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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150 Comments on Apple MacBook Pro 2018 Appears to Have a Serious Design Flaw

#126
trparky
notb, post: 3991991, member: 165619"
And walking around with additional 2.5kg is definitely uncomfortable.
Come on man, that's just around five pounds (for those of us in the United States). That's not a lot at all.
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#127
Tom_
raptori, post: 3990576, member: 50662"
Why would anyone buy a laptop for $4500 ?!!! :banghead: and the specs are nothing special.
Because they have money and you don't.
Posted on Reply
#128
notb
trparky, post: 3991994, member: 170376"
Come on man, that's just around five pounds (for those of us in the United States). That's not a lot at all.
Actually 2.5 kg or 5 lbs is more or less the weight of recommended dumbbell for people getting into serious exercises. It's the weight that's supposed to get them tired after few minutes.
OK, you don't lift your notebook. But you carry it with you. Sometimes it's hot, sometimes you're in a suit, sometimes you're ill or just very tired. Sometimes you're shopping after work and you have 15kg of food on top of your normal stuff.

Sometimes the gravity is against you.
Just a simple test. Get to 4th floor with and without additional 2.5kg in your backpack. You'll notice the difference.

Light notebooks (...cloths, bags, gadgets, shoes) are easier to live with. No way around it.
Posted on Reply
#129
trparky
Five pounds is nothing to me, I've carried heavier stuff in my life. I've carried heavier and bigger notebooks in the past including so-called desktop replacement notebooks just because I wanted one for the on the go power.
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#130
Berfs1
Yea that’s what happened when you go custom everything because you want to be different.... what can I say? Apple is that person on a cruise ship that will jump off and swim the entire way!
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#131
Darmok N Jalad
bug, post: 3991893, member: 157434"
The keyboard I'm using on Android has actual arrow keys ;)
You can also hold 2 fingers on the keyboard in iOS and it basically turns into a trackpad and will allow you to control the cursor location. While some features require a bit of discoverability, once you get it, it becomes second nature.
ssdpro, post: 3991936, member: 131037"
The question is why does Apple remain so valuable as a company (cheap labor) but not grow beyond minority market shares? This article is about a MBP that fits into the desktop/notebook segment and Apple maintains a paltry 9-12% market share depending on the study group and metric. In the mobile device segment Apple maintains 18-24% market share depending on the study group and metric. Most of Apple's mystique stems from marketing and business model as the usage experience hasn't allowed their market shares to grow.
Apple’s Mac market share is no riddle. Apple has no desire to sell budget Macs, and they pretty much never have. Instead, they sell to the higher end of the market. It means more profit per device, and the hardware chosen will be a good-performing experience. If you only have $350 to spend, Apple will not offer you a Mac, but they will point you to the iPad. Is it a desktop? No, but Apple makes the SOC and can ensure performance is good in all available circumstances—much like a game console favors consistency over superior graphics. Netbooks and cheap Android tablets and phones have not done Windows or Android any favors when it comes to reputation. Everyone in this thread knows that it’s not the OS’s fault that budget systems’ performance sucks, but talk to all the people who don’t know anything about hardware specs, and they will blame Windows or the OEM who made the device. Apple is aware of this perception. They know they aren’t for everyone, and they simply don’t care. They have a fraction of the market share of Android, but they make way more profit than any Android OEM, year in and year out. People can call Apple customers sheep all they want, but those sheep don’t care because Apple’s vertically integrated ecosystem does what they want without complications. Use iCloud, everything syncs from iPhone to iPad to MacOS—photos, documents, text messages, etc. I think people care less that the solution is the best, what they want is for it to work.
Posted on Reply
#132
bug
notb, post: 3992009, member: 165619"
Actually 2.5 kg or 5 lbs is more or less the weight of recommended dumbbell for people getting into serious exercises. It's the weight that's supposed to get them tired after few minutes.
OK, you don't lift your notebook. But you carry it with you. Sometimes it's hot, sometimes you're in a suit, sometimes you're ill or just very tired. Sometimes you're shopping after work and you have 15kg of food on top of your normal stuff.

Sometimes the gravity is against you.
Just a simple test. Get to 4th floor with and without additional 2.5kg in your backpack. You'll notice the difference.

