Running Windows On The Mac: Did It Ever Work? [Update 3: Returning It]

Just last week, I bought myself a brand new unibody Macbook Pro 15, a rather expensive piece of hardware. I bought it, expecting it to run Windows natively via multi-boot; Apple advertises that their Boot Camp feature will do just this:

[Mac OSX] Leopard is the world’s most advanced operating system. So advanced, it even lets you run Windows if there’s a PC application you need to use. […] Setup is simple and straightforward – just as you’d expect with a Mac.

As it turns out, sure, setup is easy, but that’s pretty much where the trademark simple and straightforward ends. Windows, running on my late 2008 Macbook crashes, freezes and Blue Screen Of Deaths me constantly, as in at every 10 minutes of plain use. To preempt your question, “Why run Windows at all?”: gaming.

There are a number of problems:

  • Windows doesn’t seem to control the cooling fans at all, and so it overheats
  • Windows can’t switch between the two (fast or power friendly) graphics adapters
  • Windows freezes when simply browsing websites

So overall, Windows on the Mac is a consistently unpleasant experience, which brings me to the purpose of this post. I need to decide whether I should return the Mac for a full refund and buy a different laptop for half the price, or alternatively, establish whether it’s likely that Apple will address all of these issues given reasonable time. It would really be a pity to return the unit, as I have already grown quite fond of the hardware. Furthermore, despite prior gripes, I can actually now see myself switching to OSX for day to day work, only to boot Windows for the occasional game of Fallout, whereas I bought this Mac with the expectation to do both while in Windows.

Because I genuinely want to make this thing work, I have a number of questions I would love to hear your opinions on, and preferrably before thursday this week where my 14-day right of return expires:

  • Do you have a late 2008 Unibody 15 Macbook running Windows, and are you having similar troubles?
  • Do you have any other Mac running Windows, and if so, is that unit running perfectly?
  • Have you had problems like these on older Mac hardware, which Apple fixed with firmware and software updates?
  • If you are running Windows on a Mac, is it Vista or XP, and did switching from one to the other fix your troubles?

Please note again that I’m referring to Windows running in Boot Camp, not in emulation or virtualization like Parallels or VirtualBox.

While I have done some a lot of research on the topic and found that quite a few others are having the same troubles, and even articles on Apple supposedly working on a fix for these issues, I would love to hear updated feedback on this. As a point of note: OSX runs just fine, doesn’t crash and cools the machine aptly, which leads me to believe this is mainly a Boot Camp software / driver issue, rather than solely a hardware issue.

So there it is, the current state of my fling with The Mac. Please help me turn this into a love-affair. I’ll end this with a Steve Jobs quote:

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

If you’re reading, Steve, right now it doesn’t work.

Update: I’m putting a signed print of your choice on the line for the author of the comment that fixes the problems I’ve been having—not that I think that’s possible without Apple actually getting involved, but it’s worth a shot.

Update 2: After reading an article on The Inquirer, I’m now finding it likely that this Macbook and many others are suffering from bad Nvidia hardware. Please help me decide whether I should return the unit, or request a repair.

Update 3: Returning it. More to follow.

55 thoughts on “Running Windows On The Mac: Did It Ever Work? [Update 3: Returning It]”

  1. Stewart says:

    I have a 17″ MacBook Pro from last year, just before the unibody announcements.

    My day-to-day stuff is done under OSX, however I have XP installed under Bootcamp and use it on a regular basis for gaming – GTR Evo mostly.

    I have no problems with the system at all, I had to grab a driver direct from nVidia to get the most power out of my graphics card but other than that I haven’t had an issue. It does get very hot but I put a lot of that down to my desk and raising the laptop a few cms makes a big difference.

    I’d suggest using non-Apple drivers for things like the video card, with regards to the fans I reckon Apple will come out with an update for bootcamp drivers in a few months time, but they might not.

    As for returning it for a Windows laptop…. is there anything stopping you from using OSX for your day-to-day work? Any apps that you don’t have an alternative for? If the machine itself is fine and you like the hardware why not keep it and try and adjust to OSX?

