Why can't Apple apply thermal paste?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Dr_Maybe, May 15, 2009.

  1. Dr_Maybe macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    #1
    There are pictures and stories of different kinds of Apple laptops, MacBook Pros and Airs, where there is too much thermal paste applied to the CPU or it is otherwise not applied correctly.

    From a high end brand like Apple I would expect better quality control. Is it worth it to skimp on applying thermal paste when people have spent a lot of time designing all the components. Image how much effort is put into making computers cooler by both intel and Apple engineers. And how easily is that wasted by shoddy assembly.

    It means more returns, more unsatisfied customers and taints the brand.

    What I can't understand is how hard is it to make sure thermal paste is applied correctly?!! :confused:

    I did it once myself. If I can do it as an amateur myself and do a better job than they do now, Apple should be able to do it. No matter how much money it would cost to have someone make sure it is done correctly, I'm sure it would be worth it. How much does labor cost where they make it anyway? They could probably pay 5 times the normal salary for just that job and it would be worth it.
     
  2. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #2
    Unfortunately, I have the answer.

    While our Mac boxes all state "Designed in California," they are manufactured and assembled NOT "IN CALIFORNIA."

    The people applying thermal paste are probably making $1 per hour or maybe PER DAY. They don't give a crap about how much we are paying. They don't give a crap that Apple thought out every aspect of the design. They don't give a crap that we depend on our Macs as an important part of our productivity in our careers. They don't give a crap that the sloppy application could make the Mac overheat. They don't give a crap because they will assume we will never open our Mac (and that is why Apple doesn't care about quality control too). Bottom line, they just don't give a crap!

    Worst part, it probably is 14 year old kids applying thermal paste... or worse, breadwinners of a family getting paid one cent per unit of applied thermal paste!
     
  3. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    And yet here we are still buying new Apple products.......

    It's a lose / lose situation.....

    I could choose not to buy any computer (not just Apple), and be a hippie with no money or career.

    or

    I buy a computer (in which a Mac is my choice), giving me a career but contributing to what is stated above.

    Eh... life goes on, I love computers, it's my career of choice.
     
  4. Dr_Maybe thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    #4
    Yeah, I know that's how it is today, but why doesn't Apple say: OK, instead of paying someone $1 an hour, we pay $25 an hour to a guy for applying the thermal paste and another $25 an hour to someone else that makes sure it is applied correctly. Maybe someone from Cupertino should randomly open up some of the machines comming from Asia, and if there are problems the quality control people in Asia should be fired if it happens a second time. I don't know exactly how it's organized now or how they should do it, but something along those lines.
     
  5. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #5
    Sometimes I think OUR system (meaning America's Capitalism) leads us to all of these problems. Corporate greed and answering to the shareholder, who demands maximum profits, requires the jobs to be shipped to China.

    It's SAD what has happened to the American way. I tried to write more, but it just doesn't come off right.
     
  6. n0de macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I hear you load and clear Scottsdale.

    It's hard to express without coming off like a nut.
     
  7. Dr_Maybe thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    #7
    I think it's fine that they have the computers produced in Asia and people over there can have a job assembling computers. And it is probably cheaper than assembling it in the USA, and if that means I can buy a cheaper computer, that's great.

    My only problem is that they don't seem to make sure the thermal paste is applied correctly. I don't understand why some executive in Cupertino doesn't call the factory Asia and makes sure they do the thermal paste right.

    Regarding the US, it used to be the land of the free but since the new deal in the 1930's it has gone downhill. Now it's more and more socialist with the government running the failed, union crippled car industry. If it were a free market system they wouldn't do all those bail outs.
     
  8. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #8
    The union wasn't the only thing that crippled the car industry for America. American made cars aren't that good anymore. It's harder and harder to compete with imports.
     
  9. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I highly doubt the person applying the paste even realizes the importance of the job. I'd be surprised to learn it's even a person not some machine.

    Regardless, it's China. You think Fischer Price was sent lead-coated toys for product testing? They'll make any short cut in manufacturing for as long as they can get away with it.

