Problems, Solutions Reported with 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, 11:46
Category: MacBook Pro

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Apple’s 17″ unibody MacBook Pro notebook has been out for about a week or so and if you have one, it may just qualify as the Coolest Thing Ever. Still, according to MacFixIt, a number of users have reported experiencing problems with their new notebooks. Though the problems aren’t widespread, here’s what you should know and be aware of should you encounter these issues:
GPU Issues:
Apple’s recent history has drawn attention to a batch of GeForce graphics processors that caused their notebook displays to randomly shut off. While the current laptops do not appear to suffer this problem, several users have reported what appears to be GPU overheating, as well as some instances of persistent graphical artifacts. These artifacts appear as either green or pink patches, grids, or lines on the display which primarily happens when users run graphically intensive applications such as games. Other users have found similar artifacts when running high-definition video.
The issues was described by poster “dallen33″ on the Apple Discussions board:

“Just got my new 17″ MBP unibody. I was watching an episode of 24 in 720p and green lines started appearing over the video. I felt the notebook and it was incredibly hot.”

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Apple Gives MacBook Pro Small Speed Bump

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Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009, 10:57
Category: MacBook Pro

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Following up on Apple’s associated product releases today with revisions to the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro, Apple also adjusted the specifications of its 15″ MacBook Pro. According to Macworld, Apple is currently offering its top-of-the-line standard configuration of the 15″ MacBook Pro with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor at US$2,499. This serves as a slight boost from the previous 2.53GHz speed. For those who crave the most power possible in a 15-inch MacBook, there’s a US$300 build-to-order option that will top out the system at 2.93 GHz, up from the previous top speed of 2.8 GHz.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and, as always, let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Best Buy Offering 8GB iPhone 3G to Some Reward Zone Members for US$99

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 08:37
Category: iPhone

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In the several years I’ve shopped at Best Buy, I’ve never signed up for their Reward Zone program. And maybe it’s time I did.
According to Macworld, Best Buy is apparently selling both the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G for US$100 off their respective retail prices. And unlike similar past deals from AT&T, these are brand new handsets, not refurbished units.
The catch: The deal is only applicable to Best Buy Premier Silver Reward Zone members, the “silver” status arriving if you’ve spent US$2,500 at Best Buy during a calendar year.
The other proviso: Customers need to have been a Reward Zone member by February 21st, so it’s too late to swing out, snag a MacBook Pro, sign up for the Reward Zone program and save that much more off an iPhone 3G. The price is also only good through February 28th, requires an in-store purchase and for the user to sign a two-year contract with AT&T.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this offer at your local Best Buy, let us know in the comments or forums.

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How To: Get Around Unibody MacBook Pro Freezes During Screenshots

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 08:30
Category: How-To

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As exciting and cool as your new unibody MacBook Pro may happen to be, there may be some bugs to sort out.
According to MacFixIt, a number of users have posted to the Apple Discussions board complaining that the screenshot function on their late-2008/unibody MacBook Pro notebooks cause the system to freeze for a few minutes.
Apple Discussions poster ikarus79m described the situation as follows:

“I have noticed a super weird bug with my new MacBook Pro. At least while running the integrated graphics chipset (not yet tried in power mode.) When I snap a screenshot using Shift+Command+3 (or 4) my computer takes the screen grab, however, then freezes for a minute or two. After that it comes back to life.”

There are several potential causes for this problem, the first being a driver issue, where the screenshot utility is more prone to problematic behavior when running with the drivers for the newer computers. This may be supported by some users having the problem only when running on the GeForce 9400M GPU.
Potential fixes are as follows:

Repair permissions: This problem seems to be influenced by some permissions problems for core system files. Fixing permissions using Disk Utility seems to help the problem. Alternative to Disk Utility, users might wish to do a more in-depth system cleaning using a third-party utility such as AppleJack or OnyX. These utilities can fix multiple problems beyond just permissions, since they can clear many caches, run built-in maintenance scripts, and run a variety of other tasks to keep the computer running optimally.
Reset the SMC and PRAM: While it’s unlikely that hardware settings in the SMC and PRAM would directly affect the screen shot utility, some users have seen improvement after resetting them. It is possible that some faulty setting could interfere with driver function. To reset the PRAM, hold the options-command-P-R keys down all at once after restarting, allowing the computer to reset s couple of times before releasing the keys and allowing the computer to boot normally. This Apple Knowledgebase article (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411) contains the steps for resetting the SMC on various MacBook models.
Workaround: Because this problem is with the internal screen capture utility, users can bypass it by using a third-party screenshot utility.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iFixIt Posts Full 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro Disassembly/Report

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Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 08:16
Category: MacBook Pro

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Tech guru and Mac-centered repair outfit iFixIt has fully disassembled Apple’s new 17″ MacBook Pro notebook, as mentioned over on the Apple Core.
The new notebook features a battery that is not accessible without removing the notebook’s entire bottom panel. Apple has apparently secured the 12820mAh battery with three tri-wing screws to discourage removal, although the battery can be swapped using the correct tools and weighs approximately 1.25 pounds, which is 20% of the computer’s total mass. Aftermarket battery manufacturers are likely to offer a replacement soon.
Apple has also shifted the notebook’s Bluetooth board from its previous location and the component now resides behind the optical drive.
Other changes included the unit’s Sunon fan being physically larger than the 15″ unibody MacBook Pro fan and featuring “MagLev” technology which incorporates magnetic bearings to suspend the fan shaft without any contact between parts. This change is claimed to offer improved rotational stability, reduced vibration and increased resistance to high temperatures.
The new 17″ MacBook Pro still displays an internal layout similar to the 15″ MacBook Pro. Finally, Apple has also decided not to include a Mini DisplayPort Adapter, in its latest model.
Head on over to the link for the full tear-down and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new notebook, please let us know what you make of it in the comments or forums.