    1. Joen says:

      Hi Stewart, thanks so much for your reply.

      Stewart: I have no problems with the system at all, I had to grab a driver direct from nVidia to get the most power out of my graphics card but other than that I haven’t had an issue.

      That’s good to know. It’s comforting to know that Windows can work on the Mac. And just to be sure “no problems at all” means the fans cools it properly, it doesn’t crash several times a day and so on, correct?

      As for drivers, trust me, I’ve tried switching all the vanilla boot camp drivers out, back and forth, one by one. I’ve run official Nvidia notebook drivers, and even modded ones from laptopvideo2go . None of the fixes I have tried have made much difference.

      Stewart: with regards to the fans I reckon Apple will come out with an update for bootcamp drivers in a few months time, but they might not.

      “They might not”. Any way to know for sure?

      Stewart: As for returning it for a Windows laptop…. is there anything stopping you from using OSX for your day-to-day work? Any apps that you don’t have an alternative for? If the machine itself is fine and you like the hardware why not keep it and try and adjust to OSX?

      There are a number of apps I would sorely miss, but none that I couldn’t probably find alternatives for and adjust to.

      But I would miss the games, as I don’t have a console. Remember, they crash too.

    2. James says:

      There are a number of apps I would sorely miss, but none that I couldn’t probably find alternatives for and adjust to.

      If you’re interested, let us know which apps you’re referring to, and we can probably find some alternatives for you. Some of them may even be free and open source.

    3. Joen says:

      James: If you’re interested, let us know which apps you’re referring to, and we can probably find some alternatives for you. Some of them may even be free and open source.

      Thanks for the help. Well this is mostly for posterity, as it won’t be an issue if I have to return this unit. But let’s imagine I fix the problems and keep the machine, then I would miss:

      • A really good explorer/finder replacement with built-in FTP and advanced reg-ex like file renaming capabilities, such as Directory Opus or Total Commander
      • A really good and quick screenshot app that lets me select parts of the screen and then proceed to annotate and draw arrows on the screenshot, such as Greenshot
      • A quick and painless PNG to ICO icon application, both for real application icons and for favicons
      • A “remember to take breaks” app like WorkRave
      • A global mouse gesture app such as StrokeIt
      • A copy/paste manager such as CLCL clipboard manager.
    4. James says:

      A really good explorer/finder replacement with built-in FTP and advanced reg-ex like file renaming capabilities, such as Directory Opus or Total Commander

      The Finder is not something that I mess with personally. I prefer to use Cyberduck for my FTP needs. Regarding renaming capabilities, I have heard great things about A Better Finder Rename and I’ve heard great things about Path Finder as a complete Finder replacement.

      A really good and quick screenshot app that lets me select parts of the screen and then proceed to annotate and draw arrows on the screenshot, such as Greenshot

      That would be Skitch, hands down. There is not substitute. It’s drool-worthy awesome. Check the video at the bottom of the app’s page.

      A quick and painless PNG to ICO icon application, both for real application icons and for favicons

      Blast, another one that I don’t know. There’s IconBuilder, but I think that’s quite a bit more than you need.

      A “remember to take breaks” app like WorkRave

      There a plenty of those available, like Time Out, also you could construct a similar script with the included Automator application.

      A global mouse gesture app such as StrokeIt

      Mouse gestures have not had as much exposure on Macs as they have on PCs. Some applications support then individualy, and there are very few applications, like xGestures, that attempt to support mouse gestures system-wide.

      A copy/paste manager such as CLCL clipboard manager.

      There are plenty of those. Some of the best are Clips and Clipboard Evolved. I use iClip, but it appears to have been abandoned by its developer.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions.

    5. matthew says:

      A really good and quick screenshot app that lets me select parts of the screen and then proceed to annotate and draw arrows on the screenshot, such as Greenshot

      Skitch or Littlesnapper are surely better

    6. matthew says:

      bw. A really good explorer/finder replacement with built-in FTP and advanced reg-ex like file renaming capabilities, such as Directory Opus or Total Commander

      Cyberduck is free or I like ExpanDrive for Finder integration, Id class it as still being a work in progress but its very good imo.

