Monday, March 21, 2011

New MacBook Pros Plagued With Freezing Problems

Owners of Apple's new 15-or 17-inch MacBook Pro are reporting serious freezing issues when their machines are under an extensive load. Issues that are only solved by powering down the system and doing a hard reboot. Reports have begun showing up on the Apple Discussion board, as well as on the MacRumors forum, indicating that the new machines are freezing up entirely when under an extensive load such as video rendering, gaming or running multiple applications simultaneously.

Just one of the Apple Support threads is already 63 pages long and counting. Posters are saying the problem is the notebooks will freeze even as sound continues to play the cursor will also still be movable, but the computer is completely unresponsive. The author of the post said he wasn’t doing anything unusual, but had seven apps open and was in the middle of an auto-backup to Time Machine. Other posts say they were using CPU-intensive programs like iMovie when their system crashed and yet more posters complain about crashes during gaming.

Apparently, there’s only one way to solve the problem: a hard reboot.

The problem was so persistent that one customer wrote in the Apple discussion board that he was able to reproduce it on every MacBook Pro at his local Apple Store. Another user said he reproduced the problem on three different machines. This MBP-Freeze Wiki runs through the steps you can take to re-create the crash to see if your MacBook has the issue. Though if it does, you’ve probably already noticed it by now.

Apple has responded with the release of an update, OS X 10.6.7, which Apple says fixes a MacBook 2011 graphics bug. "This update is especially important for owners of the new 2011 MacBook Pro systems because it addresses a graphics bug that caused hangs and crashes under heavy graphics load." Some users are reporting that the new update has alleviated their freezing issues for now while still others have said the patch had little or no affect at all.

One user on the MacRumors forums writes:

this still does not fix the issues on the new MacBook Pro 2011 models (15" 2.3ghz) - just tested on the two machines we have here. Still they are getting too hot, constantly the fans are blowing (testing with Transmission/Bittorrent downloading the Ubuntu DVD). Also we had two freezes already (only under heavy load). I am posting updates on our findings to our blog ( ) - and we are still waiting for replacements from apple.

ArsTechnica is reporting there are indications that the issue might be with the AMD GPUs. The site is citing a post by user ND381whom apparently  narrowed down the problem to using discrete AMD Radeon GPUs—his tests repeatedly showed the issue would occur when CPU intensive operations coincided with running apps that cause Mac OS X's automatic graphics switching to move from Sandy Bridge's integrated Intel graphics to the discrete GPU.

The freezing problem doesn't appear to affect MacBook Pros using only the Intel IGP, and for this reason the latest 13" MacBook Pros aren't suffering from the issue. However, users of the latest 13" MacBook Pros do report having issues with hotter CPUs and in some cases fans that operate at higher RPMs than older models.

For users wanting the latest patch that is said to fix some of these issues you can download the standalone updates from the following links:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:35 PM

    This problem is still occurring on my MBP (mid 2010) with the latest update of OS X (10.8.1).
    I also know of people with relative new MacBook Pro's (early 2012) that also have the same "freeze" trouble now and then.

    It seem that this is a very widespread problem, and all Apple is doing is just pretending that it don't exist.

    Xbox had its "red ring of death", Mac its "graphics hang of 'soon to throw this piece of shit out the window'".


All comments will be moderate for content, please be patient as your comment will appear as soon as it has been reviewed.

Thank you