Light notebooks (...cloths, bags, gadgets, shoes) are easier to live with. No way around it.
Let me throw a monkey wrench into your argument there: unless you carry your Macbook in your hand, you're also carrying a bag that adds to those numbers ;)

trparky, post: 3991989, member: 170376"
True but again, any old cheap Mac Mini can do that which can be had for $799 or you can find older Mac Minis for a hell of a lot cheaper.
Yes, but you can always get a PC or laptop for less money ;)
trparky, post: 3991989, member: 170376"
As for Microsoft Visual Studio you really have to hand it to Microsoft for that, they've made the best damn developer tool in the industry. You can make Mac apps, Windows apps, Android apps, iOS apps, even Linux apps (with Mono and .NET Core) and share code between them all. Pretty much nobody can touch the quality and abilities of Visual Studio, it's just that damn good. And to think you can get Visual Studio for free. Wow.
And I don't know about VS (haven't checked it out in over a decade), but only its community edition is free.
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#133
trparky
bug, post: 3992089, member: 157434"
And I don't know about VS (haven't checked it out in over a decade), but only its community edition is free.
So? Free is free! You can do damn near everything with the free version that you can do with the paid versions. It's not stripped down at all.
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#134
bug
trparky, post: 3992102, member: 170376"
So? Free is free! You can do damn near everything with the free version that you can do with the paid versions. It's not stripped down at all.
As i was saying, I haven't checked it out in a while. Usually community editions are lacking many important features, I'm glad to hear that's not the case here.
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#135
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
trparky, post: 3992102, member: 170376"
So? Free is free! You can do damn near everything with the free version that you can do with the paid versions. It's not stripped down at all.
VS Code is not Visual Studio and it's a very different editor. VS isn't written using Electron, VS Code is. Don't get me wrong, VS Code isn't bad, but it's definitely not a replacement for VS if you're doing .NET development. VS Code is a good option if you're doing stuff with TypeScript or if you're in Linux and are allergic to editors like Emacs and VIM... but @bug is right, only the community edition of VS is free, but VS Pro is definitely not.
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#136
ssdpro
Tom_, post: 3992004, member: 163433"
Because they have money and you don't.
All the kids sitting in the coffee shop checking their facebook on a 4500 mac have credit card debt, not money.
Posted on Reply
#137
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Aquinus, post: 3992114, member: 102461"
VS Code is not Visual Studio and it's a very different editor. VS isn't written using Electron, VS Code is. Don't get me wrong, VS Code isn't bad, but it's definitely not a replacement for VS if you're doing .NET development. VS Code is a good option if you're doing stuff with TypeScript or if you're in Linux and are allergic to editors like Emacs and VIM... but @bug is right, only the community edition of VS is free, but VS Pro is definitely not.
Yup. Community Edition of Visual Studio is just for free/open source/learning. If the code being created is for profit, they need to hand over the big bucks.
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#138
trparky
Yeah the free Community Edition version does have that stipulation in the license agreement. This I understand.
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#139
Vayra86
Easy Rhino, post: 3991453, member: 32506"
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.
You saying this sounds just about as arrogant as others saying they should have designed it better. Until YOU have the answer, this comment has no place. If you can't design it properly, you shouldn't design it in the first place, how about that? If a product is released with faults like these, 'it just sounds like complaining' when people point it out. Yeah, us and all our first world problems, poor Apple. :roll::roll:

Honestly sometimes reading your comments is just perplexing and they are borderline flamebait more often than not. You're not adding anything of substance either but tell others to shut up unless they can. I mean... wth?!

Also... this

Easy Rhino, post: 3991406, member: 32506"
Most people don't understand and choose to hate on Apple
....is textbook 'Apple fanboy' rhetoric right here. You might want to go see a doctor for being that 'enlightened person who does understand Apple'.

Apple - a multi billion dollar company that releases what, three different products per year and still can't get it right after a dozen iterations. Such fantastic engineering!
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#140
notb
bug, post: 3992089, member: 157434"
Let me throw a monkey wrench into your argument there: unless you carry your Macbook in your hand, you're also carrying a bag that adds to those numbers ;)
I think this is exactly the part where we don't understand each other very well. :-P

The whole point of light, slim notebooks is that you don't need a special laptop bag (or backpack). You can put it in whatever you normally use. Even if there's no laptop compartment/pocket, you can put it in the main one with other things. Ultrabooks are usually very well built, so you don't have to worry about damage. If you can't live with scratches, you just buy a light sleeve.
And with 8+ hours of battery life, you don't have to take the charger with you. :-)
13" ultrabooks (like MacBook Air or Asus Zenbook) are so small most women can easily carry them in a purse.

