The 2012 27" iMac is a fantastic system marred by poor quality control.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by WilliamG, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #1
    Here is a tale of woe. I'm not crying foul, or expecting sympathy or anything of that sort. I just wanted to express on a forum how disappointed I am with Apple's quality control on their 2012 27" iMac.

    So here's how it started.

    Ordered a 27" i7 iMac on Apple.com the second they went live back in November, 2012.

    Received iMac December 15. All was fine. The screen was a tad yellower than I would have liked, but I was willing to live with it because I had no screen bleed or other screen issues. I had the typical IPS "glow" in the corners, but no bleed.

    However, I started to experience a terrible buzzing from the graphics card whenever I would be playing games that taxed the GPU. It drove me nuts to the point of setting up an exchange. However, that took about six weeks to organize.

    The first replacement had a nasty piece of "dirt" of some sort under the glass, right in the middle.

    The second replacement, third replacement, fourth replacement had absolutely ghastly screen bleed, and I've been forced to basically stick with my the fifth replacement, which - while not perfect (I don't expect perfection anyway), is "acceptable."

    I took some pictures of three of the replacements. I know this is not scientific, but the bleed on these LG panels was beyond acceptable, especially when watching a movie. My wife even peered in a few times and had several exclamations when I asked her for her opinion on whether these panels were acceptable.

    All these pictures were taken at 65% iMac brightness, which is "normal" brightness level. Also note that the "bleed" in the top left and right of each iMac is NOT bleed, but simply the IPS glow. All iMacs will glow like this in the top left/right of the display. If you move your head directly in front of the glowing top left/right corners, the glow will disappear.

    Anyway, here was one of the replacement systems. Note the outrageous screen bleed in the lower left region. Watching movies on this was, in a word, awful. Just awful. :(

    [​IMG]


    The next iMac wasn't any better, but just smeared that bleed around the left side of the screen. There was literally NO black levels on the left side of the screen, and this was by far some of the worst bleed I've seen on a consumer electronics display:


    [​IMG]


    And then the last iMac I took pictures of, you can see how there's reasonably better black levels on the lower left, and then the lower right is this insane hotspot of bleed. :eek: Crazy...


    [​IMG]


    So there's my tale of woe. To Apple's credit, they were able to see the issues themselves in their back room under "normal" lighting at the store, and apologized profusely for the issues. It is is possible to get a mostly yellow-free/bleed-free iMac, but it may take quite a few exchanges.

    Oh, and none of the replacement iMacs experienced the terrible buzzing noise of my first one, so that's something at least. :)

    It's just a shame, the whole thing. The 2012 27" iMac is simply fantastically powerful. That Apple managed to stuff an Intel 3770 CPU, a 680MX 2GB GPU, PSU, RAM, several drives etc, and have it cooled by just one extremely quiet fan (in normal use) is a testament to fantastic design. It's a shame the LCD panel is by far (to me at least) the weakest link in the whole setup.

    I can't speak for other people, but I'd be happy paying several hundred dollars more to guarantee a higher quality panel.

    I really hope nobody else has to go through the nightmare of iMac exchanges. Thankfully my boot OS is on a Thunderbolt SSD, so I didn't have to spend hours reinstalling my OS. Just connect my drive and away I went! Still, lugging an iMac back to the store over and over was not my idea of fun.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    #2

    Hi WilliamG,

    Yes, I've been following your posts for a while now on this with interest - despite all your trouble, you seem to have a knowledgeable and balanced perspective on it all - and really sympathize. What a horrible mess. I hope you feel okay with your situation now, considering....

    I guess I'm wondering what you think the best way for people to deal with this problem is, at the moment. I've been trying to decide about the 27" for a while now; it really does seem like an great system. But reading about your problems, and those of others, makes me think that maybe the quality control is such a serious issue that it's worth waiting.

    I don't know much about Apple's history with things like this. What do you think the chances are that QC on the 27" screens is likely to improve in the near future? Is it worth taking a chance (my estimate of this is shaped by the fact that I'm in Hungary, where multiple returns are probably way more difficult than in the States) on a good screen (they're clearly out there)? Or do you think it makes more sense to wait until the fall, say, when they may have ironed some of these problems out?

    It's not possible to know any of this, of course, but I'd really appreciate your (and other people's) opinions!

