Friday, February 8th 2019

Apple MacBook Pro 2018 Appears to Have a Serious Design Flaw

Apple's MacBook Pro (2018) with the AMD Radeon RX Vega 20 graphics option appears to have a serious design flaw related to its video subsystem. The laptop tends to show severe screen flickering and lines crossing through the picture after waking up from extended periods of idling (after the display has turned off). The problem persists even through reboots. A reboot will make the flickering go away, however the next time the MacBook idles and decides to turn off its display, waking the machine will bring the flicker back. Most common remedies an enthusiast could think of, such as disabling the auto-switching between integrated- and discrete GPUs, and preventing the monitor from idling, don't appear to fix the problem.

The problem was discovered on a brand new $4,500 15-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Core i9, AMD Vega 20, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD). Upon its discovery, it was taken to the Apple Store, where the employees immediately replaced it without further questions when they heard "display corruption after standby". The replacement process was hassle-free, it looks like others have faced this issue with this MacBook Pro model and Apple is trying to quickly resolve it to keep the lid on it. However, after a couple of days, the problem re-surfaced on the replacement MacBook, too. Both models were running MacOS "Mojave" version 10.14.2.
TechPowerUp staff member Crmaris depended on this MacBook Pro to see him through the rigors of TechPowerUp's CES 2019 coverage, which includes image editing and video rendering on the move, which requires the serious CPU and GPU power on tap with this particular MacBook Pro variant. Video rendering and transcoding tasks can run up to hours, during which the MacBook usually sits unused, plugged in. By default, the monitor times out after a certain amount of time. Perhaps this is the key to reproducing the issue: let the display time out while the machine is utilizing the discrete GPU for something other than driving the display. Crmaris is also the editor of HardwareBusters, and has described the issue on a more personal level in the video linked below.

If you have encountered a similar issue, please do let us know in the comments below, so we can get an idea how widespread this problem is. Source: Hardware Busters (YouTube)
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146 Comments on Apple MacBook Pro 2018 Appears to Have a Serious Design Flaw

#51
Vayra86
So after bendgate and antennagate we now have... wakeygate?

I wonder how long Apple can keep this up. Their product portfolio is rapidly deteriorating.
Posted on Reply
#52
ssdpro
I think the article gets the serious design flaw wrong. The serious design flaw is OSX. You can't have common sense and figure out how to make that OS work efficiently. My boss is a Macnut and I am forced to use a Mac Pro at work. It is so painful to use I routinely get work done at home then port it over. Everything takes 3x longer using OSX.
Posted on Reply
#53
ensabrenoir
....apple greatest strength is its ecosystem which gets you locked in. It starts with a cool phone and then boom you gotta get everything to match.........Whooaaa Apple is the Garanimals of the tech world. Just another case of brand recognition being more powerful/valuable than the reality of the product.
Posted on Reply
#54
raptori
cdawall said:
Those laptops are as thick as my 2014 MBP.




At the thickest point DELL is thicker by 0.05 inch (1.27 millimeters ).:shadedshu:
Posted on Reply
#55
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
Most people don't understand and choose to hate on Apple for being overpriced. Tell me something, what other company will replace your laptop with a brand new one? None of them. They have had a bit of bad press recently and I think that has to do with lack of real leadership. But it seems more and more all tech companies are coming under greater scrutiny these days. But why? The tech advances are piling up and people still find something to complain about. People who can't do basic calculus acting like they have a right to complain about engineering problems. :slap:
Posted on Reply
#56
Vya Domus
Easy Rhino said:
what other company will replace your laptop with a brand new one?
They do that because they're laptops are mostly
unrepairable.
Posted on Reply
#57
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
raptori said:




At the thickest point DELL is thicker by 0.05 inch (1.27 millimeters ).:shadedshu:
It's also a plastic case and we'll known for logic board failures.

