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Apple Admits Nvidia GPU Defect In Some MacBook Pros

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the theya-culpa dept.

Graphics 89

bigwophh writes "The brouhaha over defective Nvidia mobile graphics chips keeps rolling along, even months after the initial headlines have faded. Despite Nvidia's promises that Apple's GeForce 8600M GT-based MacBook Pros had dodged the bullet and were immune from the defect, Apple now counters that it wasn't, in fact, so lucky. 'In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, Nvidia assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected.' The units in question are the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks with Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT GPUs, built between May 2007 and September 2008."

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Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340021)

So Charlie of The Inquirer was right?

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340297)

Too bad Apple got rid of the quality control but kept the price level.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341119)

Too bad Apple got rid of the quality control but kept the price level.

And to add insult to injury they went with the x86 architecture. It would have been really good to continue with the PPC or some other decent chip.

The titanium cases also hold up better and have a nicer feel. With enough wear, they get *really* smooth.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342197)

The real insult was not going with AMD processors, with their inherently superior architecture for multiprocessing. It sure seemed like Apple understood that multiple processors were necessary, and then they went and ruined it by going with the second-best choice. With some more customers and thus some more money, AMD could likely have held on to the #1 spot in the TDP race. I have nothing against PPC but I would love to be able to run OSX, Linux, and XP (for games, of course) on the same system.

I'm getting ready to upgrade my laptop (I have a Compaq nw9440 EZ901AA#ABA) and am looking for something where everything will work with Linux. And I do want a modem, but a supported "win"modem is acceptable. I would have liked a MBP but...

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (2, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343499)

Apple probably got to know the short term future plans of both companies and Intel had the better one for Apples kind of products. Sure I would had preferred if they said AMD, but there is no denying Intel is ahead now and AMD don't do as good notebook chips and that AMDs high-end desktop ships use a lot of power.

So as of right now I think their decision was right. I'd rather complain on other decisions than AMD vs Intel.

And since both are x86-chips they always have the benefit of being able to change I guess (unless some contract binds them to Intel for some time.)

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343313)

Well, since there isn't much development of desktop PPC chips (What happened with PA-semi?) of which Alpha is gone I don't know what they could have choosen? I'd rather take Intels chip than the current PPC stuff. Or well, the 64 bit e600&e700-series or whatever they was called seemed decent. I'll answer drinkypoo directly.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (2, Informative)

parnold (119081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344301)

(What happened with PA-semi?)

Apple bought them. http://www.engadget.com/2008/04/23/apple-buys-chip-p-a-semi-chip-designer-intel-says-wha/ [engadget.com]

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25362397)

For what? iPhones? Chips for iPods?

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345263)

PPC != Alpha

IBM is the one carrying the PPC ball now. Apple and Motorola aren't doing much with it.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (-1, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345347)

No shit smart ass.

Maybe that's why he said "the PPC or some other decent chip."

But who knows, maybe you want to argue that Alpha wasn't a decent chip either?

I don't know but I don't Motorola does lots of embedded stuff with PPC and IBM do server stuff with Power.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345391)

-don't +think

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25363469)

gay moderators

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345409)

Or well, I see now that what I typed wasn't readable. I have no idea what it was supposed to say.

"Well, since there isn't much development of desktop PPC chips, Alpha is gone, I don't know what they could have choosen."

Or something, I don't know how "of which" got there, probably rewrote the sentence or something.

Or I may have accidently dragged around some text within the area or selected something and overwritten it or something without noticing. Sorry.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345311)

It got awfully hard to continue with PPC when the fastest available mobile product was less than half the speed of competitive Intel offerings.

Even without considering the massive speed gains, the switch to Intel was the best thing that's ever happened to the Mac platform. Macs, being able to natively run all of the multitude of other x86 OSes out there along with OS X, are now the most versatile PCs in the world.

Without the switch to Intel, the Mac would still be in a 2%-3% ghetto.

