Having dealt with Apple with my old MacBook Pro, under extended warranty, the unit was effectively fixed the same day, new HDD required.
(My choice to pick up the next day.)
IIRC their diagnostics was through the "ethernet" port on my old machine and I was relatively impressed with how it worked.
(Said machine runs dedicated Linux now.)
I have heard NOT particularly good reports of some APPLE outlets but ours here in Leicester, UK was good.
YMMV in your area of the USA.
Good luck with your serious tool, and I hope all is fixed at a sensible price soon...
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I'm in Thailand (on the seaside) and we have great Apple service here.
Recently my MacBook Air 2013 died and I went to Apple and paid them a small fee (around $28 USD) to check it out. They did a full analysis (it would not power up at all) and their Apple techs told me the logic board was bad. They quoted around $600 to replace.
I took that MBA to some local repair shop and they fixed the logic board for about $200 dollars and it works great. That's much better than the $600 for a logic board or nearly $2000 for a new one I don't really need.
The only thing I don't look forward to is lugging the heavy MacPro up there, since it is a lot heavier and bulkier than my little MBAs.
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