Mac Hardware = Bad Quality?

blink56k

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 19, 2006
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Rita Repulsa's Moon Palace
I'm currently saving up to buy a consumer apple notebook (ibook G4/intel macbook?) for next fall.

This may sound OCD-ish. But how good is Apple hardware quality-wise? I know they got their competition beat with OSX but after reading through these forums I've been going nuts about all these posts complaining about overheating, whining, DOA packages, things scratching easily, faulty logic boards (the first mac I ever got, the mac mini G4, had to have its logic board replaced the first day; but then again that probably had to do with the less-than reputable place I got it from) and the battery power capacity fading within a year or less on its notebooks.

Is this a trend with all laptops or just Apple computers? I really get OCD-ish when it comes to the slightest hardware faults, major or cosmetic.

Will an Apple computer (in addition to costing more initially) cost more to maintain over the years?

I really want to get rid of this ThinkPad, but not if I can't get something as sturdy and durable.

What do you guys think?
 

luminosity

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2006
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one of apple's hallmarks is its reliability. in this month's consumer reports, apple's laptops and desktops once again scored high in reliability and customer satisfaction.

your examples were largely composed of early revisions of various apple products. Late-model iBooks, like mine, have an excellent reliability record. Same for Powerbooks, and so on.

also, welcome to MR and to the world of macs :).
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,648
31
San Francisco, CA
Apple is one of the best. They use top-brand components.

You hear so many complaints on this forum because:

1) People expect the best of Apple (if this happened to a PC you wouldn't even think twice)

2) These forums are entirely about Macs, naturally people have problems and come here to get help.
Check out a PC help forum, you'll hear much worse stories (and many more too).
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
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I'd have to agree that Apple ranks high in hardware quality and reliability. The capacitor defect seemed to cover not just Apple but a whole batch that many computer manufacturers obtained. I'd avoid rushing out to get the Revision A hardware. Even though most said the Intel switch wouldn't have that many bumps in Revision A, a lot more people have complained about issues then I thought. We're Apple users and we expect a lot from Apple. We get flak from Windows/Linux users too when Apple makes a small mistake.

Just stick out and try to avoid buying the first batch of any Apple product unless you absolutely need it. My iMac G5 has served me for 11 months now without a single issue and it still packs enough power for me to keep it.
 

generik

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
4,116
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Minitrue
I wouldn't go as far to say that, Apple's products generally are better than most bottom of the barrel PC manufacturers like Acer etc (not so much Dell though, some of their offerings are quite decent), but even today there is a huge load of negative publicity surrounding Apple's attempt to silence SomethingAwful.com regarding the shoddy manufacturing of their premier MacBook Pros.

Disgraceful really.

And you read about customers getting all upset about these same issues all over these forums, and instead of just offering a quick and cheap fix Apple would rather shell out the dollars to sue fans to shut them up.

Would you want to deal with such a company?

I wouldn't really, if I have half a choice. Even Microsoft would rank way about Apple in the corporate citizenship department.
 

generik

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
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EricNau said:
Apple is one of the best. They use top-brand components.
Like?

I've opened my Mac Mini, and let's see..

unbranded capacitors, same Intel processor, unbranded audio board, optical drives made in... INDONESIA. No wonder that **** makes a hell load of a lot of noise when I load in a disc! And even more ironic is the text printed on its label.. "Manufactured to Apple's specifications"

Geez.. Bad mouth all you want about Dell and its cheap Chinese components, but at the very least they use Chinese components.
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,648
31
San Francisco, CA
generik said:
For my Computer (in sig):

Optical Drive = Pioneer
Graphics = Radeon
HDD = Maxtor
etc. etc. (I don't want to look any more up)

I've heard of those brands... Open up a dell and everything inside is some generic brand that dell taped their name onto.
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
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Indianapolis
EricNau said:
For my Computer (in sig):

Optical Drive = Pioneer
Graphics = Radeon
HDD = Maxtor
etc. etc. (I don't want to look any more up)

I've heard of those brands... Open up a dell and everything inside is some generic brand that dell taped their name onto.
For my iMac G5

Optical Drive = Panasonic
Hard Drive = Western Digital
Graphics Card = ATI Radeon 9600

Still, even in cheapo no name eMachines you're going to get SiS, Intel, S3, VIA chips, and any of the major hard drive manufactures. Not the BEST and most powerful hardware but it should be known if you're into hardware.
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,648
31
San Francisco, CA
Eidorian said:
For my iMac G5

Optical Drive = Panasonic
Hard Drive = Western Digital
Graphics Card = ATI Radeon 9600
Kinda odd. We both have the same iMac w/ 8x DL Superdrive and they are made by different manufacturers. Same for the HDD (but that might be due to the size difference).
 

janey

macrumors 603
Dec 20, 2002
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generik said:
Geez.. Bad mouth all you want about Dell and its cheap Chinese components, but at the very least they use Chinese components.
Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, IBM, Lenovo et al may all be using the same components now, but it's the support and how the computer was manufactured that makes the difference.

