updated to macOS Catalina, my MBP (Late 2013) freezes/shuts down after a 3-5 minutes when not connected to an external display.

Does anyone have a suggestion to adjust this fix to work with Catalina?

Update (09/25/2018)

Here is a way to workaround that broken ThunderBolt chip: Simply turn off the ThunderBolt chip/ports (you can likely live with that):. Steps:

  1. Disable SIP and reboot
  2. Open terminal and enter:

sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext.BAK

Voila. Afterwards you may want to turn SIP on again (‘csrutil enable’)

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Indeed. As can be read above.

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Hi Berco, It did work with macOS Sierra BUT since I updated to Catalina, the MBP shuts down again. I went through the process again to turn off the Thunderbolt chip but it's still shutting down after a few minutes when not connected to external display.

Any ideas?

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Berco Beute 将永远感激不已
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