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

#76
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Apple is obligated to fix it:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0252-warranties

The product obviously has a design flaw so the consumer is entitled to repair, replace, or refund. Hope the individuals were able to get it sorted. If Apple didn't willingly take care of it, take Apple to small claims court. Apple probably won't send lawyer to appear and the court will order Apple to pay the value of the computer to the plaintiff.
Posted on Reply
#77
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
FordGT90Concept said:
Apple is obligated to fix it:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0252-warranties

The product obviously has a design flaw so the consumer is entitled to repair, replace, or refund. Hope the individuals were able to get it sorted. If Apple didn't willingly take care of it, take Apple to small claims court. Apple probably won't send lawyer to appear and the court will order Apple to pay the value of the computer to the plaintiff.
They are replacing them. I thought we already went over that? We aren't talking about dell or hp here.
Posted on Reply
#78
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I was talking about the smoker warranty voiding.
Posted on Reply
#79
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
FordGT90Concept said:
I was talking about the smoker warranty voiding.
If smoking caused the failure it absolutely would void the warranty. Thats a simple thing to prove. Fan bearings full of tar don't happen in a smoke free environment. Any subsequent failure caused by that wouldn't be covered.

Just because someone smoked by choice doesn't mean the manufacturer has to cover that in the same way they kill warranties for non-spill related corrosion. Your environment doesn't meet normal product usage standards.

I would actually love to see this in court. Means I could have told so many people to bugger off in the past that I fixed out of pure niceness.
Posted on Reply
#80
Rockarola
cdawall said:
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.
Torx, as in the de facto standard for professional electrical equipment, in general use since the early nineties, that Torx?
How did everyone copy that from Apple?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx?wprov=sfla1
Posted on Reply
#81
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Rockarola said:
Torx, as in the de facto standard for professional electrical equipment, in general use since the early nineties, that Torx?
How did everyone copy that from Apple?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx?wprov=sfla1
Which laptop prior to the MacBook pro used torx fasteners to secure the lower case to the body?

I didn't say they invented torx. I said they used it and everyone else all of a sudden did. Prove that untrue.
Posted on Reply
#82
Rockarola
cdawall said:
Which laptop prior to the MacBook pro used torx fasteners to secure the lower case to the body?

I didn't say they invented torx. I said they used it and everyone else all of a sudden did. Prove that untrue.
Perhaps you should have specified that...besides Torx is a de facto standard, being the first to adopt it does not make everyone else a copycat. It just means that you have a more flexible line of supply and production. PLC controllers, relays and other industrial gear started using Torx in the early nineties.
(bad argument, burden of proof does not belong to the one arguing against your point, it belongs to you)
Posted on Reply
#83
shadad
bug said:
You're obviously holding it wrong. $4,500+$379 (plus tax?) worth of wrong.
now this.. free plastic cover wont fix lol
Posted on Reply
#84
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Rockarola said:
Perhaps you should have specified that...besides Torx is a de facto standard, being the first to adopt it does not make everyone else a copycat. It just means that you have a more flexible line of supply and production. PLC controllers, relays and other industrial gear started using Torx in the early nineties.
(bad argument, burden of proof does not belong to the one arguing against your point, it belongs to you)
Really? Because I remember when they came out with torx screws attaching the lower case and the entire tech industry was up in arms about apple making products impossible for consumers to repair. Admittedly the design was the pentelobe and is considered a security bit.
Posted on Reply
#85
Shambles1980
just gonna say this the only smoke to destroy a laptop would be the smoke coming out of it, and even then it wasnt the smoke.
Posted on Reply
#86
Rockarola
cdawall said:
Really? Because I remember when they came out with torx screws attaching the lower case and the entire tech industry was up in arms about apple making products impossible for consumers to repair. Admittedly the design was the pentelobe and is considered a security bit.
As in T(for tamperproof) Torx, the one that requires a hollow screw-bit? Those bits were not available to the general public for quite a while, so I get the uproar. Back in ancient times they were used to make things tamper/theft proof in public installations.
(edit) Just checked, the Pentalobe is not a Torx drive, we might have been miscommunicating all along.
Posted on Reply
#87
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Rockarola said:
As in T(for tamperproof) Torx, the one that requires a hollow screw-bit? Those bits were not available to the general public for quite a while, so I get the uproar. Back in ancient times they were used to make things tamper/theft proof in public installations.
(edit) Just checked, the Pentalobe is not a Torx drive, we might have been miscommunicating all along.
Yea very strongly could have they still label them as TS series bits, but they do appear to be a bit more limited usage.
Posted on Reply
#88
Totally
cdawall said:

Ever worked on them to make that claim?
With all the videos on YT, does he/she?
Posted on Reply
#89
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Totally said:
With all the videos on YT, does he/she?
I can make chocolate milk look difficult on YouTube. Just saying maybe some people should live on the outside of a computer for a day or two and see the outside world a bit.

Apples aren't hard to physically work on.
Posted on Reply
#90
Totally
cdawall said:
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.
As compared to a laptop where you replace 4-5 to remove a panel that conveniently gives access to user serviceable components? If looking to completely open up the shell, to say replace the motherboard add in another 6-8 more.