Vya Domus said:
They do that because they're laptops are mostly
unrepairable.
Ever worked on them to make that claim?
Posted on Reply
#58
XXL_AI
Easy Rhino said:
Most people don't understand and choose to hate on Apple for being overpriced. Tell me something, what other company will replace your laptop with a brand new one? None of them. They have had a bit of bad press recently and I think that has to do with lack of real leadership. But it seems more and more all tech companies are coming under greater scrutiny these days. But why? The tech advances are piling up and people still find something to complain about. People who can't do basic calculus acting like they have a right to complain about engineering problems. :slap:
Lenovo and Dell does replace your Thinkpad or Precision.
Posted on Reply
#59
TheGuruStud
Easy Rhino said:
Most people don't understand and choose to hate on Apple for being overpriced. Tell me something, what other company will replace your laptop with a brand new one? None of them. They have had a bit of bad press recently and I think that has to do with lack of real leadership. But it seems more and more all tech companies are coming under greater scrutiny these days. But why? The tech advances are piling up and people still find something to complain about. People who can't do basic calculus acting like they have a right to complain about engineering problems. :slap:
You haven't been paying attention. Many times they don't and just lie blaming the user. You can buy applecare all you want and you still won't get a repair/replacement. This gets you a replacement b/c it's too new and undeniable and they already have enough class actions.
Posted on Reply
#60
Assimilator
raptori said:




At the thickest point DELL is thicker by 0.05 inch (1.27 millimeters ).:shadedshu:
Apple fanboys: "DELL IS LITERALLY UNUSABLE".

Easy Rhino said:
Most people don't understand and choose to hate on Apple for being overpriced. Tell me something, what other company will replace your laptop with a brand new one? None of them. They have had a bit of bad press recently and I think that has to do with lack of real leadership. But it seems more and more all tech companies are coming under greater scrutiny these days. But why? The tech advances are piling up and people still find something to complain about. People who can't do basic calculus acting like they have a right to complain about engineering problems. :slap:
"You can't criticise something if you can't design it"... seriously? Are you and your nonexistent debating skills for real?
Posted on Reply
#61
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
Assimilator said:
"You can't criticise something if you can't design it... seriously? Are you and your nonexistent debating skills for real?
You really can't. It just sounds like complaining. Now if you can layout an engineering trace of the problem and explain why their mistake was so bad then I will listen. Tell me how you would have approached the problem from an engineering perspective and what steps would you take at this point to ensure the problem does not happen.
Posted on Reply
#62
Darmok N Jalad
Apple products are indeed serviceable. It’s not always easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Many claim you can’t replace iPhone batteries, but I’ve done it multiple times. Apple can open a late model MacBook /Pro and replace the keyboard, screen, battery, speakers, ports, logic board, etc. Whether they elect to do so might come down to something as simple as “hey, your repair will take 1-2 weeks to troubshoot and get parts, or you can just swap it out for one we have in stock today. We can transfer your files and settings over and send you on your way.” That seems like a customer service win to me.

Honestly, customer service is quite variable, and most companies respond differently depending on the situation. A part of my job involves customer service, and the way I respond often depends on how the customer is behaving. Some customers can’t communicate well or misunderstand what my company does, others lie compulsively or get belligerent to try to force my hand. Some go to social media, the news, or a lawyer when they don’t like what they hear and claim they got crapped on by the company that they just tried to get one over on. I deal with enough of it that I take any of these customer experience stories with a big grain of salt.
Posted on Reply
#63
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
XXL_AI said:
Lenovo and Dell does replace your Thinkpad or Precision.
No they don't. They absolutely just do a repair and send a refurb out if it is a replacement.

Now Lenovo will hold onto you matching for 6 months until you complain loud enough for them to send you a new one out.
Posted on Reply
#64
R0H1T
Yeah Lenovo's not known for their CS & neither is Dell much better these days. Though depending on region or country your mileage will vary wrt after sales & CC support.
Posted on Reply
#65
raptori
cdawall said:
It's also a plastic case and we'll known for logic board failures.
I like that you keep finding a new "feature" to hold on after failing to justify the previous ones ,"plastic case" and "logic board failures" hahahaa , it's a lost cause trying to reason with Apple fanboys.
Posted on Reply
#66
XXL_AI
cdawall said:
No they don't. They absolutely just do a repair and send a refurb out if it is a replacement.

