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"It just works."

Apple's Genius Bar better brace itself for some upset customers.  Buyers of Apple's pricey, sleek MacBook Pros are finding [Apple Discussions Forum] that their machines lock up and stop responding when you stress them.  The hard freeze, which occurs in OS X, is reportedly non-recoverable, though users can SSH into their frozen systems.

The company recently refreshed its MacBook Pro laptop lineup to feature Intel's new 32 nm Sandy Bridge CPUs and AMD's Radeon 6000 Mobility series GPUs, ditching NVIDIA GPUs (the 13-inch model is now no longer offered with discrete GPU).

While the hardware refresh looks promising, the reports may give potential buyers potential cause to steer clear.  Apple is reportedly aware of the issue, but does not have a fix for it at present and has not publicly commented on it.

Apple often remains silent about its quality issues.  That allows it to maintain an inflated perception of quality among consumers and the press.  

The company heavily sells its systems on claims that they are easier to use than Windows and lack Windows-like problems.

The tendency of its new laptops to freeze up stands in stark contrast to these claims.  Reportedly machines can crash under a variety of scenarios.  Describes one user:

Received a new 15" 2.2/6750M MBP last week and have been having some issues with the machine locking up under load.

For example if I boot up a VM using Fusion the temperature will spike up above 90 degrees and the machine will lock up most of the time. The machine appears locked (cannot move the mouse at all and keyboard is unresponsive). I can SSH into the machine still and it still is running however. This is one example but it will freeze under a number of circumstances where the CPU/GPU load is very high (rendering, DJ Software, compiling so far in my travels).

Another user, back on Apple's official Discussions forum, bemoans:

Great. I'm having the exact same issue. It happens when rendering video in Imovie. The fan comes on and everything freezes. I can do nothing but a hard reset. Now I'm wondering if I should return this $2000 item and wait until all the bugs are fixed. 

Maintaining its image of producing "magical" products has been a struggle of late for the gadget-maker.  While some devices like the iPad 2 pleasantly surprised, the company has received a dose of reality from recent malware attacks.  As it continues to grow its marketshare, it will likely continue to encounter the hardware issues and malicious attacks that have become a fact of life for OS maker Microsoft and its hardware partners.

In that sense, Apple may be a victim of its own image which it has worked so hard to create.

Update: Monday March 21, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Late today Apple rolled out an update to OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", which included a number of updated features and fixes.  A special version of the update was crafted for the early 2011 MacBook Pros (discussed in this article).  While ostensibly to fix other issues, many believed that this update would fix the freezing problems.

It appears it did not, at least not for all those afflicted.  Writes one user on the MacRumors forums:

this still does not fix the issues on the new MacBook Pro 2011 models (15" 2.3ghz) - just tested on the two machines we have here. Still they are getting too hot, constantly the fans are blowing (testing with Transmission/Bittorrent downloading the Ubuntu DVD). Also we had two freezes already (only under heavy load). I am posting updates on our findings to our blog ( http://j.mp/dLSqgy ) - and we are still waiting for replacements from apple.

Users are also reporting that the update fails to fix another crucial problem, blackouts when connecting to Apple's 24-inch Cinema Display.  Writes another user:

Still experiencing blackouts. No graphics glitches but definitely got 2 blackouts post update...albeit less frequent. Back to the drawing board i guess.

In fact, the update seemed to cause crashes/freezes when using Apple's iTunes.  Writes one user:

I'm on a new Macbook Air (13" maxxed out) and the update seems to be causing iTunes to freeze the whole system - clock, mouse, keyboard, etc. It happens about 5-6 seconds after I launch iTunes. I can start a song, and it will continue to play after the system locks up, but otherwise I'm stuck with a hard reset. I tried clearing the preference files in \Users\[me]\Library\Preferences, but that didn't help. I repaired disk permissions before and after the update. Any suggestions?

Adds another:

Since the update I've had 3 crashes with iTunes.
2011 15" 2.2 MBP.

Not sure its related to the update, but in the space of just over a year, I've never had a crash with iTunes on MacOS 

In other words, it appears that the update not only failed to fix existing issues, but caused additional ones.


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Hmmm.
By rudolphna on 3/22/2011 12:10:41 AM , Rating: 5
I work for Best Buy as a PC Sales Associate, and I roll my eyes (we all do) when someone walks in wanting to buy a Mac. We try to talk them out of it, to push them toward something GOOD, like an ASUS, Toshiba, or Samsung. But no, they insist because it's "just better".

Let's take a look at some numbers.
The base Macbook Pro we sell.

Price: $999.99
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 2GB
HDD: 250GB

Huh.

My laptop, an ASUS K52 series
Price: $649.99
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 N830
RAM: 4GB
HDD: 500GB
Graphics: Radeon HD 5470
Screen: 15.6"

Hmm, I'm seeing something amiss here.

