Apple investigating graphics issues with new MacBooks

Early purchasers of Apple's new unibody MacBooks are reporting crashing and graphic corruption during gameplay. Users are reporting that their screens turn to black upon loading a game and shortly after the computer locks up and the sound enters into an infinite loop. Users state that once the systems lock up there is no other method of recovery but to restart the MacBook.

The issue occurs under both Windows and Mac OS X affecting titles including but not limited to World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Company of Heroes.

According to Sam Oliver from Apple Insider, users believe the problem lies in a driver or cooling issue, wherein the MacBook is heating up faster than it can be cooled by the internal fans. Some users have mitigated the issue by installing alternative NVIDIA drivers and using a software tool called SMCFancontrol and manually setting their fan speed to 100%.

Some users have not been so lucky and have had to have their logic boards replaced or swap in their system completely. The issue seems to be linked to the earliest batch of unibody MacBooks as users who have swapped in their systems are reporting that the issue has went away.

Additionally, it has been reported that while browsing the web and viewing HD content, "wave-like" video distortion occurs. The problem is said to be visible even on the MacBooks that are on display at the Apple stores.

Apple has acknowledged both issues and is assumed to be working on fixes.

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26 Comments

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God damn nVidia and their GPUs. I bought a Clevo PC laptop with an 8400m GPU and get BSOD's after a few hours running just XP (have rmClock running with vcore reduced to min) it runs 80c even with core and mem clocks reduced to min too. A known problem for months by nVidia (I found out much too late) and costing nVidia millions $ as Dell, Acer etc users claim replacement boards...

I was really suprised that Apple chose to go with nVidia. Especially as Apple laptops are about style and design. If they built a fugly brick like PC laptops are , with noisy fans and heatpipes galore then it would make sense....

I'm just shocked that with no links with real information whatsoever, LTD came immediately to the conclusion that it's nVidia's fault here.

Perhaps Apple wanted to answer critics who've noted that even Apple's "state of the art" PCs and laptops have always shipped with graphics technology 1-2 YEARS behind the PC curve and Apple was unaware of how to properly adjust their cooling/case designs to accommodate more advanced GPU hardware then they've ever had the opportunity to use before?

Maybe it's not showing up for most Apple users (or Apple QC) because they don't have any way of stressing a modern GPU on those machines? No games from the 21st century, etc.

You know, lessons Sony, Dell, etc. learned in engineering high end, affordable laptops YEARS ago.

Ahem.

Christ... Nvidia haven't learned from their mistakes have they?

But then again Nvidia may not be entirely at fault here... they claimed that their mobile graphics chipsets were failing because manufacturers weren't implementing them correctly... something like that.

Hmmm it didn't happen to me. I had the trackpad problem though. Now it's fixed in Mac OS X, but not in Windows. At least there are workarounds!

I prefer Ati which my desktop has, but my laptop is an MBP w/ an nVidia card, and I remember this same issue playing HL2 on my pc desktop with an ati card years ago. I played BioShock on my 2006 MBP (BootCamp) and didn't have many problems (except heat.)

Easy, those are Apple buyer so you can blame Apple, no matter if Apple is using internally a Nnvidia, Ati,a lousy Trident or a outdated Hercules.

Magallanes said,
Easy, those are Apple buyer so you can blame Apple, no matter if Apple is using internally a Nnvidia, Ati,a lousy Trident or a outdated Hercules.

Wow, perhaps read what you've typed before posting it. That made no sense at all.

I agree with Kirkburn, we don't know whos fault the issue is...

The Gunslinger said,
Wait, people actually play games on a Mac?

Yes, I do. I own 3 and have played a few on 2 of them.

Oh, using Windows, that is. :P