My thoughts on first MBP (Penryn)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Blend, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Blend macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2008
    So I bought a MBP last week, and not only was it my first MBP, but my first mac ever. Though it is a beautiful machine, my experience was ultimately dismal.

    Design is still second to none
    The machine and OS X are beautiful
    Performance is excellent

    High price for (lack of) quality
    Myriad of defects
    Still runs very warm (though no more scalding)

    Upon opening the package, I noticed the lid wouldn't close all the way, leaving about a 1 cm gap between the lid and the base on the left side. Paying $2000 for this machine, I was dissatisfied but chugged ahead nonetheless. I was very pleased by Leopard's interface, but this feeling was fleeting, as I soon noticed a yellow band going across the screen. Other than this problem, the matte screen is great. Oh well.

    I tried to ignore these defects and continued to use the machine for about a week. I fell in love with the OS - it is simply beautiful. Sadly, my problems didn't stop there.

    First off, (an OS problem), the head drive makes a loud noise every few seconds due to excessive head parking. This creates wear on the drive, and runs the risk of HD failures. The sound, though annoying, is bearable. Other users have reported that when they switched to another OS (windows), the noise stopped.

    When I plugged in my headphones, I noticed a hissing and beeping sound when listening to audio. As I understand, this is a problem with the current logic board and most if not all current MBPs have this problem (using low impedence headphones).

    Then I also noticed electricity is actually being conducted through the case! Though not as extreme as the experiences of some other users being "shocked," getting a tingly feeling each time I ran my finger over the case is concerning (a possible health hazard). To those who simply "man it up" now, what if one day due to prolonged exposure to current your heart develops arrhythmias or other serious conditions? No thanks.

    The cosmetic defects alone I thought were enough to warrant an exchange, so off to the Apple store I went. Unfortunately, both managers said all of these defects are "within spec". Searching around the web, it seems this is the *default answer* to many many problems. I was utterly disappointed when I found not only were they patronizing, they were lying through their teeth. When I brought up commonly known problems, they denied knowledge of it (either they are lying or just clueless about their own products). An *exchange* they said would cost me a 10% restocking fee (I was still WITHIN the 14 day period). Fed up with them, I paid the restocking fee and *returned* it instead.

    I've done a lot of research about these problems, and I found I wasn't the only one with them. It's certainly NOT some *ridiculous* number as some people like to quote: 1, 5, or even 10%. So no, I don't think it's a result of extrapolating from a larger sample, with problems being magnified through the web. The problems are real, and they are more common than you'd think. Take a look for yourself, though the link is a bit dated, still applies: For example, the commonly noted yellow screen issue has been COMPLETELY ignored, since Apple still chooses to use the older faulty screens in the newer line of Penryn MBPs.

    I considered the MB a bit, but with all the cracking cases and other problems (such as rampant HD failures), I decided against it.

    For those who don't believe me, some places to start: (dated, but people still have these problems)
    I will stop here, since I think the point is made.

    Also note that rather than sparking arguments, I just want this to be a fair cautionary note for anyone considering the MB/MBP. I too was fooled by all the Apple hype. Let's not have it happen to you.

    It's too bad, since I've been looking forward to the MBP for about 5 months. Maybe in a few years it will be better, but for now I can wait. It's sad to say goodbye to OS X, but the trouble is not worth it. Who knows what the future will bring? A new QC department? Windows 7?

    I can predict some people will refute these claims despite the evidence, so the following note is only for those such people (meaning: skip the bottom portion if you are not a "fanboy"):

    -True, all hardware is susceptible to problems...BUT
    -For the price, one would expect to have perfection!
    -Does any other company boast even half as much as Apple?
    -With such an image, surely one should expect better?

    Veteran technology industry analyst Rob Enderle told the Statesman that Apple isn’t paying enough attention to quality issues and customer relations right now. “I think they are *feeling invulnerable* right now,” he said. “Because they’ve been so successful as of late, it looks like they can do no wrong and that *customers will take whatever they give them*. But that’s the quickest way to stop a (growth) trend that I know of.”

    The path to better quality is by acknowledging and voicing these issues. Or else Apple will continue to ignore commonly known problems like they have in the past. Do you remember those hard-pressed product recalls from Apple? That was only after a result of coordinated and constant voicing by customers such as yourselves. Let's not fall into his "reality distortion field" ;).

    Hope this was informative.
  2. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005

    Just a quick suggestion about your restocking fee : dispute it with your credit card! When the MBP first came out, I complained about the crazy heat, warped display, bulging aluminum under the latch button and buzzing CPU and the manager told me it was all 'within specs' and I would be charged a restocking fee. I refused to be bullied into keeping the machine and paid the restocking fee. I later disputed it with the credit card company and was refunded the $200 within a week or so. I suggest you do the same.

    Good luck!
  3. BowZinger macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2007
  4. EvryDayImShufln macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2006
    Although again, your one experience does not speak of the majority of users, as the majority seem relatively happy enough to warranty not returning every single MBP and thus as a result not making apple bankrupt.