    Lastly since the new deal American has turned into the world leader in innovation, and entrepreneurialism. Something I'd hardly characterize as going "downhill".
     
  10. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    So do we really think thermal paste is applied by humans? Maybe I'm just too used to Apples videos of all there awesome robots building unibody cases and what not.

    Also as far as shipping these jobs over seas you have to realize trade makes everyone better off as a whole, take an ecconomics class and you will understand.
     
  11. McGilli macrumors 6502

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    Nov 11, 2008
    #11
    For all of the different types of MacBooks produced and sold - I don't think that badly applied thermal paste would even equate to 1% of defective returns. I really don't think it's a big issue. Sure - maybe it's not done right - but it's done. Good enough.

    99% of people who buy a laptop (mac) that 'just works' don't have a clue about thermal paste and never will. Those people buy them - and if the fan comes on a bit more from a hotter cpu they are none the wiser.

    On this entire MacRumors forum for all mac models - there are probably 10 people that have re-applied thermal paste to their machines and that is considering there are a lot of informed, technical people here....
     
  12. Dr_Maybe thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    #12
    How do you determine it is the world leader in innovation?

    Look at the car industry, it's being eaten by European and Japanese competitors, while the government has taken it over. The US president is procting local industries and promoting certain companies. It's like a semi-socialist country. People have forgotten what freedom means and let the government grow. Sarbanes Oxley is a big hindrance to businesses.

    Sure, some businesses are doing well, but the US as an environment for people to live and to run businesses has become worse in many ways. Not that the rest of the world is doing so much better, but I would have hoped that the US would be doing better trying to be a free country.

    I'm not an American, but I like the country. Just don't like what the government is doing and has been doing for a long time.
     
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #13
    But the fact is the "American" cars have more parts from China and Asia than Japanese cars by Honda and Toyota. Many American cars assembled in America, but mostly using crap import parts.

    Also the problems with American car companies is there is no innovation, no desire to better them, no focus on fuel efficiency, and the list goes on and on. It just seems like the companies expect Americans to buy American cars because they are Americans. No real reason to buy an American car. I have bought Japanese cars which have more parts from North America than American cars do, and they are fully assembled in America.

    Seems the whole culture of the American car industry is a problem. Real progress isn't going to happen with the government throwing them billions either. They could switch and focus on fuel efficiency, green power, and etc, and they just may be able to compete. But I feel they expect us to just buy American without giving us a real reason to believe it will benefit us or America.
     
  14. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #14
    The funny thing is, there are BMW's built in South Carolina, Hyundai's and Toyota's in Kentucky while Ford's are built in Mexico and GM's in Canada.

    America is the master of delegation which is great provided we continue to lead in innovation. I think that is part of the problem; maybe we ar not the leaders of innovation anymore and now slaves to imports (computers, cars, etc).

    I went to an Audi factory in Germany, there were 200 people and 400 robots cranking out A3's every 6 minutes or so. I would love to see an American car plant now.....that is not idle of course :(

    Wow, this thread went way off, apologies to the OP
     
  15. tigres macrumors 68040

    tigres

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    #15
    I cannot say with any certainty that applying thermal paste on Apple products is a serious problem, i.e. it is running rampant and out of control. I have heard, like others that it does exist on different levels, however from what I read on these and other forums it does not appear to be hindering Apples overall ratings in the marketplace when it comes to quality.

    However, I will say this; when a company/companies take for granted their customer base and sacrifice quality over the long haul; disaster will strike, it's just a matter of when.

    Let me give you an example. In 1986, I purchased a 1984 Buick Skyhawk (remember those) which I needed to last me my college years. I believe to the best of my recollection it had about 20k mile on it. I purchased it proudly from a local dealership in Brighton, MI and my father was also very big on buying American and doing business locally. I think I paid 7500 for the car (I really cannot remember) and paid with my hard earned cash. The Skyhawk came with a 1 year warranty, and the dealer seemed great at the showroom and used car lot, it was a Buick dealership after all.

