MacBook Pro 15" Retina Late 2013 and Mid 2015 Screen Flicker/ GPU Problem/ Design Flaw

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sofian_26, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. Sofian_26 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #1
    I have an issue with my Late 2013 Macbook Pro Retina 15” with the dedicated nVidia 750M GPU and either the whole screen or approximately a third and even just half of the menu bar flickers to black whenever the graphics processing is switched between the integrated and dedicated cards, making the machine unfit for purpose. This is easily reproducible by turning the automatic graphics switching on and off in system preferences. It flickers constantly under any type use of the machine, including loading only a single website. I understand that I can use gfxCardStatus to force the machine to stop switching, but I then have to compromise the performance or the battery life of the machine.


    I am still covered by my 3 years of AppleCare that I purchased and went to my local Apple Store and handed the machine in a pristine condition, fresh out of the cover that it resided in since the moment I opened it, and arranged for the logic board to be replaced. I then received the MacBook back with a fresh install and several scratches, scuffs, a missing screw and gouges on the machine and was told that it was perfectly functional as it had passed all their tests despite being able to easily replicate the issue. After much arguing, we agreed to further testing as I was told that I was pushing the machine too far and a Mac Pro would be appropriate despite the machine being a top of the range machine, ironically with the word ‘Pro’ in its name. I then opened a single website and the flickering occurred and the case was escalated to the engineering team and it was agreed the display would be replaced due to the damage caused to it. I was then told many times that my machine was ready for collection and that the issue had been fixed with no details explaining how, to then arrive with no change at all to the machine, costing me a lot of valuable time and money. Later on I received a phone call and was told that it may be a software issue and that I should wait for an update. 10.11.6 then arrived and was installed, which produced the same issue. I was then told to just keep the software up to date and wait for an update.


    I then spoke to a few managers at the store and was told that the damage caused to the bottom of the case were ‘wear and tear’ and to be expected, despite the fact that the machine has been in their custody the whole time and that as far as they are concerned the case was closed and I should just take the machine home and wait for an update. I then explained that several other people have had this issue and in 3 years it has still not been resolved by any engineering team and that I should have an update by now. I believe that the issue could be a design flaw in the machine and that after waiting for over a month the unit should just be replaced. Replacement 2015 units have been given to other people with the issue as a resolution and they told me that my case wouldn't be dealt with in the same manner, justified by the fact that they may be from abroad and the law may differ, despite the fact I was actually making a claim via AppleCare like the others have, which would warrant the same service. All managers have claimed that there is nothing they can do and that to justify for a replacement, the repairs done would have to be declared as failed, meaning that any further possible repairs would not fix the machine, even though the manager later then admitted that there would be no repair that would fix the machine. I then questioned his contradiction and he reiterated that it was impossible. He then had the insolence to offer me 20% off a new model as I left the store. Also, they have been ignorant to the remaining damage despite other managers acknowledging its existence beforehand and supposedly nobody at Apple has heard of this graphics issue.


    I still haven't received an update as to whether if they have fixed the issue or even identified it.

    Apple seem to be unaware of the issue and would like to know if there is anything else I can do at this point and would also appreciate any suggestions as to what I can do myself to fix the machine.


    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. trevpimp macrumors regular

    trevpimp

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    Apr 16, 2009
    Location:
    Inside A Mac Box
    #2
    Next time you go to the Apple Store just have a talk with the manager and specifically explain all the issues that you have been going through while still under a 3 year apple care.

    Explain your issues consistently with the manager and then work your way up to get things fixed by explaining what you would prefer to be done. Apple has very nice customer service especially when speaking one on one with a manager.
     
  3. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #3
    15" MBP with dGPU issues?