Also, the idea that TiBooks "hold up better" than AlBooks is crazy. The painted parts get chipped within 6 months. The hinges inevitably fail. The AlBook/MBP design is much more robust.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340933)

Yup, at least about the G84 and G86 chips being universally defective. There's a long thread [apple.com] on the Apple discussions forum full of people who experienced these failures. It got so long that people's browsers were timing out, so the moderators closed it and opened a follow-on thread [apple.com] .... Somebody on the thread put together a spreadsheet on Google Docs [google.com] with almost three hundred affected machines.

The failure symptom is that the internal display dies completely and the external display fails over to the integrated chipset. A check of video hardware shows that the video chip is an Intel chip because the NVIDIA chip is no longer detected.

Assuming that only a small percentage of people who experienced this failure are listed on that spreadsheet, that represents a staggering number of component failures as a percentage of unit sales. Figure that Apple sold about 6 million notebooks (best guess) in that 1.5 years. I'd bet that only about 5% are MBP, which would be a total of 300k units (ballpark). That means that this one thread alone represents a failure rate of one unit out of every 1000 units sold. However, because most people don't even know about discussions.apple.com, much less seek out a particular thread and post in it, that estimate is probably way low....

What scares me is that there is no clear evidence that NVIDIA has fixed the problem. Thus, there is no reason to believe that the replacement chips won't fail after another year once they're outside the warranty extension period.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345331)

Maybe I'm hanging out with a bunch of snooty elitists, but way more than 5% of the Mac notebook owners I know have MBPs.

I have no real data -- just "what I see around me" data -- but I expect the proportion of MBPs within total Mac notebook sales is more like 25%-33%.

Re:Charlie Demerjian was right in the end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25351225)

>>>The failure symptom is that the internal display dies completely and the external display fails over to the integrated chipset.

Had that symptom described to me today for a work laptop (Toshi or Dell, not sure.)

Had me mystified, I just filed it mentally under "mystery of life, report as a fault to IT dudes". Now at least I know what it is.

typical Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340025)

Admit there are problems three months later, what the genius said the last three months to customers about this issue?.

Well duh (0)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340261)

Say [imageshack.us] what [imageshack.us] ?*

The boring part is that it sucks having to get an external HDD, back up your machine, be left without it for weeks because there are no Apple stores in Sweden so you have to send it in, and so on so on. So I waited until the last days of the warranty just to notice that their gay webpage seem to count one year FROM SHIPPING DATE and not from when I actually got the machine in my hands. So I couldn't fill in the RMA crap because it said my machine was out of warranty. I mailed them and they told me to call them but I haven't yet because it's so fucking inconvenient and I would rather take it by text.

Hate Apple. Also my backlighting must have some scratch or something because I have an area underneath the actual pixels which is brighter and if I move my head it moves behind them. Not to forget the retarded decision on their part to just use 128 MB, which is another reason I waited, just in case I would happen to get a 256MB vram machine in return. Not likely but I could hope ..

Yeah, and the aluminium "foil" has become lose around the lid button so it bumps out..

* Usually the issue isn't as serious as that, in Safari the text just used to be mixed up. I thought maybe it was some memory issue or something because Safari always seemed to take all ram. But everyone else claimed they never had that problem (though not very unlikely for mac people) and since I sometimes gets other weird issues I guess my GPU is a little faulty.

Re:Well duh (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340885)

So, you're pissed because you procrastinated until the last days of your warranty, and you ended up being late. And then, they told you to call them (with the hope that they might be able to do something for you) and you don't want to call them because you're lazy.

I don't love Apple and I think their prices are way too high for what you get, but c'mon man, that's stretching it. You screwed up. Don't blame Apple for your stupidity.

Re:Well duh (-1, Troll)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341137)

No, I'm pissed because their services is so shitty outside the Apple store imperium since I know a friend which had to wait for like over a month to get the laptop back.

And I'm pissed that they can't answer thru mail.