    So began my loss of love for the American car companies. My experience (much like many others in the eighties) was nothing short of pathetic. Long story short; I attended college about 4 hours away from home, and my 2 year old Buick (Which was babied BTW) spend it weekend days and nights back in Brighton not wanting to run. To my recollection it encompassed something like the following: 3 Clutches, pressure plates, throughout bearings, radiator, numerous computer modules, leaking window seals, paint bubbling, catalytic converter, ignition, wiper motor(s). One day, my father picked up my car (which generally he had to do as I was away learning to be smart) and drove it 1 mile down the road to get a wash; inside the car wash, the car died again :rolleyes:.

    I have spared the commentaries on our frustration with the dealership, how pissed we were almost weekly, and the overall general "holier than thou" attitude I recall getting on every god awful trip down there. The car was a piece of crap, built like many others like it in that decade, and the Auto company's could give a rats *** about us, or our thoughts on their quality and lack thereof.

    Be that as it may, that car was totaled (blessed) as I was broadsided on a side street at school one morning by an old lady (bless her as well).

    I replaced that 1984 Buick (that now had about 40k miles on it, with a 1985 Honda Accord hatchback stripped down to the bone, no air, no power windows, nada. Paid 7800 for it with 79k miles on it; and drove that baby until it had 180k on it!!! Bought an Acura Integra Limited in 1991 (my first and only new car) and after the deal was made, I told them I had a trade. They gave me 2k for that ride, and it ran like the day I got it, no trouble, no problems.... just change the oil, (and the timing belt) with tires, you get my drift.

    Anyway, back to my point; I have yet to buy another American car. I am a perfect example a customer who was pissed on with poor product, poor service, and an attitude I will NEVER and have never forgotten.

    I am saddened by our current state with the US automakers (when it comes to friends, loved ones) who work there or lost their jobs; I really am. But, I blame their own demise on the simple premise of stupidity and greed. As stated above, the unions, healthcare, etc have also put them in this position and overpaying the fat cat is going to kill that cat someday from obesity; well welcome to what I thought of nearly 25 years ago when driving that damn Buick. I thought someday, just someday this crap is going to end and this attitude is going to stop; well here we are.

    As far as Apple is concerned, back to this thermal paste issue or non-issue, I will say this. I have had my fair share of Apple products, and I have had troubles along the way. However, not once EVER was I not fairly treated, compensated, or given 100% satisfaction for my money spent... EVER. They shine in this service, so if my machine breaks or fails; my own history with this companies products has taught me they have my back. Hence, I come back again, and again. I cannot say the same for the American car, they screwed me once and I never came back.
     
  16. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #16
    I believe Apple Macbooks are assembled in Taiwan by either Quanta, Wistron, ASUS, or Compal...just like 99% of the rest of the laptops in the world. Thermal paste application or other such issues will be done by the same employees assembling those other machines. Certainly unlikely that assembly quality problems are unique to anything Apple sells.
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #17
    I am not too knowledgeable what would be the right amount and the right way to apply thermal paste to a CPU. Nor are you, and nor are 99.9 percent of the readers on MacRumors. But I would like to add to this discussion one opinion that I heard, which was that while people may open their MacBooks and look in shock and disgust at the thermal paste and swear any oaths that it will cause excessive heat, it actually doesn't. That it doesn't matter very much how much thermal paste there is as long as it is enough.

    People use all this software that claims it is reading some CPU temperature, but they don't have any idea really what that software is reading and displaying. I heard people complaining here that one temperature reader was broken after an OS update; if it was broken (giving obvious nonsense results) after an OS update, how do you know it gave correct results before? Fact is that all those people who _don't_ open their MacBooks and don't look for faults don't worry about it and their MacBooks work fine.

    (Reminds me of posters who say "How do I know if my screen has any bad pixels"? Well, if you don't notice them, then it doesn't matter anyway.)
     
  18. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #18
    They're assembled in Shanghai China. Their casings might be designed by Quanta, Wistron or ASUS or Compal like the rest of the fleet of laptop casings. There is no way to QA something as Thermal Paste application. Once you put it on, if you remove the heatsink from the diode, you'll need to clean it off and reapply.
     
