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Thread: General MBPC2D Issues/Questions <sigh>

  1. #1
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    Angry General MBPC2D Issues/Questions <sigh>

    All,

    Well, I've decided that a hardware cooling solution is in order. As per unclemac's recommendation, I've installed SMC fan control. Doing pretty simple iDVD stuff, the temp will soar to 65-70C and tends to hover around 50 with the most mild use. The fans virtually never dip below 2.5/3k, and often need to be at 4-5k to keep the temp in the area of 50C. Yikes. So, anyone want to recommend a cooling stand? Any reason to think that the Speck acrylic shell is trapping heat?

    Unrelatedly, the Apple site says that MBPs have 802.11n enabled, but according to NetUtil, mine only has a, b, and g. What gives? One of the reasons I went with this model--though most certainly not the only--was that I was led to understand that I'd be ready to rock with the n protocol when the time came, so I'm a little disappointed with my discovery.

    On the matter of disappointments, my sleep issues are really annoying. If the machine goes to sleep on it's own, it's a 50/50 shot whether it'll wake up. If I sleep it by closing the lid, it's a 50/50 shot that it'll actually go to sleep when I close the lid, and it never wakes up from being put to sleep that way--have to do a restart. It sometimes won't go to sleep when I attempt to do this manually (i.e., via the main drop down menu). And, at least half of my attempts to shut down or restart with the drop down menu result in an eternally spinning gray dial (on the stock blue background) requiring a hard restart.

    So, what gives??? Why is the MBP so damn dodgy when it comes to sleeping, waking, shutting down, restarting, etc.? Is it just my machine? I mean, I've read that the MBP is a touch squirrelly, but this seems a bit over the top (as do my average working temps).

    Finally, I use my cell phoneÕs broadband connection with my MBP on the go (that is, use the phone as a wireless modem). Sometimes, the networking software on the mac simply ignores me. For instance, when I choose ŅconnectÓ from the modem icon on the main toolbar (near the smc info), it just reverts to Ņidle,Ó without attempting to connect. Ditto with my attempts to connect via internet connect or the modem Ņdial nowÓ button inside the network prefs. Logging out and back in has no effect, nor does rebooting the phone. The only fix IÕve discovered is--no surprise here--restarting the MBP (generally a hard start, since it doesnÕt tend to respond to my attempts to restart via the menu).

    I know that IÕve been pretty negative about the MBP, and I really donÕt want to be. But itÕs just such a damn disagreeable bugger. IÕm constantly having to restart whereas with my G4, IÕd go forever and a day between reboots. Add to this my worries about the temps (which seem not at all irrational) and I find myself budgeting my time . . . Ņwhoa, better hurry up with this doc, since the temps are climbing . . . wonÕt burn that DVD just now since IÕve got to use acrobat and the two together will send the temps through the roof . . . bummer that I have to keep the brightness all the way down, making the lcd appear roughly the same visual quality of my old clam, but thatÕll keep the machine 4-6 degrees cooler . . . and so on.Ó I really flippinÕ HATE coddling this machine . . . I donÕt even enjoy surfing the web on it, since IÕm so preoccupied with the temp: I read the Times for about 45 minutes this morning and forgot to crank up the fans . . . looked up to discover that the temps was 68C!!! and the only application open was safari!!!

    IÕm afraid that I have to stand by my initial judgment that this machine is profoundly lacking compared to the other macs IÕve owned . . . it just saps all of the joy out of working on it. Even doing my iWeb action yesterday--I use my mac space as sort of a conduit to my students . . . post notes, generate discussion, and the like--had to be completed in installments so that the Ōbook could cool down.

    I get that the PPC is dead, and so IÕm stuck with this. Sad, though. I used to love working on my mac . . . but now itÕs more stressful and frustrating than it is satisfying.

