Is Your New MacBook Pro Going to Die an Early Death?


Apple and Nvidia may be sitting on a potential landmine of defective chipsets in new 15″ MacBook Pros, according to a report Tuesday at the Inquirer.

Citing questions stemming from problems affecting Dell, HP and Apple computers earlier in the year with failing chips due to bad materials and thermal stress, as well as a $200 million charge Nvidia took over the problem in July, the Inquirer commissioned researchers to take apart a new MacBook Pro and investigate Nvidia’s assurances that none of the bad chipsets made it into Apple’s new computers that began selling in the fall.

“A small lab of mad scientists who do not wish to be named, fearing repercussions from Nvidia and Apple” took an off-the-shelf 15″ MacBook Pro apart, desoldered the parts, and “cut the defenseless notebook into many pieces,” according to the report, examining what they found through a scanning electron microscope equipped with an X-ray microanalysis system.

The findings indicate the Nvidia GeForce 9400 GPUs in some unknown number of MacBook Pros are in fact afflicted with material, called “bad bumps”, the tiny balls of solder that hold a chip to the green printed circuit board it sits on, that will crack, causing the computer it is in to die.

The Inquirer article suggests that “barring a total failure of their lot-tracking system, [Nvidia] had to have known the Macbooks shipped with ‘bad bumps’.

Did Apple know? Calls to Apple PR were not returned prior to the story’s publication, and while that might look pretty damning, it isn’t. “Apple will not talk to journalists unless they are assured the response will be fawning,” according to the Inquirer report.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this story to see if the news affects sales of MacBook Pros and whether – or when – Apple support forums might begin to erupt with tales of dying notebooks.

Via Techmeme

10 responses to “Is Your New MacBook Pro Going to Die an Early Death?”

  1. Elassol says:

    Hi People,

    I just bought a new 15″ MacBook Pro last month and I have to say that I have a frightening number of unexpected close application and in some cases a totally freeze of my computer that force me to do a restart from the physical button.

    Some of this problems happened just streaming a video from internet… Or just switching applications…

    For a brand new laptop without much applications and gizmos that mean to be one of the fastest is quite a bad image, don’t you think?

    I was wondering if some else is been experimenting the same problems.

    Thanks in a advance,

  2. joe says:

    Elassol, I have the exact same problem… Just loading a webpage on firefox or streaming movies or just launching an app will freeze my copmuter and I will then have to do a restart with the power button…

    I guess we know where it might come from now…

  3. the truth says:

    i have experienced EXTREME heat with my new MBP when i put it to sleep and carry it in my Incase sleeve. im talking REALLY hot. i could probably heat my lunch on it. i cant even touch it it’s so hot.

    other than that, no real issues other than the brightness of my monitor sometimes resets and i have to crank it back up…but never while im using it..only after a sleep.

    glad i got my applecare!

  4. Andrew says:

    I just purchased a new 15″ MBP yesterday and after a long day at work I excitedly plugged it in and began the setup last night. After about half an hour of running, I began to set up mail and the MBP shut down. No warning, just switched itself off.

    I turned it back on. The Finder appeared and then it switched off again. Once again I turned it on and not even the OS booted before it died. I decided to let the battery charge before continuing.

    I woke this morning believing to have sold the issue but it died again after a few minutes use. Now it won’t even switch on.

    I better be getting a new one when I take it back or I just bought myself a very expensive paper weight. Do you think this could be the same issue? It’s not one of the new generation MBPs. It’s the older silver one. I’m so dissapointed.

  5. Viviana Wong says:

    It obviously looked like you may have that bad chipset problem. I bought mine in November and had since made 6 short movies (about 20 to half an hour long) without any trouble. Everything seemed to work like a champ. I just updated the system to 10.5.6 without a hitch and I think I got a good model. I will advise you all to contact Apple about these problems. This is not how your macbook is supposed to run.