  2. James says:

    Well, I can’t answer all four questions, but I hope this helps:

    Have you had problems like these on older Mac hardware, which Apple fixed with firmware and software updates?

    Apple has released updates for the Boot Camp drivers before. When that happens, you just launch the Boot Camp setup assistant and burn a new drivers disc. The last time Apple released a Boot Camp update, it was part of one of the OS X updates, so I recommend keeping a close eye on the detailed changes of software updates until you see any mention of Boot Camp. Since your Boot Camp issues are model-specific, the desired update may come along with a model-specific software update.

    If you are running Windows on a Mac, is it Vista or XP, and did switching from one to the other fix your troubles?

    I have never run Vista under Boot Camp, but I never had any problems running XP under Boot Camp. It did take Apple several months to release Vista support in Boot Camp, so I have a feeling that Vista support may still be a work in progress.

    Did you try the Parallels trial yet? I won’t hurt to install it, and I have heard wonderful things about their acceleration technology.

    1. Joen says:

      Hey James, thanks for your continued help with this.

      James: The last time Apple released a Boot Camp update, it was part of one of the OS X updates, so I recommend keeping a close eye on the detailed changes of software updates until you see any mention of Boot Camp.

      That’s good to know. Well, I’ve already installed two OSX system updates without really reading the contents. Is there any website I can go to, that logs the changes? If not, is there any way I can found out what the updates I installed said?

      James: I have never run Vista under Boot Camp, but I never had any problems running XP under Boot Camp. It did take Apple several months to release Vista support in Boot Camp, so I have a feeling that Vista support may still be a work in progress.

      Hmmmm. Perhaps I should install XP just to see if that fixes it.

      James: Did you try the Parallels trial yet? I won’t hurt to install it, and I have heard wonderful things about their acceleration technology.

      Not yet, though I have tried VirtualBox (the free price appeals to me). And trust me, if I do fix these issues and don’t return the machine, and I start doing day to day work in OSX, I will most likely be using Parallels or VirtualBox for all my small Windows app needs.

      I still can’t believe that Parallels can be fast enough to run Fallout 3, though, or can it?

    2. James says:

      Is there any website I can go to, that logs the changes?

      You can find abbreviated changes and links to the detailed changes at Apple’s Support Downloads page.

      I still can’t believe that Parallels can be fast enough to run Fallout 3, though, or can it?

      Fallout 3 is not listed under the Games & Apps compatibility list on Parallels’ Video & 3D Graphics page. I found this forum thread which goes into some detail regarding that.

    3. Joen says:

      That’s a great link to Apples support page there. I found here:

      http://support.apple.com/downloads/#bootcamp

      that a similar “fan speed” problem was fixed for the Mac Pro, at one point. So it must be a recurring issue. This is just one of the problems, though, but part of me is happy Apple has fixed these things in the past.

      As for parallels, I’ve seen a screenshot on Wikipedia of it running halflife 2. Is it actually fast enough for gaming? Isn’t it “just” normal virtualization, or does it include reverse-engineered Windows system files, as WINE does?

    4. James says:

      Sorry for not noticing the Boot Camp-specific link. I’m sure Apple will release a fix eventually. The only questions is “When?”

      As for parallels, I’ve seen a screenshot on Wikipedia of it running halflife 2. Is it actually fast enough for gaming? Isn’t it “just” normal virtualization, or does it include reverse-engineered Windows system files, as WINE does?

      According the fore-mentioned compatibility list, Half Life 2 is supported by the new v4 of Parallels. Parallels contains several performance enhancing features that most other virtual systems don’t. As far as I know, they don’t use any reverse-engineered files, because you install your own copy of Windows.

  3. I’ve run XP on my Mac Mini, and it was flawless.

    1. Joen says:

      Excellent, thanks for the feedback.

