Print 15 comment(s) - last by InternetGeek.. on Jul 3 at 10:34 AM

And the fire continues to grow

Earlier this year Apple's MacBook Pro created a stir with customers. While many were excited about the MacBook Pro's new features as well as its dual-core Intel processor, a good number of Apple's customers were beginning to grow more impatient with both the problems that they were experiencing as well as Apple's lack of response to user documented reports. In most cases, problems were reproducible.

One user in particular reported that his MacBook Pro's power connector actually caught on fire. In fact, the situation was so bad that the incident left the side of his MacBook Pro charred and the MagSafe connector burned and unusable. The MacBook Pros have been known to operate much on the hot side and this incident was no exception. Many users have reported temperatures exceeding 80C at the processor core level. Since release, the MacBook Pros have not been able to give temperature feedback to users, but kernel extensions have been developed by some users to show core CPU temperature, although not in its final states and have caused problems for some users. When trying to figure out what my own MacBook Pro was running at, the SpeedIt extension said my CPU was running at a blistering 90C.

Although the flaming MagSafe connector was a onetime incident, it seems that another recent incident involving the MagSafe connector has surfaced. According to a report on Gizmodo, a user had the cable portion of his MagSafe connector burst into flames, pealing back the outer shield and leaving the inside metal wires bare. Several users on forums, including Apple's discussion boards have stated that they too have had problems with the MagSafe connector.

Several weeks ago, DailyTech reported that one user’s iBook bursted into flames after he left it running on the carpet unattended. While no one was hurt, the laptop was entrenched in flames and consequently was damaged beyond repair. In recent news, there was a report of a Dell laptop running hot and catching on fire too. Although it's uncertain if it was an internal short circuit that caused the blaze, quality control has become a problem -- especially for Apple products.

It's evident that Apple's MacBook Pros are running at higher than average temperatures, and in ranges usually deemed to be dangerous by most PC users. Considering how compact the laptop is, cooling is an issue too, and Apple has focused more on silent operation than high efficiency cooling. Even Apple's latest MacBook family has been under criticism for discoloration, paint flaking as well as high operating temperatures. Some users even have a thin piece of plastic left over from the factory covering the vents at the back of the units.

What exactly is happening over at Apple is uncertain. However, it is becoming evident that its products are receiving an increased number of customer complaints. Most of the problems have not been solved and Apple has not offered any explanation to its customers except to say that its products are "operating within specification."

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By Saist on 6/29/2006 10:51:51 AM , Rating: 1
odd... I can't recall the PowerPC processors ever having heat issues like that. Wonder why this happened when Apple switched to Intel...

Realizing that this verges on being extremely anti-Intel, I think the Apple Incidents indicate that the Intel mobile Core products were not ready for Mass Market. I think Intel has some explaining to do on the exact maximum heat output of Core processors under a *nix enviroment. While these Intel systems may be faster than the PowerPC processors they replaced, I can't ever recall a Macintosh user in the past complaining of heat output. Perhaps Apple should have remained with PPC.

RE: odd
By rrsurfer1 on 6/29/2006 11:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
One reason Apple switched to Intel was the TDP is so much lower. Smaller process sizes = cooler running chip. PPC was using more and more power with each increase in speed (which was still signifcantly slower than the Intel Core).

The problem IS in Apple's design and QC of the systems. Apple even indicated that users should check to see if a flap was blocking the laptop vents - a flap that was supposed to be removed at the factory, but incidentally was missed on a number of laptops.

Apple's QC is slipping and at a time where they could really win over some new customers due to the ability to run windows.

The worst part is, Apple is barely acknowledging the issue.

RE: odd
By Griswold on 6/29/2006 12:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
The only real reason for apple to move over to intel was that intel actually offered them a perspective. IBM had very little interest in improving their mobile and even desktop products. There was no improvement on the performance, power and even simple clock speed horizon to be seen.