    Any advice/comfort y'all can offer is greatly appreciated. Feel like such a sucker for plopping over the money that I did for this albatross . . .

    cheers,
    em

  2. #2
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    Dear em,

    Quote Originally Posted by em
    ....Unrelatedly, the Apple site says that MBPs have 802.11n enabled, but according to NetUtil, mine only has a, b, and g. What gives? One of the reasons I went with this model--though most certainly not the only--was that I was led to understand that I'd be ready to rock with the n protocol when the time came, so I'm a little disappointed with my discovery.
    ....
    See if this article from XLR8YourMac sheds any light on you.

    Moreover, could you state precisely what model MBP you own? Is it a 2006 one or a more recent model?

    Let us know, so that we can be more precise in pin-pointing your issues.

    Hope, in the meantime, that the above is of some help.
    Costa
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  3. #3
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    Default MBP Specs

    Ah, sorry 'bout that. I've the 2.16GHz C2D (Boot ROM: MBP22.00A5.B01). I thought that all of the C2D had n, but I guess that's not so.

    I'll check out the article, thanks. Gotta say, though, this just adds to my criticisms of this machine: I should get an advanced degree in something for all the research time I've had to invest in this buggy beast . . . at the very least compensation as a beta tester seems in order . . .

  4. #4
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    If that MBP won't wake from sleep then Apple needs to replace it or fix it. A portable that can't wake sleep is a cripple. Not worth the aluminum and silicon it was made from.

    Sounds like someone should wear that MacBook as a suppository.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  5. #5
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    Unhappy

    heheheh wear it as a suppository.

    Unfortunately, I've already had to exchange it once and, since--biggest error of my mac life--it's a refurb., they will replace it only if they have another refurb of exactly those specs. So, based on past experience, if this unit needs replacing, then what it boils down to is getting a refund and leaving with no computer. sigh. Still good to have some agreement ragarding the unacceptability of the sleep issues: I thought that maybe my expectations were simply too high.

    Tell me, is it just/specifically the failure to wake from sleep that makes you think service is in order or are the other issues relevant too? For instance, I've not read anything about the inability to put it to sleep or inability to shut down/restart . . . ditto the failure to attempt a network connection. Seems of a piece to me . . . then again, how things seem to me doesn't really mean anything . . .

    Well, I guess I'll have to bring it in. It's just such awful treatment . . . they look up the SN, see that it's a refurb, and essentially send me packing. Or at least that's what happened the last two times I brought it in (one of which resulted in a replacement, a week later). Apparently the refurb machines aren't handled at all--in any way, regarding any matter--at the retail stores; they have to be serviced by corp. But, despite this fact, corp won't accept the machine for service unless and until it's been checked by a genius. So, for the life of the machine, I'm locked into a two-step process: bring it to the store to generate a report and then contact corp (spending HOURS on hold) for an RMA. E.g., to get the battery replaced, the whole machine has to be shipped to them (and I have to go without for about a week) so that they can replace it and send it back . . . they wouldn't even send the replacement battery to a store so that I could do a swap there and not go without my computer . . . they don't do "advance replacements."

    If I have to return the machine again, I'm just going to get a new macbook (screw the "pro," which it SO isn't, given its inability to do the simplest tasks without cooking). At least with a new machine, I'll avoid the leper treatment . . . (well: maybe.)

    How about the heat issues? Isn't 75C serious red zone?

  6. #6
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    Dear em,

    Quote Originally Posted by em
    ....I should get an advanced degree in something for all the research time I've had to invest in this buggy beast . . . at the very least compensation as a beta tester seems in order . . .
    Just remember...

    No need to do ANY research. You've found us, you know us. Everytime you've got an issue with your Macs - ANY issue - just drop us a note here on the foras.

    If the worst comes to the worst, we'll do the research for you.

    Reguarding your heat issues, keep in mind that there's a nice utility out there called CoolBook, which will allow the user to manually set the voltage and frequency of the CPU. This can dramatically reduce the heat dissipation.
    You can download it at: http://www.coolbook.se.

    I am with Rick about the "sleep" issue. Your local Apple Service Center should really step on it even if it is a "refurb" machine. In the old days, a good try was to reset NVRAM: that could sometimes solve the problem. However, I am not 100% sure this still works with Intel based Macs.
    Maybe I'll let someone else to chimie in on this one.

