Project WolverineBroadcasting LIVE from the orbiting command centre

My preciousssss, my Macbook Pro, died all of a sudden.

It just refused to start one day.

Apparently, the logic board had died. I am strongly suspecting the graphics chip had thrown it’s toys out of the cot. In the months leading up to this, I would routinely get graphics glitches where the display would just show blocks of colours, or messed up horizontal lines across the screen. This often happened when it came out of sleep mode.

Towards the end, this was happening about once every two or three days, which for a Mac owner, is utterly unacceptable. I usually never have to restart a Mac.

After looking around, it seemed that there were widespread reports of nVidia chips having problems.  The Inquirer claims that all nVidia G8600M chips (which is what I had) are bad, as well as the G8400M chip.

I probably aggravated the situation by putting the computer under a great deal of stress. It was frequently doing heavy database queries and running VMWare at the same time as multiple heavy-duty apps (Eclipse, I’m looking at you), so the fan was often running flat out.

Then, when it was time to go home, I’d just shut the lid – assuming that the computer would properly cool everything down, but in hindsight, the Macbook Pro prefers to vent air out the speaker grill – which is blocked when the lid is shut, which is why I was having frequent failures coming out of sleep mode.

What really sucked is that my computer died only a few weeks out of warranty, and I did not have Apple Care.

What was really cool though, is that Apple agreed to replace the logic board under warranty, so at no cost to me, I am getting my laptop repaired. Apple just got themselves a life-long customer.

So I am fully expecting that at some point, nVidia is going to have to issue a mother-of-all product recalls on these affected chipsets. This will be huge, since it’s present in a great many laptops.

In the meantime, I would recommend to people that they invest in a few things:

  • Time Machine (if you’re running OS X 10.5, you can be back in action on another computer in about 1 hour)
  • A proper computer stand (like the Griffin Elevator) so your computer cools down as efficiently as possible.
  • … and don’t get a laptop with an nVidia chipset. Get an ATI or Intel. Or use sockpuppets for graphics… anything else.
Lastly, it might be worth mentioning that my Powerbook G4, which according to Coconut Battery is 51 months old, and still running fine. It’s very slow, but it still works. It is running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week doing routine database analysis, and never, ever needs restarting.
For shame nVidia, for shame.
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