Long time lurker, first time poster. I Want to thank everyone in advance who reads this, and especially anyone who comments. I know it's long, and that my technical savy leaves something to be desired.
Anyway, I have an early 2011 Macbook Pro 13". Order from Apple with a 128GB SSD and 4GB (2 x 2GB) of Ram. About 3 years ago I bought 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Mac Ram from Crucial and swapped out the 4GB.
I was using my computer this past weekend, browsing the internet, when the computer suddenly locked up and froze completely, with no response from keyboard, mouse etc. for several minutes . To be fair, I am a bit of a tab hoarder, and had tons of stuff open. My SSD also is probably close to 100GB full. Anyway, I held down the power button and forced it to shut down.
I went to boot it back up, and the computer will not enter OSX. (It is running the latest version of OSX, Sierra). When I try to boot it up, it either hangs indefinitely at the loading bar indefinitely (which crawls by very slowly until getting stuck at the end), or gives me the famous grey question mark screen.
I booted into Apple diagnostics (Holding Down D key while restarting) and ran test. The first test failed with a 4mem/60 error. I assumed this meant a bad stick of RAM. Subsequent extended tests with same RAM all passed. To be safe, I put in the 4GB of original ram and started the RMA process for the 16GB with crucial.
The computer still will not boot! I've tried using one of the original 2GB sticks, first in the bottom, then in the top slot only, to see if I had a bad memory slot. This did not fix the problem.
The web based repair utility (Command + Option + R) console fails to locate any disks (just says Loading Disks forever), and the web based reinstall of OSX freezes as soon as I try to start it by pushing continue.
When I try to access the local repair partition (holding Command + R) nothing happens (computer tires to boot normally and gets stuck at the loading bar).
I was able to boot the computer using a Linux Mint Live USB key, and copy off some files I did not have backed up (insert headslap here). Computer ran fine off the USB key. I was able to use Nautilus to copy several documents and photos to a spare USB key) I at first had issues accessing the internal SSD from mint, but was able to run a repair which fixed a minor issue with the volume header (drive was in a non-zero state and couldn't be accessed, I'm guessing from the improper shutdown).
Could this be an SSD problem, easily solved by replacement (or not, since I could access it using Mint, but can't boot from it)? Or does it sound like a logic board issue?
Normally, I's think that a computer that could boot a live USB key and run for hours properly only had a SSD issue, as issues with the RAM/logic board would have shown up. However, I was able to access and copy off files from the SSD, which open fine on another PC, which indicates the drive at least somewhat still works. Does that mean the drive is ok, or could it be too damaged to boot from but not completely non-functional.
Any ideas on what to try/how to properly diagnose? I believe the factory SSD from apple was made by Toshiba.
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP GUYS!!! I'm so lost. I don't want to buy a new SSD if that isn't the problem, and I have to seriously consider the value of the laptop if it needs a logic board repair.