  4. Stewart says:

    Joen: That’s good to know. It’s comforting to know that Windows can work on the Mac. And just to be sure “no problems at all” means the fans cools it properly, it doesn’t crash several times a day and so on?

    Yeah the fans cool it down no problem at all, they run at 4,000rpm during a big 3d work out but the fans bring the temps back down quite quickly. The machine itself doesn’t crash, I get the odd crash from GTR Evo but that is down to the game itself rather than my Mac.

    Joen: As for drivers, trust me, I’ve tried switching all the vanilla boot camp drivers out, back and forth, one by one. I’ve run official Nvidia notebook drivers, and even modded ones from laptopvideo2go . None of the fixes I have tried have made much difference.

    Have you tried the Omega nVidia Drivers? ( http://www.omegadrivers.net/ ) I tried using them on my machine and they worked really well but I went back to the official drivers as I have my laptop hooked upto a 32″ LCD via HDMI so needed to fix overscan problems.

    1. Joen says:

      Stewart: The machine itself doesn’t crash, I get the odd crash from GTR Evo but that is down to the game itself rather than my Mac.

      Excellent. And sure, I’m not claiming Windows and all its app are rock solid and crash free, but what I’m referring to here happens intermittently and seemingly at random. Also, more-so than crashes, the problems I’m having are freezes and BSODs, where I have to hold down the power button for five seconds and then reboot. Total lock ups, so to speak.

      Stewart: Have you tried the Omega nVidia Drivers? ( http://www.omegadrivers.net/ ) I tried using them on my machine and they worked really well but I went back to the official drivers as I have my laptop hooked upto a 32″ LCD via HDMI so needed to fix overscan problems.

      I haven’t, going to try them right now.

    2. Joen says:

      Hmm, I gotta say, I’m somewhat reluctant to download the Omega drivers, as the last update was december 2007 — how are they different than those from laptopvideo2go?

  5. Mark Wubben says:

    A really good and quick screenshot app that lets me select parts of the screen and then proceed to annotate and draw arrows on the screenshot, such as Greenshot

    The built in Grab can be used for the screenshot taking. There is a commercial app that lets you annotate and has iPhoto-like screenshot management, but the name escapes me.

    A “remember to take breaks” app like WorkRave

    I use MacBreakz Pro.

    A copy/paste manager such as CLCL clipboard manager.

    Launchbar includes a copy/paste manager, as does Quicksilver. Quicksilver also has support for gestures. That said, it’s a bit crashy.

  6. Stewart says:

    Joen: Hmm, I gotta say, I’m somewhat reluctant to download the Omega drivers, as the last update was december 2007 — how are they different than those from laptopvideo2go?

    I never used laptopvideo2go’s drivers, it could well be that the Omega ones don’t support your card yet. I know my card works with them, not sure about the new graphics card setup though.

    1. Joen says:

      Tried to install, but the Omega drivers won’t install, it says “unsupported hardware”. Alas, back to square one. Thanks for your help, tho.

  7. Do you have a late 2008 Unibody 15 Macbook running Windows, and are you having similar troubles?

    Yes I do, and no I am not. At all.

    Do you have any other Mac running Windows, and if so, is that unit running perfectly?

    Yes I do, a Mac Pro, and yes it is. Both Vista and XP work just fine on it, though I’ve spent a lot more time in XP than in Vista on it.

    I can certainly say that XP works just fine.

    Have you had problems like these on older Mac hardware, which Apple fixed with firmware and software updates?

    Yes. The mouse on my macbook unibody, and a couple of other minor driver issues with my wireless keyb and others.

    If you are running Windows on a Mac, is it Vista or XP, and did switching from one to the other fix your troubles?

    Haven’t switched much between them, since XP works perfectly and isn’t sluggish and laggy.

    I’ve used XP a lot, with 2 different graphics cards (ATI and nVidia) and it has worked better than any PC I’ve ever owned (for one thing, the power saving mode actually works without crashing).

    1. Joen says:

      Thanks Brian, I’ll catch you on chat for details.

