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Mid-2009 MacBook Pro EFI firmware update 1.7 Problems
Eddie sent a link to an Apple forum thread on problems (freezes, BBOD, low performance, etc.) some owners have seen after the recent MBP EFI firmare update 1.7, which was said to address the SATA 1.5Gb/sec (vs 3.0) interface reporting issue that some new MacBook Pro owners had complained about. Monday's news post on the update included a copy of the apple notes in the download doc - including this comment:

"While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported."

Here's the Apple forum thread that has quite a few people reporting problems after the update, typically with upgraded/replaced (non-OEM) drives (including some WD, Seagate and some SSD drives).

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And more reports on MacBook Pro GPU failures/Repairs
Latest mails on the issue (some in reply to yesterday's posts)

" Mike, About three weeks ago, my mid-2007 MacBook Pro 15" started having video issues (video went off or had a "pinkish" color). On Tuesday I took it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider here, in Mexico City; the next day (Wednesday) they told me it qualified for logic board replace under extended warranty, and two days later (Friday) I had it with me already. It has been working fine these past weeks. The only "problem" I had, was to re-enable it to my router.
Obviously, I'm happy with Apple's customer support.
Best, Axel"

I assume it was OK'd by the special app they use to check/qualify failures for the extended warranty. (This Apple doc lists affected models/production ranges.)


" I just had Phil's problem (ref: yesterday's posts) last week (colored stuff on screen, then the uniform pink/green pattern grid). I took my computer to the Apple Store, they ran the NVidia test, and it passed. In other words, the problem is NOT the one identified by the test, but there is clearly a second problem with the video in these laptops due to overheating not identified by this test. My machine was just nearing it's 2nd birthday.
Long story short, I had Applecare, so the repair was covered. But the list of replaced parts blew my mind, and the Apple tech who finished the paper work when I picked it up was just as baffled: main logic board, RAM, HD, both fans, all replaced! They replaced the logic board and fans first, but the machine would still not boot, so they replaced the HD, and it would still not pass the tests, so they replaced the RAM as well. I had tested the HD and RAM before I took it in and they were fine. And the heat inside was not out of range according to fan control and temp monitor software.
I am getting tired of the defective laptop designs Apple builds, where after about 12-24 months, a large number fail due to heat desoldering chips over time. (the Nvidia GPU pkg issue IIRC resulted in the GPU separating, not necessarily at the solder point to the motherboard) I've had an iBook G3 and 3 iBook G4s fail with graphics problems (my original and 2 replacements!), and now this MacBook Pro Santa Rosa 2.2.
(BTW - a common iBook G4 failure (due to board flex) was a cracked Voltage regulator chip solder joint - I've had several readers send thanks for the article here on iBook G4 Vreg Chip Solder Joint Repair Guide .-Mike)
If I hadn't bought Apple Care on each model, I'd have bought 7 machines now in 7 years or so. All from the same problem! That's unacceptable. If it's the price we pay for no fan noise, we need to suffer through some fan noise I guess.
-Mike K."

While on the subject of warranties, a reader (thanks Scott) sent a reminder that some credit cards may have an extended warranty feature for items purchased with it. (This came up years ago, where some cards doubled the std warranty on items purchased, although not sure how common that is now even with 'premium' class cards.)


If you missed the saga on the Nvidia GPU pkg issue, there's a long page here from last year that has info/several links to articles (about nvidia taking a huge $$$$$ charge last summer over it, to PC mfrs reactions, etc.) as well as some previous MBP owner reports.
(I've added the above reports to the previous page on MacBook Pro (Nvidia 8600M) GPU/Video Failures )

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FYI on $30 White Macbook replacement top covers (w/kbd and trackpad)
Includes notes on internal BT cable replacement/fix and 500GB/7200 rpm HD upgrade. (Updated w/reply the old tip for white iBook case cleaning using a "Magic Eraser" didn't help.)

"Subject: MacBook Top Covers
I own an original white MacBook (May or June 06) and have noticed the discoloration problem (pretty mild compared to others I've seen but still noticeable) about half a year ago. Actually it didn't really start until my wife borrowed my MacBook for a couple weeks while Apple was repairing hers (newer black one - had some paint flaking and hinge creaking - was fixed the last day of warranty) so it really seems to depend on body chemistry or excessive lotion usage. I took my MacBook to an Apple Store a few month back and was told that the repair extension for this issue had expired and they wouldn't replace my top case.

