Mac Reliability

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GM5, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. GM5 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    Hi everyone. Some of you may remember that a little while back I posted a thread debating between which MacBook to buy. Now I've decided, but to be perfectly honest I still haven't completely decided if I'm willing to go that route over a PC.

    Let me give you some background information on my computer ownership.

    My first desktop, an eMachines PC, lasted me a good six years before I replaced it. I didn't have a single problem during that time, be it with hardware or software. The only reason I'm not still using it today is because it simply got too old, it was already outdated at the time I bought it and it had little capability for upgrades. The desktop I replaced it with, another PC, has already lasted four years and is still going strong. Like the last one, it hasn't had a single hiccup since I purchased it.

    I also have a Windows laptop, which is currently on the fifth year of it's life. Unfortunately, this one doesn't have the same flawless record. During it's fourth year, just after the warranty ran out. The hinges broke and had to be repaired. Since then they have been cracking consistently and look to be breaking again. I've never had a problem with the software or the components, I've just decided the case is too bulky and flimsily built and I don't feel like I can count on it anymore.

    Which brings me to the reliability of the MacBook. This (if I buy it) will be my first Mac, but I've done a lot of research on the subject and have found several alarming trends. First, a lot of people are saying it took them several tries to get the "right" MacBook. The first, even second or third ones they walked away with had some glaring problem, and had to keep being replaced until the user got what is now their current one. As someone who has consistently gotten high-quality machines on my initial purchases, this is somewhat disturbing. Second, the necessity of AppleCare. I understand if you want to be covered just in case, but many people assert that something WILL go wrong during the three years you're covered. I could point out that my first desktop went almost double that time without a problem, but I understand that notebooks are a different entity. Instead I will point out that even though my laptop is poorly constructed, it didn't have it's first problem until after the three year warranty expired. Are Macs really that prone to repair?

    Whatever machine I buy needs to last me at least five years. My current laptop has help out that long, so I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation. And even though I've heard all these horror stories, I'm aware that on the other side of the spectrum many of you have held on to your iBooks and PowerBooks a long time. So, I'm torn. I'm willing to pay a premium for a machine that won't let me down. The question is, will Apple deviler?
  2. JG271 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2007
    I think it will be fine. Mac users are bound to report problems more and i think mac users are generally more picky than most!

    Of course no one can guarantee that your laptop will be 100% fine, whatever you buy.

    As long as you take care of your computers (and it sounds like you do!) you should be fine. Its always a gamble buying any laptop but i think apple are definitely better in terms of build quality than most laptop manufacturers.
  3. ritzuk macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2005
    The number one thing to remember is that a lot people come onto forums to complain or to find solutions to problems. This means the amount of problem threads seems overly disproportionate!

    I've owned an iBook G4, Mac Mini G4 and an iMac G5. I've not had any trouble with any of these computers, in any way. Apple have also topped reliability polls:

    However, my Dad had a G3 iMac and I remember the logic board blew out on it after a few years. Also, a few months after I sold my iBook, the logic board also went on that, but it was covered by a product recall.

    I don't think Macs are exempt from having faults, but on average they seem to be better made and more stable than most of their PC counterparts.
  4. chapmac macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Agree with the other posts - its fantastic that we have a forum such as this to find out information, but that also provides a forum for people to rant.
    Emachines don't have a similar forum for their users to post their problems (at least I don't think they do!). Don't let what some people say here put you off - Mac users are just more passionate, more informed, more inquisitive and more interested in their machines. There is a massive majority of very happy users out there!

    For my own part we use three Macs daily:

    iMac G4 4 1/2 years old and in daily use - never had a problem
    Macbook pro - 2 years old and in daily use - never had a problem
    Macbook refurb - 9 months old and in daily use - never had a problem

    The latter 2 are used by my wife and I professionally 8 hours a day every day. Never missed a beat.

    Hope this helps.
  5. borjasanz macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    What happens in most Internet forums or websites, is that you see no posts that say: "Macbook going strong for 5 years". "Imac finished AppleCare without any problems".

    That's because people see this kind of stuff as normal, so when something bad happens they post it immediately. That's why you think A LOT of people has Mac issues, but no, it's just all the posts you see. Although you never see good posts about Mac.

    Im on my first Mac for 10 months and its great, I didn't pay for Apple Care and I dont think I need it.

    If you take care of your computer you will not need Apple Care.

    Get into Mac, you will love it.
  6. himansk macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2006
    This is my first post here saying my new unibody mbp is perfect, no problems with my 2.5 yr old revA mbp as well. But if I had found any problems, i would have posted a million times already. There are a LOT more satisfied mac users than what you can see on the forums.
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    My last gen MacBook is in perfect shape. No defects or anything. The only thing I could complain about is the uneven backlighting, but that is normal since it is CCFL and not LED.
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    It's true that a forum provides a bad sample, over-representing people who have problems.