  8. Maybe you have a defective macbook?

    What causes the blue screens of death? Have you looked at the kernel dumps and seen what module it is? Might give you a hint whether it’s a certain driver that’s tripping you up.

    1. Joen says:

      Brian Meidell Andersen: Maybe you have a defective macbook?

      I hope so, I guess then I could swap it for a effective macbook and keep the gorgeous hardware.

      Brian Meidell Andersen: What causes the blue screens of death? Have you looked at the kernel dumps and seen what module it is? Might give you a hint whether it’s a certain driver that’s tripping you up.

      I have looked at the kernel dumps, one of them is related to applemtp.sys (apple multi touch driver, and yes, I did install the multi touch update first). The other was related to a Broadcom Wireless driver, which can possibly be blamed on Broadcom.

      The most pressing matter is the freezes, though. Simply browsing plainly in Firefox, everything freezes and no crash event is logged. Requires a hard reboot. Out of 10 crashes, 8 are freezes.

  9. A really good explorer/finder replacement with built-in FTP and advanced reg-ex like file renaming capabilities, such as Directory Opus or Total Commander

    I just use Finder (rarely) and Terminal (bash) all the time πŸ™‚

    A really good and quick screenshot app that lets me select parts of the screen and then proceed to annotate and draw arrows on the screenshot, such as Greenshot

    You mean like bytebounce v2.0? πŸ™‚

  10. For the record, Directory Opus has absolutely no peer on Mac OS X.

    None. Not even close.

    Imo, The supposed Finder replacements (like Pathfinder) are terrible.

  11. Levi says:

    Hi Joen, I didn’t get a chance to read through all the comments — busy working on something at the moment.

    But this program seems to allow keyboard shortcuts for manually controlling the fan speed: http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=58373

    Unfortunately I don’t have a Mac Book Pro of my own to test it out on, so it would seem you’ll need to be the guinea pig.

    By the way, I couldn’t find it in your post, are you running XP or Vista?

    1. Joen says:

      I’m running Vista at the moment. XP only recognizes 3 gb ram, while Vista takes up to 8. I have 4.

      I have tried input remapper, and while it is a bit iffy, it does allow me to control fan speed. Manually.

      As such, I have managed to cool the system to be consistenltly below 55 degrees celcius. The fact that it still freezes despite this, tells me that the problem isn’t overheating alone.

      Thanks for your feedback, by the way!

    2. matthew says:

      FWIW, my MacBook used to regularly reach temperatures of 70°C+ (Not checked it for a while) when doing intensive tasks so it may well not be temperature causing the freezes.

  12. Joen says:

    Okay so this guy is having the same trouble as I am having, and he’s running MacOSX.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtFH8odIkx4

  13. Stewart says:

    Been giving this some thought and I’m gonna call this a hardware fault, most likely dodgy RAM, possibly the logic board.

    My suggestion is to take it back to the store you bought it from and get a brand new machine fresh outta the factory.

    You could give a reformat a bash on the Windows side but thinking about the fact that you haven’t given OSX a real work out it might be masking a hardware fault.

    1. Joen says:

      Hmm. Alright, I’m gonna call Apple tomorrow to see what my options are. I bought it from a reseller whose 14 day full return deal stops thursday (I’m also gonna call the reseller), but if it’s a hardware issue I’m guessing I should be able to switch it out even after that date, correct?

      I’m starting to lean towards hardware fault as well, specifically the Nvidia / Nforce parts, mainly because that happened with the last gen hardware. I’ll let you know how it goes.

      Oh, and this guy has filmed the freeze I’m experiencing:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAlZ4zp941E

  14. Stewart says:

    Joen: Hmm. Alright, I’m gonna call Apple tomorrow to see what my options are. I bought it from a reseller whose 14 day full return deal stops thursday (I’m also gonna call the reseller), but if it’s a hardware issue I’m guessing I should be able to switch it out even after that date, correct?I’m starting to lean towards hardware fault as well, specifically the Nvidia / Nforce parts, mainly because that happened with the last gen hardware. I’ll let you know how it goes.Oh, and this guy has filmed the freeze I’m experiencing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAlZ4zp941E

    Yeah that’s a definite hardware fault, most likely it’ll be as you suggest the nVidia chips.