The rest is just me waiting because 1) I wanted to wait until the next generation was released a long time ago. 2) I haven't bought any device for backup yet.
But that's no problem, I mailed them before it had gone 365 days since I received the laptop, and in Sweden we got three years warranty for factory flaws so I doubt they can refuse a repair anyway.

Not only lazy, it would had been easier for me to mail them, don't ask why.

I wouldn't say "screwed up" since I doubt it's to late. I just think their service is inconvenient.

If I could go to an Apple store, show it and say "sometimes it acts like this and that" and they just took it in / replaced it / helped me back up over to another machine and let me bring that one home I would have liked the service ...

"brouhaha" (-1, Offtopic)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340075)

Somewhere, there is a conspiracy of marketers and reporters who spend their time digging painfully obscure slang terms out of dictionaries.

I mean, look at it:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Aslashdot.org+brouhaha [google.com]

It always shows up in these articles, once every few blue moons, marching in and trying to sound perfectly standard and common. With very few exceptions, a general Google search suggests that it only shows up in news articles and dictionaries. Does everything really have to be a buzzword, guys?

Re:"brouhaha" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340187)

What's a blue moon?

Re:"brouhaha" (2, Funny)

dziman (415307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340253)

beer

Re:"brouhaha" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341025)

That's more of a "brewhaha".

Re:"brouhaha" (1)

Silicon Jedi (878120) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340279)

Google says it is frequency.
once in a blue moon = 1.16699016 Ã-- 10-8 hertz
It is also has something to do with Shopping and astronomy. Because Google search is a good way to judge language. READ A BOOK!!!!!

Re:"brouhaha" (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340971)

In a year with 13 full moons, one of those full moons is a blue moon. Happens a bit more than once every 3 years.

Re:"brouhaha" (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341015)

I've heard it plenty from the same sort of people who say "where on god's green earth...?" and "hell in a handbasket" and use "bloody" as their most powerful invective.

Re:"brouhaha" (4, Insightful)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341059)

Well, I really don't have an issue with the word "brouhaha". It's something journalists roll out to sensationalize a story. Much like "beleaguered" or "oft maligned".

However, this story headline has a much better version of that tactic... "admits". Which implies that there was either denial or that they have been accused of something and are now confessing. That may not be the exact dictionary definition, but that's the implication when using the word - particularly in this context.

Based upon the story, the correct word is "claims". It is Nvidia that will be in a position to "admit" there's a problem, because they are the ones that "claimed" there was no problem with Apple systems while Apple is now "claiming" Nvidia's statement to be false.

Again, these are not strictly dictionary definitions nor are they exact legal jargon. They are based upon the implied meanings of those words when used in everyday language.

As an aside, my favorite use of that tactic is when the word "alleged" is rolled out. Basically, anything can be "alleged", but journalists roll it out when they want to cast doubt on an issue.

ASUS? (2, Interesting)

dziman (415307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340189)

Does Asus manufacture Apple notebooks? Regardless, I'm still curious as to why Asus has denied the problem at all in any of their notebooks. I even called them up to ask about it and the response was... "If you think you have any problems, mail the notebook to us, and we'll take a look at it, but our notebooks are not effected by this."

The notebook I have is the G1S-A1 that has an nvidia 8600GT.

Re:ASUS? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340283)

Well, if you don't have one with an issue how does it matter? It's not like they will replace all notebooks if they still work. If you have the issue return it no matter what if they are affected or not.

But seems rather obvious everyone buying the chips can have the issues, why would any brand be immune since the manufacturer is the same?

Price Drop? (1, Troll)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340201)

Maybe used MacBooks are in for a bit of a price drop, considering that they are ticking time bombs.

Re:Price Drop? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340341)

Pros. Macbooks use the intel on board chips which while sucky for gaming, have now proven themselves to not be mini-USS Enterprises.

Re:Price Drop? (2, Insightful)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340441)

Pros. Macbooks use the intel on board chips which while sucky for gaming, have now proven themselves to not be mini-USS Enterprises.

