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Bug OS X Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware

2011 MacBook Pros Confirmed To Crash Under Load 501

Posted by timothy
from the switch-to-multifinder dept.
sammcj writes "2011 MacBook crashing under heavy load?... you are not alone. While trying to figure out what was wrong with my fancy new MacBook I soon realized that the issue is very widespread."
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2011 MacBook Pros Confirmed To Crash Under Load

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  • Well of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) *
    You get what you pay for. Oh wait. Defend this one, Apple fans.
    • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:30AM (#35549664)

      Do you want a list of Dell models that my employer has concluded have design flaws or do you just want to fling mud at Apple? (here's a hint: Every manufacturer has issues with their machines, including Apple).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:33AM (#35549686)

        Uhm, not to be impolite, but I must ask.
        Are you sure you can?, won't your MacBook crash while handling such a huge list?

        • by mikael_j (106439)

          Oh, I've never owned a Macbook. My only portable machines at the moment are a Lenovo Ideapad and a Dell Precision M4440 (the Ideapad being the reliable one, the M4400 seems to enjoy having random drivers crash).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not every company has the balls to charge 2k for 1k in hardware, and 1k in software that is built off of free software... that then freezes under load.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mjwx (966435)

        Do you want a list of Dell models that my employer has concluded have design flaws or do you just want to fling mud at Apple? (here's a hint: Every manufacturer has issues with their machines, including Apple).

        As long as you provide a list of Dell models that did not have problems of this magnitude.

        Then provide a list of Apple models that have had serious design flaws and compare it to the list of those that haven't.

        Dell release 20 or so laptop models or more a year, Apple releases 3, the price of failure is higher for Apple because they have not diversified as much as Dell.

        • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Americano (920576) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @12:18PM (#35551522)

          the price of failure is higher for Apple because they have not diversified as much as Dell.

          So if Apple adopted Dell's "run it up the flagpole, and see who salutes" hardware strategy, they'd have Dell's vast profit and valuation?

          Wow. I'm sure they'll get right on destroying their business and profit margins in a rush to the bottom, now that you've suggested it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        To an extent, yes, every manufacturer has released machines with hardware problems. However, the "Apple Tax" is supposedly justified by machines with premium engineering that "just work". This sure sounds a whole lot like a serious cooling problem, something that's simply unacceptable for a midrange laptop that costs $2k

        • Re:Well of course (Score:4, Insightful)

          by roachdabug (1198259) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:21AM (#35550066)

          From what I've heard, being a "premium" Apple engineer is not so fun... You hear a lot of things like, "The outer metal band HAS to be the antenna, I don't care what the problem is, just make it work!"

          • by paiute (550198)

            From what I've heard, being a "premium" Apple engineer is not so fun... You hear a lot of things like, "The outer metal band HAS to be the antenna, I don't care what the problem is, just make it work!"

            Yes, because I always tell my CEO how our products are going to look and work.

        • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Insightful)

          by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @10:49AM (#35550790)

          I'm waiting for someone to figure out what the real problem is before I pass judgment. It might be a design problem for Apple or it may have nothing to do with Apple. There's a list of serious of problems that have plagued PC makers for the last several years. The nVidia chip problem: Apple replaced boards even if out of warranty. I think Dell and other manufacturters had to do the same. The exploding battery problem: There was some serious ragging on Apple until practically all laptop manufacturers started to recall their batteries because the problem originated with their common supplier: Sony Battery. Just last month, PC makers might have to delay some product launches because of problems with Intel Sandy Bridge chipsets.

        • They used to just work. Now they only just work.

      • Lemons deserve mud (Score:3, Informative)

        by perpenso (1613749)

        Do you want a list of Dell models that my employer has concluded have design flaws or do you just want to fling mud at Apple? (here's a hint: Every manufacturer has issues with their machines, including Apple).

        Yes every company has the occasional lemon but they deserve to have mud flung at the lemon. It's part of the incentive system to get it right.

        Part of the justification of higher prices for Macs is that they are of higher quality than Dells. So your argument is not convincing. Furthermore what percentage of Dell's laptop sales does your list represent? Are they high end models? Compare that to what percentage of Apple laptop sales the MacBook Pro represents and where the MacBook Pro stands with respect to

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Patch86 (1465427)

        Dells are cheap mass-produced trash- you get what you pay for, and no less than you expect.

        If you pay nearly twice the going rate for a premium product, you might expect it to be somewhat closer to flawless. You expect your £100k Bentley to run perfectly, while you might forgive the Chevvy Matiz given away free with your Happy Meal for breaking down every time it rains.

        Yes yes, I know, oblig.

      • Re:Well of course (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @01:06PM (#35551892) Homepage Journal

        "Every manufacturer has issues with their machines, including Apple"

        I used to work as an Apple repair tech, at Flextronics.