    I don’t know the sales laws over in Denmark but here it’s the retailer who is wholly liable for your purchase rather than the manufacturer. So over here it would be a case of walking into the store, explaining the fault and getting a replacement – within the first 6 months any fault is classed as a fault at manufacture and the retailer is required by law to replace the product. So really you wouldn’t need to deal with Apple.

    1. Joen says:

      Just for posterity, here’s an even better example of the freezing:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU09AcQ4wQc

      What makes you think it’s a hardware issue?

      And now that I’m at it, if it is a hardware issue, would you reckon it’s a problem with all the new Macbook Pro 15s, or just a percentage of them?

      Stewart: I don’t know the sales laws over in Denmark but here it’s the retailer who is wholly liable for your purchase rather than the manufacturer. So over here it would be a case of walking into the store, explaining the fault and getting a replacement – within the first 6 months any fault is classed as a fault at manufacture and the retailer is required by law to replace the product. So really you wouldn’t need to deal with Apple.

      I’m fairly sure a defective product has to be replaced in Denmark as well. Unfortunately, in this case, the retailer is a webshop, so I’m a bit worried about having to send it back and forth. But I’ll call them tomorrow.

  15. Stewart says:

    Joen: What makes you think it’s a hardware issue?And now that I’m at it, if it is a hardware issue, would you reckon it’s a problem with all the new Macbook Pro 15s, or just a percentage of them?

    If it were a software issue a reformat would solve the problem immediately. Considering how widespread this appears I would say that people would’ve tried a reformat already.

  16. I wouldn’t bother with maybe fixing it via a reformat, but just exchange it. Otherwise you’re just taking a chance you don’t need to take. Doesn’t compensate you for the time invested and time spent wiping personal info from the machine, but should land you a proper mac!

    Hope all goes well.

  17. Joen says:

    Ouch, I just stumbled on this story from The Inquirer

    WHEN THE NEW Macbooks came out a few weeks ago, Nvidia stated that the chips they provided to Apple did not contain the proverbial ‘bad bumps’. Unfortunately for them, an investigation led by The Inquirer proves that not to be the case.

    Yes, you read that right, a brand new 15-inch Macbook Pro was purchased in California as soon as they went on sale. This was an off-the-shelf part, not a review sample, not a gift, but a normal model that hundreds of thousands of you bought. It was then secreted to a small lab of mad scientists who do not wish to be named, fearing repercussions from Nvidia and Apple.

    The 9600 is unquestionably using ‘bad bumps’, directly contradicting the statements from Nvidia.

    So, what does this all mean? It suggests that there are 15-inch Macbook Pros being sold with ‘bad bumps’, the same materials that brought down so many HP, Dell and Apple parts, both laptop and desktop. For some odd reason, Nvidia really does not want you to know this.

    On the surface, the explanation of the Macbooks not getting hot enough to crack the bumps doesn’t stand up. If it is hot enough to sear the flesh off your thigh, it is likely more than able to reach an internal temperature of 60-80C, the point where the underfill softens. If the chips get hot enough to crash, it is unlikely they are running within prescribed thermal boundaries.

    What do you do from here? At the moment, the simple answer is: avoid the 15-inch Macbook Pro. While there is no assurance that the high-lead bumps will cause a failure, given their history, we cannot recommend that you take the chance.

    Emphasis mine.

    So that, I think, changes the situation a bit for me. In my mind, the Inquirers article makes it very plausible that my woes are hardware related (Stewart, very probably you have a print coming your way one of these weeks). That leaves me with TWO options, and I would love help in deciding this:

    1. I can return it for a full refund if I do it before thursday, and then proceed to buy something else
    2. I can return it for a replacement unit, and keep doing so until I encounter one which doesn’t suffer from the hardware issues

    Because I have really come to love the hardware and the keyboard, my very own mind is clouding my judgement here. Tell me what you think I should do! Help me Apple-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

    1. Rob Mientjes says:

      Ugh, just those two? Either feels like a bad idea – I’m just mentally filling out that you’re going to buy some crackpot Windows-native thing with that money, but neither is even worse. It’s too bad your affair with the Mac has to start like this.