    Thanks! :)
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    Those are some pretty nasty flashlight spots you have on the panel.

    My new 21.5 base iMac has a perfect uniform screen apart from the normal ips glow.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #5
    Just to add my experience:

    My first iMac 27" had a yellow tint at the bottom that I just couldn't get over. I don't mind some non-uniformity (looking at my 2008 24" iMac shows it was far from uniform) but the difference from the top to the bottom was just so jarring on white/gray segmented screens (think MacRumors forums or Google Reader where it was just so apparent that the bottom was a very different color.) Other than that, there was next to no light bleed or other issues.

    I returned for another and this one still has some yellowing at the bottom, but it's minimal and you really have to try and look for it (turn off the lights and turn the brightness down). In normal usage or conditions, it's no worse than any other monitor. However, there is some additional light bleed on the lower left hand side that I didn't have before. Honestly though, I rarely watch movies on it so light bleed is just not an issue for me. So I think this one is good to go.

    I think part of the issue (for me) is that I just paid $2500 for a computer and expect everything to be perfect. As I started to critically look at other monitors I use at work and other places, most of them have these same issues. The work monitor I'm typing on now has a viewing angle where there is no way to see the monitor color uniformly lit from top to bottom and it's a fairly nice Dell monitor. And my iPhone 4S has a non-uniform screen that I got used to after a while and now don't even notice it. But since I only paid $200 for it (in theory), then I guess I didn't care as much. I think part of it is just higher expectations from Apple and the fact that we just shelled out a lot of money. Maybe we should have these expectations or maybe not.

    Anyway, I'd love a "perfect" screen, but I doubt they exist and once I got it, I'd probably not really care after a month or so anyway. I'd just be using the computer.
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    William G
    Back on Feb 12 I put up this post (in another thread in which you made complaints about your iMac experience):
    =====
    "Tell me about it. This 4th one isn't 100% perfect, but I'm so drained from exchanging iMacs I'm not sure I can continue to do it. For the record, I cannot believe I'm on my fourth, especially after my 2009 iMac lasted me three years and was fine on the first try..."

    Old conversation between patient and doctor:
    Patient: "Doc, it hurts when I do this"
    Doctor: "Then don't do that"

    Have you considered just returning the iMac -- since every time you unbox one it "hurts" because it doesn't meet your standards -- and instead get a decent Mac Mini and the display of your choice?
    =====

    You panned my reply, but here you are once again expressin' anguish over yet one more iMac.

    Like the good doctor says, when one keeps repeating something that causes one's self pain, the best cure is to simply stop doing that -- and try another approach.

    I'll go out on a limb and make the prediction before others in this forum that you are NEVER going to be happy with the current iteration of the iMac, no matter how many times you send one back and get another.

    In that case, the only realistic option is to give up on the iMac and try something else.

    Consider getting either a Mac Pro (if not the current version, a refurb from the Apple online store), or, get the quad-core Mini with the 2.6ghz CPU. Get yourself a good 3rd-party display and be done with all this hasslin'….
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    Boy that's a tough one. I know I'd be nervous buying a 27" iMac somewhere that didn't have an easy exchange/return policy. QC might improve, but I'm not sure it will.. :(

    Zero.

    I'm sorry, but your advice wasn't helpful then, and it wasn't helpful now. My current iMac I'm quite content with, and because I dealt with this, I now have a wonderful machine, with a powerful GPU. A Mac Pro + powerful GPU = how much $? A quad-core mini has an Intel HD4000 GPU and can't take 32GB RAM. Only one Thunderbolt port, too, and buying things to address this = more money. Also the i7 mini is quite a noisy beast under load. Not good enough!

    Your doctor analogy simply isn't valid, I'm afraid. Nothing touches the iMac. It really is just that good. I'm glad I went through the exchanges. I just wish I didn't have to. That is all.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Joined:
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    California
  9. thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
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    Seattle
    #9
    That's a little too much nostalgia and not enough reality, for me. :D
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Well heres basicly whats going to go down, as did with the g4 mdd and the imac g5.