    Now that's a real shocker. /s
     
  4. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #4
    Hi trevpimp, I appreciate the reply however I believe I have spoken to every manager at the store and they just reiterate what the other managers have said. I even emailed Tim Cook regarding the issue, hoping that the main engineering team may be made aware of the issue and it just yielded a phone call from the senior manager at the same Apple Store reiterating that nothing can be done and that again I should take the unit home and wait for a software update. I noticed that you have a similar machine, and wanted to know if you are able to replicate the issue, particularly when the display is scaled for more space as unfortunately Apple do not put any dGPU models on display at the store.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 17, 2016 ---
    LOL, wouldn't be the first time, I hope Apple acknowledge this issue quicker than they did for the 2011 MacBook Pro.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  5. asoksevil macrumors 6502

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    Jun 7, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #5
    Whenever you hand in your computer they have pre-analysis/diagnostic of the current physical condition for any scratches, dents, wear off parts. Just let the Apple Store people know you handed it immaculate (should be on the pre-analysis thing as well) and you got it backed all scratched.
     
  6. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #6
    Unfortunately the person I handed it to didn't make notes that were 'detailed' enough and only described it as in excellent condition and now the managers claim that they would not have inspected for these scratches beforehand and then continue to ignore the existence of the scratches.
     
  7. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    #7
    I have to say, this is very shocking. I have (luckily) only had positive experiences with Apple support. I cannot even describe how angry I would be if this happened to me. I would have a lawyer in there so fast their heads would spin. I am genuinely sorry that this happened to you. Moral of the story: take pictures before handing over for repairs. Good luck getting this sorted out!
     
  8. sneak3 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 14, 2011
    #8
    In which city that happened? I need to stay away from that place. Jesus.
     
  9. Sofian_26, Aug 22, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016

    Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #9
    This has been an extremely frustrating encounter with the Apple store, a stark contrast to other's experiences and even some of my own. In hindsight I was naive and it seems so obvious that I should have taken pictures but I literally just took it out of the case and gave it to the Apple employee who was impressed that it was a 3 year old model and even said that it was physically flawless and I stressed the fact that it was in pristine condition and even insisted that she note it down, apparently this is not sufficient. I then also expressed the fact that I expected the machine back in the same condition.

    Unfortunately this is not the first occasion that this has occurred at this store as I gave in my 27" iMac about 5 years ago for a PSU and LED Driver Board replacement as the iMac had 2 distinct buzzing noises and only the PSU one was audible in the loud environment of the Apple store and so I got it replaced out of warranty and I was only charged for the part. I then received the machine and took the machine home to notice a substantial dent in the side of the iMac, a scratch on the base and a dust infestation underneath the glass panel, however since I already took it home I did not pursue the damage as I thought that they could easily claim that I had incurred it and also transporting the old iMac back to the store was no easy task. I still have the LED Board buzz to this day unfortunately.

    I appreciate your considerate reply, despite you not being at all responsible and I don't think I could find a single lawyer with enough patience to deal with this level of ignorance. Thanks.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 22, 2016 ---
    LOL, in London unfortunately. It is one of the fresh redesigned stores, ironically with very stale customer service. On my many encounters to Apple stores I have seen numerous cases of easy repairs such as cracked screens and sticky home buttons resolved with a replacement unit, some even without warranty, however I can't seem to get one despite having a legitimate case for a replacement and having AppleCare protection.
     
  10. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #10
    Has anyone made progress in finding out what is actually causing this problem as independently the discreet and integrated GPUs seem to work fine? It is just the switching that is causing the issue and it continues to flummox other MacBook owners and supposedly the engineers at Apple.

    I strongly feel that Apple's quality has declined in recent years as basic testing and quality control should have identified this issue and Apple are either aware of the issue and are denying it until they actually have to do something about it, being the most likely scenario or are just completely lost. Also, the service at Apple stores has evidently declined and most of the employees seem to be fools who have barely any knowledge about computers whatsoever other than what the new snapchat filters are. Even the managers don't seem to be able to differentiate between hardware and software, but are sure that a software update will remedy my issue, surely working at Apple would require some basic knowledge regarding computers? I really believed that investing in a premium machine from Apple would warrant a premium experience free from massive bugs and glitches however it obviously does not. Apple prides itself on excellent design, quality and service to the point where Jobs even said 'We don't ship junk,' however this obviously does not stand anymore and neither is Apple competent enough to fix their junk.

    In the past recommending Apple products to others was obvious as their products seemed to be free from the the irritations that platforms such as Windows provided and their ambition pushed them to release products that were daring and superior to their competitors, however nowadays it seems like Apple are falling back on their beliefs and entering mediocrity where the competition has both caught up and superseded them, just look at the recent Mac lineup for example.
     
