Apple's MacBook Pro: Using it as a Mac and a PCby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 13, 2006 12:00 AM EST
- Posted in
Problems in Mac-land
As I mentioned before, I purchased one of the earlier revision MacBook Pros and as such I've had a total of three major problems/annoyances with the MacBook Pro:
1) What has become known as the MacBook Pro "whine" is an extremely annoying whine/buzzing sound that emanates from the area around the MagSafe connector. The sound appears to be related to CPU load and seems to be caused by whatever power circuitry is affected by the CPU switching into lower sleep states. While this noise was present on my PowerBook G4, for whatever reason it is more annoying/present on the MacBook Pro. I have not seen a fix for this problem as of yet nor do I think one is possible without a redesign of some of the internals of the MacBook Pro.
2) The bottom of the MacBook Pro gets extremely hot; hotter than any notebook I've ever used. On the plus side you can barely hear either of the two fans running but the downside is that you've got to be careful with what you rest it on while using it. I've found that it only really gets extremely hot when doing something very CPU intensive. While I was benchmarking the unit the heat got almost unbearable, but during normal use it was mostly fine and when simply writing on it there were no problems at all. I've heard that this problem has since been fixed with later revisions but I don't know first hand as everyone has different definitions of fixed and tolerances of heat.
3) The third and final problem I've had with the notebook are the two keys that are mounted improperly on the keyboard. I haven't been able to fix this myself and suspect that it may actually require a keyboard replacement. After publishing this review, I'll head down to Apple and see what they say.
The problems I encountered with the MacBook Pro are definitely bothersome, but they aren't enough for me to personally want to opt for a non-Mac notebook. When I sit down and think about that statement, there's something horribly wrong with it. It's my job to be tough on manufacturers when they release products with these sorts of problems and it's my job to not recommend purchasing a flawed product, so am I just terrible at following my own advice? Am I so hooked on OS X that I'm willing to deal with fairly annoying hardware problems just to get my fix? In a sense, aren't these the same complaints many have about Microsoft: that you put up with the problems because it's the only way to get what you want?
Apple has an extremely important responsibility to its users not to release questionable hardware. Spending the past few days surfing through Apple's support forums it's all too often that I've come across the statement that Apple's quality control has gone down hill as of late. As the only provider of hardware for the Mac OS X platform, that should not be a statement that's frequently encountered. Yet it is, and it seems that the statement has quite a bit of truth behind it.
While I would definitely recommend a MacBook Pro because of all of the positive things I've said in the past about OS X and about Intel's Core Duo processor, I would strongly urge you to wait and get a model with all of the kinks worked out. It seems that the later revisions have addressed a number of the problems that existed early on, so all you may have to do is just make sure to custom order a configuration through Apple's online store so it gets built rather than shipped from what's in stock. It's unfortunate that as well designed as many of Apple's products happen to be, you'll want to stay away from the first run of any new model.