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This is NOT a new issue, at least for me. I have a 2009 MacBook Pro 17", identified as MacBookPro5,2. I have a 27" screen at work and a 30" screen at home. The latter is a Dell with native DisplayPort input, purchased specifically for this laptop since Apple got rid of the vastly more useful DL-DVI port and replaced it with this miniDisplayPort garbage.
If I use the integrated graphics (nVidia chipset), then a few times an hour, the image will go momentarily blank. This happens with both displays. A friend who has an Apple 30" display also has this problem when using the mDP->DLDVI adapter. If I use the discreet graphics (nVidia GPU, no automating switching on this model) then there is no problem with it going blank during use once I already have a picture.
I have to say once I have a picture, because I don't always get a proper one when I first connect. With the 27" display, I have about a 75% initial success rate, the other 25% of the time I get no image on the external display when I plug it in. Sometimes the laptop acts like there is nothing plugged in, other times it shifts all the windows off screen as if it knows there is an external display, but the monitor just stays blank and in power save mode. Often I just have to unplug and replug the mDP cable to get it going, but sometimes I have to do it several times or put the laptop to sleep and then wake it again to get any picture on the external display. A co-worker with a 2010 MBP 17 "also has this problem with his 27" display.
With the 30" display, I have a 50% initial success rate at best. On those occasions where it works initially, I feel lucky because it takse so much effort to get it going right when it first doesn't work. I usually get some sort of picture on the first attempt, but half the time its either completely scrambled or is stuck at 1600x1200 instead of 2560x1600 and with no resolutions listed above the current low-res mode in the displays system preference. If I click the detect displays button it sometimes will then find the higher resolutions, but then choosing the right one cuts off the output from the laptop and the display goes to power save mode. Either way, I have to unplug and replug the mDP cable usually at least half a dozen times to get an image that is native resolution of the panel, not scrambled, and not blank. When it is blank on this display, the laptop usually thinks it is connected as evidenced by window placement, yet there is no signal coming from it. It does sometimes refuse to even recognize the display and then no amount of replugging works, the only solution is reboot.
I have not really tried the Apple 24" extensively. A co-worker got one some time back and I tried plugging my laptop in just to test it since she was not present with her laptop when it was delivered. When I plugged it in, my laptop screen went blue as if it had detected a display and was switching, but then it never left that screen. The 24" display stayed blank and the laptop screen stayed blue. I tried unplugging and replugging several times to no avail. I eventually had to hold down the power button on the laptop to make it turn off because it seemed to be hard locked (no response on the network to ARD or SSH).
Also, I can't help but notice how awful the image looks when using the DisplayPort connection. The image on the internal LCD looks fone on the laptop. The image on the 30" screen with my desktop (PowerMac G5 w/ Radeon X800 XT) plugged in via DL-DVI looks fantastic. The image on both the 27" and 30" displays with my laptop connected by mDP looks terrible. No matter what adjustments I make, which color profile I pick, or waht I choose during screen calibration (or just skip that), the best I can get (its easy to go far worse) is an image which has very desaturated colors and way too much brightness. This washed out/blown out image looks rather awful, but at least its native resolution and is ok for writing code all day at work, but totally unacceptable for watching videos or looking at pictures at home. The 27" looks worse than the 30", probably because on the 30" I at least have some decent controls on the monitor to partially compensate.
All in all, the switch from DVI to mDP on the laptops has caused nothing but pain and added cost (especially if you buy adapters, its over $200 to get all the adapters to replicate what can be connected to the previous DL-DVI port). I am never buying another Apple laptop as the combination of useless display output, child's toy style keyboard, perpetual overheating and short battery life (they claim 8 hours, I get 4 at best working, 5 if it sits idle, 2hours or less using Skype) make it utter garbage. I had the first MBP 15" and while it had a decent keyboard and working display output, it too overheated and had more severe battery problems (on the 4th battery now, none could run over 2 hours, the first died at under 200 cycles, second died at 38 cycles, third died at 18 cycles, 4th is under 20 cycles and not dead yet but it was a real fight to get Apple to replace these obvious defective batteries).
I miss my old iBook G4. It ran 5 hours on battery while getting real work done, and it never got noticeable hot, whereas all the Intel machines feel like they are going to burn a hole in the desk (don't try putting one on your lap!). Post-PowerPC, the Apple hardware is just the same as any cheap PC inside, just a fancy case outside and a huge price tag. Oh, and that fancy case usually doesn't leave room for proper cooling.
