MacBook Display Issue

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by khnlim, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. khnlim macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2008
    Hi all,

    I've searched the MR Forums and have not come across this issue in any thread, so please bear with me if this has been covered before.

    Here are her system specs:

    Model : MacBook 13.3"
    Processor : 2.4GHz Intel C2D "Penryn" on SR
    Memory : 2GB 667GHz DDR SDRAM
    Storage : 160GB HDD
    Misc. : SuperDrive
    OS : OS X 10.5.4
    Screen : 9C5E (Chimei, I think)

    The serial number of her machine begins with: W8824-------

    Basically, this is a replacement machine, of a replacement machine, of her original machine. Her 1st MB ('Merom' on SR) was replaced for an overheating issue (scorch marks on the keyboard, it was ugly). She first noticed this issue with the replacement MB, and that one was duly replaced by Apple for another MB. And now this current MB is exhibiting the same issues.

    I'm not quite sure how to describe the problem, but here are the pictures from her current machine. I can only describe it as a 'graphics glitch'. If you'd direct your attention to the file 'Picture 1.jpeg', you'll see what I'm trying to describe; at the bottom of the Safari page. The next file 'Picture 1 CU.jpeg' is a close up shot of the bottom of her screen. See the strange 'stripes' leading from the bottom of the screen into the Safari window?

    What we wanted to know is if anyone out there is experiencing this issue with their MBs, or what's causing it.

    We would appreciate it if anyone can chime in. My GF's at her wits end as she's in her final semester, and the frequent trips to a repair centre as well as the RMAs are causing numerous disruptions to her hectic student schedule.


    EDIT: Forgot to mention, we've reformatted the HDD, installed Leopard fresh, reset SMC and zapped the PRAM to no avail...

    Attached Files:

  2. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Am I reading correctly that this is her second consecutive MB with the same screen issue?

    Is it apparent immediately upon bringing the new one home or does it develop over time? Over time points to a handling issue - grabbing the macbook at the base of the screen or some such. If it is apparent immediately after she transfers data from the old machine to the new, it's a software problem that is migrating (or does a HD reformat means no info is being transferred to the new machine?).
  3. ihabime macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2005
    Are the lines always there or do they come and go, also are they always in the same spot? With graphic glitches like that I'd say it's a hardware problem, it could be the screen, the graphics chip, memory, even heat problems. I think you're destined for another exchange.
  4. khnlim thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2008

    Yes. You read it correctly. This is her 2nd consecutive MB with the same screen issue.

    Yes. It is not immediate, but the screen glitch appears over time.

    No, I don't think it's a handling issue. I've taught her to 'baby' her machine. She picks it up by the sides, with both hands. It is transported (if ever) in a padded sleeve and it's carried vertically in a leather tote with a separate laptop compartment.

    No. There is no software migration from any of her old machines. It's a fresh install of Leopard, then re-installation of all the software from scratch. All the software installed on the "Penryn" machines are identical to those on the "Merom" machine. Her info and work are manually transferred into the new machine.


    Yes. The lines are always there. Even when watching a movie/ TV show on VLC.

    No. They do always occur at the same spot. They tend to shift about the bottom of the screen. Sometimes there are more lines, and sometimes less, but never less than 3 (as far as I can tell).

    My immediate suspicion was a hardware issue. I am thinking that it could be the integrated graphics chip, since the 2 "Penryn" MBs have had different displays (9C5F previously, and 9C5E now). I've reseated the memory modules, but no joy. As for heating, I've installed smcFanControl 2.1.2 on both machines and told her to keep an eye on the temperature, and adjusting the presets to make sure it doesn't rise above 55°C. We've run AHT (from the restore DVDs) and its reported no errors.

    We'd really like to know what's causing this curious issue on not one, but 2 "Penryn" MBs. Especially since both the replacements had this very same issue. If it's a bad batch, then her getting 2 consecutive MBs with the same issue would have been possible. This issue is driving us both up the wall, especially her since it's "crunch" time for her, this being her final semester. She's got assignments to finish and cannot really accept the downtimes.

    Thanks for your replies and helpful suggestions. Keep them coming! I'd really like to know if anyone else has this issue with their 2008 "Penryn" MBs. Also, if anyone knows the cause, I'd be really grateful if they'd shed some light.

