Sadly, I got a lemon...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Piaget, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. Piaget macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    After only my second day with my new (refurb) MBP, I opened up a couple Safari windows and Itunes and was horrified when I saw a distorted/jumbled images. I had heard about the issue with the nVidia 8600 GPUs and even checked serial number to see when my machine was produced (43rd week, October). But apparently this issue is still affecting those "Rev 2" logic boards.

    Up to that point (a day), I was very satisfied with the machine; it was very snappy, the screen was bright and very crisp, and I was pleased with the simplicity of OSX (I finally realized that there was no installer)... But I refused any offers made by the Apple rep of a repair/replacement because this nVidia issue will always be in the back of my mind. I will be going away to start grad school in a couple of months, and as the only machine I will have, I need the peace of mind that the paper I sent all night on will still be there when I wake up in the morning.

    I find myself in a dilemma now:
    1) Old Whitebook (My brother has had it for over a year and it has bee flawless)
    2) New Alu MacBook (I like the design and durability better that (1), but rev A reliable?)
    3) Lenovo Ideapad laptop with XP (I hear these are very reliable)

    I'm a non-gaming college student who just mostly browses the net and uses word processor. Buying advice from all you MacRumors experts would be helpful!!

    Edit: My budget is $1600, give or take $100.
  2. aaquib macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Before I start...

    No one here is going to advise you to get the Lenovo.

    Personally, I would get the MBP. They are very reliable machines and I haven't heard about too many issues with them.

    If not, I'd get the new Al. Macbook. Using the whitebook would be OK, but seeing as you're in university, you probably want a newer, faster machine. I haven't heard too many issues with the Rev A Al. Macbook, but I hadn't heard too many issues with the MBP either...
  3. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Sorry to hear about the issue. That surprises me that a refurb did that.

    I've been nervous about potential rev a issues with the MBP but I gave up waiting and pulled the trigger. So far, so good here.
  4. Piaget thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    I would consider it if it was a pre-2007 MacBook Pro which has an ATI graphics chip, although I hear those run "hot". If they ran as hot as the Penryn MBP that I returned, I would definitely consider it.
    The new designs look nicer and are probably faster, but I lasted through my undergraduate years with a 1.2 ghz AMD Athlon, 256 SDRAM, 30 GB desktop just fine, so I guess speed isn't the most important. Performance reliability, durability while travelling and easy of use of OS (either OSX or XP) are most important. I'm not sure if this is realistic, but the only desktop PC that I have owned has lasted me 6.5 years and I have not had a single problem with it. Laptops are supposed to have a shorter lifespan, but I think expecting 4 years is reasonable? From what I hear, the GPU problem is due to cumulative heat variations and problems are expected to arise 2-3 years after the fact.

    For the reasons stated in my original post, it was probably a mistake (especially since I won't have a secondary comp) to purchase a laptop which has a known problem with something as crucial as the GPU. I can live with the small annoyances with the rev A alu macbooks (slanted keys, loose covers), as long as the system still works!
    Mac diehards are known for being objective, aren't they? ;) But, seriously, it seems like Lenovo has a better reputation among the Mac faithful, than say, Dell or HP.
  5. Sehnsucht macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2008
    #5 horrible. :(

    I always say, refurb is from Satan. I can put my ear up to any refurbished gadget and hear the evil demonic chatter from within. :eek: Yes, definitely avoid refurb, and stick with a new MBP. :apple:
  6. Piaget thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Instead of an Apple rep, perhaps I should have called up an exorcist. ;) Sounds like you had a nice Halloween!

    From everything I hear, refurbs from Apple (maybe not other companies) are as good as new. Other than the graphics card, the machine looked new, no dead pixels, or anything like that. Because of my bad experience, I might not buy a refurb Apple notebook in the foreseeable future, but I will be looking for the 2G Ipod Touches when they hit the refurb store!

    I'll edit my OP to reflect my budget, which is around $1600 (Canadian) after taxes. Besides the budgetary issue, I don't think I'll need the extra Pro power as a general user.

    Edit: Grammar fixed!
  7. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    isnt it covered? Why not return it and try it again instead of giving up after one unfortunate problem?
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I'm sorry to learn of your very unfortunate experience; that's rotten luck. In general, refurbs are excellent, and likewise, in general, MBPs are excellent. I have one and am very happy with it.

    Go for the old MB (white or black), they are very highly regarded. The new ones look stunnng, but performance has not been radically improved (that may come next year), and first generation "issues" may yet appear which will need to be addressed. If you are really passionate about the appearance of the new MB, I'd suggest waiting until whatever updates are planned actually materialise, which will not be for around another year. In the meantime, buy the MB, and then sell it next year.

    Cheers and good luck
  9. Piaget thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    AFAIK, all the Santa Rosa and Penryn MBPs have a faulty 8600 GT graphics card. (Officially, Apple only says some of them have it, but based on this thread, many affected and unaffected cards are exactly the same) However, many have yet to experience symptoms because the problem appears after cumulative changes in GPU temperature (extreme ex: using a GPU-intensive app, followed by a sleep cycle). This means that for the general user (who keeps the GPU temp relatively constant), the problem will not appear right away but may appear 2-3 years later. I need this machine to last at least 4 years.

    Full disclosure, since these 8600 GT MBPs have only been around about a year, no one really knows if this above theory is right. But, for me, bottom line, it just doesn't make sense to buy a machine with a known defect in the GPU when dependability and longevity are paramount. Previously, I took the dive because I reasoned that the "rev 2" logic boards might not be affected, but from my experience, it seems like they are just replacing faulty GPUs with faulty GPUs.

    Btw, anyone who knows better than me about this nVidia issue, feel free to correct me as I'm far away from articulate in this area.

    Edit: I got so sidetracked on the nVidia issue... I forgot to say that the Apple rep did offer me a replacement, but I opted for a full refund instead (for the reason above). Thanks for all the advice so far!
  10. Malivar macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2008
    I say buy the new Aluminum Macbook. I think with the new Graphics card in it and the shiny look and sturdy frame, you're going to like it more than the Whitebook or the old MBP. And, you'll feel up to date.
  11. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    It doesn't have a graphics CARD in it. It still has integrated graphics, albeit double the memory can be shared, and it's a faster gpu.
  12. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    I have owned an apple refurbished macbook and 24" imac and both have been perfect.
  13. Piaget thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    A quick update. Based on the advice above and reviews on other websites, I've narrowed down my choices to between the Alu Macbook and the Lenovo Thinkpad T400.

    Right now, I'm leaning toward the T400 (about 60/40). A few rambled thoughts:

    T400: better LED screen, snappy keyboard, classic design, cool hybrid graphics system, good weight, durable, chunky compared to MB, no OSX :(.

    Alu MB: Unibody feels ridiculously nice in hand, sexy design, large trackpad, screen crispness and brightness could be better, glossy issue is overblown, OSX :), rev A surprises?

    I'm going to get a little more in-person experience with both machines and then decide. Any comments on my logic/thoughts are welcome :)
  14. Sehnsucht macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2008
    I did, thanks! :D Although an exorcist would have charged you way less. ;)
  15. MacsBestFriend macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2008
    upstate ny (purgatory)
    I would recommend buying the new aluminum macbook. the nVidia 9 series is not going to have issues, the computer is very strong and sturdy (perfect for college) and is fancy. just make sure you don't have anything firewire and boot the computer up in the store to check it out if you can!:apple:

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