Because of the self-destruct? Dude, even I think that's stretching for a reference.

Re:Price Drop? (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341249)

mini-USS Enterprises

...

They don't have a captain that wants to sleep with the blue chick?

Re:Price Drop? (1)

Baricom (763970) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342771)

Macbooks use the intel on board chips which while sucky for gaming, have now proven themselves to not be mini-USS Enterprises.

There have been five Federation ships with that name. Please specify by registry number.

Re:Price Drop? (1)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25355841)

Now I have Majel Barrett's voice ringing in my head...

Re:Price Drop? (2, Informative)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340487)

They have already dropped. I've seen 9 month old Macbook pros going for $500-600 on craigslist, which is unheard of for Macs.

Re:Price Drop? (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345353)

Stupid sellers... panicking just like everyone in the stock market. I'd certainly pick up a Santa Rosa MBP for $600 if I could find one in good shape.

If the machine is less than a year old, which many of these are, then just make sure to get AppleCare for it. If the first owner already has AppleCare, it can be transferred with the sale.

Then you'll be covered for three years. At least for me, that's about one year longer than I'm likely to use the machine.

My MBP was already burned by this issue... (5, Interesting)

lag10 (667114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340227)

The video card just randomly died one day. No video on the attached screen or an external LCD with few options for backing up data.

Luckily, I had AppleCare at the time and Apple just kept the HD intact. This only happened two months ago, and I had only purchased AppleCare a few weeks beforehand.

When I called about the issue, they claimed that they hadn't heard of the problem before. I wonder what happened in two months for them to change their tune?

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340371)

The tech likely had not heard of the problem. Remember techs are always the last to know what engineers are finding, especially when you consider how many techs Apple likely has.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341179)

Actually, the techs find the problem, replace the part, the engineers have to go over all the failed parts to figure out what's causing the failure.

For instance, the hinges on the DV9000 HP laptops were defective. The techs replaced it, made note of it, engineers went over notes techs made, decided to do a recall. The techs do most of the grunt work and are usually the first to find and report recurring problems. (We do have internal email in these depots, so techs can send in observations to the engineering staff.)

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342041)

You have it all wrong. Technicians are always the first to notice these problems. They of course always report the failures (especially if they become common), get ignored, by the Q&A department and the engineering department until higher up wants to feel important. Than the issue is address, and the technicians (and probably their immediate supervisor) are reprimanded for not alerting someone of this issue sooner.

At least that's always been my experience as a technician and a manager. (And it hasn't changed from any of the companies I've worked at yet.)

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (1)

hmar (1203398) | more than 5 years ago | (#25360759)

and the technicians (and probably their immediate supervisor) are reprimanded for not alerting someone of this issue sooner

This is why all my correspondence is in writing, with multiple backups

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340433)

Perhaps it was my very strongly worded letter to them after this happened to me twice in a row, effectively putting my business out of business for almost a month.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (0, Troll)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340483)

Meh, at least you got one of the nVidia ones. The ATi ones don't self-destruct, but it took them over a year to manage to write drivers for them that didn't cause regular kernel panics.

That said, OS X kernel panics are the most tasteful of all operating systems I've seen crash - the screen fades to grey and a nice box (rounded corners and everything) appears in the middle telling you, in four languages, how to reboot the machine.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340775)

That said, OS X kernel panics are the most tasteful of all operating systems I've seen crash - the screen fades to grey and a nice box (rounded corners and everything) appears in the middle telling you, in four languages, how to reboot the machine.

Yeah, that really lowers my blood pressure. Instead of an annoying blue with circa 1995 text on the screen. It's soo much better. Still can't figure out why my (GeForce 8600M) MacBook Pro will go on kernel panic rampages - every couple of weeks, Bridge will KP the laptop. Cleaning out the caches seems to work, perhaps it's just the dead goat and the candles in the pentagram.

