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  • ALGStudios Level 1 (0 points)
    I am a designer and photographer and have been a supporter of Mac products for years. I have owned Mac desktops and my most recent machine is a Macbook purchased last summer. We just had a Mac store open in SC and I was so excited to go in and explore for the first time last night. I was all set to purchase a new Macbook Pro and a ton of software tomorrow until I found this thread.

    I only add a post to hopefully ad support to this cause and let mac know they are going to loose otherwise loyal customers if they start acting more like the computers they degrade in their commercials. My biggest problem with this thread is not that there is a problem (no one is perfect) but instead the fact that mac seems to be trying to ignore it. I hope they prove me wrong by coming up with a fix for this. I won't be buying my Macbook Pro until that time and Mac will miss out on a $4,645.95 sale from me.
  • hutchmbp Level 1 (0 points)
    Count me in, I am a March 2008 purchaser of a 3500$ MBP and I am feverishly ready to rip my display off due to this issue. At this point what can I say, my experience pretty much matches everyone elses. I am annoyed, I am frustrated, but at the same time I don't want to attempt to send this in for a fix due to reading the following article from TUAW: /

    Apple not acknowledging the issue is unacceptable.

    Message was edited by: hutchmbp
  • jeff Calog Level 1 (0 points)
    My MBP 15" Penryn purchased in June, 2008 has the vertical striping problem also. I probably see it on 25% of my power-ups. Hitting CtrlShiftEject will cause the LCD to reset and seems like a work around.

    Every time I am forced to hit CtrlShiftEject, it reminds me not to spend $2500 on another MBP and next time get a Thinkpad, which can support multiple hard drives, multiple video outs, has a beveled front edge for your wrists, supports trackpads as well as an thumbstick/erase nub, oversized batteries, and will run Linux like a champ.

    It would be really great if Apple took responsibility for this flaw, acknowledged it, and fixed it. If not, this will be the last piece of Apple gear I purchase.
  • AkMat Level 1 (0 points)
    Is this problem occurring on both new and "refurbished" Mac Book Pro's? As I've read through, it seems that most everyone is reporting this happening on new units. I'm just wondering if anyone has had this occur on purchased refurbished units as well?
    And, as noted above, is it fair to say that is problem is occurring in only roughly 1% of MBP? Or is there consensus that the problem is more wide spread?

    I ask because I'm considering purchasing a refurbished MBP 15" and am wrestling with whether awaking with vertical stripes will greatly affect me or not.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated,
  • Dr. Sharmer Level 1 (0 points)
    I have strange vertical stripes on my new MacBook Pro, too. When I turn on the computer, it looks exactly like the image you have posted here. I called the Apple help desk and the technician said he had never heard of the problem.

    I have had my computer for less than a week.

    When I put my computer to sleep for about 30 minutes and then wake it up, the stripes are gone. That is a real hassle, though.
  • Henri77 Level 1 (0 points) lures/

    Has anyone seend this about MBP video card failures?

    I've been researching a replacement for my G4 titanium and stunbled on this info that might be relevant.
  • MaxxD Level 1 (45 points)
    It's quite hard to say how often this problem is appearing without data. Only Apple has the data, and it's extremely unlikely they'd divulge the numbers. Regarding your question, I believe that you will find people who have purchased refurbished units having the same problem as well, and people who have received refurbished units as replacements have had the problem as well. So it's safe to say that refurbished units aren't safe either.

    As to the 1% question, we can still do the some educated guessing without Apple's numbers on defective units and returns, but the precision of our answer is going to be pretty poor:

    "Apple shipped 2,289,000 Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing 51 percent unit growth and 54 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter."

    "Apple shipped 2,496,000 Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing 41 percent unit growth and 43 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter."

    "Apple sold 856,000 desktops during the quarter and 1,433,000 notebooks."

    Q208 Results SEC filing

    "Apple sold 943,000 desktops during the quarter and 1,553,000 notebooks, which equates to spikes in shipments of 49 and 37 percent respectively. Notebook shipments grew faster sequentially than before at 8 percent, while desktops turned around and grew 10 percent themselves."

    Q308 Results SEC filing

    In addition to previous statements made and previous SEC filings, the suggestion that notebooks make up 58% of Apple's computer sales is a number we can be fairly confident in.

    So 4,785,000 total units sold in the period of the Early 2008 MacBook Pro, 58% of those are 2,775,300 notebook units. Now we're going to have to do a lot of assuming, so we're losing precision fast, but assume half of those units are MacBooks and 17" MBP with CFL backlights, and not LED, we're at 1,387,650 units. (Does anyone have the specifics on how many 15" MacBook Pros are in that set?)

