New unibody MBP acting strange... Help needed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Alucardx03, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #1
    Well, I purchased a new 2.53 ghz, 512mb video card Macbook Pro and recently got into World of Warcraft. I have a question, however. Using the dedicated graphics card, I'm playing WOW with all the settings maxed out. When I first start up the computer, the games runs between 50-78 fps. After 15-20 minutes of continuous playing, however, the game starts to chug along a little bit, dropping to about 25 fps for a few seconds, before returning to the full fps. This pattern happens about once every fifteen seconds-- 50 fps, down to 25fps, back up to 50. I think it has something to do with system heat, but I'm not sure. I have iStat installed, and it's reading 171 F for the CPU temp, and around 150F for GPU temp. Is this strange performance normal? Is there any way to fix it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

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    Kitchener, Ontario
    #2
    I'm not really sure what the problem is, but if it is heat related, you can try installing smcFanControl to raise the fan speeds to cool your system down a bit.

    Hope that helps
     
  3. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #3
    When the computer is overheating, the GPU will decrease the clock to cool things down. Have you tried raising the back of the computer a bit? Maybe use a book or a deck of cards.
     
  4. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    Newcastle, UK
    #4
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=609722
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=608168

    See my story.

    I think you got the same problem as i did. Most of the people here say is "Normal", as you can see from the reply. But dun think so. I dun have a solution yet, but it appears no one is willing to help, or thinks this is a problem.
     
  5. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #5
    Well, my fans run maxed out, so I don't think I have to alter them anymore...

    Also, the the computer is on a wooden table with nothing blocking the back vents, so I think the airflow is adequate. It's just strange that such a powerful computer can't play WOW (a 4-year-old game) at max settings for more than 20 minutes without taking a performance hit.
     
  6. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    Newcastle, UK
    #6
    my CPU in my MBP throttles even at 8X'C, which is perfectly normal for a CPU temp.

    Angus
     
  7. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #7
    Has anyone else run any games on their 2.53, 512 mb and had similar issues, or is this an isolated case?

    When the computer runs normally, the performance is amazing. There are even times when the framerate will spike to 180 fps. It's just unfortunate that it drops so low at such a regular interval when it heats up.
     
  8. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    Newcastle, UK
    #8
    About your temperature, is not reli as high as causing problems. I think you really have the same situation as what i have. But it seems you are not interested.
     
  9. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #9
    No, quite the contrary. I actually read the entire thread. I think we may have the same problem. I'm just trying to find out if we have isolated cases or not. I appreciate your input.
     
  10. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    Newcastle, UK
    #10
    I will be calling apple to notify them this problem, and then get a refund. it seems it is not a problem of drivers, software nor the cooling system. As technically, our MBP hasn't overheat yet.
     
  11. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Well, let me know what they say. I'll be interested to hear.
     
  12. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    Newcastle, UK
    #12
    actually, i have written a message to steve yesterday. I reli hope they will get this thing right. As i love the new unibody MBP. I will buy another one once they have one properly built for real "pro" people.

    I will post the reply from them ASAP
     
  13. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #13
    Well, I just got off the phone with Apple technical support. I explained the situation, and the CSR told me that there should not be the problem. He offered to send me a box and ship it back, but told me taking it to the Apple store would be faster. I think I'll make an appointment there tomorrow.

    While some people say this is normal, it still doesn't take away from the fact that we upgraded the model for a superior video card. If I'm not able to use that video card for games and other applications over an extended period of time, why didn't I just purchase the model with the 256mb card? Doesn't make sense to me...

    I really hope this is an isolated case- maybe a misapplication of thermal paste or something- because I really like this computer and would hate to have this problem with all of them.
     
  14. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Please let me know whether they can fix this problem or not. As i am considering refund my MBP. Which i don't want to....
     
  15. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I think the problem of this is the symptoms seems to be normal, but in fact something is seriously wrong with it. I think this may be an issue which Apple didn't even known of.
     
  16. Mac_Freak macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 22, 2005
    #16
    I think I too have the same issue

    I too have experience a considerable drop in performance of my GPU after something around 20-30min ( that is when I noticed the FPS drop). I wasn't playing a game, but running a graphic intensive live rendering animation that I wrote.
    I though that was strange, but disregarded it then thinking that I might have not been clearing VRAM properly.

    However, now when I think about it more and you experiencing similar problem, it seems like we may have another series of faulty NVidia chips :mad:

    I will wait and see if Apple comes out with any official statement on this, if not then this one is going back on warranty. :(
     
  17. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #17
    I'm just wondering, if you've had the computer since they came out, are they more likely to give you a replacement, or send it in for repair?

    It's just that I depend on my computer for work each day. Having it gone for even a week would be devastating...
     
  18. Nate025 macrumors regular

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #18
    This whole thread is very interesting. I've been experiencing something similar to the issue described above when playing WoW for an extended period. My own experience leads me to believe it's a heat issue, but hey, I'm no computer whiz.