    I hope the above utility helps to keep your temps cooler.

    All the best.
    Costa
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  7. #7
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    Dear em,

    sorry... Last minute update...

    I came accross this article:

    Apple posts MacBook Pro ExpressCard Update 1.0 (8/10/2006) Brennan wrote that Apple has posted ExpressCard Update 1.0 for the MacBook Pro:

    "The ExpressCard Update v1.0 resolves an issue that prevented the system from sleeping when some cards are inserted in the ExpressCard/34 slot.

    System Requirements
    - Mac OS X Version 10.4.7
    - MacBook Pro"
    It doesn't specify exactly what kind of sleeping issue it solves, but you may want to check you've such update in place.

    HTH
    Costa
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  8. #8
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    The sleep issue was enough for me. If'n a portable can't go to and wake from sleep it isn't all that useful. I am not a fan of sleep anywhere else. No desktop ever sleeps anything here. But a portable needs sleep not only so you can leave it running but to park the heads on the drive when you move around with it. Guaranteed you will eat a drive that gets rattled around without being parked.

    Now sleep, startup, shutdown and battery was all controlled by the PMU on earlier Macs, all of em. The Intel Macs I think use the acronym SMU, whatever the hell that is. But it is the micro controller that is responsible. It may be worth your time to read up on how to reset it. And give a shot or two. All the symptoms you have may just be a scrambled SMU.

    I also bought a refurb. It has not had any issues, none. For what it is worth, the MacBookPro is good to have if you will ever need a expansion slot. For me that is essential since I need to test that all the time with new products. Why I bought the thing.

    Run it back and make em eat it. SHouldn't be this hard, and I am sorry to hear the refurb market is treated so roughly. Takes the fun out of the price break.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  9. #9
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    Confused

    Costa: yeah, I do tend to think of this place as my personal think-tank. Still, find that I've got to do a bit of poking around myself before actually doing something to my machine (or driving an hour each way to get "service"). I appreciate the effort, though.

    Ricks: You know, I didn't think about an SMU reset (which used to be PMU and apparently now is and SMC reset?). Found this article, which I'm going to try as soon as my DVD is ready.

    On that note, I'm burning a DVD with iDVD. It has one of the most basic menus (a 6.0 theme, unadorned, with "auto filled" slides) and 6 QT clips ranging from 150MB to 225MB, being burned to a 16x 4.7GB DVD. It's been going for about 6 hours and the progress bar indicates that it's a little over half-way done. The hell!?! This would run and hour and change on my MDD. And, the temp during all of this--of course!--is between 60 and 75 with the fans maxed. Now, doesn't this seem WAY TOO LONG for burning this DVD? And I still just can't get over the heat . . .
    Last edited by em; 03-01-2007 at 07:33 PM. Reason: b/c I'm a spelling dork

  10. #10
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    .......Let me wade back in.

    We now have about no Intel Macs at work, all laptops running 10.4.8. Sleep issues are very rare. Found some start-up and shut down delays, but they were all third party software issues, so once removed the machines start, run. sleep and shut down great.

    Except one. It has been in for repair three times now, including a new track pad and logic board. It is not a refurb.....an early model MBP like mine. You never know/

    I expect that your sleep issue could be either hardware as you fear, or some software/external hardware issue. Not too much we can do about the machine itself, but you can work on ruling out software issues. It sure would be nice if you had a partition or usb, or firewire drive that you could put a clean OS on to test. If you could get a clean install with just the OS updates to have serious repeatable problems, then it would sure rule out all third party software (and all other non-Apple variables).

    With our local Apple tech, if we can give them a clean install with a problem, they are very receptive. It sure is a shame the way that you have been treated. Our local guys gave me a tip the other day: Call apple and ask for a customer care rep. Not tech support. He said that they usually funnel everone with tech issues to tech, so you have be firm to get through to the customer folks.

