Fans face freezing Apple MacBook Pros
Quad-core overheating woes for some
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. ®
Can I just be the first to say:
"It just works!"
Acer's stuff is pretty much rubbish.
Software, not hardware
Word on the forums is that it's a problem with a 3rd party bundled application, iStat and its fan control software (smcfancontrol), and the fix is to just yank it out.
As a test analyst, this sort of screw-up makes me smile - cos it means one more set of muppets gets the message on QC. Testing may not be rocket surgery but it is essential.
What's that gurgling noise? It's the sound of the rest of Apple's remaining reputation for quality, vanishing down the toilet, to join its reputation for openness in the rather crowded sewer.
Re: Don't do the CAN-CAN
Nearly all of the people with issues in the largest Apple discussion thread on this fixed the problem by uninstalling smcfancontrol or gfxcardstatus. Two programs that interfere with the standard operation of the hardware/firmware.
True, a program shouldn't cause an issue like this. But also true is that you should leave the machine to manage it's hardware as programmed.