    1) apple launches a great product
    2)Shipping gets all messed up and it takes forever for people to get their orders
    3)when they finally do get their orders people find that the quality is not very good
    4)after so many weeks of replacing them apple finally decides "**** we can't sell this many refurb macs, we have to actually start repairing them"
    5)they have a program that lasts about 2-3 years where customers who have the product can bring it in and have the faulty part replaced
    6) rinse and repeat
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #11
    Ah I see.. Well that stinks. I didn't start using iMacs till 2009 (had MacBook Pros prior to that), as I was never a Mac fan until Leopard, since Leopard made Macs... howshallwesay....accessible. :)
     
  12. TennisandMusic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #12
    You know, if any other company were handling their computers like Apple has been handling their iMac launch, they would be absolutely lambasted by the Apple side of things (thinking guys like Gruber here).

    I am surprised people are putting up with this.

    By the way, I don't think any iMac screen will ever, ever be uniform. It is the way the panels are made with the yellow phosphor coating. Oh how I wish Apple would simply put iMac internals in a box that I could just hook up to a monitor. They are beautiful computers, but honestly, they are crap.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #13
    Hmm, that second picture/screen wasn't bad, you should have kept that one IMO. Some people need to lower their expectations a bit I think. Maybe I was lucky, my first unit was great, no issues at all. But yes, some glow, esp. in the corners is unavoidable. When I read about people going through 4-5-6 iMacs, I can't help but think "stop obsessing and going over your iMac with a magnifying glass, and just enjoy the machine". That doesn't mean some people have actual issues, and I agree the 1. and 3. screen didn't look great, but stop looking for 100% perfection. Same thing with people going through 4-5 iPads because of yellow tint. Jeeez.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #14
    If you read my post, you'll see I'm not looking for perfection. Also, while that second one doesn't maybe look bad to you in pictures, in person it was absolutely astonishingly awful. As I said, the worst bleed I've ever seen in a CE device.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    The Real Northern California
    #15
    Man, I read all these threads discussing the various problems the new iMac may have . . . . . I am so happy that I've not been exposed to any issues.

    My first Apple computer is quiet, fast, and has a beautiful screen to match its design, gorgeous.

    I don't blame anyone for demanding nothing less-and returning units that do not measure up, for the money you spend on one of these, it ought to be perfect.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Georgio

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    #16
    This is precisely why I waited until the initial rush was over before ordering a new iMac on the last model refresh and then made sure it was a BTO so I was guaranteed a fresh build and not some return.
    From placing the order to receiving the Mac was 4 days and I tracked it all the way from China.
    I'm in the market for a refresh but not for at least another 3 months and again it will be a BTO to guarantee a new build.
     
  17. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    #17

    :(
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
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    Seattle
    #18
    I can't understand that at all. I put my order in for a 2009 iMac the day it was available for order. I received it, it worked perfectly, - the end. I used it for 3 years without a crash/freeze/issue. And at the time that was a whole new redesign/size etc. The 2011 refresh was just a refresh! There was literally nothing worth waiting for in terms of build quality because externally it was exactly the same, including the screen. A few internal changes was it. All you ended up doing was waiting longer and paying the exact same price. I can't see the logic... :confused:

    In any case, the 2012 is an incredible machine. If I had to do it again, sadly (I must be a masochist!) - I would. It really is that good.

    Still, as I said, the QC is a shame. I'm not sure I can see it improving...
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #19
    I would completely agree with WilliamG on this. The 2012 27" iMac is a beautiful and powerful computer but the quality control during manufacturing leaves a lot to be desired.

    I've been through 3 units already. My 1st unit had a yellow, unevenly lit screen and the speakers sounded horribly. My 2nd unit had a slightly yellow screen, a weird ticking noise and image retention. My 3rd (current) unit has the same weird ticking noise and image retention.

    I personally think that a lot of the complaints are centered around the display. Whether it's uneven lighting, yellowing, backlight bleed, image retention, etc., Apple is taking a hit on the displays. From what I understand this new design uses the same LG display panels that the 2011 model used and that model didn't have widespread display problems. Perhaps its the new lamination process as part of the new design? Perhaps LG has tweaked their manufacturing process at the behest of Apple and their new iMac design or to save cost, and as a result they're producing inferior displays? Who knows. It's just a shame that such a beautiful system is marred by poor displays, and that the QC process is allowing such units to be shipped to eagerly waiting customers.

