Apple Working on Fix for Hard Drive Noise Issue in MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 10th, 2009, 04:32
Category: hard drive, MacBook Pro

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Apple may be working on a fix for a MacBook Pro issue in which owners have complained of annoying hard drive beeps and clicks from their notebooks.

According to AppleInsider, an Apple Discussions Board thread containing hundreds of posts features users complaining that their 7,200RPM hard drives will randomly click and beep, and some have experienced slower access times. The issue appears to have grown since it was first reported in January.

In recent days, numerous users have posted in the thread on the Apple Support forums, stating they were told on the phone by AppleCare representatives that the company is working on a fix. On Friday, user jgcamil wrote that he was told by Level 2 support that Apple is “highly” aware of the issue and it is one of the company’s “highest priorities.” But, he was also told he would have to “live with” the issue until an update is made available.

One AppleInsider reader whose MacBook Pro beeps occasionally said he’s frustrated that Apple has remained quiet on his costly investment. He said after researching the problem, he believes it’s caused by the original firmware for the hard drive.

“The crazy thing is that you can read comments about AppleCare Engineers stance on this issue: ‘Its normal behavior,’ (and) ‘Apple´s Working on a fix,’” he told AppleInsider. “Also, some of them are recommending doing a complete reinstall, when this issue is factory related.”

Users have also uploaded videos documenting the issue, including the one below:



If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

NewerTech Releases Intelligent Battery Charging Station for Apple Unibody Notebook Batteries

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Date: Friday, August 7th, 2009, 06:26
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, News

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Yesterday, accessory provider NewerTech announced the release of its Intelligent Battery Charging Station, a peripheral designed to charge and condition the batteries used by Apple’s 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.

The unit features two bays (one that charges while the other charges and conditions) and NewerTech claims that by conditioning the battery, you can get longer runtimes and better lifetimes from your laptop batteries. The charger retails for US$150 before shipping and handling.

Apple Apparently Reconsidering Matte Displays on iMacs, Notebooks

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 05:56
Category: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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When Apple began to slowly convert its notebook and iMacs displays to highly-reflective glass surfaces shortly after the release of the original iPhone in 2007, opinions were mixed as to the change. In short, Jason pretty much Hulked Out given the annoyance. And there may have been smashing.

The screen, which has been considered almost as reflective as a mirror, has drawn complaints from users using the notebooks in outdoor environments.

According to AppleInsider and the Apple Core, in January 2009, Apple appeared to concede the point that glossy screens aren’t for everyone when they announced the new 17″ MacBook Pro with a matte screen option. The company included a US$50 upcharge for anti-glare but offered users a choice. Apple then went on to release the rest of the unibody MacBook Pro line with glossy-only displays.

Per the AppleInsider article, Apple may have realized the error of its glossy ways, as the company is “mulling the possibility of extending anti-glare display options to more of its Macs” and that “the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros would be the most likely candidates.”

Other World Computing Releases Free Online Library of DIY Videos for Apple Notebook Owners Looking to Upgrade Components

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:51
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, PowerBook G4, PowerBook G4 Aluminum, PowerBook G4 Titanium

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Accessory manufacturer Other World Computing announced the completion of its series of Do It Yourself videos for Apple’s entire MacBook and MacBook Pro product line on Tuesday. The videos cover all of the DIY options for these laptops, including memory, hard drive and/or optical drive components for all of Apple’s laptop line from the Titanium PowerBook G4 to the latest Unibody line as well as include warnings for the issues customers should be considering and other instructions needed to do the upgrade.

The installation videos are being offered for free, and OWC has made them available in low, medium, and high resolutions.

Some MacBook Pro Owners Reporting Strange Noises, Errors with 7200 RPM Hard Drives

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 9th, 2009, 03:33
Category: hard drive, MacBook Pro

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Some owners of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros with faster 7200RPM hard drives are reporting strange clicking and beeping noises along with performance issues. According to MacNN, though the cause of the problem is unclear, an Apple Support forum thread has many users suggesting that it is caused by an incompatibility between the Seagate hard drive’s G-Force protection system and MacBook hardware. Some users have called Apple Support or taken their computers to an Apple Genius Bar both of which have tried fixing the problem by running a “capture” or resetting the computer’s “PRAM” during start up — neither of these solutions seem to have resolved the issue fully according to users in Apple’s support forum.

The issue could possibly affect users editing video, or those whose computer use requires sequential reading and writing. Users are also disputing where the sound is coming from within the computer with each user suggesting the sound comes from opposite sides of the computer, thereby making the rumor all the more uncertain.

The problem seems to only affect users with 7200RPM drives as users with 5400RPM drives are not reporting any similar problems.

Apple has yet to acknowledge any factory defects and has not made any comment regarding the sound and performance issues.

13″ Unibody MacBook Pro Notebook May Be in Short Supply

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009, 04:01
Category: MacBook Pro, retail

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Apple’s recently-released 13″ MacBook Pro notebook looks to be off to a good start, albeit the company may be having difficulty keeping some of the model stocked as it enters the back-to-school shopping season.

