Late 2009 15" MBP: Random Freezes; Little or No Console Output

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by procyonx86, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. procyonx86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    #1
    It all started about three months ago. Before that time, I rarely used my MBP's dedicated graphics chip. Then, because I began playing WoW again, and because of job demands for more powerful graphics, I started using the 9600 almost exclusively. It was fine for a week or so... and then the problems began.

    My MBP would occasionally freeze for no apparent reason; the dock would first become unresponsive, then the screen would start flickering, then the mouse cursor would become ultra-sensitive, before, finally, the whole system is completely frozen. I have left the laptop on in this condition for more than 10 hours, just to see if it would unfreeze itself. It didn't.

    At first, it would happen only once every few days. But as time went on, the freezes became more and more frequent. The day before I finally took it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, it had frozen on me twice while I was writing an e-mail.

    The freezes can happen any time, on pretty much any app. It has happened while I was working in Illustrator, playing WoW, browsing in Safari, browsing in Chrome, writing an e-mail in Mail, running a screensaver, opening Steam, idling on the desktop, or even after rebooting the MBP.

    The creepiest part of the freezes, however, were the console error messages. Most of the time, there were *none*. Not a single line at the time of the freeze. I can pinpoint the time of the freeze to the second, because the moment the MBP freezes, the clock on the menu bar freezes as well. Once in a while, however, I'd get lines containing something like "APIC error on cpu(0)" and/or "NVDA channel exception". Not being a computer engineer, I have no idea what they mean, except that I'm guessing something's wrong with the CPU, mainboard, or GPU.

    But then I took the damn thing to an AASP, and what do they tell me? "It's a software issue, you're going to have to reinstall the OS, and you can't restore it from a Time Machine backup". They expect me to backup my files. Manually. Then reinstall every single application myself.

    Please, can somebody tell me whether I'm being toyed around by lazy/incompetent/irresponsible techs, or is it really just a software problem?
     
  2. procyonx86 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    #2
    Please? Anyone?

    I have to go to the AASP today, and I'm afraid they're just going to make me run in circles until my warranty expires at the end of this month. :(

    These techs have lied to me before (when my previous MBP's fan caused the keyboard to vibrate, they said it was "normal"), so if anyone knows anything about this issue, please help!
     
  3. iArch macrumors regular

    iArch

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    All Over
    #3
    Dunno what to tell you, other than you aren't alone. Just search around here and on Apple's discussions, as I have over the past couple of days. Why? Because my two week old MacBook Pro is now constantly locking up solid, just like many others. :(

    Spent over an hour with phone support this morning with no fix or cause found, so I have an appt at the Apple store in my next city. I travel for a living, so this is a monster huge inconvenience.

    Got to my current hotel a few hours ago and fired it up again just to see, and sure enough, it eventually froze solid. I just closed it in disgust.

    Interestingly, when buying this MacBook, the first one they brought out locked up while they were setting it up for me right there in the store. Several geniuses messed with it for a while - till I insisted that they get a new one out from the back. They did and now it's doing the same.

    This comes on the heels of my returning two defective iPhone 4s and giving up and going back to my 3GS. And I'm typing this on my iPad, whose wifi performance needs looking into, too. Good grief.

    Anyway, it's my first Mac and the decision to leave PCs - which have reliably treated me well for many, many years now - didn't come easy. I need my computer to work and am having some major league second thoughts on the switch to Apple.
     
  4. iArch macrumors regular

    iArch

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
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    #4
    So after a bit of a travel day, I was able to make it to the Apple store here in St Louis. It was a zoo, as are most Apple stores, but the genius took me a bit early and ran through a variety of diagnostics. While doing so, sure enough, the thing locked up tight as a drum. He forced it to shut down, started it back up and looked at the logs. Nothing obvious showed up wrong software-wise, but despite all the hardware checks coming up empty, too, he suspected bad ram, HD, or cabling/connection and agreed to swap it out for a new one.

    OP, wish I could give you specific details about what was causing this one to freeze, but it just wasn't clear to the genius from looking at the logs. Maybe it'll go back to Apple, get delved into deeper, and someday a cure for all of this will arrive.

    So anyway, he took the defective MBP into the back and a couple of hours later all my data was transferred onto a fresh one. This is number three in case anyone's counting, and it had better be the charm.

    As an aside, I was there for quite a while and it's amazing to see the sheer number of people having trouble with various Apple devices. One guy in particular was absolutely postal about his iPhone 4's problems. To the point where I'm sure he's now embarrassed at how he acted, but his frustration meter was quite clearly pegged and he just lost it. It went on for about 10 minutes and by the time security had arrived, he was mostly calmed down, so they stayed near the entrance while a couple of staffers tended to him at the rear counter.

    OK, off to get some work done on my latest new MacBook Pro.
     
  5. eudaimonia01 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #5
  6. procyonx86 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    #6
    So after 2 weeks and 3-4 trips to the AASP, nothing changed: the tech still insisted that it was a software issue, that it would be resolved by a complete wipe and reinstall of the OS, and that I could not restore my system from my Time Machine backups.

    When I asked him for the reason behind his analysis, the tech started spewing garbage: "well look at your activity monitor, you have so many threads running, freshly installed OSXs don't have that many." The flaming retard proceeds to show me an MBP running a fresh install of Snow Leopard, opened up Activity Monitor on it, and points out the few threads running on it. That is, before I shut him up by pointing out that of course mine had more threads: the Activity Monitor on my MBP was showing All Processes, while the Activity Monitor on his MBP was showing My Processes. Not to mention the glaringly obvious fact that a system loaded with applications would naturally have more threads running than a freshly-installed system. He then started to produce even more ludicrous excuses, citing my DosBox install (absolutely no relation to the issue at hand), my idle CPU usage (which spiked to 10% when he showed it, but smoothed out to 2-4% due to Activity Monitor, which should be normal), and threw around the word "drivers". This complete imbecile couldn't even tell me what an APIC was, not to mention how it works or what the APIC error message meant. Those NVDA channel exceptions? Completely software.

    In short, I was forced to take his "solution" or live with a randomly freezing computer. Now I have a "blank" MBP, with all my data, documents, applications, and settings wiped out, and 4-5 days of painful restoration ahead.

    My only hope at this point is to have the damned thing freeze again, at which time I will proceed to take it to the AASP and shove the blasted thing down the retard tech's throat.

    @iArch:
    Thanks for the replies, but your issue is most likely related to the new Core i5/7 MBPs, which many have had issues with. Mine is a Mid-2009 MBP, with Core2Duo processors and the 9400/9600 graphic chips.

    @eudaimonia01:
    Nope, different issue. Mine doesn't beachball -- it just dies™. Maybe Apple can change their catchphrase now.
     
  7. iArch macrumors regular

    iArch

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
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    #7
    Sorry, I should have clarified. Mine's a 2010 13" model with the 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics chip.

    FWIW, the replacement mentioned above has been working fine, but needless to say, I'm knocking wood.

    Best of luck to you. I'd likely be in the same boat had mine not locked up solid while the genius was diagnosing it. Up to that point, he wasn't seeing anything in the logs pointing to any evidence or cause and the hardware checks had come in as OK.
     
  8. iArch macrumors regular

    iArch

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
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    #8
    Just thought I'd update this thread to say that my 2nd replacement MBP has continued to work perfectly. Looks like the third time is indeed proving to be the charm. :)
     
  9. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    #9
    Why do i have a feeling the problem lies with your HDD
     

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