    After my 2nd unit I wrote to Tim Cook to express my frustration and disappointment and the next day I received a call from an Executive Customer Service Representative who immediately sent me a replacement. Unfortunately that 3rd unit was also defective, and after complaining to Apple once more about unit they recommended that I give them one more shot to make it right. They explained that prior to sending me a new replacement unit, they will make sure that my specific unit goes through a further inspection. I was a bit reluctant to go down this route since their QC process was poor enough to result in 3 faulty units being sent to me, but I decided to give it one more shot (since I really love everything else about this machine). The CS rep assured me that Apple is going to really go out of their effort to make it right this time.

    What's interesting about this all is that today that 4th unit was sent on it's way and instead of coming from Shanghai, China (like my previous 3 units), it's coming from San Jose, California. Take from that what you want. I'm not one to have a general negative opinion on Chinese produced goods, but I'm seriously hoping that a good ol' "ASSEMBLED IN THE USA" label results in a perfect unit (and yes, I know that a majority of the "guts" will still be Chinese produced).
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    kazmac

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    #20
    I sympathize with a lot of people in this thread: After my 1999 teal g3 went boom 5 weeks in (and I fought for 2 months to get a brand new iMac) I never had a problem until 2010. My 3rd iMac in 5 months was the charm, but I was skittish because of the two duds I ordered. Part of the reason why I've stuck with Apple is they ultimately come through for me when I need them.

    I'm going to stretch this 2010 as long as I can (especially since I do not need to upgrade immediately now.) I don't mind iDevices being faulty and having to return, but an Apple computer? Yeah, I'd return until I got one was as problem free as possible. I skip most first gen redesigns on Apple products. I really truly hope the U.S. builds will mean more Q.C. in Apple's computers. QC has really slipped the last few years and while you expect some lemons, the same flaws across several builds should make the light bulbs go off at Apple HQ....at any rate, I hope this trend reverses.

    WilliamG, I totally get where you are coming from. May your 2012 27" iMac last a very long time and run just the way you want/need it to.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #21
    Unfortunately must agree with OP. Looks like I've got a bad logic board in mine. And because it took just over a month to manifest itself, I can't just return it. Instead need to go back to Apple Store and have them try to repair it. And I really believe these machines aren't the same once they've been opened and mucked about. Perhaps that's just a psychological thing on my part. But the bad logic board isn't. This launch has reminded me of Apple back in the old days--the bad old days. Overall a lovely machine if/when it works. But so far the QC and frankly the customer service have been unimpressive. These are both areas in which I had previously been blown away.

    I did get a "cost adjustment" on my recent rMBP purchase, so that was cool and I'm certainly not writing off Apple, but for $4k, I expected more from them this time around and instead got less. Unfortunate.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 603

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    Seattle
    #22
    Hey, so what went wrong with your logic board?
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #23
    The iMac won't recognize more than 16GB of RAM or more than 2 RAM slots as full even when each slot is populated. I've now purchased multiple RAM sticks (Crucial and Apple) to prove that it isn't the RAM and the machine will work with 16GB in any 2 slots. However, it's when I try to put in more than 2 sticks that things go sideways and the machine reports 2 slots as empty (without consistency as to which 2 slots btw).

    I brought it in to the store once already when I only had Crucial RAM + the original 8 GB of Apple RAM but the store didn't have any of the new Apple RAM to stick in to troubleshoot. So I actually did that part of the job for them and ordered Apple RAM. No joy. Spoke to AppleCare and they told me to go back to the Apple Store for a logic board replacement. Told me I was not eligible to return the machine. Awesome.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
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    #24
    That is a VERY odd issue. Now you mention it, I recall reading your post about this. I'd imagine you're one of very, very few people this issue affects. Not that it makes your complaint any less valid, of course... A shame. :(
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    #25
    Because of the QC issues I've seen raised, I'm taking the exact opposite approach that you took. What I really want is the 768 GB SSD unit, but since it's BTO I'm going to get the 1 GB Fusion version instead, because I can get that one at my local Apple retail store. That way, if there's an issue, I can (presumably) get it taken care of at the store instead of having to go through the return/reorder process. Not exactly what I really want, but an external USB 3 or TB SSD will work almost as well as the internal SSD.

    It's rather disappointing to read about the QC issues and the long lead times, particularly since Tim Cook was brought in because he was the purchasing chain/production guy who was supposed to keep these issues at bay.
     

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