My desktop computer.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965BE (3.4Ghz Stock, actual is 3.75)
RAM: 8GB DDR3
HDD: 40GB SSD. 640GB Storage
GPU: Dual 5770s in Crossfire
PSU: XFX Pro 650W Modular
Disc Drive: Blu-RayROM/DVDRW+ DVDRW
Monitor: LG 23" IPS-LED
Speakers: Harman/Kardon Soundsticks III
Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech Wired Illuminated/RAZER Deathadder
Case: Antec ThreeHundred, Plus Corsair H50 Water cooling with dual antec-tri cools in push-pull exhaust config

Alright, this totals to an estimated $1,600.

Let's find out what you get in a mac for this price.

From apples website, you get...

21.5" iMac. Screen is TN Panel, not IPS
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.2Ghz (first gen, Dual Core)
RAM: 4GB
HDD: 1TB
Speakers: Cruddy built in
Keyboard and mouse: Awful, cheap, and devoid of features
Disc Drive: DVD-RW
Graphics: Radeon 5670

Hmmmmmmm. This is $1499.99. To upgrade to a 3.6Ghz processor OR 8GB RAM it is a full $200 EACH. Huh.

What does it take to get something similar to what I have, or as close as you can.

Mac Pro: Base Price before upgrades (in parenthesis) $3,499

CPU: Intel Xeon 2.8Ghz (Nehalem)
RAM: 8GB ($375 Extra, stock is 3GB)
HDD: 1TB
GPU: Crossfire Radeon 5770 (Extra $150, stock is 1 5770)
Optical Drive: 2x DVD-RW (Extra $100 for two, and Blu ray isn't an option)
Display: 27" Apple Display (TN Panel I believe, and costs $999)
Keyboard Mouse: Still Apples Cheap, cruddy basic stuff
Speakers: None

Final Configured Price: $4,223 f'ing dollars. WTF IS APPLE SMOKING!?

Apple, go screw yourself and your overpriced pieces of SHIZA.




RE: Hmmm.
By kiwik on 3/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hmmm.
By rudolphna on 3/22/2011 1:48:25 AM , Rating: 5
Build quality isn't everything you know. $1000 for great build quality but crap performance doesn't appeal to everyone. The K52 series is much better than most others, Namely Dell and HP in terms of build quality. Keyboard actually isn't that terrible. Those aforementioned are much, much worse. The gateways and Acers take the cake for worst keyboards of all time.

But For less, my build quality may be lower, but I have much better performance where it matters. Inferior product my ass. And as far as battery goes, I can actually manage a little over 3 hours surfing the web, checking email. Which is all I need.

If you are going to defend Apple's pricing on build quality and battery life alone, forsaking performance, than you are the idiot.

I've used newer latitudes and Thinkpads, not really a fan of them. Sure they may feel slightly more solid, but other than that, not a whole lot of difference.

Seriously, I can't get over this. INTEL CORE 2 DUO. That's a 3 year old chip being sold in a thousand dollar computer. You are going to sit there and defend that?

You're just bitter because I said that I work for Best Buy, and thus obviously I am an idiot who lies to people. No, I really am not. We (most of us, anyway) try our best to help people get what they need. Which usually doesn't amount to anything more than an inexpensive laptop with a Pentium Dual-Core, or i3. So, people need a thousand plus dollar computer for basic surfing, checking email, and word processing? No. A basic $450-500 laptop will do that job perfectly fine.

Now pull your head out of your elitist arse and look around.


RE: Hmmm.
By mellomonk on 3/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hmmm.
By sviola on 3/22/2011 11:09:10 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Just because newer hardware is available does not mean that it automatically means that everything that comes before it is crap.


No, but it means that things that came before should be sold at a discount not at a price higher than the newer stuff.


RE: Hmmm.
By magneticfield on 3/22/2011 12:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't put "build quality" and MBP in the same phrase, as a comment to this article.
Not today


RE: Hmmm.
By kiwik on 3/22/2011 1:34:22 AM , Rating: 2
Also, the 27" Apple display is still IPS as far as I know.


RE: Hmmm.
By sviola on 3/22/2011 11:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
But in his example it was a 21.5" display not 27".


RE: Hmmm.
By Alexstarfire on 3/22/2011 12:48:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no Apple fan.... but are you blind? It clearly says 27". It's not like he can edit his post so you can go look up at it again to see. I don't think a 21.5" screen even exists.


RE: Hmmm.
By Alexstarfire on 3/22/2011 12:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
Ohh, I see the 21.5" as well. The iMac example. He also mentions the 27" Cinema display in another example right below it. That's what the above poster was talking about. I have no idea about the iMac.


RE: Hmmm.
By teerock on 4/21/2011 12:58:18 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously dude - how can you possibly think you are doing your customers a good deed by pushing them towards a PC? I don't care what arguments you might have over the hardware, the biggest cause of computers crashing, PC's or Mac's is software made by Microsoft. The only thing that ever brings my Mac to it's knees is Microsoft Office.

I shall happily walk through life with my elitist head up my elitist arse safe in the knowledge that my time is not being wasted having to re-boot because Microsoft's marketing department pushed some pile of crap out the door before it was ready.

As a wise man once said "If you want to work on computers, buy a PC, if you want to use computers to get work done, buy a Mac."


"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings














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