I haven't seen any of those godawful torx screws with peg in the middle on anything that isn't an Apple product.


cdawall said:
I can make chocolate milk look difficult on YouTube. Just saying maybe some people should live on the outside of a computer for a day or two and see the outside world a bit.

Apples aren't hard to physically work on.
Yeah, if they're aren't broken. The problem is when they break no matter how minor, it's easier/less hassle to replace the entire thing.
Posted on Reply
#91
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Totally said:
As compared to a laptop where you replace 4-5 to remove a panel that conveniently gives access to user serviceable components? If looking to completely open up the shell, to say replace the motherboard add in another 6-8 more.

I haven't seen any of those godawful torx screws with peg in the middle on anything that isn't an Apple product.




Yeah, if they're aren't broken. The problem is when they break no matter how minor, it's easier/less hassle to replace the entire thing.
Just as a heads up. There is not a single laptop in remotely the same class as Apple that has a door to replace parts on it. We aren't talking about $350 throw away units right now.

The second statement you made is true for the entire ultrabook lineup of all brands.
Posted on Reply
#92
Shambles1980
il give you this. getting to the internals of a mac is easier than most laptops. But when your there then what??
wanna change the keyboard?? good luck with most moddels they were plastic riveterd in place.
rams bad? well thats soldered on the board.
need to get your data off the ssd because you cat peed on the mac and killed it? sorry soldered the ssd on the board on the newer modde;s. sure the data is there and you could have just removed the ssd and put it in your new mac. but nah solder that sucker in there..

there are a multitude of issues with mac books and you probably know them but dont want to admit it.
yeah you can get to the components easy enough. but when you have to physically drill and tap holes in to the case to replace a keyboard whats the point having easy access.
Posted on Reply
#93
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
cdawall said:
If smoking caused the failure it absolutely would void the warranty. Thats a simple thing to prove. Fan bearings full of tar don't happen in a smoke free environment. Any subsequent failure caused by that wouldn't be covered.
If tar was permitted to make its way into the bearings then the fan was poorly designed.
Posted on Reply
#94
Assimilator
Apple next-level engineering: design a backlight protected by a fuse such that when a situation occurs that should trip the fuse, the backlight explodes but the fuse remains intact, thus necessitating a far more expensive repair than if the fuse was actually able to do its job.

THINK.
DIFFERENT.
Posted on Reply
#95
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Totally said:
I haven't seen any of those godawful torx screws with peg in the middle on anything that isn't an Apple product.
That's a Security Torx screw head. Just buy a driver set to handle them. I got one from Amazon for like $15 with many sizes.

More than Apple uses them. Xbox 360 controllers use them. I had one to get my controller apart and then gave it to my grandpa because he ran into them on one of his projects. I think he just broke the peg off using a needle nose pliers and used a normal Torx bit to get it out.
Posted on Reply
#96
Shambles1980
xbox 1 controllers have them too. you can just pop the nub off with a screwdriver most times.
Posted on Reply
#97
XXL_AI
cdawall said:
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:



It absolutely matters. Please stop telling me what's easy to repair without doing it.



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.
I'm a multilayer pcb designer with a years worth of experience of designing industrial iot devices with nvidia jetson processors, I can fix any notebook with my eyes closed.
Posted on Reply
#98
notb
ShurikN said:
No, and there isn't even a MacBook Pro with those same specs considering how much it throttles.
You see - there's a kind of people that care about benchmarks and throttling and there's a kind that actually use computers.
I won't advocate for Apple and I don't use their products on daily basis. But I admit they are very comfortable to use. You don't have to tinker much - everything is mostly plug&play and does everything for you.
I expect people on this forum to not like this approach, looking at so many here oppose Windows 10 auto updating. But why the aggression? Seriously?

Just a simple example: Apple computers actually choose the resolution and scaling for you, when you plug in a monitor. Compared to what's available on Linux and Windows, it's the only approach that really works. And monitors with sub-optimal dot size have been around for a decade.
But yeah... I'm sure some people will hate this idea just because it takes away some control over the OS, right? :)

