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Print 103 comment(s) - last by MrPoletski.. on Aug 14 at 9:22 AM


The latest in a string of problems afflicting the new MacBook Pros, users are now reporting poor hard drive performance, random beeping, and clicking noises reportedly coming from the drives. The issue appears to be with the Seagate 500 GB drives shipping with many of the new MacBooks.  (Source: Apple)
More problems plague Apple's latest laptops, but a fix may be in store

Apple's MacBook Pro laptops certainly have their upsides.  Cut out of a block aluminum, they feature the attractive unibody design and industry leading battery life, while keeping to the ultra-portable 4 lb. and under weight range.  And their Core 2 Duo Intel processors and 9000 series NVIDIA graphics would seemingly make for a good experience, whether you were booting Windows Vista (or Windows 7) or OS X.

However, the newly launched luxury notebooks have not been without problems.  Early on their SATA speeds were found to be capped to 1.5 Gbps -- an update removed the cap and allowed transfer speeds of 3 Gbps.  Additionally, some of the new MacBook Pro laptops have experienced display issues, with many users reporting failing graphics.

Now Apple has another quality headache on its hands.  At least a couple hundred users have reported that Seagate 500 GB hard drives on their new 15" and 17" MacBook Pros have been experiencing poor performance, as well as making random beeping and clicking noises 20 or more times a day.  The Apple Support forum has an 82-page, 1000+ comment thread on the issues.

Describes one user who goes by the screenname Wessto:
I recently purchased a new MBP 15, 3 Ghz, 500 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, build-to-order. The hard drive appears to be a seagate ST9500420ASG. I am experiencing a strange hard drive click followed 80% of the time by a beep. It is definitely not a beep from the speaker. Additionally, it happens at any time, even when the computer is sitting on a perfectly still table. It is exactly the same sound as what is documented at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gOhgaIMpPI" rel="nofollow

and mine too appears randomly approximately 15-20 times per day. It does not appear to matter if the computer is under light or heavy use and it seems truly random when it occurs. Another user on youtube has also experienced this with their new MBP 15 and sent me a wav file with the same sound mine is making. So far, his experience is that it does NOT occur under bootcamp. This leads me to believe that it is something specific to OSX. Turning off the "put hard drive to sleep when possible" does not seem to make any difference. I have not personally tested bootcamp on my machine to confirm that mine is the same, but the original poster of the youtube video linked above also seems to think it is OSX specific.


Some users are reporting that the beeping is becoming less frequent, possibly due to a firmware update.  Other customers, though, are becoming frustrated.  Stated one MacBook owner, speaking to Apple blog site AppleInsider, "The crazy thing is that you can read comments about AppleCare Engineers stance on this issue: 'Its normal behavior,' (and) 'Apple´s Working on a fix.'  Also, some of them are recommending doing a complete reinstall, when this issue is factory related."

Apple reportedly is working on a full fix for the problem.  Representatives from Apple, according to affected customers, reportedly have told their customers that Apple is "highly aware" of the issue and that finding a fix is one of the company's "highest priorities."  However, they ask that for the time being users "live with" the problems plaguing their pricey purchases.


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RE: Jason biased?
By ChristopherO on 8/8/2009 9:28:07 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sure the guy is just trying to make a living. It's easy to filter opinion from fact, and he doesn't seem to be inventing problems -- just colorfully exaggerating them.

In regards to Apple, the only thing I hate is the smug marketing attitude. They make okay products, but they're prone to errors like every other manufacturer. I'd wish they would dispense with the "our stuff is perfect" attitude and coexist peacefully with other manufacturers. Somehow BMW, Rolex, and other "luxury" brands make a huge profit without being quite so arrogant about it. Their ads don't slam competitors, and they don't pretend their products don't succumb to problems.

Someone suggested it was nVidia's fault, but that would be impossible if the drive behaved in boot camp. It sounds like it could just be a buggy SATA driver, or a combination of bad drive firmware and driver if the driver is requesting an improperly implemented feature, etc. Heck, the initial crop of SSDs on Vista were quite problematic.

