Is my Late 2011 MBP a Lemon?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by r0k, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #1
    I picked up a hires antiglare late 2011 15" MBP late last year. It was new in box at Microcenter for $200 less than refurbs were costing on apple.com. I was so happy.

    Then I put Mountain Lion on the thing. I also put in 8 GB of RAM but got greedy and put in 16 GB of RAM. I have been having app crashes and kernel panics since day one. With 10.8.1 I lost crashplan and I lost the ability to reorder checks from my bank due to Apple's little Java war. I would come into my office and find the fans running full blast with Java using 600% of CPU and 12 GB of memory. I would quit Java and it would relaunch and work for "another few days."

    With 10.8.2, things started working better but I still got the occasional crashed app, especially iPhoto.

    When 10.8.3 came out, I hesitated for a few weeks but finally gave in and let it upgrade. That was the beginning of the end. My fans came on and never went off. I was the victim of a reportcrash loop (posted elsewhere). The AppleCare guys convinced me to reset SMC, clear PRAM and finally reinstall OSX 10.8.

    While my problem is resolved, as I look back on my ownership experience with my MBP, I have had more problems in 5 months of ownership than I had in 5 years of ownership of my 2008 White Macbook. I said out loud more than once to the Apple guys on the phone that if they couldn't help me figure this out soon, I was going to have to consider turning to Dell or HP. :eek: Hence the title of this thread.

    So what was the lemon here? Was the hardware badly designed in that it couldn't tolerate a little extra heat from 16 GB of RAM versus 8GB? Was the OS bad in that it was unstable? I have 10.8.something on my Mac mini and it has never batted an eye. Was it my fault for pushing the limits and putting in 16GB against Apple's recommendation? Even Crucial now lists 16 GB as a supported upgrade for my machine these days (MacBookPro8,2)

    Here is a list of apps that have crashed:
    * crashplan - almost daily due to JVM issues
    * Time Machine - stopped working properly at about 10.8.1
    * iPhoto - crashed on almost every launch (with 300+ GB of photos, 1,000+ events, 10,000+ photos in faces and 500+ photos in places)
    * mail.app - crashed more than once a month
    * chrome - crashed more than once a week - despite click to play and flashblock
    * preview - occasional crashes
    * OSX - found OSX rebooted itself overnight without explanation - 10 times in 5 months - starting with 10.8.1
    * finder / totalfinder - crashed more than once a month
    * eyefi helper - infrequent but random crashes which unpredictably prevented dslr photos from showing up on my Mac where they belong

    I would think Apple engineering is sick of crash reports (accompanied by my increasingly sarcastic comments) from my MBP by now!

    Apps I've used often and had no trouble with at all:
    * Numbers
    * Pages
    * LibreOffice
    * Seashore

    Here was my procedure migrating from my white Macbook to my MBP:
    1 - boot whitebook in target mode
    2 - tell MBP to migrate over firewire from white macbook
    3 - download Mountain Lion (previously purchased for my Mac mini)
    4 - create ML USB stick (boy did THIS save my life later)
    5 - Allow ML to install
    6 - start new TM backup to 2TB usb disk on gen 1 Time Capsule
    7 - "adopt" previous crashplan backup

    Somewhat stable at first under 10.8, worse under 10.8.1, better under 10.8.2 then unusable under 10.8.3.

    I'm now at 10.8.2 (using the combo update) and I'm sort of nervous about trying 10.8.3 again. If I do decide to go to 10.8.3, I'll use a downloaded combo update.

    I have had about a dozen Macs. I only ever did a wipe and install once when my daughter messed up her Mac mini badly by creating dozens of copies of applications in an effort to get around parental controls.:rolleyes:

    I've seen people talking a lot of smack on MR about why Apple should have stopped releasing OS's after Snow Leopard. While I understand their frustration, I like the new features. I like iCloud. I like photostream. I really like shared photostreams. I like having a separate memos app instead of having my memos buried down inside mail.app.

    So if I fully trusted Apple right about now, I'd already be back on 10.8.3. As it is, I was dragged back up to 10.8.2 from 10.8 because my freshly updated iPhoto would no longer launch under 10.8. :mad: What I don't like is the windows-like experience I have been having where I have to spend so much of my valuable time tinkering with OSX to keep it running smoothly.
     
  2. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Wipe it and put the factory RAM back in it. If you have the same problems it's the hardware.

    If you only see the problems after installing some software package, that's to blame.

    If you don't have problems, add your 16GB RAM back in and see if they return. If so, you can blame the RAM.
     