    Anyhow, I got a penryn MBP and it's working just fine. I don't know if the drive is parking its heads excessively, but if it were, I'm sure we would hear about abnormally high HDD failure rates from apple (which we don't, we hear about other problems instead).

    By the way, I don't think you realize how much 1 centimeter is. If the gap was actually 1 centimeter, the magnetic latches probably wouldn't even be reaching the bottom of the enclosure.
  5. calabi macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
  6. Hoopdy macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    You should have just contacted Apple Customer Support. You're such an idiot for paying the restocking fee within the 14 day period when you know you shouldn't have had to.
  7. rezonat0r macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2007
    Unfortunately this is an issue and it varies from unit to unit. Mine is almost perfect, but it is a replacement. The first one was warped enough to bother me and Apple replaced it, no questions asked.

    If its a thin strip near the top or bottom that is normal. All notebook screens these days will have something like this as the screens get thinner and there is less and less room to spread light. However if you are talking about the bottom 1/3 or 1/4 being yellow that seems to be a legitimate defect.

    This is an issue with a specific disk model, and I hope Apple comes up with a fix sooner rather than later.

    The hissing/beeping you describe is not Apple-specific at all; all Intel chipsets have this issue to some degree. However you should not be able to hear it while playing audio.

    Your noisy audio and electricity conducting issue are certainly not common and are more than likely related. It sounds like bad grounding, a reversed polarity ground, or a bad AC adapter are causing both. Grounding issues will definitely rear their heads in the form of a vastly increased noise floor, especially with low impedance headphones.
  8. Blend thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2008
    Read post please.

    Actually, I think it does. Perhaps you are choosing to ignore the evidence? Also, just because your "one" claim that the majority are problem free, that does not make it true. Why don't you go on stand now and give me evidence that the "majority" are problem free?

    Surely, that is more than my "one experience" ;). I can provide hundreds of links if you desire more.

    Then you are ignorant of the problem (Hard Drive): (macbook, referenced earlier)

    No need for insults, I think I know what 1 cm looks like. I guess you need visual feedback?
    Here you go sir:

    In the future, I won't bother replying to stupid comments anymore. Look at my claims and the evidence that's out there first, and I think there simply is no good defense.

    To the other person who is name calling, what would you have done? Call the store manager an idiot and bash him in the face? Argued with them in store at the risk of the calling security? Or settle it calmly now and dispute it/take legal action later? Senseless.

    Consumers have rights too.
  9. GAS macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2006
    If the majority weren't problem free we would be reading hundreds of thousands of threads, not just hundreds.
    That is nothing like 1cm in any of those pictures.

    I'm not disputing you had got a bad product, but not everyone can be perfect, you should have got a replacement from Apple.
  10. chp5592 macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    Incredible. 1 cm gap? I want to see the picture for proof.

    Just for a balanced picture, my 2.4 Penryn MBP was perfect. No dents, screen closes perfectly, no yellow on screen, no hard drive noise. Very cool running. I am very happy with the machine.

    Audio is perfect through headphones. No hissing sound.

    So don't let the vocal minority dissuade from your purchases.
  11. Winstonp macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2005
    You MUST mean 1mm!
  12. EvryDayImShufln macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2006
    Do you know how many MBPs apple sells per month? Per year? Even if you showed me 100 posts that is still very inconclusive evidence from a statistical point of view.

    Sure, 100 posts would be enough for a survey, however they would need to be 100 posts that are purely random and randomly selected. On a forum such as this, the majority are posts made talk about problems. While I agree that MBPs do have some plaguing problems, and I actually had a bottom 1/3 yellowing issue, I did in fact get my computer replaced.

    I don't mean disrespect, I'm just trying to put things into perspective for other readers who you may have frightened. And by the way, the picture you showed me does not have a gap of 1 cm (although it's certainly not pretty regardless lol). Any surely whoever took that picture had no problem at all getting it replaced: thats the first time I've ever seen a case so warped (unless the person dropped it or something). My MBP has maybe 1 or 2 mm of difference between the 2 sides when the screen is closed, so I agree they are not perfect.

    I think that the next redesign will most likely bring forward a case resembling the one of the macbook air (not in terms of thinness, but of metal on metal enclosure with no plastic seams). Hopefully that will get rid of some of the problems we currently face with this enclosure.

    But again, I still fail to see how the problem is extremely widespread.

    edit: oh, and touchee on that hard drive bit. But was it caused by software or just the fact that those seagate drives had internal problems?
  13. steve31 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2007
    Edmonton Canada
    return and demand a new one or get your money back!!! The gap thing is very common in MBP's but thats one of the worst gaps that I have seen! I have sold my MBP and am getting a new 2.5 MBP tomorrow. What model did you get?
  14. wk127001 macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Finally somebody else who understands what is really going on. I wish more people did some critical thinking around here.
  15. MediaRyan macrumors member

    Dec 26, 2007
    I just got my first Mac as well, a previous generation MBP. 15" 2.4ghz...