    Assuming 1% of unit are defective, that would be 13,876 defective units. The question is, does that line up with the activity here?

    There is an old customer service rule-of-thumb: for every 1 customer who complains to you, there are 10 you don't hear complaining to friends and colleagues. So if you've got 100 people in an Apple discussion thread with the problem, you probably have 1000 people with the problem. If we go with this rule-of-thumb, and pretend that every post is a "me too" (which they are not), then 1000 posts times 10 is around our very rough 1% number. Given the number of posts across both threads, and how much self-participation there is (one person with a problem posting a few times), and posts unrelated to the problem, there might be 100-200 people reporting, so it falls well short of the 1% guess. Of course, most people with a defective computer are probably calling AppleCare directly, and not even on this forum. If you consider the type of person that joins a discussion forum like this, it might be a 1:20 ratio, or even a 1:50 ratio.

    It took me a few months to find this thread. I had no idea what to search for. To some the problem is strange vertical stripes, to others it's a curtain effect, to others it's a spotlight effect. So how many others just haven't found this thread yet? I included aliases in my last post to increase the possibility of others finding this thread. I know this is a problem for Apple, too. When I called AppleCare, they couldn't find a category to put this in. Mine ended up as "uneven color or brightness" or some such thing.

    There are definitely enough people with this problem that there is no question that it's an established pattern. At the same time, if this was happening on all 1.3 million MacBook Pros that shipped over the past two quarters, I suspect the Apple Discussion site would be down and there would be a lot more noise about it. At the same time, as others have pointed out, the statistical chances of repeatedly getting the same defect after repeated services defy an assumption that this is all that isolated as well.

    In any case, 13,000 of us, if there are even that many, aren't enough to put a dent in Apple's desktop resurgence. In the past two quarters alone Apple moved nearly *5 million* Macintosh computers. 13,000 units are 0.26% of their sales. We're a *rounding error*, not even a blip on the radar.
  • AkMat Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for the in depth response, it's much more than I'd hoped for. It's raised a couple more questions, however. As part of your response above, you'd written,
    "... of those units are MacBooks and 17" MBP with CFL backlights, and not LED, we're at ..." Pray tell what is the difference between CFL & LED? And to which one is the problem associated?

    And, if you know, is this problem limited to just the Mac Book Pros? Or does it also effect the 13" MacBooks as well? I'll go poke around in that discussion forum, but it also never hurts to ask as well.

    Thanks in advance for your time,

  • crazy mac dude Level 1 (0 points)
    right now i heard they apple is ordering new macbook pro screens that will supposedly stop the striping issue.

    According to affected users, the striping appears to occur when the display is changing brightness, often when waking from sleep or powering up or taking pictures with Photo Booth. To temporarily resolve the issue, users have shut and re-opened the lid or used the ctrl-shift-eject keyboard combination to reset the LCD.

    This particular issue has been documented by several sites over the past several months, however Apple has yet to respond in any formal manner
  • MaxxD Level 1 (45 points)
    AkMat wrote:
    "... of those units are MacBooks and 17" MBP with CFL backlights, and not LED, we're at ..." Pray tell what is the difference between CFL & LED? And to which one is the problem associated?

    And, if you know, is this problem limited to just the Mac Book Pros? Or does it also effect the 13" MacBooks as well? I'll go poke around in that discussion forum, but it also never hurts to ask as well.

    First, a crash course in how LCD panels work. If you look at any LCD display, you are looking through the following things:

    1. Layers of film
    2. Glass
    3. LCD panel
    4. More Glass
    5. Diffuser, and potentially more layers of film
    6. Backlight

    Unlike an old CRT style monitor, each pixel on your screen doesn't glow. The backlight shines through the LCD panel layer, and causes the pixels to glow. (Imagine looking at a colored piece of plastic through a bright light.) Without a backlight, the LCD panel is still creating images, but you can't see them because they do not create any light of their own. In fact, the glowing Apple logo on the lid of the laptop is actually nothing more than the backlight. On older models where it was possible to reduce the brightness to the point of turning off the backlight completely, you could MacGuyver a temporary incandescent backlight with a bright flashlight.

    By adjusting the amount of light that shines through each red, green, and blue element, all the colors can be mixed to create millions of colors. If the light is blocked completely, you get a black pixel, and if each of the red, green, and blue pixels are fully lit, they appear white to your eye. (Incidentally, this is part of why "true black" is so difficult to achieve on an LCD panel--blocking the light completely is nontrivial.)

