2011 MacBook Pro Turbo Boost problem may be larger issue than originally thought

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Date: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, 05:57
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The good news is that the new 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks are out and they are generally considered speedy and awesome.

The bad news is that Apple may have been aware for some time of the problem of new MacBook Pros crashing under heavy loads. According PC Pro magazine, Apple appears to have deliberately turned off Turbo Boost for the top-end 13″ model (with a dual-core 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7-2620M processor) when running Windows under Boot Camp.

PC Pro originally thought that Turbo Boost had been disabled under OS X as well, but then tests performed by AnandTech showed that the feature was only disabled under Windows. “We first noticed a problem when the benchmarks finished five full runs and the results popped up on screen: the times taken to complete several of the most intensive tests were rising with each run” says PC Pro. “This would suggest an overheating problem, so we ran a temperature monitor to find out how hot this Sandy Bridge CPU was getting.”

In fact, the CPU was reaching around 93°C — almost 200°F. “93°C is not necessarily too high for a modern CPU, but it is the root cause of the bigger performance problem.” The magazine went on to state that it was sure the processor isn’t turning off Turbo Boost dynamically, since it didn’t work at all during their week of testing no matter what the CPU temperature was. Also, the cheaper model with the i5 processor did use Turbo Boost, as did the i7 model under OS X.

After measuring the underside temperature of the top-end model at 60°C — 140°F — they conclude that it might actually be a better deal to buy the cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pro. If Turbo Boost is disabled on the higher model, the lower-end version will actually run Windows faster than the more expensive MacBook Pro.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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One Response to “2011 MacBook Pro Turbo Boost problem may be larger issue than originally thought”

  1. I brought the 2011 2.7Ghz with 8GB mem from 5th Av. New York. It’s a total con. Turbo is basically disabled, the screen is tiny in relation to the peripheral bezel, and the Intel HD 3000 graphics card is rubbish for anything except basic 2D graphics. I deliberately crippled machine to support sales of the high-end machines, exploiting the fact that a large proportion of people will just buy on spec., only they’ve [Apple] down-clocked this one to make it a dud.
    VERY annoyed at the ‘covert’ downclocking of all the various ‘headline’ features, as the 13″ 2.7Ghz still a top-draw price. I ended up giving the 13″ to my partner, and getting the 17″ 2.3Ghz, 8GB with a 500Gb SSD fo me. That version works as advertised, except when you get over all those dam dewy-eyed brainwashed fan-boy reviews spinning up the ‘on-paper’ stats and Thunderbolt, and when you actually try to use the 17″ as a genuine ‘clamshell mode’ desktop replacement, you realise, for example, that at room temperature, the fanns are sitting there at 4498rpm with a temperature of 69F while I’m typing this text.
    The above 17″ is good. Dam good; essentially twice as fast as my 2008 MacPro 2.8Ghz dual-quad Xeon with 20GB RAM, on paper, but the bits that a twice as fast you hardly use, except for true number-crunching, such as 3D rendering, media transcoding and mathematical computation of embarrassingly parallel problems that easily scale to efficiently use multiple cores with, essentially, a single shared memory address-space, albeit with a very fast interconnect between processes running on each die.
    Smoke, mirrors, and dam sales-people. Why not 16GB memory in the 17″ 2.3Ghz pro? Because it would cannibalise more lucrative sales of SandyBridge MacPros, due out later this year. Apple ar manipulating the whole market, and selling you ‘the Emperors new clothes’ every time. However, buying Apple is still better than buying Microsoft, at least Apple rip you off with something that works as advertised, whereas Microsoft rip you off with shoddy goods so as to convince you to buy the next, and next, and next upgrade.
    Look at the facts. What 90% of actual users probably want, is an un-limited 2.7Ghz i7 dual-core (HT gives you 4 cores anyway that work will with most practical ‘user’ applications, a 17″ screen, a desecrate graphics card. However, this won’t make them [Apple] half the profit of miss-selling a grossly over-powered system to people who will never use it properly. Like selling a top-flight car, and limiting you to standard gas, and the first 3 gears, except with a top-flight price.