Folks, I think we're dealing with different classes of problems here. I've followed this thread since switching from another thread to which I had initially posted. Here are the problems I've heard reported here, which I believe may have different causes:
1) People using pre-2011 MacBook Pros or desktop model computers who are reporting problems with various Apple (and sometimes non-Apple) displays which either are not detected or which lose their connections or go to sleep and fail to wake up or go to a black screen either temporarily or until shutdown/disconnection/reconnection.
2) People using pre-2011 MacBook Pros who experience problems with their 24" Apple Cinema Displays which are similar or identical to those reported with the 2011 model Macbook Pro machines.
3) People using 2011 MacBook Pro machines with displays other than the 24" Apple Cinema Displays who are either reporting no problems or problems similar to those some are experiencing with the 24" Apple Cinema Displays.
4) People using 2011 MacBook Pro machines with the 24" Apple Cinema Display who are experiencing occasional/frequent blackouts and sometimes other graphical issues, who previously used an earlier model of MacBook Pro without these problems.
5) People using 2011 MacBook Pro machines with the 24" Apple Cinema Display who also experienced the same kinds of problems with an earlier model of MacBook Pro.
6) People (like me, although I may be the only one) who have never once experienced a blackout issue with a 2011 MacBook Pro and a 24" Apple Cinema Display, but who are experiencing extremely frequent graphic issues like momentary and partial display corruption which resembles a small rectangular section of the display which slides or otherwise becomes corrupt but then, just as quickly, returns to normal. And in my case, at least, I still have an earlier MacBook Pro model that connects to and operates normally with the same display. Also in my case, my new MacBook connects without problems to an HP 24" LCD display and an older 37" Sharp HD television (both through an display-port to DVI adaptor). Also in my case, my newer MacBook Pro experiences significantly (vastly) fewer (but not zero) similar problems when booted into Windows 7 64-bit using BootCamp drivers.
Case 6 (mine) may be a population of one so far, but I'm detecting a "spreading" of problems being reported on this thread which seem to me to be very unlikely to all be caused by the same underlying problem.
At the least, I believe there is some specific new issue (or maybe more than one issue) between the 2011 MacBook Pro machines and the 24" Apple Cinema Display, as well as one or more distinctly different issues affecting the functioning between various other models of Apple computers and Apple or non-Apple displays.
I don't know what to suggest to try and separate and categorize these issues using a venue like this forum, but somehow it seems less useful for the thread to degenerate from one about a pretty specific problem (2011 MacBook Pros/24" Cinema Displays) to one about general display glitches and issues.
Just my .02 worth.
I would agree, this thread should stay on the very specific problem of new 2011 MBP's with 24 inch ACD's that worked perfectly with older MBP's. And maybe in solving this problem, other problems can get solved along the way.
Then, In my case, the "sometimes other graphical issues" you describe under case 4 are exactly like the "momentary and partial display corruption which…" you describe under your case 6.
At least this was the case for me, it started off like your case 6, but then I too got blackouts, though these are still more rare than the "momentary and partial display corruption which…".
Hi MalcontentsUnite. I'm having the exact same issue as you. My 24" doesn't flicker, it just seems to go black and stay black. All of the windows that were on it, go straight to the Macbook's screen. So bizarre. I just called Applecare and the guy I spoke with wasn't aware of the issue. I has spoken to an authorized service center as well the other day. They actually replaced the power supply in the monitor about 6 months ago under warranty. He told me that he's read alot about this issue and to just wait to see if there's firmware update. I said to him "Should I bring it in for you to take a look at it?" He basically said that it would probably be a waste of time to do that. Guess we gotta wait.
I called AppleCare last night and spoke to a tech support rep about my 24" Cinema Display flicker. She said that she hasn't heard about this particular issue, and after speaking to a senior tech support agent, said it sounds like there is something wrong with my cinema display itself and that I should bring it in to the Genius bar to get it looked at. Even though I had absolutely no problems whatsoever using it with my previous 2009 vintage MBP, which sounds like a cop-out to me. So for the time being I think I'll stay in a holding pattern and wait to see if a firmware update is released.
I'd just like to remind everyone that if you're having this problem, please call Applecare and log a support call so that Apple is made aware of how widespread (or not) the issue it. 1-800-275-2273.