Now Lenovo will hold onto you matching for 6 months until you complain loud enough for them to send you a new one out.
your proof? did you order the extended warranty to make that claim? Thinkpad's and Precision models are workstations and they are mission critical computers. Don't confuse them with cheapass notebooks. I've seen hundreds of notebooks from msi, asus failed at the field.
Posted on Reply
#67
Vya Domus
cdawall said:


Ever worked on them to make that claim?
Even if I did, would it matter ? There are businesses out there that specialize in repairing Apple products only and even they will be unable to fix certain problems.

You only have to see one of them apart and it becomes pretty obvious that they are not just difficult to repair they are specifically designed that way.
Posted on Reply
#68
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
XXL_AI said:
your proof? did you order the extended warranty to make that claim? Thinkpad's and Precision models are workstations and they are mission critical computers. Don't confuse them with cheapass notebooks. I've seen hundreds of notebooks from msi, asus failed at the field.
Yea I actually own a business class Thinkpad with an extended warranty. I know exactly how the situation goes. It's not a cheap model.

I also worked as a level 3 tech at a major repair shop so y'all consistently arguing which machines are hard or easy to repair without ever touching them literally blows my mind. This whole I saw a picture on Google nonsense is a joke. Tell you what find me a working slimline precision or XPS 15 from 3-4 years ago. I can tell you they don't exist because every single one of them that was sold came back with a bad logic board. :rolleyes:

Vya Domus said:
Even if I did, would it matter ? There are businesses out there that specialize in repairing Apple products only and even they will be unable to fix certain problems.

You only have to see one of them apart and it becomes pretty obvious that they are not just difficult to repair they are specifically designed that way.
It absolutely matters. Please stop telling me what's easy to repair without doing it.

raptori said:
I like that you keep finding a new "feature" to hold on after failing to justify the previous ones ,"plastic case" and "logic board failures" hahahaa , it's a lost cause trying to reason with Apple fanboys.
What on earth are you talking about? Plastic laptops piss me off. I have a $2500 acer predator on my desk right now... It's built like garbage.
Posted on Reply
#69
Vya Domus
cdawall said:
Please stop telling me what's easy to repair without doing it.
I ain't telling anyone anything but you are aware that this "but did you do it?" argument is one of the weakest you can have, right ? Literally conveys no proof of anything or reason on why I shouldn't say something.
Posted on Reply
#70
repman244
Easy Rhino said:
Most people don't understand and choose to hate on Apple for being overpriced. Tell me something, what other company will replace your laptop with a brand new one? None of them.
HP, Lenovo, Dell (looking at workstations of course), and whats the point of Apple replacing it if it has design flaws? You will end up with same problems (like crap cooling).
Posted on Reply
#71
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Vya Domus said:
I ain't telling anyone anything but you are aware that this "but did you do it?" argument is one of the weakest you can have, right ? Literally conveys no proof of anything or reason on why I shouldn't say something.
The argument is better than "I saw a picture of it on the internet".

Would you like me to get specific as to why the apple ones are easier to work on? I absolutely can.
Posted on Reply
#72
Vya Domus
cdawall said:

Would you like me to get specific as to why the apple ones are easier to work on? I absolutely can.
You can but it would still not outweigh the plethora of contradictory claims that have piled up over the years. I would much rather trust the hundreds of reports, videos and yes even images that paint a different picture than the one you describe.

You are quite literally one of the only people that I have heard claim Apple products are easily serviceable.
Posted on Reply
#73
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Vya Domus said:
You can but it would still not outweigh the plethora of contradictory claims that have piled up over the years. I would much rather trust the hundreds of reports, videos and yes even images that paint a different picture than the one you describe.

You are quite literally one of the only people that I have heard claim Apple products are easily serviceable.
Are those claims saying you can't change the ram, ssd and gpu? Because that is absolutely true. It's a single pcb to replace everything in the current ones. This isn't any different than anything else in its class.

The board change is cake. You remove the torx screws that everyone copied apple and uses now.

Remove about 14 screws, 5-6 well built cables and the cooler.

I'm sorry if you find that more difficult than the 8 layers of plastic in most modern laptops to just get to the logic board.

Most of the complaints about "serviceability" of a Mac have zero to do with replacing parts and everything to do with a closed ecosystem for parts.

Now if we were talking 2009 and older model macs? Absolutely terrible products to work on. The newer ones are cake.
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