According to AppleInsider, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster pointed out that the Apple online store is currently reflecting lead times of 7 to 10 business days for the faster of the two 13″ MacBook Pros. He notes this is the most extensive delay affecting the company’s 13″ notebook models ever.

Munster, which regularly tracks and records lead times for products on the Mac maker’s online store, said he had to look back more than two years into his records to find similar delays, and even then they spanned just 5 to 7 business days.

With the entry-level 15″ MacBook Pro using the same 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo chip also reflecting such delays, Munster put in a call to 10 Apple retail stores and found that 7 of them were short at least one of the 13″ models, but not always the speedier model.

“We see this as a sign that demand is outpacing the company’s build expectations, and it may take several weeks to reach a supply demand equilibrium,” he told clients.

Shortages of Apple’s mainstream notebook offerings comes just weeks after the company kicked off its back-to-school promotion offering students a free iPod touch with each Mac purchase and then rebranded its 13″ unibody MacBooks as more premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker.

For Macs, the Piper Jaffray analyst said he’s increasingly confident Apple will report sales of 2.2 million systems for the June quarter when it announces results a bit later this month. That compares to the nearly 2.5 million Macs the company sold during the same quarter one year ago.

Apple Releases MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:23
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

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Apple released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 patch on Tuesday, a 3.4 megabyte download which addresses an issue reported by a small number of customers using drives based on the SATA 3Gbps specification with the June 2009 MacBook Pro. While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.

The update is also available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Apple Opts for Slower SATA Spec for Hard Disk Drives in New 13″ MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 08:12
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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In spite of Apple’s introduction of the 13″ unibody MacBook Pro notebook at WWDC last week, it may have opted for a slower standard. According to Engadget, the new MacBook Pro notebooks that ship with conventional hard disks may only have a 1.5GBps SATA enabled, while SSD configs are apparently getting the full 3.0GBps SATA II experience that used to be standard.
Albeit most people this won’t make too much difference since traditional hard drives can’t move data that fast, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re hoping to buy an hard drive unit and swap in a speedier SSD, since your max performance will be bottlenecked.

New 13″, 15″ MacBook Pro Notebooks Capable of Booting from SD Card Clot

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 12th, 2009, 17:23
Category: MacBook Pro

Apple’s newly-released 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks now boast a feature in which users can boot from the SD card slot in a pinch.

According to a tech note published by Apple, users can install Mac OS X on an SD card and use it as a startup volume simply by changing the default partition table to GUID using Disk Utility, and then formating the card to use the Mac OS Extended file format.

This capability can be particularly useful in the event that you run into problems with a MacBook Pro’s built-in storage options, particularly those equipped with traditional hard disk drives, which include moving parts.

The company notes that the new MacBook Pros have a maximum speed of 240 Mbit/s for SD media using the SD card slot, which easily exceeds the transfer rate of most SD media. For example, Class 2 media has a maximum transfer rate of 4 Mbit/s; Class 4 media has a maximum transfer rate of 4.8 Mbit/s; and Class 6 media has a maximum transfer rate of 45 Mbit/s.

SD cards that conform to the SD 1.x and 2.x standards should work in the slots, though they also accept cards that are Standard SD (4 MB to 4 GB) and SDHC (4 GB to 32 GB).  MultiMediaCards (MMC) can also be used, as well as MiniSD, MicroSD, and higher density formats like MiniSDHC and MicroSDHC, assuming they’re first inserted into one of the “passive” adapters on the market that conform to the width and thickness specifications for the slot.

Although the SD card specification for a memory card is 32mm x 24mm x 2.1 mm, Apple says you can also use thinner cards, such as the aforementioned MMCs.  Cards that have a thickness greater than 2.1mm or that have surfaces that exceed 2.1mm, should not be used, the company warns, as they may damage the SD card slot if inserted.

The slots also accept cards that exceed 32 GB, but as Apple notes, most media manufactures preformat their media using common block-and-cluster sizes that do not approach the theoretical limits of a given file system.

Most SD cards use the FAT32 file format which is commonly available up to a capacity of 32 GB.  Some smaller capacity cards use the FAT16 file format, which is generally available in capacities of up to only 2 GB.

SD cards that use the exFAT file system are not supported, nor are SDIO (Secure Digital Input Output) cards.

iFixIt Posts Full 13″ Unibody MacBook Pro Disassembly/Report

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2009, 17:58
Category: MacBook Pro, Pictures

With Apple’s new 13″ Unibody MacBook Pro (formerly the MacBook) having been released, the guys at iFixIt did what they do best: making a mess of the latest Apple hardware and reporting on it.

Over in their latest teardown, the guys have dug into Apple’s newest notebook and discovered some cool stuff, such as a similar battery architecture to the 17″ unibody MacBook Pro, the new .5″ SD card slot and how to cleanly remove the logic board if necessary.

Take a gander and let us know what you think!