But I really appreciate tasteful screwups.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340815)

If you look in the console, you can find the stack trace for the crash, which usually helps pinpoint which module caused the crash. In my experience, most OS X kernel panics are due to third party kernel module (virtualisation one in particular), then ATi drivers supplied by Apple, faulty hardware and bugs in XNU, in that order.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341699)

I like to blame Bridge - it's worked for me for years ...

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (1)

lag10 (667114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25379873)

That said, OS X kernel panics are the most tasteful of all operating systems I've seen crash - the screen fades to grey and a nice box (rounded corners and everything) appears in the middle telling you, in four languages, how to reboot the machine.

Yeah, that really lowers my blood pressure. Instead of an annoying blue with circa 1995 text on the screen. It's soo much better. Still can't figure out why my (GeForce 8600M) MacBook Pro will go on kernel panic rampages - every couple of weeks, Bridge will KP the laptop. Cleaning out the caches seems to work, perhaps it's just the dead goat and the candles in the pentagram. But I really appreciate tasteful screwups.

I had the same issue for a number of months before my MBP's logic/motherboard was replaced. After that, it seems to not happen nearly as often.

Then again, I don't use Bridge very often, nor do I clear out my caches.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (1)

iphayd (170761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340753)

Mine had two logic board replacements in a month for this problem.

Re:My MBP was already burned by this issue... (4, Insightful)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340795)

Luckily, I had AppleCare at the time and Apple just kept the HD intact.

I learned the hard way that you cannot leave your hard drive in the computer when you send it in for repairs. In retrospect, it was stupid of me to send my hard drive with irreplaceable items on it, but it is a mistake only made once.

"The Formula" (1)

slughead (592713) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341561)

When I called about the issue, they claimed that they hadn't heard of the problem before. I wonder what happened in two months for them to change their tune?

Remember "The Formula" from Fight Club? If it costs more to do a recall than to lose those customers burned* by bad products, they don't do one.

They must have recalculated it recently and got a different answer than they've been getting for the past 17 months. This is not new for Apple, it takes forever for them to publicly admit there's a problem with their product, sometimes (perhaps most times) they quietly fix or update a product without ever mentioning there was a problem to begin with, regardless of the problem's severity. The X1900's in the Mac Pros are a good example.

*see movie for full pun appreciation

Nvidia Admits GPU Defect In Some MacBook Pro (0, Troll)

burnetd (90848) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340263)

There, fixed that for you. God forbid that that an Apple story on Slashdot might have an accurate title or summary these days.

Yeah, I know, I must be new around here.

Re:Nvidia Admits GPU Defect In Some MacBook Pro (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341021)

It's not like there was an investigation into the matter by Apple that proved Nvidia's claim to be false...

The anti-Apple force is strong with this editor.

Re:Nvidia Admits GPU Defect In Some MacBook Pro (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343037)

there was an investigation into the matter by Apple that proved Nvidia's claim to be false...

Link please? Oh, right. You don't have one.

Re:Nvidia Admits GPU Defect In Some MacBook Pro (1)

burnetd (90848) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344787)

Try reading that thing at the top of the page or the article it links too. This time is the headline that's misleading, the summary is not to bad, probably due to the fact that its basically one big quote from TFA.

Yeah, I know, I must be new around here, which is starting to become my signature.

Re:Nvidia Admits GPU Defect In Some MacBook Pro (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351043)

I've read the linked article. Nowhere does it state anything like: "there was an investigation into the matter by Apple that proved Nvidia's claim to be false..."

Hoping for the best, expecting the worst (3, Informative)

666999 (999666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340365)

CoconutIdentityCard [coconut-flavour.com] , an app that tells you when and where your Mac or iPod was manufactured, says my MBP was made between January and July 2007 in Shanghai. I wish it was more specific about the date, so I'd have a better idea if my machine is affected.