Just got my new 2011 MBPro 15".
Same issue. Erratic pattern of going black, flickering. sometimes 3 times in a row. Other times it seems to go well for 5 mins, up to 30 mins.
Couldn't post on the bugreport page as I'm not a developer.
But will call AppleCare.
My wife had similar problems with a late 2009 MacBook Pro and the 30" Cinema display. That was a known problem and as far as we know, never got solved.
Keeping my fingers crossed. 'cause I love the 24" display/MBP combination.
I've got the exact same problem with a brand-new 2011 MBP 17" i7. I'm using a 24" ACD which worked just fine with my previous 2010 17" MBP.
The one thing that I've noticed is that it seems to happen more often when the CPU is under load. I run a fair number of VMs at work, and it's pretty common for those to cause a 1-2 second "flash to back" on the ACD. I've tried disabling the automated GPU switching, but it doesn't seem to help.
I've got an identical ACD at home, and I haven't noticed the issue there, so it may be only a certain combination of MBP & ACD that causes it. However, I haven't spent nearly as much time working at home since I got this machine, so it may take a while to show up there too.
I'll call Applecare about it and log a bug, and I'll post any updates as things change.
I have the same new machine (2011 15" MPD (2.3 Core i7 with high-rest matte display) connected to an Apple LED Cinema Display (27" flat panel) that was working fine with my previous MacBook Pro. There is frequent flickering, screen goes black occasionally and one time the screen froze with the window all garbled up. When I disconnected and then reconnected the video connector the screen came back again but the the flickering continues. Clearly a new problem.
Considering that I had this issue, even if it was less frequent, on Mac with NVidia 9400M too (a Mac Mini Late 2009 and a MacBook Unibody Aluminum), it really seems that the screen itself is responsible. The fact that it works fine with some other computers doesn't mean it's fine.
I'll personally bring my ACD 24" to genius bar to get it fixed, as there is clearly a problem with it, I've been waiting for a firmware update for this issue for more than a year now, that's enough. I'll bring my screen to Genius Bar, explain my problem, explain that I had it on MacBook Unibody, Mac Mini (both with 9400M) and now MBP 2011 with which it's even more frequent and disturbing. I've made a little video showing the issue to show them. I'll suggest them to use a stock 15" MBP 2011 to reproduce it, and that it should first appear within 30 minutes or 1 hour max.
I know that the issue is from the screen itself not only because I've had this issue with 3 different macs now and also because I have no issue at all with any other screen being on my current MBP or on my previous setup (Mac Mini and MacBook Unibody), I've only this issue with the ACD 24".
I have exactly the same problem with this monitor, except in my case, it is paired with a 2010 Mac Pro (2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-core and ATI Radeon HD 5870) 10.6.5 and then 10.6.6. Ran hardware test overnight, but it showed nothing wrong. I have had both the graphics card and the motherboard replaced (all under warranty), but problem is still there.
FIXED IT! If I connect the power supply that came with the laptop, not the monitor power supply, then the flickering problem disappears. This is with a new March 2011 Macbook Pro i7 2.2GHz thunderbolt. The monitor is a LCD cinema display 24" S/N 2A8501770K0.
So yes: use the laptop power supply - the monitor one does not have enough juice for the laptop new graphic card!
Sorry to say this did not fix my non-blackout graphical glitching problems. I'm still seeing them, and with the same frequency (usually several times per minute), while using my 2011 MBP's original power supply instead of the supply built into my 24" ACD. I also tried an extra power supply (85w) I had purchased for my 2009 MBP, and, again, no difference.
As I have said in a previous post, I don't believe the problems reported in this thread all stem from the same root cause.
BTW, after extensively using both OSX and Windows 7 64-bit using the 24" ACD and the 2011 MBP, my experience has been that the glitches I'm seeing happen about 1-2 times per hour under Windows and 2-3 times per minute under OSX.
The switch to an external power supply did not have any effect on my blackout/flickering problem witha one year old LCD 24" cinema display. The same Cinema display works flawlessly, and always has, with a Mid 2010 15" MacBook Pro and with a late 2010 model MacBook Air however.
My only solution so far is to never turn off 2011 MacBook or put to sleep. Not the most elegant solution.
AppleCare only suggests sending in the Cinema Display and the new computer for repair ... but don't say what they might repair.