Back in the day it used to look differently. We used to buy special laptop bags with separate compartments for the laptop and charger. Not only were they heavy, but you usually ended up carrying 2 bags, which is just an idiotic idea.
And yeah, I assume this is still an issue for most owners of gaming laptops (bulky, bad plastic, a lot of bending, large vents, huge power bricks). That's exactly why people buy expensive ultrabooks with worse performance. :-)
Posted on Reply
#141
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Vayra86, post: 3992286, member: 152404"
You saying this sounds just about as arrogant as others saying they should have designed it better. Until YOU have the answer, this comment has no place. If you can't design it properly, you shouldn't design it in the first place, how about that? If a product is released with faults like these, 'it just sounds like complaining' when people point it out. Yeah, us and all our first world problems, poor Apple. :roll::roll:

Honestly sometimes reading your comments is just perplexing and they are borderline flamebait more often than not. You're not adding anything of substance either but tell others to shut up unless they can. I mean... wth?!
I don't agree with how @Easy Rhino described his question and statement, so lets reframe it. How many Apple laptops have you owned and for how long? I've used Apple laptops for most of my professional career until recently (not because I had an option, I do now which is why I have a laptop with Linux on it.) I even at one point was a system administrator that had to deal with these laptops for the organization and very few of them failed (considering how many that company had.) That doesn't mean that I like Apple products or that I'd even buy one for myself, but it does give me some insight into the quality and possible issues that Apple laptops have had in the last 10 years.

I suspect that like a lot of other people in this thread are like you. You're not an Apple person, which makes sense. I would say that most people here aren't looking for what an Apple product provides in a laptop. With that said though, if you've never owned an Apple laptop, you seem to have a lot of opinions about them and why they are bad. Such scathing remarks without owning the thing is like a person writing a review for hardware that they don't even have but heard things on the internet that validates their narrative.
notb, post: 3992339, member: 165619"
And yeah, I assume this is still an issue for most owners of gaming laptops (bulky, bad plastic, a lot of bending, large vents, huge power bricks). That's exactly why people buy expensive ultrabooks with worse performance. :)
Hold your horses there, bub. I got a HP Spectre to replace a baseline model 15" MBP from several years ago. The HP Spectre is easily as fast if not faster than the MBP I used to have when it comes to CPU speed.
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#142
Darmok N Jalad
Aquinus, post: 3992387, member: 102461"
I don't agree with how @Easy Rhino described his question and statement, so lets reframe it. How many Apple laptops have you owned and for how long? I've used Apple laptops for most of my professional career until recently (not because I had an option, I do now which is why I have a laptop with Linux on it.) I even at one point was a system administrator that had to deal with these laptops for the organization and very few of them failed (considering how many that company had.) That doesn't mean that I like Apple products or that I'd even buy one for myself, but it does give me some insight into the quality and possible issues that Apple laptops have had in the last 10 years.

I suspect that like a lot of other people in this thread are like you. You're not an Apple person, which makes sense. I would say that most people here aren't looking for what an Apple product provides in a laptop. With that said though, if you've never owned an Apple laptop, you seem to have a lot of opinions about them and why they are bad. Such scathing remarks without owning the thing is like a person writing a review for hardware that they don't even have but heard things on the internet that validates their narrative.

Hold your horses there, bub. I got a HP Spectre to replace a baseline model 15" MBP from several years ago. The HP Spectre is easily as fast if not faster than the MBP I used to have when it comes to CPU speed.
I agree. I’ve owned my share of many tech brands, and I’ve had zero trouble with anything Apple. Their stuff seems to last a long time and feels solidly built. The only hardware brand I’ve sworn off is Microsoft. From Surface, Band, Xbox, and Lumia, I think my RMA rate with them is probably over 50%. Like you, I get why some folks don’t like Apple, but I think their quality issues get overblown. Our current way of communicating brand quality is very flawed. A few people talk about a bad experience and then it’s hyperbole city. And let’s face it, any time Apple is in the crosshairs, it’s multiple pages of comments and click-gold for the tech sites. No other brand draws a crowd like Apple, good or bad.
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#143
XXL_AI
Darmok N Jalad, post: 3992400, member: 170588"
I agree. I’ve owned my share of many tech brands, and I’ve had zero trouble with anything Apple. Their stuff seems to last a long time and feels solidly built. The only hardware brand I’ve sworn off is Microsoft. From Surface, Band, Xbox, and Lumia, I think my RMA rate with them is probably over 50%. Like you, I get why some folks don’t like Apple, but I think their quality issues get overblown. Our current way of communicating brand quality is very flawed. A few people talk about a bad experience and then it’s hyperbole city. And let’s face it, any time Apple is in the crosshairs, it’s multiple pages of comments and click-gold for the tech sites. No other brand draws a crowd like Apple, good or bad.
You are missing the point here, apple creates devices for daily use in office or white collar environment. if you use an apple computer in an air conditioned room with a riser stand, it will probably last longer but, most of the notebook users and programmers using their hardware literally everywhere, apple can't stand to that punishment, their hardware is so fragile, that you can break any apple computer at the field, robotics competition in its 1st day, maybe in the 1st hour. the reason why we use Thinkpad's or Precisions's are we need reliability across the workspace, not just at the office, we must be able to get our gear, go to the field, use there all day long, charge with 3rd party power supply, left at direct sun, and get back to the office for debugging etc.

