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Fans face freezing Apple MacBook Pros

Quad-core overheating woes for some

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A fair few buyers of Apple latest generation of 15in and 17in MacBook Pros have begun complaining that their new machines are locking up when asked to perform a task that sets the second-gen Intel Core i CPU racing.

Apple's support forum contains a lengthy thread full stories of fans' freezing MacBook Pros.

Many of the users who state their system specs note the presence of a Core i7 processor, a four-core chip. Apple also ships machines with dual-core CPUs, both Core i5 and i7 variants.

It's also important to point out that some forum contributors have had no problem with their machines, even those with the quad-core processors. The issue seems to be striking folk with a 2.2GHz or higher Core i7.

It also appears to be hitting folk running graphically intensive apps, which may point the finger at the machines' discrete AMD Radeon HD GPUs - either the 6750M or the 6490M.

Reg Hardware tested the 2.0GHz, quad-core i7-based MacBook Pro 15in and experienced no such problems when thrashing the CPU with video encoder Handbrake or when running the PCMark Vantage benchmark suite in a Windows 7 Bootcamp partition.

Interestingly, Mac repair specialist iFixit.com noted excessive application of thermal grease - used to thermally couple the CPU and GPU to their respective coolers - in the 15in MacBook Pro and noted that "time will tell if the gobs of thermal paste applied to the CPU and GPU will cause overheating issues down the road".

Past MacBook Pros - particular the first of the line back in 2006 - were criticised for containing excessive amount of thermal grease, and some of them also experienced freeze issues. A number of the machines were replaced by Apple for "faulty logic boards", but whether this was code for the thermal grease excess, generic system failures or a specific motherboard problem was never revealed. ®

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