  11. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #11
    I have the same system and have never experienced the black partial screens. Perhaps your system is defective?
     
  12. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #12
    I would like to think so, however after having the logic board and display replaced (pretty much the whole system) which passed all of the tests, the issue is still there. I would urge you to scale your display to 'more space' in the display section of system preferences and then go to energy saver and repeatedly switch the automatic graphics switching on and off again to see if a flicker manifests.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  13. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    Nov 3, 2011
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    SF Bay Area
    #13
    I did this and I think it happened once in 50 or 60 cycles of automatic graphics switching off and on. But this set up is so different from how I use my machine I am not concerned. I almost always have my display set to Best for Retina so I get nice sharp text. With that setting I never saw any issues as I switched automatic graphic switching off and on.
     
  14. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #14
    Hi JerryK, I really appreciate that you have taken the time to try this out and am glad that this issue doesn't plague your MacBook like it does mine. I personally set my MacBook for more space as I need the screen real estate, and understand that it is more demanding of the graphics chips and so would offload to the dGPU, however the more space setting is not even the native resolution and the top of the range MacBook should be able to easily handle it without any issue. Unfortunately for me when I repeatedly click the switch it flickers constantly and under normal use, it also occurs on normal websites such as the Apple website, Paypal, Youtube and also Funshop which is one that somebody mentioned on another forum that is able to replicate it every time.
     
  15. jerryk macrumors 68020

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    Nov 3, 2011
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    SF Bay Area
    #15
    The more you push a system the more you can expect that there will be cases where flaws show. I have developed software used by millions and you always have to make choices and compromises. Often these involve where to put resources. I think you are in a corner case where there is only so much hardware/software combination can do. It does what it can, but is out of the mainstream. My case, "Best for Retina", is almost by definition the mainstream and is scenario for which the hardware/software is optimized and for which the most testing and development has been done.

    Also, notebooks are by their nature comprised systems. They try to strike a balance of small size, power consumption, computing power, graphics power, and low weight. The desktop system I am typing this only likely would not have any issues driving 2 or 3 4k monitors in your scenario. But, the CPU cooler alone weighs as much as a Macbook Pro.
     
  16. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #16
    Hi Jerryk, I appreciate your reply and am glad that your machine is working for you. I appreciate you sharing your experience, but for me I purchased the MacBook Pro for its high resolution screen, which would allow the bigger screen real estate which is great for productivity, but it is still only scaled to 1920x1200 at its maximum setting, a setting made by Apple, which is not even close to the native resolution and a MacBook of this calibre should be able easily handle it. I understand that software is optimised for 'best for retina', but that gives a scaling similar to that found on the MacBook Air, which is extremely antiquated and Apple should not force me to use it like that. When booting up the notebook, with a fresh install to post a reply on this website I would see flickering and even when switching tabs to other news websites, with nothing in the background. I would understand if I was in a scenario where apps would crash as the software wasn't optimised, but this does not happen, when the extra performance is required, it offloads to the dGPU and the software doesn't seem to stall, but in the very mechanism of the hardware switching, a flicker occurs. This makes it seem like a hardware fault in the machine as the software does not seem to be interrupted at all, but the hardware does.
     
  17. jerryk, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016

    jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #17
    As I said, I suspect the case tested most is the main "best for Retina". Other scenarios, like the one you are running, is something that was tested for working. The minor flickering might have been noted, but declared not worth the effort to look into it. I know on every project or product I have worked we shipped with known with bugs because you cannot find every one, or if you do find it, you cannot hold up shipping the product to get to spend time to research it and devise a fix.

    But, as I said, when I tested it only happened 1 out 50 switches. If it happens in a more consistent manner for you, take it back in again and see if they will look at it again. Maybe a new tech can see something wrong with your system.
     