At any rate, I've been having some repeated video issues with external monitors as of late; a CRT recognized as an LCD and only able to match internal LCD's resolutions, regardless of mirroring settings, and a BSON (nothingness) when disconnecting from DVI, necessitating a hard power-off. I was (and still kind of am) really hoping it wouldn't be affected, as I don't have a worthy backup machine to use while this is in the shop. It's a 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo with the 256 MB GeForce 8600M GT.

At least it's still within the included first-year AppleCare. It's possible this could be handled like the issue of the failing logic boards in iBooks, when Apple replaced the logic board if it was within a certain serial number range, regardless of warranty coverage. Hopefully all affected MacBook Pro owners will get the same treatment.

Re:Hoping for the best, expecting the worst (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341117)

FYI: You can tell what week your machine was manufactured by reading the serial number. They're in the format of:

XXYYYZZZZZZ

WW is the factory code
YYY is the last number of the year, and the week of the year of manufacture.
ZZZ is the portion that is incremented per-unit.

Re:Hoping for the best, expecting the worst (1)

Tycho (11893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341643)

I've always wanted to reply to a post that the editors at slashdot will remove following a soon to be received C&D letter from Apple. AFAIK Apple considers posting how to decode the structure of their serial numbers to violate one of their trade secrets and have managed to bully many sites into removing the same kind of information as posted by the parent. This info has been floating around for at least ten years and almost certainly more. Every computer or device manufactured by Apple with a serial number has used this sequence of characters since at least the early 1980's. On hardware manufactured for or by Apple before 2000 and probably currently too, Apple has a serial number label put on nearly every replaceable component that makes up a computer. This includes things like keyboards, mice, motherboards, motherboard add-in OEM PCI cards, essential proprietary motherboard modules, and hard drives from Western Digital or name-brand optical drives.

EverSoSlightlyOT... (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340481)

Ever_So_Slightly_OT... Those of us who bought Dell laptops with a Nvidia 84/86M video, are looking at the same manufacturing defect.. Dell's only response so far, is to issue a bios upgrade that simply runs the fan all the time and add a years warantee onto whatever you already have, for any video failures... WAY too little.. Dell/HP, and whatever other laptop mfgrs who use these defective chips need to go after Nvidia in a big way, and give users with these faulty systems at least a 5yr warantee on video failures.. I bought my Vostro 1400 since I needed a laptop with Nvidia video for some OpenGL stuff that was recommended to run on Nvidia video vs ATI...

I suspect that Apple is Not Happy. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340545)

While that advisory has the usual neutral restrained tone that official documentation always has, I suspect Apple is displeased. The advisory comes out and says, albeit in bland language, "Nvidia has been lying to us for some time now, even as their parts are dying in our notebooks."

I wonder if this broke too late to affect the probability of the macs-with-nvidia-chipsets rumors?

Turtleneck drops the ball on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340587)

If they know a range of their laptops have crappy video chipsets, why make customers wait till their laptops start faulting? Steve really dropped the customer service ball on this one. Next laptop will not be an Apple, nor use NVidea crapsets.

Re:Turtleneck drops the ball on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25342101)

I will keep buying Macs. Regardless of video card issue, MacOS is arguably 100% secure against viruses, so at least my data is safe.

Re:Turtleneck drops the ball on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344165)

Is that the only reason? Because you could buy some second hand Sun gear and run NetBSD on it. 100% virus free.

happy (2, Informative)

AnXa (936517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340591)

Now I'm more than happy I didn't buy MacBook Pro yet...

funny (0, Offtopic)

AnXa (936517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340601)

I tried to say something funny but ended up being not so funny.

The most important question (2, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340969)

How long until those suckers are out of the distribution channel? I bought one and although I haven't had any problems yet, I did make sure to buy the three year extended warranty from Best Buy. At this point I'm just waiting until I am sure the newer version of the MBP is in the channel and then I'm going to return my defective one.

Re:The most important question (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25366475)

Firstly, how do you know it's defective? And secondly, why on earth did you buy a Best Buy warranty instead of AppleCare?