    I think they should be very concerned to hear how you have been treated regarding having a refurb. I have not read the leagaleeze, but I know we were all under the impression that refurbs have the same warranty as factory new, which in my mind means the same service. That would be my biggest concern to report if in your shoes.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  11. #11
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    Oh, yeah......heat. Not sure what to say. I threw out that number of 50C because of known HD "best practices", but I have not checked to see where the actual sensors (two) are in the MBP are that are measuring heat. So it is possible that 60 or 70 or more is in fact safe. You have enough real problems that you don't need to be on a snipe hunt about heat too.

    I would set that aside for now, and focus on sleep issue. If you can't resolve that, nothing else matters.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  12. #12
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    Yeah something's out of whack on the temp front from what I can tell. Mind you I've only had my MBP for roughly 4.5 days -- most of which has been trying to get it setup. I've been doing fresh installs.

    But back to your problem with the temps. I'm usually showing around 50C with fans at 2000 rpm during my basic browsing activities. I haven't watched them under heavy loads. I know with my PB that certain sites (I not sure what type of content was causing it) would cause the temps to rise and hence kick in. Activity Monitor can help you see what's eating the CPU cycles. I'll keep on eye on temps today to see what happens.

    Speaking of Activity Monitor, I would suggest launching that and keeping eye to see if you've got a process that's hogging the cycles and driving the temps up. That is, a process or application that's unexpected. Remember to look both at yours and the others (all process), by default Activity Monitor displays your processes. Sometimes this helps locate a problematic 3d party app; but as unclemac hinted at, if you can see this with a fresh install well you've got something on your hands. Typically with tech support (be Apple, Apple partner), you get to the nitty gritty with if you've seen it on a clean system. But of course try some troubleshooting first before backing up, wiping, and reinstalling the OS.

    Also did you zap the pram and do the SMU reset yet?

  13. #13
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    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions. Here's a run-down of what I've got and what I've done.

    I've got a MBP C2D 2.16 w/ the stock 120GB drive and a gig of RAM. I have several external drives: a 250GB in a FW400 box, an 80GB in a FW400/USB2 box (was my startup drive from the MDD), a 100GB USB2 palm drive I use for work, and a 30GB FW400 box for diagnostics.

    Now, the 30GB drive is essentially useless as it's currently set up--i.e., for a PPC.

    The 80 GB is the roughest and probably should be the first to be wiped; nothing there I really need. The palm drive is blank, but USB2, so I'm thinking a bit slow for this sort of thing.

    The 250GB box is pretty well loaded with stuff. I've got a number of DVD projects on it, which tend to eat up the space, and some images/backups from when I ditched the MDD for the MBP (yeah: a tear in my eye as I report that). Now, one image is my master--a fresh install of only apple stuff, with all of the Apple updates. In fact, I used the disks that came with the machine instead of my retail Tiger DVD (which doesn't have the iLife stuff). Also, I installed the trial of Pages, but none of the other trials. And, I installed a modem script. So, that image is virtually pristine--off the MBP disks onto a zeroed disk--with the exception of Pages and one modem script.

    The internal drive is a restore of the above described image. Since that time, I've installed a variety of things--funny how quickly that happens, eh? Unfortunately, my attempts to keep a virgin Apple environment were unsuccessful. The problem is, for as long as I have a fresh installation, I can't really work on it. You know: gotta have the relevant apps to do my thing. And, this guy's my sole mac. (Y'all are probably tired of listening to my sniveling, but I really should have gone with a lowly MB and then maybe an iMac . . . based on my experience with this . . . THESE . . . machines, I have to say that a laptop does NOT seem to me a realistic desktop replacement. Creating a DVD last night took better than 7 hours and totally debilitated my machine while it was doing it . . .)

    As for what I've done to the machine to try to resolve the sleep/etc issues. Ran DW4 and rebuilt the directory. Zapped the PRAM. Repaired the permissions, both using the new to DW4 function and the old fashioned way: from within the particular boot volume using Apple Disk Utility. I'm about to reset the SMC. In order to do this, I'll have to remove the Spec shell, which I'm not looking forward to . . . the apple genius raved about what terrific protection they provide but opined that once on, it's pretty much there to stay. Ugh.