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Unibody 17″ MacBook Pro Notebooks Now Shipping

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 16th, 2009, 09:01
Category: News

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A slew of readers have informed AppleInsider that their order updates for Apple’s unibody 17″ MacBook Pro notebook have been updated to “shipping” as of Friday.
The notebook, which was launched in January at Macworld, showed signs of delay when some customers were told their orders would likely slip into March despite promises it would ship in late January. Early this month, the company let many of these buyers know that their orders wouldn’t ship for about two weeks due to problems “wrapping up” production.
The reason for the delay is currently unknown.
If you’ve heard naything from your end or received an order update, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Another Bulging MacBook Pro Battery

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2007, 00:27
Category: battery

Here’s another picture of a bulged MacBook Pro battery from PowerPage reader “Abe.”

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I called Apple on Monday and got a replacement with a pre-paid airbill for the return today. Zero problem with them on the phone. Once I told them what had happened he did not even ask any questions. Said a new one is on the way. That makes me think there have been many and that they’d rather keep it quiet. Anyway, these pics on the old and the replacement should give you an idea of how much it expanded. It measures more and a quarter of an inch of expansion right in the middle.

Three more pics after the jump…

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CoolBook Bug Update Fixes CPU Setting Issue

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Date: Tuesday, November 21st, 2006, 10:58
Category: Software

Shareware author Magnus Lundholm has updated his program, CoolBook, a $10 application which allows the user to adjust the clock speed and voltage of Intel Core Duo and Core 2 Duo processors.
A bug which was discovered and has been corrected in the latest version of the program, prevents the CPU from running at the user-configured performance mode when the laptop is running solely from a power adapter without a battery installed.
Lundholm also suggests that CoolBook users can quit the installer once it’s finished its task, then open CoolBook and enter preferred settings for the battery and power adapter modes before restarting.
Although the Intel Core Duo and Core 2 Duo processors are renowned for running at much cooler temperatures than their G4 predecessors, Lundholm’s published benchmarks have recorded temperature decreases by as much as 14°C (25.2° F).

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Incredible MacBook Pro Noise

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Date: Tuesday, September 5th, 2006, 00:02
Category: MacBook Pro

2 weeks ago, I started hearing this really loud noise coming from the right side of my MacBook Pro (it’s not the hard drive). The first time, it was so loud, I thought my computer was going to explode!
I sent it to Apple… and 5 days later, I got my computer back. To my surprise, the noise was still there (I also had a faulty right speaker with crappy sound quality… which they didn’t fix either).
This time, I made a video of the sound. Tell me if you’ve heard this before, because I sure haven’t… it’s incredible. My computer is at AppleCare, again, and I’ve argued with a Genius at the Genius bar. I said that they had to make it up for me, somehow. He said that if they make the mistake again, then… we’ll talk about something else. I said I didn’t agree. Now I’m trying to see how I can communicate with someone to tell them my situation.
Here’s the video with the incredible noise:

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Crumpler $4M Home; The Horseman

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Date: Wednesday, August 30th, 2006, 11:42
Category: Luggage

PowerPager Bob Snow adds to the bag discussion:

My first exposure to Crumpler was about 4 years ago in S.F. I was staying in “Graphics Gulch” and they have some superb photo galleries and pro level camera shops.
Last week I bought a 4 Million Dollar Home (the Crumpler camera bag, not the home) for US$58 at Circuit City. It comes in a metallic box with a picture of an over the top Mansion. They make other sizes 1, 2 and 6 Million as well. My favorite Crumpler name is their “Baby Scarer”.
I also purchased a “Breakfast Buffet” cheap/used laptop bag I got on eBay and modified to fit my slightly too big MacBook. It is a great bag, but has no outside pockets for flat things like plane tickets. You always have to lift the flap, which makes me glad the laptop compartment has an extra Velcro closure.

…and Emory weighs in:
Crumpler's The Horseman

Crumpler’s The Cashmere Blazer was on my list until i figured out that it was huge. Not wanting something that large I settled on The Horseman (US$155):
My main bag that I travel and work with is a Boblbee Megalopolis backpack. It is the bag I always come back to, but sometimes I don’t want to carry a backpack. So I was looking into other types of bags, and was almost ready to order a messenger bag from Chrome when I saw this one.
This bag is designed to accommodate 15” and 17” laptops, and I’m usually carrying either a 12” PowerBook or a 15” ThinkPad. But I’m also usually slinging around notebooks, index cards, a book or two, my iPod and/or a Sony PSP, a Wacom tablet (much easier to manipulate OmniGraffle or Visio documents when you’re not using a mouse!) and other assorted bits. Usually some sort of camera is included, so being able to carry one of those as well is critical.
Its quite easy to stuff this thing to gills, but even fully-loaded it is quite manageable.
I love bags.

Read Emory’s complete Horseman review here.

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