Re:The most important question (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25371443)

It may or may not be defective. In my opinion, any device that gets so hot that its uncomfortable to type on is defective. The AppleCare warranty doesn't cover accidental damage. Only a fool would buy an extended warranty that doesn't cover drops or spills.

What about new GeForce 8600M GS parts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341047)

I just ordered a Dell laptop with a GeForce 8600M GS, and the laptop is being assembled right now. Is this graphics chip likely to be one of those affected by the problem, or is this likely to have a revised version of the GPU core?

I read an article that seemed to suggest that this problem affected chips made in a certain time range, but has it already been fixed? Would a laptop being assembled today by Dell likely use the new version of the affected core?

How to Diagnose This GeForce Problem (5, Informative)

Keldi (978805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341075)

There's an easy way to diagnose this specific problem and prove it to the Apple techs. Boot the computer with sound on; you should hear Mac OSX start up. Hit Command-F5 (or Command-Fn-F5, depending on your settings.) That will turn on Voiceover. This will let you navigate without the screen, (although slowly and painfully). Go to System Preferences -> Sharing -> Screen Sharing, and turn on screen sharing, setting a password. Use TightVNC to connect to your MBP's IP address. You now have a screen. Go to About This Mac -> System Profiler. Check your graphics card. If it reports as an Intel GMA X3100, take a screenshot and print it. That's the rock-solid proof of a faulty GeForce 8600. Used this method to get mine replaced 2 days ago. I had Applecare, thank goodness; if you have one of these Macbooks and you've had it less than a year, GET APPLECARE. The chip WILL fail, and then you're out $1000 for a logic board replacement, as Apple has given no indication that they're going to extend the warranty for this issue.

Re:How to Diagnose This GeForce Problem (1)

Keldi (978805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341123)

Well, damn, I guess I made a mistake; that article says there's an official warranty extension. Good news for all involved!

Re:How to Diagnose This GeForce Problem (1)

Alkivar (25833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347863)

actually apple has said they would cover this:

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377 [apple.com]

"If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty."

Re:How to Diagnose This GeForce Problem (1)

Colitis (8283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348305)

It might be easier, if you have another Mac available, to do a Target Disk boot off that drive to do the screen sharing enable step.

Not just an nVidia problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341079)

Looks like the commenter [theinquirer.net] that mentioned a possible link between low-lead and high-lead solder might be on to something, or the inquirer.net writer if he/you brought this possible issue to light.

I have a Toshiba A215-S7422 notebook that has video problems as well. Toshiba is covering it up and trying to run out the warranty. The screen "blanks" and the laptop freezes up. No system keys work, emergency syncing doesn't work, etc. But the cpu still is getting power because the air at the vent remains hot. The only solution when the problem hits is to hold down the start button till the lights go out and then release and hold down again for a cold reboot. I thought it was a Vista problem, but I'm dual booting Debian, and the problem appears with it too. I thought it might be a cpu throttling problem, so I forced the cpu (AMD TL-58) to stay at 800 MHz, then tried at full speed (1900 MHz) and in between. No difference. In Debian, I set up scripts to log temperature every minute, cpu speed, load, cpu utilization, etc., to see what the issue was after a lockup. No difference. Happens at any speed, any temp, any load, any cpu utilization, etc.

I was getting 20-30-40 day uptimes, but made the mistake of falling asleep with throttling turned off. Cpu ran at 1900 MHz for about 7 hours. After that, the uptimes are now a few days to a week being a really good uptime. Tried different kernels as well, all the way to 2.6.25, currently running at 2.6.24 because I think I may be getting slightly less uptime with 2.6.25. The laptop was put to emergency use running a very low hit count web site in Dec. 07 and has been performing that function since then up until now, so the laptop has been running 24/7 since then. It just freezes up, the power, logon, battery lights stay on like when it is running on ac power, and the ethernet port light remains lit, the ethernet termination at the switch remains lit as well. It just freezes up with a dark "blue" screen similar to when the screen blanks after inactivity if you don't use a screen saver.