    Any thoughts on its likely culpability regarding my heat issues? For those not familiar with the product, details can be found here. Sure is pretty. Ditto the iSkin keyboard cover, which you can find here. I love the iSkin for its tidiness, even though it seems a shame to cover the MBP keyboard (the iSkin is opaque black and thus totally obscures the backlighting). Now, the speck shell is vented, but I've read stuff about the case of the MBP functioning like a heat sink of sorts. Is this true? If so, will I have eliminated the heat dispersion properties by covering the bottom of the case with a plastic sheet? How about putting a rubber mat over the keyboard? I don't know whether any heat ordinarily is inclined to vent through the top, but I can assure you that it can't on this machine.

    Okay, I'll yank out the battery and reset the SMC and then report back . . .

    -em

  14. #14
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    I'll bet the DVD project taking so long is completely drive related. A big DVD has to create a disk image and it does a ton of swapping out to disk. I wonder if there is something that is configured that is slowing that down. The processor can blow through a DVD number crunching in wicked fast time. Again, next time you do that, run Activity Monitor and see what is hogging resources. Bet is isn't the processing.


    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  15. #15
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    Lightbulb

    iDVD likes to have 32GB of free, unfraggmented space. That from a FAQ on iDVD4 I think that is in FAQ under iMove/iDVD or something.

    Always want to image your system to another drive, even if it is just a 40GB disk image (.dmg or .sparseimage which you can create and use in DU or SuperDuper etc).

    FW400 might be faster.

    Can you add FW800 or eSATA via ExpressCard at some point?

    30GB is about the size for an emergency drive. Just need to set partition table format to GUID at some point to use as boot drive. Would have made a nice image volume?

  16. #16
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    Well, the SMC reset seems to have fixed some things. I can now put the machine to sleep via the main drop down or via a light touch of the power button (just enough for the options to pop up). When I say that I can put it to sleep I mean that it looks like proper sleep (e.g., I can hear attached external drives spinning down, lcd goes black and light on lid latch pulses).

    Closing the lid does not put the machine to sleep, at least not entirely. The lcd goes black, external disks spin down, and something seems to happen with the optical drive, like it's going through some sort of auto eject even though the drive is empty. But the light never pulses. And, attempts to "wake" the machine don't work. By "wake" I mean only get a visual presentation; clearly the machine is not asleep, since I can adjust the volume (i.e., use the volume controls on the keyboard and get the corresponding sound). But, I get no "bonk" when I mash on random keys.

    (Would you believe that the space bar key is faulty? I noticed a bit of a noise when the iSkin was on, but it was very minor and I though caused by a slight gap between the silicone iSkin and the surface of the keyboard. Turns out that the key is sticking, which explains my messed-up typing of late. Until I got the MBP I was using a full size, Tactile Pro keyboard--LOUD, sharp mechanical response. Well, I was dropping a LOT of characters on this machine . . . figured that it was me, that I'd grown dependent on the "click-clack" of the mechanical keyboard for confirmation/adjustment of keyboard pressure. Turns out that the space key is sticking for just a second or so, long enough for the next key NOT to register, hence all of my dropped characters. <Sigh. Deep cleansing breath . . . I will not develop an irrational, frustration-induced hatred of all things mac. Will not.>)

    So, closing the lid makes him unhappy. Letting him go to sleep as a result of inactivity doesn't work, not entirely. Pretty much like closing the lid only sometimes he'll wake from this sort of sleep.

    I gather that the thing to do is to back up, do a fresh install (from disks or will a restore of the image I described work), and then test again for sleep issues? If I find they are still there after a clean set up, I bring it in?

    Ricks: glad to hear that the processor is not ordinarily that bad. unclemac pretty much persuaded me to go with the MBP because the hardware was supposed to be so much better than the late model powerbooks. Imagine my great (and now common) disappointment when such a simple DVD took forever. What do you mean, though, about the drive config? The specs of the external? The drive itself is a 7200 with an 8MB buffer . . . I don't recall anything else, would have to crack it open and take a look, Anyway, the video clips are stored on the external and the iDVD project was saved to my movies folder on the internal. Should I try burning the same project again but with everything on the internal?

