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MacBook owners plan mass whine about whining laptops

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A loose affiliation of MacBook Pro owners who together might be called the Apple Noise Abatement Society is calling on fellow users to join them in a worldwide day of action to protest at what they maintain is Apple's unwillingness to solve the noisy notebook issue.

And since the new Intel-based portable Macs seems have a problem with temperature, the group suggests the protest should highlight this too.

The scheme centres on a mass attempt to complain about the heat and noise problems on 20 May, according to a post on the OSx86 Project forum. MacBook Pro owners suffering from either issue - or both - should contact Apple's support services on the day and demand a solution. If enough folk do so, the protesters believe, Apple will take notice and do something about the problem.

"This is our best way to hold Apple accountable and it's our duty to make sure they know we won't tolerate hacks and unsupported fixes to fix an issue that shouldn't be there," writes a poster handled mashugly. "This is nothing malicious and we do it with the most admirable of reasons – telling Apple we love their characteristically high quality and want to ensure it remains. Besides, we pay for the ability to call technical support when have an issue."

So what's the problem? The noise is a high-pitched whine or hiss the machine emits during operation. Some users can't stand it, others are less concerned. Plenty haven't experienced it at all. It's often related to the screen backlight and the integrated webcam, but the machine's power conservation and cooling systems - turning off one of the CPU's two cores seems to do the trick - appears to be the source of the problem.

As for the heat, this is an old (roast) chestnut, stretching back to the original aluminium PowerBooks. They get hot to the touch, sometimes very hot. How hot depends on a variety of factors: processor load, hard drive activity, ambient temperature, air circulation and so on. Apple updated its Mac OS X fan drivers to reduce the problem. This reporter and PowerBook G4 user downgraded the drivers almost immediately. I'd rather have a hot notebook than a noisy one: the update just engaged the laptop's fan at a lower CPU temperature. ®

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