  5. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    If this current replacement is less than 14 days old, I would give Apple a call. They tend to replace machines under 14 days old. Regardless if this is the case or not, I would call them and get this fixed. I know this is very disruptive, but there's little you can do otherwise.

    Good luck.

  6. MacLadybug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2008
    Have you tried a new user account...

    They always say to try that with most issues and see if there is any corruption in the user account. You'll know if it never happens in the new user account. I'll be the first to admit I may not know what I am talking about, but when I call Apple Tech Support they usually try that.
  7. khnlim thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2008

    Thanks for the reply. She is in contact with Apple regarding this issue.

    However, we would really like to know the underlying cause of this issue. If this is just a case of her bad luck, then these last 2 MBs going bad just happen to be a coincidence, and the next replacement machine should be alright. Or whether this is an indication of a bad production batch. If it's a production batch issue, I'd advise her to wait it out after lodging a complaint with Apple or even ask for a different model of machine.


    Yes. I've tried that. In fact, out of habit, I've always created alternative admin accounts on all the machines I've set up (and I've set up quite a few over the past few years) in case of problems and corrupted permissions. When the glitch appeared on my GF's account (main), it appeared on her alternate admin account as well. That's why I'm stumped...

    Also, I've noticed that the glitch appears when taking a screen shot using shift + ⌘ + 3.

    Thanks for all your responses! Keep them coming! We'd really like to get to the bottom of this.

  8. dtelee macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2008
    My Input

    Actually, the lines are a little queer. when I open Safari, the lines appear. When I open another application, there is what looks to me as if the screen refreshed itself quickly, and the lines disappear. When I have vlc opened for sometime, the lines appear and similarly, if another application is opened or I enlarge the screen, the lines disappear.

    MacBook replacement #1:
    Had similar issues, except it seemed to get progressively worse. Initially the problem was only with Safari. The lines disappeared when I moved the window. Later vlc had the same problem. After calling Apple and a replacement was agreed, they sent me a letter on pdf to sign. When I tried to enlarge the text to read it, the text began to overlap. A couple of days after that, the computer automatically shut down on its own.

    MacBook replacement #2:
    Just arrived last Thursday evening. It has been less than a week. Attached is a picture of the vlc problem. From the time stated in the picture uploaded at the beginning of this tread, this problem did not exist (only 12 hours had passed in between the 2 pics).

    Thank you all for your replies. Please give more ideas.

    Attached Files:

  9. patrickmacrumor macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2008
    I don't want to scare you, but my 2006 first-generation MB was replaced at the end of May this year. The one they sent had a bad trackpad. I called right away, they agreed to replace it without too much of a hassle. The second replacement had a bad keyboard. Again, I called right away and they agreed to replace it. As long as the 14-day period has not expired, they seem to be okay with replacing the machine. Always ask to speak to a product specialist right away. Don't waste your time with the Apple's first line of defence when it comes to major flaws or when you are looking for a replacement or like in your case: multiple defective machines.

    Good luck.

  10. nyzballa12 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Could be a bad product batch, or just bad luck.
  11. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    Have you done any customization?
    What 'funky' apps are installed?

    They look "Perspective based" meaning the go from front to back like the dock does.

    It also appears the dock is in 'hide' mode.

    Sounds like silly responses since they are so obvious and simple but check your dock, do a killall on the dock (logout would do the same thing)

    You say it happens over time, does this mean when waking from sleep or turning on it doesn't happen right away, but happens later on? Or do you mean it happens constantly after a period of time and hasn't gone away (after you got the replacements)

    Those lines really do look like something with the dock, they way they go back and are somewhat similar on the left and right.

    Have you noticed the average time it starts to show up?
    Did you try to boot in target disk mode to see if it shows up? That would determine hardware failure, since a known good installation without the issue wouldn't have this problem, if it showed up on the target disk install then it's a no brainer it's hardware/firmware related.

    One thing I would try (provided it's not to much trouble) is from a fresh install see how long (if at all) the problem shows up. If after the time has lapsed, then start installing her suite of software, if it shows up then, then more than likely it's software or addon related.

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