    I do experience a significant drop in performance after playing for an hour or so: The laptop is pretty hot on the bottom, but not terribly hot, so I'll usually plop a remote underneath. I've tried lowering a few of the video settings down a notch and that helps tremendously. I believe lowering the 'ground clutter' option yielded a significant performance increase. I would much rather not decrease my video settings, and I'm not suggesting that as an ideal, but it's a solution which, for the time being, has worked for me.

    I generally run with all settings maxed: Shadow detail set to 'Low'; glow screen on or off, depending on my mood, with no significant increase or decrease in performance. Usually my fps stays between 40-120, never lower than 40. When this issue hits it will drop to around +/-25fps, going up and down, depending on what is drawing on-screen. High forest areas tend to have the most impact on performance when this is happening.

    The next login, after I've stopped playing and the computer has had a chance to cool down, everything is back to normal until the laptop heats up again. This leads me to believe the issue I'm facing is more attributed to a GPU overheat than faulty soft/hard-ware.

    I run WoW in OSX. I wonder if persons running in Windows have similar, or worse, issues.


    Regarding the above quote: Do remember that the WoW graphic interface received a face-lift with the arrival of WotLK, as well as the patch preceding it.
     
  19. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #19
    Yeah, I know that the game was spruced up a bit. Granted, I don't know much about computers, but shouldn't a 512mb video card be able to play it smoothly?

    Maybe it is problem with OS X... I'm not playing the game on Windows either, so maybe that has something to do with it? Not sure. Either way, I think I'm going to take the computer in and see what they say. It sucks though, because the nearest Apple store is 45 minutes away, and I have a feeling that they're going to make me sit there for an hour while they "replicate" the issue.
     
  20. Nate025 macrumors regular

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #20
    Without knowing more about how integrated the game is with the os platform it's tough to say. A 512mb video card is a powerful creature right now, but it can't take everything thrown at it. There are plenty of games these computers can't run perfectly with all settings maxed out: WoW is still one of them. I can't run with all my settings up and get an average frame rate higher than 30 or so. Shadows settings are such a killer.

    But man, if you do take it in, I hope they come up with a solution for you. It sucks investing a significant amount to not be fully satisfied with the product. I'm certainly interested in what the cause actually is.
     
  21. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #21
    Hmmm... thanks for your post: food for thought.

    I'm not one of those people who has unrealistic expectations. I didn't buy the computer to run Crysis at the highest settings. Maybe I just wrongly assumed that it could handle WOW at the highest settings. After all, I'm not a big PC gamer by any stretch of the imagination...

    I should clarify my post. I have the shadow detail turned all the way down, which helps me get about 20 more fps on average before the computer heats up.

    Now, when you say that your computer can't handle WOW maxed either, are you getting performance drops after an extended period of time, too? For me, with everything (minus shadow detail) turned to max, I get an average of 70 fps. But less than an hour into it, the framerate drops to the mid thirties, high twenties.

    If I'm getting such good performance before the heat, wouldn't that mean that the computer was powerful enough to run the game, but is just hampered by the heat? I'm just trying to narrow this down, so that I know if it's the overheating or not.

    But strangely, my temperatures never seem to pass what I've heard is "normal" for a CPU and GPU, which is the only thing making me think that it couldn't be the heat. I don't know... I'm a little confused.
     
  22. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #22
    Just thought of this...

    Do you think it could be a memory leak of some kind in playing WOW on OSX? I haven't tried the game under Windows yet, but couldn't that be a possibility?
     
  23. Nate025 macrumors regular

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    Oct 18, 2008
    #23
    Yeah that pretty much what's happening with me as well. I don't max out my shadow detail either, and I keep other settings turned up, with a 1400x900res.

    It could be, but I dunno. I did have it installed under Vista when I first got the computer to see if the frame rates were any better, but I uninstalled it before any real length of time because there was no noticeable improvement.
     
  24. lscangus macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Newcastle, UK
    #24
    Please see my post for further details. And carry out the test. Play games in windows and LOG the CPU clock.

    If you play it under windows. Log the CPU clock, i bet you will see it throttling at a non-throttling temperature. Please see my post for further details.
     
  25. Alucardx03 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #25
    Well, I thought I'd post an update with everything I learned.

    I loaded WOW on my Windows XP Boot Camp partition, and it works beautifully. With the shadow detail on low, I get an average of 70 fps with no slowdown over time. In fact, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the frame rate to dip below 50, which is a world of improvement over the OSX side. For some reason, I'm not getting the same wild frame rate fluctuations that I was getting on my OSX partition. On my mac, my fps would be 120 one minute, and drop to 27 the next. On Windows, it's a much more solid performance.

    So, that must mean that the drivers on the OSX side are subpar, which is actually a relief. With some of the other overheating nightmares I'm hearing about, I consider myself lucky. It saves me a trip to the Apple store, and much wasted time. Also, if the computer had been overheating due to a botched design, there would have been no solution to the problem at all. I'm sure Blizzard will update the drives with time, so until then, I'll just play it on the Windows side. A necessary evil, I guess.
     

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