Special Shenzhen Service: or, How I Ordered an Apple MacBook Logic Board Online

Special Shenzhen Service: or, How I Ordered an Apple MacBook Logic Board Online

“Top” of the 2011 Macbook Pro Logic Board

So apparently there was a Macbook Pro at work that died, seemingly because the backlight is burnt out. On closer inspection and research, however, it turns out that in order to replace the backlight, the motherboard (aka Logic Board in Apple-speak) has to be entirely replaced. So much for being environmentally friendly.

In any case, after forking out an unbelievably low price to a mysterious website (and praying hard that I didn’t get ripped off) – as compared to the official quotation from the local Authorized Apple Service Provider of ~$1200) – the motherboard arrived, safe and sound after about 5 days’ shipping time via UPS. Immediately, what caught my eye was the missing labels on the motherboard, and stickers.

Interesting labels there…
Close-up on RAM slot area – no serial numbers, no barcodes.

I was about to treat this replacement part as a normal shipment when I noticed one thing odd – a CD was included with the motherboard.

A mysterious CD! Wonder what does it contain…

Now, normally “extras” like manuals or tools or CDs are rare to find in replacement part shipments, unless specifically stated. This means that the CD is either essential – like containing instructions on how to install the replacement part,  drivers, BIOS/firmware update, etc. – or it could be some poor Chinese man’s “entertainment” CD (*cough*pr0n*cough*).

Whatever the case, this warrants…a disc check. I’m usually very paranoid when it comes to data from unknown sources (like USB thumbdrives), as it may contain a virus, and since the system that I was temporarily using had no anti-virus software installed, I used a spare system to check the contents of the data.

Hey, its not finalized, I can re-use this disc!
Burnt with Nero Burning ROM?!
Oh god, no.

OK, checked out fine, no viruses, but the one single AVI file on the disc meant that the possibility of an adult movie is quite high. And it seems that it was copied not too long ago, merely 4 days ago. There’s no other way to check, other than to…watch it.

Thank goodness! It was just a video showing that the motherboard is working fine, and tested to work right before shipping it out. I would guess that this is the attention to detail (or customer service?) for a refurbished motherboard, especially from China, as probably reputation of the online site or seller is quite important, given that there are lots of scammers and/or unreliable repair shops around.

Great song choice, of course, by the mysterious Chinese guy that probably serviced/repaired the motherboard, akin to music being played as one installs a pirated copy of a video game a long, long time ago.

PS: If anyone wants to know (like people who play Sleeping Dogs and want a new song in their car playlist), the song of choice is titled “真的爱你” by a (somewhat old) chinese/canto rock group called Beyond.

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