    So to your address you first question, there are two primary forms of backlights for LCD general purpose computer displays:

    CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) This is the same basic technology that is used in a neon sign. Rows of CCFLs comprise the backlighting of older monitors and laptop displays, and the typical symptom of a partially failed CCFL backlight is a dark band across the entire screen (not like the Early 2008 MBP defect). CCFL backlights are well established, and as an older technology, not as prone to potential design defects. As far as we know, there are no widespread failures of CCFL backlight models, including non-BTO 17" models. We do know that the problem would not have the same appearance in any case.

    LED (light emitting diode) This is a relatively new technology, particularly for larger displays. The MacBook Pro was one of the early adopters of this kind of backlight. In this case, a grid of white LEDs shine unevenly behind the display and a diffuser layer evens out the light. By the time the light shines through the LCD panel itself, you should get a uniformly bright display. Of course, the problem is that uniformity does require all the LEDs to be operative, and that's where we have this problem. With every other LED off, the diffuser cannot overcome the gross lack of uniformity, and you end up with the spotlight/curtain/stripes effect. Why is every other LED sometimes off? That's the big unanswered question.

    As to whether this problem translates to the 13.3" displays... It's possible, but I doubt it. It's entirely likely that it's only a problem on their 15" widescreen backlights. But let's assume it's not the backlight, but rather the logic board isn't providing enough power to the display. The MacBook logic boards are completely different, and the power system is different, so I have doubts that this problem exists there.

    Who manufactures the backlights? According to Apple Insider on the original 15" model (which I also owned, and had no problems with):

    "According to a white paper from Cree, a backlight solutions provider expected to provide its LED technology to Apple, LED-based backlights also consume less power, run cooler, and last longer than CCFLs.""

    Note this information regarding the 13.3" MacBook and MacBook Air:

    "Meanwhile, backlight unit (BLU) makers Coretronic and Kenmos are also sending samples to be incorporated in the panels, with official shipments to also kick off around a similar period."
    "According to DigiTimes, component makers indicated Apple plans to use the LED V-cut light-guide panel technology from Japan's Stanley Electric, which is a technology authorizer and major shareholder of Taiwan's Kenmos."

    "Backlight manufacturer Kenmos Technology was Apple’s chief supplier of the more color-accurate and efficient screen hardware for 2007, and is expected to have an even more dominant role next year as Apple switches its consumer models to LED lights." -by-2009/

    It looks like Kenmos is the primary provider of backlights for Apple. Might be worth digging there, especially If my original LED backlit MBP was a Cree, and my new one is a Kenmos.

    Regardless, everybody is moving toward LED backlighting. According to Wikipedia, Sony has used LED backlights in high end notebooks since 2005, Fujitsu introduced LED backlights in 2006, and Asus, Dell, and Apple joined in 2007. The current MacBook uses LED backlights as well. LED screens are brighter, whiter, more energy efficient, and don't contain that nasty mercury chemical that CCFLs have.

    Wikipedia articles:

    A comparison of the original CCFL backlit MacBook Pros as compared to the new LED backlit models:

    Apple Bringing LED-backlit LCDs to MacBooks

    3M has a site that describes how LCDs work in more detail: ics101/
  • ddh60 Level 1 (0 points)
    It seems that 50% of this is us chatting to ourselves which is very useful. The other is our way of getting through to "them", in the hope that "they" may listen.

    So this is for the later.

    I have only started this posting and viewing thing since purchasing the MBP.
    I too had amazing brand loyalty that is now being challenged and stretched-probably what makes all of this most disappointing.
    I too, am planning to upgrade the desktop computer from an old IMAC to the new ones but even though there is no screen trouble, there is trouble in the way the company is managing a systemic flaw in one of their products.

    I will not purchase anything else until we get a solution (and an apology for the inaction)
  • AkMat Level 1 (0 points)
    Once again I applaud your thorough explanation, well done. It's rare these days to get a real answer, verses an opinion. Again, thank you.

  • epdoc74 Level 1 (0 points)
    I purchased and received a refurbished MBP 15" from Apple on July 26th. Luckily I bought the 3 year Apple Care warranty as well. I've had the "Strange Vertical Stripe" problem several times already. Mostly while on battery power, I think, but I wasn't paying attention to all the parameters until I read this thread. It has gone away with the screen refresh, restarting the computer, and sleeping followed by awakening.
    I, like so many others, await Apple's announcement of this problem and it's making a PERMANENT "fix" available to all of us.

    retired epdoc
  • Master_D Level 1 (10 points)
    me too.

    2x striping in under a week. not good enough. going back to apple for refund.
  • mediahound Level 1 (15 points)
    It seems like Apple could fix this problem via a firmware update that would just refresh the screen every time it wakes from sleep or wake up.

    I have this problem on a brand new MBP 15" and while I don't mind too much doing the Control Shift Eject thing, to reset the screen, it is really disappointing that there is a defect on a brand new Mac screen.
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