Case in point: IBM and Lenovo...same ThinkPads, different standards, different expectations of quality. For the time being, Lenovo's thinkpads aren't worse off, but they're not IBM, hence why so many people are considering MBPs over ThinkPads now. Nobody knows Lenovo, for all we know they may be using the same parts with the same design team and the same manufacturers, but it was the IBM attitude and loyalty to customers that Lenovo hasn't really lived up to (but, hasn't had much of a chance to live up to either).

I don't see why you should care what country it was manufactured in. You should be asking who and not where.
 

generik

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
4,116
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Eidorian said:
For my iMac G5

Optical Drive = Panasonic
Hard Drive = Western Digital
Graphics Card = ATI Radeon 9600

Still, even in cheapo no name eMachines you're going to get SiS, Intel, S3, VIA chips, and any of the major hard drive manufactures. Not the BEST and most powerful hardware but it should be known if you're into hardware.
Western Digital isn't great.. Just price it out at any PC stores, Seagates are typically the ones that command the price premiums.

And it looks like you got a made in Indonesia Panasonic drive too, I would be way more pleased if they put in a NEC or even a LiteOn drive, those are way more proven for reliability and quality.

Graphics card wise.. it is either ATi, or nVidias, how much competition is there in the graphics card department?

Similarly you are comparing your iMac G5 (a A$2000 computer during its time) to el cheapo emachines that are of the A$600 variety? What kind of comparison is that?

At this stage I should add that I have nothing against Apple, and this tuesday should they release a 13.3" MBP or later this year when a 64 bit MBP is released I will join plenty of "Think Different" drones queuing up outside an AppleCentre to grab one of these babies.

But I'm under no illusion that the price premium I'm putting out with (it's a substantial premium too) will go towards the quality of the machine's internal components. It probably runs OSX, and it looks cool and shiny, and perhaps it is something that chicks will start talking to you about, but don't be ever have the impression that these are some high quality made in Japan electronics that would last you the next 10 years, because 18, 20 months down the road, it will surely die on you.
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
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Other then the PowerPC CPU in the older Macs, Windows and Mac OS machines have been using components from the same manufactures at least (I'm no expert.) since the first IDE/PCI machines came out. It's not like Apple manufactures its own hard drives, CPU's, optical drives, etc.

Apple just designs the interior layouts and exteriors of our wonderful machines and slap together run of the mill standard components just like everyone else. Sorry, but there's no Apple magic outside of slick designs. :(
 

generik

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
4,116
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janey said:
Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, IBM, Lenovo et al may all be using the same components now, but it's the support and how the computer was manufactured that makes the difference.

Case in point: IBM and Lenovo...same ThinkPads, different standards, different expectations of quality. For the time being, Lenovo's thinkpads aren't worse off, but they're not IBM, hence why so many people are considering MBPs over ThinkPads now. Nobody knows Lenovo, for all we know they may be using the same parts with the same design team and the same manufacturers and parts, but it was the IBM attitude and loyalty to customers that Lenovo hasn't really lived up to (but, hasn't had much of a chance to live up to either).

I don't see why you should care what country it was manufactured in. You should be asking who and not where.
Since you mentioned it, have a go at the new Lenovos one of these days, quality has definitely started a slow slide towards Kualetty. Just try the keyboard if you are short of time, being a long time TP user the difference is immediately apparent. If you google online you will find accounts from users about batteries that don't hold on fast and seams that no longer seem flush.

Quality has definitely suffered.
 

Eidorian

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Mar 23, 2005
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Similarly you are comparing your iMac G5 (a A$2000 computer during its time) to el cheapo emachines that are of the A$600 variety? What kind of comparison is that?
Actually, it was $1400 new. Still, you have a chance of finding the same SATA hard drive that's in my iMac in a non-Apple product.
 

janey

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Dec 20, 2002
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generik said:
Western Digital isn't great.. Just price it out at any PC stores, Seagates are typically the ones that command the price premiums.
WD and Seagate do. WD makes some respectable drives (like the raptors).

And it looks like you got a made in Indonesia Panasonic drive too, I would be way more pleased if they put in a NEC or even a LiteOn drive, those are way more proven for reliability and quality.
LiteOn (with BenQ) only just recently started manufacturing slot-load drives.