And another example: eGPU. Few days ago some guy asked about an eGPU solution for his MacBook. I looked into it what Apple provides (in tandem with Blackmagic - a well known maker of solutions for video production). Honestly? Given all the problems eGPU cases make with Windows and Linux, IMO the Apple/Blackmagic solution is *by far* the best one. Again: plug&play, perfect compatibility (of course), good design, good built quality, everything over USB-C. This is how computers should look like in 2019.
bug said:
Here's the thing, outside Apple nobody buys laptops by the mm or kg.
Seriously, how can you even say that? Do you even track the notebook market?
Mainstream allround notebooks went thin, with things like ASUS Vivobook/Zenbook, MacBook Air and Dell XPS dominating their price brackets.
We're even seeing some thinner gaming laptops lately - a sign that gamers are getting fed up with thick, plasticky boxes.
You're seriously telling me two similarly configured laptops priced over $1k apart aren't comparable because one of them is like 5mm thicker? Well, here's something for your thought: the thicker laptop will do better job cooling that CPU and actually give you better performance.
Again: if CPU performance is all you care for, you won't get a MacBook anyway. And possibly none of the slim ultrabooks available.
These are not the kind of products you buy for raw oomph.
ensabrenoir said:
....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.
Yeah, if someone wants to be happy with his Apple products, he'll have to get used to the ecosystem. But it's not that bad in the end, because the ecosystem actually works.
I had an iPhone 5s for about 1.5 years. I didn't like many things: overheating, bad battery life in cold weather and so on. And since I only had the phone, it was a burden for things like file transfer.
I take a lot of photos using my phones and I didn't like the fact that I can't just copy them over network or USB cable. They have to be moved via their server (iCloud). But it really works. You just have to get over the initial mental block.
I really got used to the fact that I don't have to think about some things. I really liked the fact that photos appear on my PC (Windows) minutes after I get home.
I moved back to Android few months ago and I find myself not copying photos from the phone for days...
Posted on Reply
#99
Darmok N Jalad
notb said:
You see - there's a kind of people that care about benchmarks and throttling and there's a kind that actually use computers.
I won't advocate for Apple and I don't use their products on daily basis. But I admit they are very comfortable to use. You don't have to tinker much - everything is mostly plug&play and does everything for you.
I expect people on this forum to not like this approach, looking at so many here oppose Windows 10 auto updating. But why the aggression? Seriously?

Just a simple example: Apple computers actually choose the resolution and scaling for you, when you plug in a monitor. Compared to what's available on Linux and Windows, it's the only approach that really works. And monitors with sub-optimal dot size have been around for a decade.
But yeah... I'm sure some people will hate this idea just because it takes away some control over the OS, right? :)

And another example: eGPU. Few days ago some guy asked about an eGPU solution for his MacBook. I looked into it what Apple provides (in tandem with Blackmagic - a well known maker of solutions for video production). Honestly? Given all the problems eGPU cases make with Windows and Linux, IMO the Apple/Blackmagic solution is *by far* the best one. Again: plug&play, perfect compatibility (of course), good design, good built quality, everything over USB-C. This is how computers should look like in 2019.

Seriously, how can you even say that? Do you even track the notebook market?
Mainstream allround notebooks went thin, with things like ASUS Vivobook/Zenbook, MacBook Air and Dell XPS dominating their price brackets.
We're even seeing some thinner gaming laptops lately - a sign that gamers are getting fed up with thick, plasticky boxes.

Again: if CPU performance is all you care for, you won't get a MacBook anyway. And possibly none of the slim ultrabooks available.
These are not the kind of products you buy for raw oomph.

Yeah, if someone wants to be happy with his Apple products, he'll have to get used to the ecosystem. But it's not that bad in the end, because the ecosystem actually works.
I had an iPhone 5s for about 1.5 years. I didn't like many things: overheating, bad battery life in cold weather and so on. And since I only had the phone, it was a burden for things like file transfer.
I take a lot of photos using my phones and I didn't like the fact that I can't just copy them over network or USB cable. They have to be moved via their server (iCloud). But it really works. You just have to get over the initial mental block.
I really got used to the fact that I don't have to think about some things. I really liked the fact that photos appear on my PC (Windows) minutes after I get home.
I moved back to Android few months ago and I find myself not copying photos from the phone for days...
I agree with all of your comments. I was a diehard Windows Mobile guy for years—and I even gave Surface RT a chance. When those platforms died, I went Android. Funny enough, it wasn’t until we got an iPad Air on a good Black Friday deal that I saw how refined iOS was—the apps were so much better on iPad versus my Galaxy Note 10, and the 4:3 display made so much sense for portrait mode versus 16:9, which happened to make it way more comfortable to hold as well. I had used iPhones in the past, but it wasn’t until I saw the integration across devices that I got it. Get to today, and iPad is the real only tablet to really sell as a tablet in volume. It’s hard to put Surface in that category, simply because the a wide selection of touch-driven programs in Windows just don’t exist. Incidentally, that iPad Air still works today after 4+ years, even with 2 cracks in the screen.
Posted on Reply
#100
bug
notb said:
Seriously, how can you even say that? Do you even track the notebook market?
Mainstream allround notebooks went thin, with things like ASUS Vivobook/Zenbook, MacBook Air and Dell XPS dominating their price brackets.
We're even seeing some thinner gaming laptops lately - a sign that gamers are getting fed up with thick, plasticky boxes.
Well, I didn't mean that. But the thing is all laptops got thinner, size isn't a major concern when buying one. I got a new Acer laptop 2-3 years ago and it was like half the width of the one I bought 10 years ago. It's no Macbook for sure (in fact assembly was a little subpar - but I fixed that), but for $800 I got a Skylake CPU, 8 or 16 GB of RAM. And I spent an extra $200 to swap the HDD for a SSD. That thing runs everything I need to this day.

@Darmok N Jalad The iOS is so refined, the last time I tried I could figure out how to move the cursor in the middle of a word to fix a spelling error. And no back button, I can't wrap my head around that.

shadad said:
now this.. free plastic cover wont fix lol
Sure it will. Put the cover over the screen - no more flicker!
Posted on Reply
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