Toshiba allegedly addressed this with a bios fix, acknowledging an "intermittent screen blanking issue". Prior to the bios fix, I was able to adjust how much system memory could be used for the video card in the bios during boot up. That ability was removed with the bios update. Now, whether during boot up phase, or directly entering bios, the ability to change amount of system ram for video has been removed. Toshiba admits this "intermittent screen blanking issue" for dozens and dozens and dozens of A215-Sxxxx and other Toshiba Axxx-xxxxx models, with the same or another bios version to fix the dozens and dozens and dozens of models that this affects. According to customer service, I should take it to a local authorized repair center. After a long conversation with the local authorized repair center manager (owner?), he admitted that the "fix" is for him to update the bios himself, which alters the throttling/cooling profiles in Vista. I described what I did to try and trace the problem and he admitted it was a bigger issue than Toshiba's "fix". He suggested sending the laptop back to Toshiba instead of taking it to him and follow up with them until the issue is resolved.

My warranty is up in the next couple of months and the reason for purchasing the laptop was to run the web site until I finally replace the "server" the web site(s) was/were running on. I'm also using the same laptop for personal use while its serving the sites, so I have a year's worth of personal info and web development work on it as well. I was able to back up months ago onto DVD disks, but now the data is quite a bit more. Every time I try to back up to a USB drive or over ethernet to the replacement "server", the laptop locks up. So for now my data is stuck on the laptop until I figure out how to get it off in between lockups so I can send the laptop back to Toshiba. Now if I could find the receipt for when it was purchased...

Re:Not just an nVidia problem (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341209)

Then don't bother trying to get repairs under warranty, return the thing as "DEFECTIVE" and demand a new one under warranty, and say you'll take them to court if they do not comply within two weeks.

Re:Not just an nVidia problem (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341393)

After obtaining the RMA, pull the drive, stick it in an external case, copy the data off, and put the drive back in. Either that or disable the video drivers in your Linux kernel and boot the machine headless. If the video chip is causing the crashes, the machine shouldn't crash if the video hardware is inactive. SSH into the headless box and copy the drive contents to an external disk. Then reenable the video drivers.

Only homos buy macs anyway (0, Troll)

vistahator (1330955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341173)

Fact

How do we know when the MacBook Pro was made? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341899)

"8600M GT GPUs, built between May 2007 and September 2008" -- Where do I get the date information?

Re:How do we know when the MacBook Pro was made? (1)

nneonneo (911150) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343349)

This website [chipmunk.nl] parses the serial number and displays some useful information, such as the factory and date of origin. The model number information is not always accurate from my limited testing, and I have no way of checking if the manufacturing data is correct, so use this at your own risk.

I own one -- what can I do? (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342721)

I own a MacBook Pro that was built in the timeframe and has the NVidia 8600M GT GPU.
Mine has not failed ... yet.

Is there a general recall on this, to where I can get one that won't be failing unexpectedly?
Chip H.

My MacBook Pro video died on Thursday.... (1)

bag (73227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343917)

...and I dropped it off at the Apple Store for repair on Friday afternoon. It returns on Wednesday. Thank goodness for Apple Care, but what an annoyance. I have a friend who went through this two months ago, same model.

I Love Apple and I Love nVidia, but I sure didn't love the lost productivity.

And of course, it happened during the week of The Big Deadline! Oy.

it's apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344233)

i think it's apple that's defective, and they r blaming other people

Somebody 'forgot' a few months... (1)

silent_argus (1336161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345675)

May to September, huh? Funny, that. I got my 8600M-equipped MBP in June and the GPU has chronic overheating problems... while idling on the desktop.

Re:Somebody 'forgot' a few months... (1)

silent_argus (1336161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345729)

Oooooh do I ever feel stupid now. Make that April, not June. Note to self: proofread before posting.

Now the $2000 questions (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352609)

Have they fixed the problem ?
Is it safe to buy a MBP now ?

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