        I don't know how it is now, but not even 6 years ago 2/3 of the machines off the line were failures and needed refurbishing.

        Apple managed to keep it quiet with a ton of bullshit.

        I'm not aware of ANY manufacturer besides Apple with that shitty of a manufacturing record.

        But that's what happens when you had your stuff manufactured in Guadalajara, Mexico.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Wild_dog! (98536)

          2/3 of the machines? Really?
          Sounds like the plant should have been shut down and the manager fired if that was the case.
          How many millions would have been thrown away if 2/3 of the machines coming off the line were non-functional?
          Are you certain of your numbers?

    • You get what you pay for. Oh wait. Defend this one, Apple fans.

      This is a 'Crisitunity' [urbandictionary.com] for Apple. They never do a good job addressing these things which is surprising considering they do such a great job with pre-sale marketing & PR.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Pre-sale marketing & PR gets the sale (i.e. money).
        Everything else doesn't matter. The people will buy whatever you sell them and keep buying, even if it doesn't work.

        • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:22AM (#35550068)
          I like Dell because their support actually listens to me. "the cooling fan died" is met with a question of whether I need a technician or just the part. When I call Apple and tell them that an iMac overheats to the point of locking up, they call me a liar and hang up "if it doesn't turn off, its not overheating" Oh, really, then why is it locked up and so hot?
    • by mjwx (966435)

      You get what you pay for. Oh wait. Defend this one, Apple fans.

      This story is false and any evidence to the contrary merely coincidence.

      Further more, we are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Apple has made lemons before, actually called Road Apples. From time to time they do make mistakes and of course when you charge a premium for hardware it's inevitable that you'll catch a lot of grief when you mess up. They tend to be slow to admit mistakes too. When they finally realize it's inevitable they'll bite the bullet and fix the problem but in the meantime it can be ugly. If I bought a laptop for 2 grand and it choked on video transcoding and other processor intensive stuff like these seem to

    • Re:Well of course (Score:5, Informative)

      by philj (13777) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:58AM (#35549896)
      Having read the linked thread, it looks like it's an ATI graphics card driver problem. You can still ssh into a machine that has "crashed under load".
      • But what Mac Joe user will know what SSH is?

  • Apple does products that 'just work'.

    dont dare say anything in contrast - else endless legions of applebois will talk smack to you and prove that those apples didnt crash.
    • by mijelh (1111411)
      So true... recently a friend of mine asked on Facebook for advise on buying a new computer because hers was always giving her problems. Many people advised her to buy a mac. She then asked if macs have no kind of problems, crashes or malware, and people unanimously answered "not at all".
      As I used a mac at work for many years, I wanted to add my two cents, and I commented that macs, as every computer, do have problems, malware and security issues, but are in general great computers. Surprisingly I was cruci
  • by Manip (656104) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:33AM (#35549692)
    First we had people pull them apart and report poor build quality, then we had complaints over the insane price of components in Apple's store, and now we have the machines freezing up? I'm all for people spending a little more and getting a higher quality machine but Apple needs to keep up their end of the bargain.

    What does Apple have to say one the build quality concerns? The last thing they need is to be considered no better than HP, Gateway, and Dell. Overall I don't think laptops are built "fit for purpose" and haven't been since the IBM days (although business laptops are better). I love all the Dell laptops with 2 hours battery life out-of-the-bx in particular, very useful concept...
    • The Santa Rosa one I have was bad as well. I've got through 2 GPUs and now it has a habit of locking up with the screen flashing every now and then.

      My old Powerbook G4 was awesome though, I think the move to Intel may have been more of an exercise in cheaper manufacturing than technical excellence.

      • To counter your anecdote with mine, my G4 PowerBook went through four logic boards (I think - a lot. I lost count) while it was under warranty. One replacement was DOA (wouldn't even turn on), GPU died on one (screen corruption everywhere once it got slightly warm), and on the others the solder around the SO-DIMM slots was problematic so it would develop a loose connection to the RAM when it got warm (known problem, but once the warranty expired I just lived with only being able to use one RAM slot).
    • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:11AM (#35549990) Homepage
      My macbook pro easily meets the 7 hour battery life they've claimed (mine is one version before the 2011), it's almost always nearly as cool as when it's off, it's dead silent, starts up and is at a functional desktop within 5 seconds and yes it looks better with it's metal case than some cheap plastic one and it's thinner than what I'd get from Dell. Despite being thinner things like the lid feel much sturdier than a Dell and it comes with everything. THere are even small touches like being able to check the battery life without even turning it on.