Surface sucks, I don't seek neither intelligence nor knowledge about hardware or software on the people who buys them, its better to get thinkpad tablet and use it. Lumia phones WERE great, they had tons of features years before android or ios had (scanning documents, hyperlapse my favorites). Xbox 360 (after they fixed the RROD) is the most stable hardware I've ever used. I have own one from 2008 and it still works with original controllers, I just replace batteries and hit play, that's it (although, the time of HALO is passed and I don't use it anymore like I used to, but running for 10 years? I haven't seen any apple hardware last that long, even in a household environment.
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#144
Darmok N Jalad
XXL_AI, post: 3992413, member: 182013"
You are missing the point here, apple creates devices for daily use in office or white collar environment. if you use an apple computer in an air conditioned room with a riser stand, it will probably last longer but, most of the notebook users and programmers using their hardware literally everywhere, apple can't stand to that punishment, their hardware is so fragile, that you can break any apple computer at the field, robotics competition in its 1st day, maybe in the 1st hour. the reason why we use Thinkpad's or Precisions's are we need reliability across the workspace, not just at the office, we must be able to get our gear, go to the field, use there all day long, charge with 3rd party power supply, left at direct sun, and get back to the office for debugging etc.

Surface sucks, I don't seek neither intelligence nor knowledge about hardware or software on the people who buys them, its better to get thinkpad tablet and use it. Lumia phones WERE great, they had tons of features years before android or ios had (scanning documents, hyperlapse my favorites). Xbox 360 (after they fixed the RROD) is the most stable hardware I've ever used. I have own one from 2008 and it still works with original controllers, I just replace batteries and hit play, that's it (although, the time of HALO is passed and I don't use it anymore like I used to, but running for 10 years? I haven't seen any apple hardware last that long, even in a household environment.
I just sold a 2009 Mac Pro last year. Chassis was beat up, but that machine still held up well today with the fastest available Xeons installed along with a modern GPU and SSD. Still, I won’t deny that in your particular use cases a Mac isn’t going to hold up. I can only tell you that the Apple stuff I have owned has survived my usage just fine for years. I do tend to think Apple chases thin too hard, so I have not purchased a MBP, but I love my 5K iMac. As for MS, no argument on Nokia Lumias. I loved every one of them I owned, from the 521, 925, 1020 to 1520. The MS-made 950 with W10M made me sad though. My 360 E is still going strong, but my past XboxOne hardware experiences have been less than stellar, from disc read errors to controller and accessory failures. It’s a shame, cause I prefer the XboxOne controller, but when I built my gaming HTPC, I went with a DS4 controller.
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#145
Shambles1980
Tough Book FTW!
(yes this is a low quality post)
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#146
Totally
FordGT90Concept, post: 3991795, member: 60463"
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.
I know, I thought about getting a set but I carry enough around and I just drill out and use a normal torx bit
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#147
MiltonQ
I have the same problem. Seems like if the Macbook has been sleeping for much longer periods of time I will get static-like white, horizontal lines or (once) colored blocks on the lower half of the screen. Most of the time the screen blinks like crazy. If I shut the lid and open it back up, it sometimes goes away. Other times I have to restart. It's a pain in the ass and I wish Apple would just cop to it already.
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#149
Assimilator
evan.bovie, post: 4089592, member: 189401"
My friend and I are seeing this issue on our 2019 MacBook Pros with Vega 20 GPUs while connected to an external display via a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Very similar to this: [MEDIA=imgur]a/NXyXcKr[/MEDIA] and https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/macbook-pro-i7-32gb-1tb-vega-20-screen-flicker.2156679/
That's the level of quality you get for shelling out the big bucks. Please, vote with your wallet - return that and buy something that isn't ridiculously overpriced and actually works correctly.
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#150
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Three days old...take it back to Apple.
I see the link is necro'd (much like this thread).

They disabled hardware acceleration in Chrome browser. Have you tried that?
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