  3. r0k thread starter macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #3
    Thanks. The 16 GB is already out. I've put in 8 GB. I have the factory Inginix 4 GB handy if I need to put it back but I won't do it unless I start having problems again and memtest shows a problem. Geekbench showed over a 10 percent drop in performance when my MBP was having problems. I'll run GB again when I get home and see if it's returned to normal (about 11K).

    I complained to Centon about the 16 GB RAM and their response was "Only 8GB recommended by Apple, it's not our fault!" Centon's questionable warranty service is a big part of my bad experience in this situation. I would expect the problems to return if I put the 16 GB back in. I'll fight Centon on their warranty later once I prove to myself I have a stable machine. Since I have AppleCare, I wasn't obsessed about figuring all of this out quickly. But since it's dragged on for so long, my patience is all used up.
     
  4. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    This is one of those cases where it's always worth it to go with Crucial, Kingston, etc.
     
  5. r0k thread starter macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #5
    I usually use Crucial. I decided to give Centon a try. I guess now I know better. Memtest just ran with no errors with my 8GB and I have had zero problems since taking out the 16 GB. I downloaded the 10.8.3 combo update but I'll sit on it for "a while." I think I'll do the things that used to cause kernel panics and force quit apps and see if any of that stuff happens before calling this completely solved but the initial indications are that this period of misery is behind me. I only heard my fans once today and that was during memtest. Nice! :cool:

    At some point I really should run memtest in single user mode just to be certain but for now I believe my problem is solved. It was bad Centon RAM not a lemon MBP and not a lemon OSX. Whew. :apple:
     
  6. makaveli559m macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
  7. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    #7
    More specifically, which CAS latency RAM did you use?

    Nonetheless, Apple has major issues with too much heatsink compound combined with very poor machining on their heatsinks. I experienced SIGNIFICANT temperature drops once I lapped my heatsinks and utilized an appropriate amount of Arctic Silver 5.

    (Running the 2.5Ghz Late 2011 BTO here)
     
  8. r0k thread starter macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    Here is the RAM I have now... 8 GB DDR3-1333

    Here is the RAM I had trouble with... 16GB DDR3-1333


    CAS latency? I'm not sure where I would find that number. See links above on the RAM I bought. And yes I'll pay extra for Crucial next time.

    I'm not so sure I'm affected by any heatsink issue as once that ReportCrash loop was solved, my CPU is sitting between 138 and 150 degrees (in iStat menus) unless I run geekbench in which case it can spike up to 200 degrees for a short time.
     
  9. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #9
    So we've worked out that your MacBook isn't a lemon, it was the RAM you put in it that was causing the issues?

    :rolleyes:
     
  10. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

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    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #10
  11. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #11
    What Apple says and what is actually possible are two different things. 2011 MacBook Pros are fully capable of using 16 GB.
     
  12. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #12

    Attached Files:

  13. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #13
    I should try it. :cool:
     
  14. ianwuk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    #14
    13 inch mid-2010 MBP can handle 16GB RAM also.
     
  15. makaveli559m macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    #15
    The RAM I used on my 2010 is what I used on my Thinkpad both sticks are low density, I would suggest you look for low density sticks.
     
  16. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #16
    The memory controller is built into the CPU. Intel certify it for 16GB. Apple tend to determine the amount of RAM that's supported by what's available when it launches.
     
  17. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #17
    It sounds like it was a RAM issue. Just some notes:

    When testing RAM, it's best to do it outside of the operating system. Use Memtest86+ and boot off of a CD. Keyboard commands currently don't work on Mac systems, but that doesn't matter: the test runs automatically. Let it run through 2-3 full test cycles. An error here or there isn't a cause for concern. A lot of errors is, especially if the same sectors come up repeatedly between testing cycles.

    If OS X or other programs crash, rebuild databases where possible and check the disk for errors. If OS X crashes and there's even a minor file system error that arises, Time Machine's performance and behavior can get screwed up. Whenever you crash, use Disk Utility to "verify disk" on your system drive, and if it detects an error, follow the instructions to repair it ASAP.
     
  18. r0k thread starter macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #18
    I tried booting from the memtest86+ CD and get an error right away. What I do instead is boot into single user mode (holding option-s). I wind up at a # prompt right away. I ran memtest once from that prompt and got no failires. I suppose I will have to get around to letting it run overnight with its output directed to a text file. Something like this...

    overnight.sh:

    Code:
    #!/bin/sh
    /usr/bin/memtest all 8 --log
    reboot
    
    BTW, I knew all along that there was a RAM issue. I underestimated how it might manifest itself in terms of OS instability and I was just complacent and a bit lazy about fixing it. When I had the 16GB Centon RAM in my MBP, memtest would find errors even in multiuser mode. Now it finds none after one pass in single user mode.
     

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