      I can't vouch for their newest model. It may be utter shit. But having gone through the process of pricing up laptops to get everything I have in my macbook it would cost nearly as much or more in some cases. Part of the reason for this is it seems to be nearly impossible to get an SSD in a laptop which seems retarded but you're looking at quite a big bump up in the price to add the equivalent sized SSD into a Wintel laptop.

      Again even if you do get all those things it will still be in a cheap plastic case, it will almost certainly still be thicker, run warmer and louder. I don't think it's any surprise a lot of developers can be seen with Macbooks even if they aren't running OS X. The hardware is quality and it's built in such a way that you end up with something that resembles what a laptop should be rather than some big ugly plastic thing that gives you back pains carrying it around.

      People need to take a break from their anti-apple circle jerk and remember that the newest macbook features brand new technology in it like Intel's Thunderbolt. It is just as likely that can cause problems even if you're not actually plugging anything into the port. One thing Apple does do that many other companies don't is adapt new technologies sooner and as a result are more likely to get bit in the ass by something going wrong. One of two things will happen. It can be resolved in a short period through software or maybe the 2011 models will just be notorious for being rubbish and smart people will pass on them and wait for the next iteration where the issue may not exist.

      Alternatively they could have had a bad batch of components. It happens to everyone. Just look at how many companies that were affected by Sony's shitty laptop batteries. But of course some people just like to hate on things they can't afford.
    • by Lifyre (960576)

      I tend to agree with you especially when it comes to 90% of the offerings out there. That said I bought from a smaller company that me and my friends have had good luck with for a few years and have been impressed with the material and build quality I got for newer parts and lower prices than I could have gotten from the big guys.

      If you want a laptop that is solidly built and has decent battery life (I get more than 4 hours of real use) perhaps you should start looking for a reputable smaller builder.

  • by Stele (9443) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:34AM (#35549698) Homepage

    You must be using it wrong.

  • by acidfast7 (551610) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:45AM (#35549794)
    which I don't think one can do ... because it's either widespread or not ... can that person at least provide a percentage? I'm mean ... even if a few 1000 machines have problems it's still a negligible percentage. And, how would this value compare to the normal failure rate from other manufacturers? I don't know, and I can't really compare it, because this fantastic article doesn't provide any information for gauging what "very widespread" means. It's just another anti-Apple article.

    why do I even read /. anymore ... I must be addicted to the internet in an unhealthy manner :(

  • by SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @08:49AM (#35549814)

    Look, I severely dislike Apple, their products, their methods, and their policies.

    However, this seems to be much ado about nothing. I have actually read the entire thread, and it appears to be a simple software issue that can be resolved by disabling some fan control package. The issue does not occur under stress testing in Windows 7. Put those two together, the issue becomes one or two bad packages, which will be resolved in an update sooner or later (for those that blew $3k on a computer, I hope sooner).

    Of course, how Apple has handled the situation is abysmal, and I'm quite surprised seeing the people in the thread defending Apple support as they do.

    In the end though: nothing to see here, move along, this is not a reason for major Apple bashing or Apple vs PC debates, and yes, even Apple can and does release bugged software now and then.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:07AM (#35549952)

      Look, I severely dislike Apple, their products, their methods, and their policies.

      The fact that you have to start your comment with that phrase here on Slashdot only shows that they are beyond rational discourse.

      I'll take the "article" for what it's worth, and if it turns into something more then I'll base my buying decisions upon it.

      Until then, I'll watch the flame wars with bemusement and curiosity on how people can get so worked up over a manufactured product.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Look, I severely dislike Apple, their products, their methods, and their policies.

        The fact that you have to start your comment with that phrase here on Slashdot only shows that they are beyond rational discourse.

        Actually, it shows the contrary, he's admitting his bias up front which shows he is capable of analysing his own bias and compensating for it.

        Your comment on the other hand shows that you aren't capable of this, further more you feel compelled to attack anyone who does not share your point of view, which goes to show you are not capable of discussing the issue rationally.

        BTW, I have read the article and disagree with the GP. To me this sounds like a serious overheating issue. I've had a few in the pas

  • It is caused by (Score:5, Informative)

    by toxygen01 (901511) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:07AM (#35549960) Journal
    iStat menu (most probably).

    for those tl;dr:
    most of the users report that after uninstalling istat menu pro (and it's "fan control" set to on by default) the problem goes away...

    keep panicking...
    • We can keep panicking? Phew.. I mean, AAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • Re:It is caused by (Score:4, Informative)

      by sk19842 (841452) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @12:50PM (#35551788)

      iStat isn't necessary to cause the problem. Most people seem to be able to reproduce the issue by opening Photo Booth and trying to install/compile Boost from MacPorts (per these directions [apple.com]). FWIW, following these directions just crashed my 2011 15" MBP.

