Previous 1 2 3 4 Next 51 Replies Latest reply: Nov 2, 2009 4:41 PM by xjetjok
soniktrooth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Ok, so I know that there is already a few posts about this issue, (including the very large 96 page one) but I wanted to start a post for those of us with a 17" MBP that are having the same issues.

I was on the phone to a senior technician at Apple (Australia) today for about 2 hours trying to sort out this problem. Firstly he was a bit hazy about the issue to begin with assuming it was a RAM paging issue. Seriously, this thing has 4gb of ram, I think you would have to running so much stuff at once for it to legitimately run out of ram. I'm a web developer/designer so I can push the machine reasonable hard sometimes but I get the beachballs even when I only have safari and mail open. This is the fastest (stock) laptop Apple have ever produced, surely it can handle a bit of stick.

So I suggested it could be the hard drive/firmware etc and mentioned about the large amount of people on here with the exact same issue. After looking into some internal documentation he noted that there was indeed similar problems happening around the place but he seemed convinced that this only applied to 13" and 15" models and that the 17" never got the 1.7 firmware update.

After looking at the firmware page: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1237 it seems maybe he's right. I can't see my boot ROM version there anywhere (MBP52.008E.B05) The mid 2009 model 17" isn't on that list.

Whilst my friend at Apple is reasonably sure that my issue is software related and wants me to watch the console when Im having the freezing, I'm positive that I'm having the exact same problem as the 13 and 15s.

Can other people with 17" MBP that are having the same issue please post here so that we can begin to build a case for Apple to acknowledge the problem for our model too? Please add whether you have installed a 3rd party hdd or whether you are having the problem despite only having the stock hdd like me.

Thanks guys.

17" Macbook Pro 2.8ghz 4gb ram, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    There is a "known" problem with the new 13 and 15" models. This does not impact the 17" version as that model was not actually refreshed in June with the 13 and 15" versions (and, as you have found, the 1.7 firmware does not apply to the 17" machines). The new 13 and 15" models shipped in SATA 1.5GB mode. The previous versions were SATA 3.0GB mode (this includes the current 17" model). Firmware 1.7 updated the current 13 and 15" models to SATA 3.0... causing tons of headaches with third party drives (there are some reports of stock drive issues... but they are relatively few and far between and it's difficult to determine if they are experiencing the same issue... or at least resulting from the same cause).

    Your best bet is to work with Apple on resolving the problem or to see if someone else here has come across similar behavior on a 17" machine. Unfortunately, where there are threads close to 100 pages, folks with similar symptoms get lumped in with everyone else. Beachballing can be caused by any number of problems. The 1.7 firmware that you have been reading about however, isn't the cause in your case.
  • soniktrooth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    JoeyR wrote:
    This does not impact the 17" version as that model was not actually refreshed in June with the 13 and 15" versions



    I'll have to correct you there. There was in fact a new release of the 17" in June because I have one. The 17" MBP prior to June had a 2.6ghz processor and a 320gb hdd. The June release is 2.8ghz 500gb hdd.

    There are other people with 17" that have the same problem, note many people in this post have 17" http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2111468&start=0&tstart=0

    I'm well aware that other things can cause beachballing, this isn't my first mac. And I realise that it's not the 1.7 firmware because my machine doesn't have it. But I, and other people with this model are experiencing very similar problems to 1.7 issue and my suggestion is that there may be some other systemic issue with all the mid 09 models that is causing the problem.

    My previous machine was a 2.5ghz 17" from early 2008. It has the same programs on as my current one and worked flawlessly. Im not convinced this is a software issue.
  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    I should have chosen my words more carefully. I don't typically consider a faster processor or larger hard drive as a refresh. I was basically referring to more significant design changes. The 13 and 15" models actually went through physical design changes. The 13" model gained an SD card reader and integrated battery and the 15" model lost an express card slot in favor of an SD card reader and got an integrated battery as well. Both machines had significant internal changes to accommodate these revisions. For the 17", the faster processor and larger HDD would not likely have caused the beachballing problem (unless there was an issue with the drive itself or it has a built in sudden motion sensor).

    I certainly haven't suggested it's a software issue. It is not related to the very specific firmware problem on the 13 and 15" models (which in most cases is resolved when those machines are reverted back to firmware 1.6)
  • blackmondo Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    soniktrooth, count me in. I am experiencing the same problem myself - I just recently posted over in the mega forum here: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=10222616#10222616

    There is a chance that the hard disk could be at fault I guess, but the symptoms of this problem for me are remarkably similar to what I've read in the 96 page post, and on the macrumors forums. To summarise:

    * the problem usually begins when I'm playing iTunes all day, and then I'll go to save something, say in TextMate, and then iTunes stops playing.

    * Any app you then try to switch to while the freeze is there will then just beachball itself.

    * Like you, I know this is something out of the ordinary, since iTunes rarely stops playing music, and hardly ever did on my 4 year old G5.

    * I can make the problem go away by restarting and zapping the PRAM. All day today my computer has been fine, but I suspect that sometime tomorrow it'll probably start all over again.

    * My drive is a factory Hitachi 5400 RPM drive... what do you have?

    * My boot ROM version is the same as yours too.