      The problem is the graphics stuff? It’s a MacBook Pro, right? Can’t that shit be replaced? Is there an official or at least sanctioned way?

    2. Joen says:

      I’m quite sure it can be replaced, yes, and you’re also correct that I’m very unlikely to buy a different kind of Mac as a replacement.

      I’m open for option 3, though, as long as it doesn’t involve accepting the freezes. Please note that my research into this has also settled that this is no longer a Windows only issue (so making the full switch to the Mac and using Parallels or Crossover Games for gaming is not a freeze free option). A number of people report the very same issues in Mac OSX, including this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU09AcQ4wQc

  18. Stewart says:

    Joen: Stewart, very probably you have a print coming your way one of these weeks).

    πŸ˜€

    Joen: That leaves me with options, and I would love help in deciding this:

    I would suggest swapping it out for another unit, I suspect that nVidia have since fixed the fault and will have been shipping working graphics cards for a while now, so it could be that the laptop you bought is from an older batch of dodgy laptops.

    On the side of the box is a big sticker with various barcodes and the model spec etc. There should be a piece on there that says something like “Lot No.” or “Batch” just make sure whatever laptop you swap it with is from a different batch.

    1. Joen says:

      There’s a model number and a “part” number, both of which I have written down. No lot number or batch number. Thanks, so far. I’m still pondering the options.

  19. Mark Wubben says:

    Swap it out for a new one, AFAIK they give you a new model if the old one was broken, within the first two weeks. Then ask to make sure you get one right of the factory line. And hope it’s not broken then.

  20. Robin says:

    Let’s be frank — the OS that Apple assumes you’re going to be using most of the time is OS X. This is one of the beauties of the fact that hardware and software are both sourced from Apple. It also has its disadvantages — mainly the lack of variety of options. What this results in, however, is a seamless experience with hardware drivers and they system, essentially controlling the ecosystem of Apple hardware/software.

    If you’re buying a Mac laptop to do something like gaming — which, if you aren’t playing Quake I, requires performance and stability (both software and hardware stability) in order to be successful in this. To be honest, if you wanted to run Windows and run Windows games, your best option would have been some sort of Windows PC.

    Granted, though, I personally find the PC laptops ugly and very backwards compared to Apple laptops, which are cleanly designed and very functional. With all due respect, you should have seen this coming… I know it’s what I thought when I read your articles about your search for a new laptop.

    1. Joen says:

      There is no due respect in what you write.

      A machine that glitches in both OSX and Windows, and if you’ve read the most recent comments you’d know that it does also glitch in OSX, is just not okay, and nobody should see that coming, especially with 2000+ dollar hardware.

    2. With all due respect, you should have seen this coming…

      Wha’? How? How does one see instability coming? Shouldn’t the defacto approach to any hard- or software be that it is inherently stable, otherwise what would the point be?

      I play Team Fortress 2 emulated under OS X on my 1+ year-old MacBook Pro, and it works fine. Thus, ergo sum est latinus erasmus, so should Joen’s.

  21. matthew says:

    BTW Joen, If you haven’t done already, I highly recommend you install AppleJack. It’s my first install on new Macs and first port of call at any signs of problems with my Mac.

  22. Tristan says:

    For what it’s worth, if I can still add something to this conversation, I have the same machine you do – the 15″ MacBook Pro unibody, 4GB RAM, and I have not experienced any crashing or instability in either OSX or Windows. I use Windows XP under boot camp relatively frequently, and for hours on end usually playing HL2 or other games. Never had a single problem, or at least none that were unusual compared to other windows systems.

    Don’t forget to go through the standard crashing possibilities – first place to look is RAM. Run a memory check, then replace it all anyway (especially if still under warranty). Second is the rest of the hardware, so I’d go with the “replace it until it works” strategy there.