      It seems to be an ATI graphics card issue, because some people report that they can get a stable machine by setting their graphics to integrated only with gfxCardStatus [codykrieger.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sammcj (1616573)
      That's no true so don't spread uninformed rubbish. There are a pile of people having the problem who have never installed istat pro or any other fan controller.
  • Software Related (Score:5, Informative)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:10AM (#35549986)

    According to the thread this is software related. Removing smcfancontrol seems to be fixing the problem. I have to wonder how that got out the door.

    • by jmaline (26165) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:20AM (#35550060)

      Smcfancontrol is 3rd party software, not Apple.

      I've long wanted macfixit.com to have some prominent indicator on stories about problems. The indicator? I'M AN IDIOT AND I INSTALLED SOME LOW-LEVEL "HAXIE" AND IT CAUSED PROBLEMS. BECAUSE WHO COULD IMAGINE THAT PATCHING CHANGES INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S SOFTWARE COULD HAVE BAD SIDE-EFFECTS. AS I SAID I'M AN IDIOT.

      OK, maybe a little wordy. But it'd help me quickly skip articles reporting "problems" where the "fix" was to uninstall some crazy low-level hack.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When you say "got out the door", are you talking about how Apple allowed the machine to be released with this "flaw"? In case you don't know, smcfancontrol is not apple-provided software.

      Who could ever guess that if you're running unsupported third-party packages that monkey around with power management settings it could make your machine crash? I mean, that's just nuts.

    • My brand new MBP 17" locked up three times last night, and I don't have SMCFanControl installed.

  • by mario_grgic (515333) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @09:15AM (#35550020)
    I bought top of the line 2010 17'' Macbook Pro fully loaded with matte screen too. Loved the machine (it was almost as fast as my 8 core Mac Pro), but it would freeze unexpectedly, and not necessarily under load either. So, after some research I found similar killometer long thread on apple discussions forum. So, I reluctantly and sadly returned it to Apple for full refund. I'm extremely happy with the customer service (they didn't ask me any questions or pressured me to keep it or anything, just said "So, what do you want to do?", i.e. attempt a replacement or refund). But, I'm not happy with the fact that you can spend $4000 on a computer and have it not working. Now I'm scared to even attempt to buy another one. It's somewhat of a disappointing experience.

    I should also mention that I have 7 other Macs (of which only one portable - 2008 Aluminum Macbook) that all worked out of the box without a single issue. So, I don't know if only their top of the line Macbook Pros have these issues due to heat dissipation or something else?
     
  • Never buy a first run model of anything, even Apple. I have used their gear for a long time but once burned... actually 2x burned. Both were first run models and both had severe issues. What makes it worse is the Apple Spin Machine rarely will acknowledge these issues and first buyers are screwed. With the premium you pay they should kiss your ass for the purchase. But it's part of the cool culture and all that I guess. I'm perfectly content with waiting until a model is about through with its run before I
  • Mine crashed too, except for me it showed MAC LOAD LETTER in large font on the screen.

  • by evanism (600676) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @10:36AM (#35550662) Journal
    No, not fanbois. Wankers. Dickheads. Poster included. I have an iMac pro. It overheated, it froze. I thought, wow, a CPU in need of heatgooze. Took it in as I didn't want to open it. One day later, yup, gooze. What makes me really puke about apple fanbois is they think henny penny's world is crashing down with every minor issue. Apple will save me. Apple will pull my stupid worthless ass out of a sling. I won this as a prize, and love the hardware (runs ubuntu) but the starry eyed doe featured flat faced awe of apple schmucks makes me want to call them naughty words. No brains all of them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2011 @01:09PM (#35551916)

    This happened to select 2010 models as well - the problem is that the video card overheats and tries to switch back to integrated and the machine barfs all over that. (If you use a laptop cooling pad, this tends not to happen, although there are still some non-heat-related "hangs" in switching between integrated and discrete graphics). If you have ssh enabled, you can indeed see that the machine hasn't crashed, it just isn't drawing to the display (because the display is now connected to the other video card, but something - OpenCL, CoreGraphics, whatnot - didn't get the memo to write to a different display).

    If you can make your machine do this reliably, you can take it to an Apple store, show it to them (being able to ssh helps), and they will replace the machine for you. You may of course get another machine with the same problem, but you also might not...so you have the option of rolling the dice on a new machine until someone comes up with a software fix. (You can also go into the Energy Saver control panel and force the discrete graphics to be used all the time, at the expense of your battery life, which tends to resolve the problem).

  • by yanyan (302849) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @01:49PM (#35552164)

    Seriously, i don't get all the fuss. I got about 8 applications open, iLife stuff, Garage Band with a work in progress containing 42 audio tracks, word processing, and a few terminals compiling GNU stuff. No cra

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