MBP FAQs. Read this first!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by m85476585, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I've answered some of these questions so many times now that is getting to the point where it is easier to write a FAQ. Here's what I have so far, I'll update this as I get time.

    Q: Should I get the 2.53 GHz (or other upgraded CPU) model over the 2.26 GHz? How much faster is it?

    A: The speed difference can be found from the ratio between the two CPU speeds, doubled for tasks that fully take advantage of both cores. For example, the 2.53 GHz is 12% faster for single core tasks and 24% faster for dual core tasks. Most tasks right now are still single core, and even encoding a single video stream will typically only use one core for video and part of one core for audio. Expect it to be 12% faster overall.

    Q: Do I need to upgrade my RAM?

    A: Open up Activity Monitor and look at the system memory tab. If you have less than 100 MB free, you should consider upgrading. Next look at Page outs and Swap used. If either one is larger than a few hundred megabytes after using the computer for some time, you should also consider upgrading. OS X does best with at least 4 GB, and if you have any less upgrading will almost certainly be worth the money.

    Q: Do I have to use matched memory modules?

    A: No. Modern laptop chipsets do asymmetric dual channel, which essentially gives you all the benefits of dual channel RAM with unmatched modules. There is a slight decrease in memory speed with unmatched modules, but it is on the order of a few percent and you will probably never notice it in real-world use.

    Q: My CPU is XX degrees! Is this safe?

    A: Recent MBPs tend to run hot, and thats a trade-off Apple made to make their computers thinner, lighter, and quieter. Up to 90C is very common for the latest generation of unibody MBPs, especially the 13”, and the fans may take some time to come on. The CPU can safely handle up to 105C before it starts to throttle down, and it will force the computer to shutdown somewhere over 105C. the GPU can handle a similar temperature range. If your CPU temperature exceeds 100C, there might be a problem with your cooling system, though.

    Q: I spilled X on my MBP! What do I do?

    A: Turn off the computer, unplug the power, and remove the battery if possible. Soak up as much of the liquid as you can. [Under Construction]

    Q: What should I upgrade?

    A: If you don’t already have 4GB of RAM, get that first. It is one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can do. If you want to upgrade more, you can get a faster hard drive. Hard drive speed is roughly related to capacity because speed is directly related to data density and capacity is related to data density. A 500 GB hard drive will probably be fastest, and 7200 RPM drives are faster than 5400 RPM drives. Read reviews here and on Newegg and check the mobile hard drive charts at Tom’s Hardware to pick a good drive. There have been some issues with a few of the 500GB drives on the market, so watch out. If you have more money to spend, consider upgrading to a SSD (solid state drive). Since they have no moving parts, SSDs are extremely fast, especially for random access. SSDs tend to be expensive and come in smaller capacities than regular hard drives, so if you need more space consider replacing your optical drive with a second hard drive bay which can be purchased from third parties. Finally, an often neglected upgrade since it does not apply to the computer itself is a nice standalone display. A large display with at least 1080P resolution will give you more screen realestate and increase productivity. Look for a display that uses a MVA, PVA, or IPS panel for the best picture quality, or a TN panel for fair picture quality but the lowest price.

    Q: My battery shows XX% health in Coconut Battery. Is that normal? What can I do to keep it from decreasing more.

    A: It is normal for batteries to lose capacity over time. According to Apple your battery should last 3 years and 300 cycles before it drops below 80% if you have a removable battery, or 1000 cycles before it drops below 80% if you have a non-removable battery. The best thing to do to maintain your battery is to use it and keep it cool. If you just leave your computer plugged in all the time, the battery sits at 100% (or near 100%) charged, which slowly causes damage. Heat also slowly causes damage, so make sure the battery stays cool and has plenty of airflow. Try to avoid using your MBP on soft surfaces that can block airflow and trap heat. It will help to put your computer in sleep mode overnight rather than leaving it on since that keeps it cooler. Finally, be sure to calibrate the battery occasionally (see Apple’s site for instructions).

    Q: There is a red light coming out of the headphone jack and no sound from the speakers!

    A: Your MBP has optical audio out built into the headphone jack. It is normally activated by a special mini-Toslink cable, but sometimes the switch can become stuck during normal use. Try plugging in headphones, and if that doesn’t work, carefully use a toothpick or nonmetallic object to try to unstick the switch.

    Q: Do I need a 9600m? How much faster is it than the 9400m

    A: [Under Construction]

    Q: I hear electrical noise coming from the computer. Is that normal?

    A: [Under Construction]

    Q: I hear noise from the magsafe.

    A: [Under Construction]

    Q: I feel electricity through the aluminum case:

    A: Try using the grounded (3 prong) cable. [Under Construction]

    Q: How can I connect my MBP to X display?

    A: [See other thread]

    Q: Should I buy now or wait?

    A: [Under Construction]
  2. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    Have you considered making something like this into a Guide?
  3. dan5.5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2008
    This is amazing. I would say that of all threads, 75% can be answered by this thread.
  4. Takashi macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2009

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