    Still, some of us have had several machines, and that at least gets you a sample, albeit a small one. Here's mine (me, my partner, my son, my stepson):

    (1) G4 Powerbook 17" (June 2003). Still runs fine.

    (2) G5 dual (April 2005). Bad CPU.

    (3) G4 Mini (Dec 2005). No problems.

    (4) Macbook Pro 15" (Aug 2006). Fan noise, bad hard drive, uneven screen illumination.

    (5) Mac Pro (Oct 2006). Some little things, nothing important.

    (6) Black MB (early version, 2005?) Many problems but finally settled down and was fine until stolen.

    (7) Intel Mini (Aug 2007). Two or three trips for warranty service in the first 3 months or so, then just fine.

    (8) Alu iMac 24" (Oct 2007). No problems.

    (9) Macbook Pro 17" (Mar 2008). No problems.

    (10) Macbook Pro 15" (Mar 2008). No problems.

    (11) Macbook Pro 15" (Jun 2008). Bad superdrive.

    (12) 20" ACD (Dec 2006). Fine.

    (13) Bluetooth white KBs, (Dec 2006). One failed, one survives.

    (14) Bluetooth alu KBs (Dec 2007; May 2008). Flakey, but mostly work.

    (15) Alu wired KB (Jun 2008). No problems.

    (16) Bluetooth mighty mice (3 total). Minor problems with all, but they work.

    (17) Airport Extreme (3 -- 2007, 2008, 2008). All working fine.

    So, our Macs have not been trouble-free.

    Out of 11 computers, 5 (45%) had problems, of which 3 (27%) were serious enough to render the machines unusable until they were repaired.

    I'm staying with Mac, but the reliability rate in my sample is unimpressive.
  9. gonyr macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2006
    Niagara County, NY
    I've had about 8 or 10 macs over the last 20+ years, and I've never had a problem other than a hard drive going bad. As has been stated, you never hear from the satisfied customers. Apple sells millions of computers, but only a few thousand people ever post here.
  10. aaquib macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Honestly, no one I know in real life has any significant problems with their Mac. The occasional hiccup has a couple of my Mac friends freaking out, but it's never anything truly huge. Clearly, we Mac users are more picky. That's why we have Macs.
  11. radek42 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Here, there, and everywhere
    re: mac reliablity

    Hi, I am pretty much in the same boat as OP; running on 5 year old laptop and 8+ year old desktop (running linux btw).

    I keep reading posts here and I almost decided to get mac laptop next (mb or mbp). I am sure there will be tons of posts on the web regarding desktop and laptop reliability ... there is one:

    I guess bottom line is, all major laptop manufactures use identical parts. I suppose there are some small variations, but as far as I know apple is not currently manufacturing any laptop components. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    To wrap is up: mac laptop will be as reliable or as faulty as any other major brand. What you get with apple is mac os x versus xp or vista. Decision is yours.

  12. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Newspaper has 23 5 year old G5 towers and they have been flawless and heavily used every day. Can still breeze through Nikon D3 images without a hiccup.

    I had a 15" MBP go into the shop twice for case damage then fine until I traded it in for a half price 17" MBP Penryn which has been FLAWLESS and screams through HD footage.

    Countless Mac Pros and other MBPs (that replaced 5 year old PowerBooks) that are doing their duty to an agent of journalism for years.

    For the most part, like you know with your PCs, computers don't have that many problems and if they do they are lemons, trade it in for a replacement early on.

    p.s. I do also have a Bondi Blue iMac (233 MHz) that just had a hard drive failure.
  13. cricketbird macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2008
    The problem is they WON'T die...

    I've had my powerbook since 1998, and the most frustrating thing about it is that it refuses to die. After years of pining for a new one, waiting for the old one to die so I could justify the purchase, I finally broke down recently and got a new MacBook Pro. With regards to the older one, I had to get new batteries every 2-3 years (I used my powerbook a LOT on battery, so you can probably go longer if you only occasionally use the battery), and I had to get an external mouse a few years back when the trackpad started being finicky.

    I also sometimes use a coworker's iBook G4 from 2003, and it's doing pretty well, even running all the latest software. It's a little more sluggish than my elderly powerbook though. Probably it would have been best to have left it at the original OS that came with it and not kept updating it all the way to Leopard.

    Good luck with your purchase. Apples are good computers. I know several folks who've bought the new macs and been very happy with them.
  14. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My PowerBook is 5 and still going strong, never bothered with/needed AppleCare. This MacBook I'll buy AppleCare simply to make sure it is able to get there. Notebooks are a lot less reliable than a desktop, and if you are looking for reliability in the Mac world, your best bet is a Mac Pro to be completely honest with you. Macs are not perfect products, and for the most part, they use standard computer parts and are just about as reliable as other machines.

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