Personally I just wish their stuff was cheaper. I bought a Vaio recently to replace a work-loaner, and the closest thing Apple had was twice the price, but it still wasn't comparable in hardware (I would have considered it with boot camp). If it were comparably priced, their stuff would probably fly off the shelf. Granted their margins would be in the toilet, and presently they have the highest profit margin of any hardware company. They probably aren't treating consumers the best they could, but their shareholders are thrilled (they have 24 billion in the bank and no debt, which is a far cry from the mid 90s).


RE: Jason biased?
By crystal clear on 8/9/2009 1:02:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Someone suggested it was nVidia's fault


HD problem is in addition to the still existing faulty chips problem, even though nobody is talking about.

But their disclosure of their 2Q result show it-

A charge of $119.1 million for its Q2 this in addition to the earlier $196 million charge during last year's second fiscal quarter.

That shows the problem still exist ...looks like a massive coverup.


RE: Jason biased?
By ChristopherO on 8/9/2009 3:46:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
...looks like a massive coverup.


No idea. I thought this was one of those issues where the parts were discovered before they shipped. Unfortunately bad spins happen all the time (contaminants in the wafer, etc). For example I had a Microsoft Ultimate TV in 2001 (Tivo competitor for DirecTV). There was a manufacturing defect in the tuners that caused them to short in 2-4 years. It was the best DVR I've ever had, and died due to some weird problem by an esoteric 3rd party supplier.

Mind you, there is no excuse for not replacing faulty laptops provided they notify customers and eat the replacement costs. Since I don't have a Mac or any other impacted machine, I have no idea how they're handling it. Granted we're talking about enough money that CNBC, Wall Street Journal, etc, should look into it from a shareholder perspective and report on what's happening. I don't really trust a tech site to have enough clout to get through the morass (since I haven't ever seen one impact share price, however you get a bad report on CNBC and you can quickly have a negative day on the markets).


RE: Jason biased?
By crystal clear on 8/9/2009 7:05:28 AM , Rating: 2
Remember Microsoft & the Xbox episode...they denied the existance of the problem ,until one day they took upon themselves a HUGE multi million dollar charge for the defects/repairs/replacements etc.

Hey you cant trust anybody these days.


RE: Jason biased?
By ChristopherO on 8/9/2009 2:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
Multi-billion dollar charge actually. That's an interesting one... I don't know if they actually knew at ship time, or if it was something that only became apparent when consoles had a couple-year burn-in. Realistically, those things were probably QA bench tested for a couple weeks before deeming the hardware good-to-go. I don't think anyone had a problem in the early days, it might have been months of usage before they started failing.

Microsoft ultimately did the right thing. Not sure if it was public pressure. However they did behave semi-correctly. A company shouldn't admit fault until they can prove the problem. It's almost like the lawsuit answer -- "We don't talk about pending litigation". It stinks to be on the receiving-end of that answer, but a firm needs to protect itself until it can figure out what's going on. It's annoying for customers, but better for the shareholders (i.e. almost everyone on the planet with a 401k).

In this case it was frustrating to be a user, because it obviously existed as an issue. I like the fact that they back-refunded everyone who had that problem. In the end they were okay. It's unlikely we'll ever know why they did that. I'm guessing they would have done it anyway, not because they're good human beings, or even public pressure, but millions of people would have never trusted their name again, and they couldn't afford that level of alienation. Companies have to keep their customers, and not "making good" would have ended the Xbox brand.


RE: Jason biased?
By crystal clear on 8/9/2009 7:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
Remember reading an article on consumer protection- a quote from that.

"contains no material hidden defects of which the transferor [the seller] was aware at the time of the transfer."


RE: Jason biased?
By sebmel on 8/10/2009 5:16:29 PM , Rating: 2
US consumers should demand the standard 2 year warranty that Europeans get.
90 days is pitiful.
Of course nothing is free... but it sets a quality bar for manufacturers to meet.


RE: Jason biased?
By MrPoletski on 8/14/2009 9:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Someone suggested it was nVidia's fault


It's Clintons fault.


"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher














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