Graphics card wise.. it is either ATi, or nVidias, how much competition is there in the graphics card department?
We're talking low end consumer Macs. People won't be wanting to play HL2 on a Mac mini with everything at the highest settings possible.

Similarly you are comparing your iMac G5 (a A$2000 computer during its time) to el cheapo emachines that are of the A$600 variety? What kind of comparison is that?
Can't price a core duo for under $600 here, ESPECIALLY not for the laptops. Dunno where you can get those kinds of prices. eMachines uses the same manufacturers that the likes of HP and slightly more respectable companies use, so I fail to see how that comparison is not apt.

But I'm under no illusion that the price premium I'm putting out with (it's a substantial premium too) will go towards the quality of the machine's internal components. It probably runs OSX, and it looks cool and shiny, and perhaps it is something that chicks will start talking to you about, but don't be ever have the impression that these are some high quality made in Japan electronics that would last you the next 10 years, because 18, 20 months down the road, it will surely die on you.
The fact that you're assuming and saying such things is such a turnoff :p
It's obvious that you just don't make high quality electronics because it's a waste of money and will make prices for computers skyrocket like crazy with no real actual cost:performance benefit.
 

generik

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2005
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Eidorian said:
Sorry, but there's no Apple magic outside of slick designs. :(
This man speaks the truth.

The near 100% premiums on the prices would probably go to features like the backlit keyboards, and the Magsafe connector, as well as the shiny chassis, which is why Mac users get so pissed off when their Mac laptops get dented, they know deep down the bulk of their laptop's value has just been flush down the toilet.

At the very least it has the MagSafe connector now, with Dells people can just afford to trip over them any time they feel like it (btw, Dell's extended warranty package covers accidental damage, good luck trying to get that with Apple's equivalent of Applecare), they don't need to bother with some loose Magsafe connector :cool:
 

janey

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Dec 20, 2002
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generik said:
Since you mentioned it, have a go at the new Lenovos one of these days, quality has definitely started a slow slide towards Kualetty. Just try the keyboard if you are short of time, being a long time TP user the difference is immediately apparent. If you google online you will find accounts from users about batteries that don't hold on fast and seams that no longer seem flush.

Quality has definitely suffered.
Considering how a lot of the Lenovo stuff (maybe not the keyboard) is still the same as what it used to be with IBM, that just goes on to prove my point, no?
 

janey

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Eidorian said:
Actually, it was $1400 new. Still, you have a chance of finding the same SATA hard drive that's in my iMac in a non-Apple product.
given the small number of HDD manufacturers (count them on two hands?), shouldn't be a surprise.

Obviously Apple can't be going making their own hard drives and processors and optical drives.
 

Eidorian

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Mar 23, 2005
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janey said:
WD and Seagate do. WD makes some respectable drives (like the raptors).
A hard drive is a hard drive to me. I've had a cheap 8.4 GB Maxtor hard drive last me 7 years of abuse and keep on ticking. Yes, I want a Seagate for my next drive.

janey said:
We're talking low end consumer Macs. People won't be wanting to play HL2 on a Mac mini with everything at the highest settings possible.
ATI, NVidia, and Intel hold top spot for graphics. Intel rounds out the low end integrated components. Integrated graphics is only bad for gaming. It works just fine for iLife and OS X. I've tested out the new Intel iMacs and they're peppy just for that.
 

generik

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Aug 5, 2005
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Eidorian said:
A hard drive is a hard drive to me. I've had a cheap 8.4 GB Maxtor hard drive last me 7 years of abuse and keep on ticking. Yes, I want a Seagate for my next drive.
Well you certainly got lucky, the newer Maxtors seems to be nothing but bad news these days. I was looking to getting some of the more expensive Maxtor Maxline drives (supposedly these drives are built to run 24/7) but I can't even find one good review of it from Newegg, every drive reviewed their died inside of a month. For a drive that is built to supposedly match enterprice standards it was a genuine joke.
 

janey

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Eidorian said:
A hard drive is a hard drive to me. I've had a cheap 8.4 GB Maxtor hard drive last me 7 years of abuse and keep on ticking. Yes, I want a Seagate for my next drive.
I avoid Maxtor like the plague because their drives crap out on me too much (I'm sure others have similar horror stories about the other companies though...). I've given the seagate and wd drives I have a good beating, and they haven't failed so far except one, which was partially my fault. Also, seagate has awesome crazy long warranties.
 

Eidorian

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Mar 23, 2005
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I was expecting a bad report on Maxtor drives. :rolleyes:

I'd not saying they're the best. I'm a much bigger fan of Western Digital and Hitachi/IBM. Seagate has come to mind since it has had a lot of mention lately. (And warranty/reliability love.)