BTW, Intels TDP != TDP formula the "rest of the world" is using. Intels figure is an average figure, not a maximum load figure.

RE: odd
By Trisped on 6/29/2006 2:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
They were still having processing power vs heat issues that were preventing them from coming out with better computers. The change made sense, especially with all the competition in the x86 market driving lower prices and higher speeds.

RE: odd
By Phynaz on 6/29/2006 3:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
Intels figure is an average figure, not a maximum load figure.

Not exacly true.
Intel's number is maximum heat that needs to be dissipated by the cpu cooling systems under normal operating conditions. It is not the maximum heat the chip can produce - for example when the debug sections of the chip are enabled, which is not a normal operating condition.

RE: odd
By Griswold on 6/30/2006 5:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
Doesnt change the fact that the number is lower than the what the competition is publishing. If the competition was going by the same scheme, things would often look a bit different.

RE: odd
By rrsurfer1 on 6/29/2006 3:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
As the clock speed scaled up the power requirements went through the roof. Clock speed WAS increasing, but as far as the performance to power ratio it was terrible.

Lets not quibble over minor details of TDP, the bottom line is, they switched because Intel had a higher performance to power ratio.

The point is, these problems apple is having is in no way related to the CPU choice, in fact the CPU choice is helping them.

RE: odd
By Griswold on 6/30/2006 5:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
Clock speed on the G5 series was not increasing to match what IBM promised to apple. Where is that 3GHz model Jobs was talking about 2 years ago? The reason for this is obvious, power consumption. But IBM apparently was not really enthusiastic about developing a solution, so apple did the next best thing: move to x86 where the future looks brighter in terms of performance/watt.

By Schadenfroh on 6/29/2006 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 1
So much for the Apple fanboys bragging about "Apple's superior hardware"

RE: Apple
By Master Kenobi on 6/29/2006 6:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
Apple hasn't had superior hardware for a while now, its really nothing new. The sheer hardware power you can get from a PC far exceeds anything you can get on a MAC. Yet they dont seem to have cooling problems and they are using Intel and AMD processors. My money is that Apple wanted it to be quiet, sleek, and powerful. Being on top of the heat displacement apparently took a back burner. I doubt its a simple QC goof either, its more than likely a design problem from the ground up. PC builders have known that high performance = high temperature, its always been like that. Apple needs to learn this lesson now too.

Style Over Substance
By qdemn7 on 6/30/2006 10:33:39 AM , Rating: 2
Apple has always put style over substance, this is just more evidence of that. It brings to mind the stylish, but very noisy G4s. Apple denied there was a problem there, too.

By overclockingoodness on 6/29/2006 11:13:51 AM , Rating: 2
If we chrunch the numbers...
By Trisped on 6/29/2006 2:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
If we crunch the numbers it looks like these are the first pieces of hardware that have been developed 100% under Steve Jobs. Could the miracle CEO be cutting corners too close?

Maybe, or Jobs could be following the recent trend at Apple. G1 and G2 iPods were poor quality and the company has been struggling to make up share in the computer world.

Still, one can not forget the over priced and over powered LISA or the APPLE 3, which at Jobs insistence included no fans and therefore over heated very quickly.

Too much thermal compund?
By rollo1337 on 7/3/2006 3:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
Ive read in multiple places that Apple uses huge amounts of thermal compound on there components, which of course would cause most of this overheating to happen. If this is the problem it should be relatively easy for Apple to fix shouldnt it?

Release 1.0A
By InternetGeek on 7/3/2006 10:34:33 AM , Rating: 2
These problems do not amaze me. It's their first run on a new hardware platform and they are not handling most, if any, of the production at all.

They need to go through the learning curve both in design and production. People were nuts to just go and buy Macs on their first Intel iteration.

Any PC enthusiast (AKA: Early Adopter) knows they will have go thrugh BIOS updates, driver updates, etc before getting a stable rig running. We don't get flaming Laptops or whatsoever in PCs because most of the designs have been tested for years.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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