    I definitely have the same exact hardware and no problems, only positive experiences, so it’s definitely not a problem with the machine in general. I can tell you appreciate the build quality of this thing, so don’t give up on it. Trust me, it’s worth it.

    1. Joen says:

      This is good to know, and it further speaks towards the “It’s a hardware issue”.

      That said, I’m currently awaiting answers from the retailer as to what my options are. I’ll detail it all in a future post. Summing things up quickly, I think my two main plans are:

      • return for a full refund if possible (I’m trying), and wait a few months to see if things get fixed
      • return until fixed

      In any case, I will let you know how it goes.

  23. Joen says:

    A small update on this. I got a 14 day right of return full refund for the mac, and I’m currently pondering what to do. It’s very clear to me that this is a hardware issue, as I have met and talked with people who do not experience the same problems I have been experiencing, and as such I’m giving the art print prize to Stewart!

  24. Stewart says:

    Joen: A small update on this. I got a 14 day right of return full refund for the mac, and I’m currently pondering what to do. It’s very clear to me that this is a hardware issue, as I have met and talked with people who do not experience the same problems I have been experiencing, and as such I’m giving the art print prize to Stewart!

    Thank you Joen πŸ™‚

    I would suggest taking the refund and waiting a few weeks/months before placing another order, in which time hopefully you will move along enough batches as to avoid any risk of getting another bad graphics chip.

    1. Joen says:

      Stewart: I would suggest taking the refund and waiting a few weeks/months before placing another order, in which time hopefully you will move along enough batches as to avoid any risk of getting another bad graphics chip.

      That’s what I’m currently leaning towards.

  25. chris says:

    I have a 15″ Macbook Pro. Bought it a few days after it was released. A few things I have noticed about running Windows XP via BootCamp:

    1. Install SP3. I got the blue screen of death and other hang ups until installed the service pack. Now it runs fine.

    2. I have also noticed the fan issue when running Windows. It may be that Windows doesn’t have access to all the temp censors thus causing them to run ALL THE TIME.This may be something Apple could update. The fans run wonderful in OS X.

    3. Your site is the first I heard that the nvidia card may be bad. I’ll going to look into this more, but again a lot of the problems were solved (most involved games like HL2 crashing or just being slow) by updating windows.

    If the hardware is bad, hopefully Apple will own up. But if it’s just a BootCamp thing, let Windows have a break every couple of hours and power down like I do!!!

    1. Joen says:

      I’d like to reiterate that after I was suggested it was a hardware issue, I am now 99% sure that that was in fact true.

      My Macbook freezed. It locked up doing nothing special.

      The fact that it crashed, bluescreened, couldn’t control fans or keyboard backlighting or even select between graphics cards — those were all trivial issues compared to the freezing.

      When the computer froze, it would loop the last 2 seconds of whatever was playing, and simply lock everything on the screen, requiring a hard reboot.

      I have been told other owners of unibody 15s have not experienced such freezes at all.

      My conclusion: if your computer freezes like this, return it. That’s what I did.

  26. Brad Stebbing says:

    Hey, just wondering if you had many other people with the same issues? I bought my laptop (late 2008) and I am running vista and am experiencing identical problems. Unfortunately I bought my computer as I was leaving for Spain, so the returning possibility went out the window. I have contacted Apple and they say that they don’t support the drivers that came on the install discs, let alone windows (oh how they love a scapegoat). From what I have seen on other posts, most of the issues seem to be with Vista, and not the hardware itself. I use the computer for CAD so I barely even use the MacOS side of things. And just quietly, their support sucks (so glad I bought the extended warranty)!

    1. Joen says:

      I think it’s fairly safe to say the following:

      – If your computer crashes (shuts down and reboots), it’s possibly a software error, and you could possibly fix it by updating a driver or something.
      – If your computer freezes (the image on the screen locks up, sound playing stutters, the computer doesn’t reboot until you manually do, and the computer doesn’t know it crashed), then it’s 99% surely a hardware issue, in which you should be able to get Apple to repair it for free.

Comments are closed.