  19. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

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    #19
    what he said in a nutshell,all to true!:(
     
  20. quovadis macrumors regular

    quovadis

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    #20
    Amen brother! The bottom line - apple doesn't give a crap!
     
  21. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Because quality control is expensive, and most users don't seem to miss it.

    Yes, forum users like yourselves do -- but the rich college students and trend-following types who make up the majority of Apple's current target market don't know a thermal shutdown from a hole in the wall.

    Apple makes its money on products that look good. A lot of engineering goes into making the products look as good as possible, and they have it down to an art. Sometimes, certain compromises have to be made: in order to make a product that looks like the MacBook Air at a cost that the target market can afford, they have to cut corners. Like any company, they try to do this in whatever area is least-noticed to their target customers. Recently, that area seems to be build quality.

    Other companies take a different approach. Take IBM/Lenovo for example: their laptops are also expensive, but they look nothing like Apple's svelte machines. Instead, IBM/Lenovo focus on build quality -- their notebooks have a long history of solid builds and reliable operation. For them, cutting QA would be a disaster. As a result, they skimp in other areas: the processors aren't always the latest and greatest, the designs of most of their laptops are quite plain in comparison to the MacBook line, and the bundled software is sometimes quite poorly-written.

    It's all a question of what tradeoffs the company chooses to make in order to satisfy their market and make the best profit. For Apple, the most profitable course currently seems to make the best looking machines and cut costs when it comes to build quality and QA.
     
  22. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Any mixed-market system is going to be semi-socialist. There isn't a free market system to be found in the G8. We're all socialist in some way. From SEC oversight to unemployment insurance.

    Honestly I don't care about the auto industry. GM et al are getting flogged for good reason. Really can't let them go belly up unless you want to see unemployment hit 15% nation wide.

    Lastly, regulation is the scapegoat of those who champion the famine/feast cycle of economics. There are just as many examples of over regulation as there are deregulation destroying things. S&L crisis of the 80s, consistent bankruptcies of the airlines, and Enron are all terrible things that happened because of deregulation.

    Given the chance business would steal your wallet and **** your wife. While over regulation hurts, America is "for the people, by the people," not for the businesses.

    Fun fact: 'People' appears 8 times in the constitution. 'Business' and 'trade' don't appear anywhere.
     
  23. rotorblade69 macrumors regular

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    #23



    Here let me help get things back on Track!!!!

    I've seen the stuff applied and the stuff taken off. The real question is this.

    BY what process are they applying the paste?????

    Is it someone setting there with a brush and a big vat of paste and literally just brushing it on.
    Is it a disk that has been pressed out and then dropped on the top of the CPU and then the heat-sink goes over it, compresses the disk and squeezes out to the sides.
    Someone with a Eyedropper or some kind of syringe type applicator that has to be pressed just the right amount to make it work.
    Although the best way to do this would be computer controlled syringe applicator on the assembly line. CPU comes by sensors indicate its in the right place, triggers the applicator to drop a blob of paste then retract and the line moves for the next CPU while the next step has the heat sink going on. From the looks of different pictures taken they can't be using this. The stuff is applied to randomly and to haphazardly for it to be. If it is this method someone has been off in the bathroom with a playboy and a white light rubbing one out while the machines calibration is drifting. These things can control liquids to a very high degree of accuracy, But they just like any machine can loose a little accuracy and the amount can start to vary. It just needs to be calibrated and the amount being applied checked to make sure its working right. Most of the time verification of amount, size, location, ect. are checked via optical equipment linked to processing software that can sense variations and either alert for non-conformity or actually correct the problem its self.
    Lets hope its the latter and they have a bad cylinder or pump stepper motor or something as trivial as not being able to keep someone available to calibrate the machine. God lets hope its not some 15 year old girl setting there with a brush and a tub of paste and them saying paint it on and don't worry about it. If thats the case then we as a collective are royally F'ed in the A.
     
  24. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #24
    LMFAO!
     

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