    * I have 8GB of RAM in this machine, so I'm pretty **** sure it's NOT a paging issue for me. paging issues never last 20-30 seconds though, that's absurd if anyone claims that is the cause... also, the hard disk doesn't really crank noticeably while the freeze is there.

    I'm wondering if there was some sort of revision too for this model that may be causing this. Seems unlikely that Apple would have changed the motherboard between the january model and this one, but I'm not sure if this is absolutely confirmed...
  • soniktrooth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    My HDD is Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02
  • SignalPower Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I too have the MBP 17" with the "hanging for 30 sec" problem. The problem can occur at any time for me. I will typically have firefox, Entourage, Mail, Preview and Fusion running a long with a few other small applications. I have one XP vm and a few Debian VMs for testing things out. I have not restarted my Mac for some days, and the problem occurs several times each day.
    Since so many with the 13" and 15" models from the same period are having the same problem I'm guessing this is a common problem for the whole series.

    My relevant hardware information:
    Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,2
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 6 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MBP52.008E.B05
    SMC Version (system): 1.42f4
    Sudden Motion Sensor:
    State: Enabled

    NVidia MCP79 AHCI:

    Vendor: NVidia
    Product: MCP79 AHCI
    Speed: 3 Gigabit
    Description: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported

    Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02:
    Capacity: 465.76 GB
    Model: Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02
    Revision: PB4AC60Q
    Native Command Queuing: Yes
    Queue Depth: 32
    Removable Media: No
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk0
    Mac OS 9 Drivers: No
    Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
    Volumes:
    Interndisk:
    Capacity: 465.44 GB
    Available: 395.15 GB
    Writable: Yes
    File System: Journaled HFS+
    BSD Name: disk0s2
    Mount Point: /

    Now I guess we only have to wait for Apple to come up with a solution...
  • richardaustin Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I also have the beachball system freezes for 15-40 seconds that occur irregularly whenever I do drive intense tasks. Video playback is impossible when I am surfing web pages in either Firefox or Safari browsers - playback just keeps locking up and freezing. I notice beachballs usually occur when I am writing significant amounts of data to the drive while attempting to multi-task in other applications too.

    My symptoms follow exact those of the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro users in this thread:
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2054387&tstart=0

    Model Name: MacBook Pro
    Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,2
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 6 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MBP52.008E.B05
    SMC Version (system): 1.42f4
    Sudden Motion Sensor:
    State: Enabled

    NVidia MCP79 AHCI:

    Vendor: NVidia
    Product: MCP79 AHCI
    Speed: 3 Gigabit
    Description: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported

    ST9500420ASG:

    Capacity: 500.11 GB (500,107,862,016 bytes)
    Model: ST9500420ASG
    Revision: 0007APM2
    Native Command Queuing: Yes
    Queue Depth: 32
    Removable Media: No
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk0
    Rotational Rate: 7200
    Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
  • soniktrooth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Richard, I noticed you have the 7200rpm drive. There was a some sort of update for your model drive a couple of weeks ago to address performance issues and some audible clicking / beeping sounds. See http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/19/apple-releases-macbook-pro-firmware-to-silenc e-those-7200-rpm-hd/

    Have you installed this update? It may fix your issues. Unfortunately for those of us with the 5400rpm drive there is no such fix.
  • richardaustin Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Yes I applied the update as soon as it came out. It solves the click and beeps issue, but the beach ball lock ups continue to persist for the vast majority of us. Also that particular update was never designed to address the system freezes. I somehow doubt we ever will see a permanent fix for this issue at this point.
  • soniktrooth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Bump

    Anybody else with 17" having this same problem?
  • ernst lanzer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Count me in. I've got the stock Hitachi 500GB, 5400 rpm drive.

    Pram resets work for several days, and so I've just gotten in the habit of resetting the pram whenever I see the problem coming back.

    It's very annoying to have to do, but if I stay on top of the pram resets it doesn't get really out of control.

    Next time I'm going to try to disable SMS after doing the pram reset. This was mentioned in the mega-thread, so I might as well give it a shot.

    The other possible fixes I've heard about are clearing the cache or switching to the 9600 graphics card. Anyone else with 17" beachballing try those out?
  • SignalPower Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Bump!

    Anyone else with a 17" MBP and beachball problems caused by harddrive? Post it here.
  • blackmondo Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    guys, has anyone else tried using HDAPM, as suggested here:

    http://www.erodov.com/forums/13-15-macbook-pro-owners-still-plagued-sata-ii-issu es/24807.html

    as referenced in the megathread here: http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=10267483#10267483

    I downloaded HDAPM from here http://mckinlay.net.nz/hdapm/ and set the level to "max" as suggested, and I haven't had a single freeze yet in about 3 days.

    worth a shot! I'm guessing this might mean your battery drains slightly faster, but my machine is a desktop replacement laptop, so that doesn't bother me at all.
  • ernst lanzer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I wanted to try using HDAPM, but I haven't found clear instructions on how to do it.

    I'm not particularly skilled with terminal--I can use it when there are very clear step-by-step instructions all spelled out, where I can basically cut and paste the stuff into terminal. But anything requiring any additional knowledge is pretty much beyond me.

    Are there any dummed-down instructions out there for how to do this?
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