    Beautiful machine. I did notice that the screen doesn't seem to close all the way on the right side. Not terribly noticeable, but I totally agree that for the $$ and reputation, it is illogical....

    However, OSX and ability to run Final Cut Studio is what I want and so I'm willing to let some stuff slide. Shouldn't have to though.
  16. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    Why on earth did you pay a restocking fee? You have 14 days to return the unit for a full refund. I returned my first Mac Pro because of problems and there was no restocking fee. Definitely dispute the restocking fee. As for the MBP, get another one, all of them aren't shot. I went thru this with my Mac Pro. My replacement is perfect.
  17. bruno75 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    I think you made the right choice. I'm actually debating returning my MBP when it arrives and just buying an Alienware m15x for the same amount of money. I have a low threshold for imperfections and glaring build quality anomalies. I found that picture of the lid gap to be horrible. Something like that would definitely cause me to return/exchange. I'm actually surprised that I'm reading so many complaints about build quality from a computer that I always assumed was superior to normal pc manufacturers as far as components are concerned.

    I find myself wanting to switch to Apple but always run into big hangups such as an almost fanatical inflexibility over hardware customization coupled with stubbornness to allow licensing of it's OS on custom built pc's. I honestly don't quite understand the logic. Surely they would see an immediate upsurge of desktop market share if people had a choice of which OS to install on their pc. I don't buy the argument of poor support among disparate hardware profiles because if I'm not mistaken, Leopard has it's own dirty laundry list of bugs upon first launch, if not still to this day. Ah well, I think you did fine and your reasons for returning are certainly adequate and within reason. Best of luck with finding a good pc or waiting for your next mac.
  18. bruno75 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Blend, I was just curious if after having a little time to play on OS X, you though t it was vastly superior to Vista or is it simply "cool" as a result of being a new OS and nouveau experience for you as a first time mac user?
  19. bruno75 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Incidentally, the "clicking" noise is a common problem among certain Hitachi drives. It's actually still present in certain notebook Seagate's but not as dramatic. It's typically not a problem with the OS, but a problem with the bios controlling the actual drive. It is indeed a result of excessive head parking, but I can't remember all the details when I troubleshooted it in several previous laptops. There's a bios utility that you can use to change the acoustic parameters on the Hitachi drive. It can be downloaded from their website, but alas, I don't know if it can be ran on a Mac. I used it with my current XPS because I had the same issue and it resolved it.
  20. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
    my MBP was a nice machine, I also had the yellowing, bad keyboard, shocks and a few other thing it just was not for me, bought a Air and i love it :)
  21. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    Why don't you wait to see if yours has the problem before you return it?
  22. bruno75 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    I will. After all, that's only fair and part of me would still like to switch over to Apple, but I sometimes wonder lately if that's due to fascination with learning a new OS other than Microsoft, or actual productivity/hardware merits, especially with the number of complaints on the forums so far. I will freely admit that another influencing factor has been the wonderful experience I've had with my iphone. I have already orderd the m15x (because there is a one month shipping delay) which gives me time to check out the mbp, but at the moment I'm suspicious that I will probably end up returning it. We'll see.
  23. Blend thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2008
    Thanks for your well formed replies bruno75. I must admit though, with respect to the OS a lot had to do with the "nouveau experience". This is coming from someone with a lot of experience on XP and light experience with Vista/Ubuntu.

    Expose, dashboard, finder, overall interface, and UI animations are all pretty nice features. Windows management is in many ways easier with Expose, and you don't have a cluttered taskbar due to multiple windows. I like that all these features are integrated with the OS. For example, I know XP/Vista can install 3rd party apps for multiple desktops (Spaces) and Expose emulation, but of course that's just not the same (features, performance wise, etc.).

    Another feature to note is OS X's own taskbar (or whatever fancy name they call it) and the dock. The taskbar though strange at first (since it is not attached to the program), reduces much of the menu redundancies compared to XP/Vista. With the dock, all your programs are within easy reach. However, this dock has the con of potentially becoming cluttered (versus having all your programs tucked away on the start menu).

    With macs, things are "program" oriented rather than "file" oriented as with Windows. I think this is also personal preference. I'm finding it a bit difficult to express how this works in words, but a few minutes with the OS and it is evident.

    Above all else though, OS X is simply visually appealing.

    I would just wait and see what happens (i.e. better QC, change in designs, new policies). I know when I say such things I'm treading on dangerous water, especially in a Mac forum :eek:. But I think it's fair, and I certainly wished I was aware of such problems before I had spent my money. Hardware problems are expected, but what annoys me is that Apple chooses to ignore such issues (that are several months old) and much of the fan base refuses to acknowledge them, no matter how you present the case (e.g. debating over 1mm or 2mm, ignoring the real problem). Oh well, some people here and there seemed to have gotten lucky with them.

    Addn: looks very promising
    Also, in a few years, Windows 7 will be a major contender...should be exciting :)
    So I think good advice is get a cheap work machine now and wait until the big guns roll out

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