  18. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #18
    After being told that my MacBook was again ready, but nobody could tell me how or why I was transferred to AppleCare in Ireland and spoke to a couple of guys who were completely understanding of my issue and were actually willing to do something about it. They exclaimed that the service that I received was absolutely unacceptable and endeavoured to contact the store, so that we could get to a resolution. After many days of attempting to call them, they were unable to contact the store and when I called the store I was told that not a single manager would be able to speak to me, so I actually drove all the way to the store and told someone to get hold of a manager, passed him my phone with the AppleCare guy on the line to begin some actual communication. I then happened to meet some new managers at the store who were also very understanding and spoke to the AppleCare and arranged for my MacBook to be replaced. After a couple of days I brought in my old MacBook's box and all of the accessories in it and the manager was able to swap it for a sealed new 2015 model off the shelf. I finally experienced the customer service that I anticipated and the new manager was disappointed that his colleagues treated me in that manner.

    I then took the 2015 unit home, opened it and unfortunately this machine has the exact same issue and it seems to be even more prevalent than the old one, where the display actually just turns off intermittently. I understand that the revisions between the 2013 and 2015 models were very minor and this hardware defect seems to carry across to the new machine also. The machines have different graphics components and this would rule out a firmware issue and also the fact that it seems to occur more often when it is warm seems to rule out a software problem, in addition to the fact that I have updated my software for years, even the one suggested update by the engineers, would all seem to point towards a hardware defect in these machines.
     
  19. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    Sep 30, 2003
    #19
    Or, it's working as designed or within specifications. I haven't seen a dual GPU retina macbook pro that doesn't occasionally flicker when switching, to be honest.

    Right, the native resolution is 2880x1800, and the resolution the GPU has to render when you scale to 1920 is 3840x2400, almost twice as many pixels to render (9m vs 5m) and then scale to the native resolution of the display.
     
  20. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #20
    I understand that the GPU has to render many pixels, but this is an issue we could forgive in 2012 when these new machines came out and GPUs were not really up to the task, but the GPUs in these machines are able to drive a 5K monitor at 60Hz and so it should be able to drive its own display, particularly with the optimisation that Apple provides, that is not acceptable. The machine seems to render it fine and doesn't seem to slow down particularly, but part of the image just disappears on the screen. The lack of power would contribute to the choppiness and UI lag I experience and I can understand that and even on my first machine it would freeze occasionally but a flickering due to the switching suggests something related to the hardware that carries out this switch as it is not even able to sustain a complete image as the process is carried out. When the switching is complete it seems to work fine, until a switching event occurs again and this is a consistent problem across these MacBooks. I know that you have seen this issue before but occasionally the machine will start panicking and flicker constantly, which makes the machine unusable, gfxCardStatus does remedy this somewhat but bypassing the switching and the machine seems to stop doing it but the efficiency or performance is then compromised, which is what this flawed technology was created to resolve and it is a shame that Apple's best notebooks have this issue.
     
  21. OceanView macrumors 65816

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    Sep 16, 2005
    #21
    Is this a common problem on a 15" mid 2014 model as well?
     
  22. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #22
    I would assume so as it is extremely similar to the Late 2013 model and has the same dGPU, the automatic graphics switching seems to be the same across all of these models, which causes the issue.
     
  23. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    Aug 8, 2016
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    Bergen County, NJ
    #23
    Anecdotal of course, but I have a mid 2014 15" rMBP with the 750M, and I have never had any issues with the automatic graphics switching. In fact, if it weren't for iStat Menus I would never know when it switched.
     
  24. OceanView, Sep 2, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016

    OceanView macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Oh no, I was seriously considering buying this 2014 model but now I'm not so sure.


    I would hate to have any issues with a used/refurb unit without any warranty.
     
  25. Sofian_26 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 16, 2016
    #25
    The Apple event on the 7th is coming soon and there may be a new MacBook Pro and with the presence of another newer model, the model you are interested in may depreciate further and you may just grab a bargain by waiting a little while. Also, this issue can be remedied by setting the machine manually to use either the integrated or dedicated cards and you should see no flickering, but this does come with compromises and hopefully Apple will identify the issue and do a recall. The model linked above only has the integrated model and in theory should not be affected but I have heard that a couple of people have had issues, but the seller does offer a 60 days return policy just in case. Unfortunately the current MacBook's don't have the great advantage over the competition that they used to, and if MacOS isn't absolutely necessary, then I would suggest shopping around as you may find better value elsewhere.
     

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