I was really excited when I saw that OWC had some top cases for just short of $30 plus 4.99 for shipping. ((White) MacBook Top Cover w/Keyboard, Trackpad - $29.95, on their Clearance/Garage sale page) The website said they are new/never used system pulls and I confirmed via their web chat that it would fit my book. Service was top notch and the part arrived the next day nicely padded inside a padded envelope inside a big box (shipped from IL to IN but still impressive - I ordered in the evening around 7:30 or so and had it on my doorstep just after noon the next day - at the standard shipping rate, not overnight)!

I just got done installing it (took about 15 minutes - also cleaned the dust out of the fan while I was in there) and am happy to report that it works great. It's the second revision with silver ribbon cable that is supposed to be of better quality than the original version (with copper colored ribbon). The only difference that's visible on the outside is that the special functions on the F-keys are assigned differently (I think this change happened with the first Core2Duo MacBook - my wife's is the same with the volume keys now on F10/11/12, while they were on F3/4/5 before. This is not an issue though as Mac OS X (I use the latest 10.5.7) recognizes the new keyboard and assigns the functions properly. Otherwise I guess I could have moved the individual keys from the old keyboard to the new one.

I think this is a great item for anybody who missed the original repair program from Apple (not sure if this was ever official or not but I know a lot of people had their cases replaced for free a while ago). At 35 dollars shipped it's a steal and much cheaper than other parts dealers or eBay (and they usually only have "really" used parts with potential cosmetic flaws). They still show this item on their clearance page (as of Friday 6/26), but I'm not sure how many they have left. I assume that these are remnants from converting MacBooks to ModBooks as they also have Apple remotes for $15 and MacBook screens for $100 which are all items you'd have to remove when you do the conversion (both of these other items are also good deals if you need them - I didn't).


(I wrote him about the August 2005 posted iBook owner tips on Case Cleaning with positive feedback on using Mr.Clean "Magic Erasers". He later replied he'd tried that but it didn't help.-Mike)
Yeah, I read that info back then and that was one of the first things I tried. It really is in the plastic though. It also seems that the texture of the affected areas has changed slightly. It seems a little more brittle there.
I had accepted the fact that my MacBook looked a bit ugly in some spots but it has served me well over the last three years... But I figured it's worth $35 (cover plus shipping) to me to make it look nice again. Now all I need is a new battery and I'll be set for the next three years. I'm still amazed that this 3 year old machine still performs everything I need it to do just fine and not much slower than the current Macs.

Oh and while I'm at it: I had the dreaded "Bluetooth Not Available" issue with the accompanying sleep waking for the longest time. After trying everything on the software side (even running modified USB drivers to log more detailed errors - which yielded the conclusion that the BT module occasionally failed to respond to wake commands when in low power operation (not system sleep mode - these are low power states the BT chip goes to all the time whenever it can during normal operation to save energy). I eventually bought a new internal connection cable for somewhere around 10 dollars shipped and replaced the old one. The old one turned out to be slightly pinched under the fan assembly. I have never ever had the not available problem again since I replaced the cable so I'm pretty certain that this is what caused the problem. I know there are a lot of reports of more or less successful attempt at fixing this issue and Apple may times (on in-warranty repairs) replaced everything but the cable and the problem usually returned.

Also I replaced my hard drive a few weeks ago (had a 2 year old Hitachi 7200 rpm 200GB drive fail with loud clicking and read issues - while SMART status claimed everything was fine!). The new one is a 500GB Seagate 7200rpm which seems a little quieter and snappier but also seems to cause a slight bit more vibration in my MacBook though it's not terrible and I'm happy with my purchase. Time Machine did a great job restoring my latest backup (although I didn't do a good job keeping it up to date - it was about a month old - lesson learned). Thanks for your great site which has so many times provided me with valuable information and upgrade ideas!
-Klaus"

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EyeTV 3.1.2 update (new features, bug fixes)
I've not used it much this year (unlike last year), but saw there's an EyeTV 3.1.2 update available now (via in-app update check). See the linked page for a list of new features, new hardware support (Devolo dLAN® TV Sat) and long list of bug fixes.
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Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Doc Updates

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Other News/Reviews/Articles, Misc. Software Updates

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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