    (Boy this sticky key is really wrecking my nerves.)

    -em

  17. #17
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    TZ: The image, I guess, that iDVD makes is stored as part of the project and so would be on the drive that the project is on? If so, there is about 60GB unused (according to the "get info" from the finder). Now, whether this is the sort of space it needs--I've no idea whether it's unbroken, though the disk was just defragmented via DiskWarrior a few days ago. I could set up a sort of scratch disk partition, say the FW 250, not bootable. Then I'd store everything on that, i.e., both the source files and the iDVD project file?

    As for the FW800: yes (speed = good). But, I'm very seriously thinking about unloading the MBP and don't want to be stuck with any more MBP-specific stuff (like the Spec, the skin, LCD film, trackpad cover, and so forth). As much as I enjoy trying to solve these problems, riddles, conundrums, I just don't have the time (or patience) to traipse back and forth to Apple (an hour away), log hours on the phone with corp, and then go without a machine for four days or a week while Apple decides what to do. Remember, this is the second MBP in less than a month . . . both have been problematic (the lid wasn't the only problem with the first one, not by a long shot). So, while I believe the rest of you when you say that the MBP (some even refurb) rock, that simply hasn't been my experience. And I'm starting to feel pretty darn stupid trading in one faulty MBP for yet another . . . I mean, I really have no business expecting that the next one WON'T be faulty, yeah?

  18. #18
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    Lightbulb How fast is an internal drive

    Internal 2.5" SATA drives used in laptops have max transfer rate that is probably less than FW400, which is 35-40MB/sec (don't believe the "up to 50MB/sec" out of a 400 Mbps interface - there is 10-15% overhead as well going on).

    I was talking about creating a disk image or sparseimage of your BOOT drive on another drive. When you had your "Apple only" OS installed and working, before adding everything, is a good time to "image" or clone it - and does not have to be to a disk drive. If you have the free space (say 75GB or more) on a FW drive.

    you can restore that image back to a drive volume even when booted from Tiger DVD.

    Retail Tiger DVD Installers are PPC only. There are no retail MacIntel OS X installer disks for sale! which I wish there were - my brother's iMac came with 10.4.3 or something and is in serious need of updating. (and on dial-up).

  19. #19
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    Ah, so do everything on the external? While on the subject of speeds, why does the system profiler say:


    FireWire Bus:

    Maximum Speed: Up to 800 Mb/sec

    OXFORD IDE Device 1:

    Manufacturer: Macpower
    Model: 0x0
    GUID: 0x1D202E066030E
    Maximum Speed: Up to 400 Mb/sec
    Connection Speed: Up to 400 Mb/sec
    Sub-units:
    OXFORD IDE Device 1 Unit:
    Unit Software Version: 0x10483
    Unit Spec ID: 0x609E
    Firmware Revision: 0x102
    Product Revision Level: 3.02
    Sub-units:
    OXFORD IDE Device 1 SBP-LUN:
    Capacity: 232.89 GB
    Removable Media: Yes
    BSD Name: disk1
    OS9 Drivers: No
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Not Supported
    Volumes:
    FW400:
    Capacity: 232.57 GB
    Available: 84.69 GB
    Writable: Yes
    File System: Journaled HFS+
    BSD Name: disk1s2
    Mount Point: /Volumes/FW400

    The same FW bus accommodates both FW400 and 800?

    -em

  20. #20
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    Lightbulb FW800 native FW bus

    Ahah! sounds like you might be in luck - now all you need is FW800 case and you are in luck.

    A nice fat 300+ ATA drive and FW interface, Oxford 912+ or 922 or even 924 (supports SATA drives and uses FW800/400 interfaces).

    That could deliver 65-70MB/sec, or slightly more with a dual-drive "RAID" bridge.

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