11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2012 11:12 PM by GilTaylor
GilTaylor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

i was wondering if it is just my run of bad luck lately or is there a quality issue with Macs.


i have been a Mac user/owner since 1987 and have had many Macs over the years.  I keep my Mac's a long time and that has been part of the justification to pay more at initial purchase then to buy a cheaper computer.


In the last 2-5 years, i have retired my IIsi, LC, 7200, G3 laptop, and G4 laptop.  All were retired due to age and that they had outlived their usefullness...


This year, my G5 Mother board went in November and now my Powerbook 15" display or logic board.  Granted they had many good years of service, but the MPB was only about 4 years old, and the G5....well i think it was 6 years.


have i had just an exceptional good run with my Macs and now finding the norm or has quality decreased?

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • g_wolfman Level 4 Level 4 (1,120 points)

    I'm not sure it's really a valid question.  Not only are the chips different, but the technology has changed radically in almost every aspect form 1984 until now.  If you look at PowerPC chips in the G4 and earlier, they are relatively simple processors.  The PowerPC in the G5 was more complex.  Intel chips are just about the most complex devices ever assembled.


    More complexity means more ways to fail and a shorter MBTF; that doesn't necessarily mean lower quality, however, just like comparing cancer rates between 1900 and 2000 doesn't indicate the population is getting less healthy today (in 1900 they didn't live long enough to see high cancer rates).


    The overall quality of modern chips is higher than ever before, but when you cram one billion transistors into a circuit at 23nm gate line widths...your failure rate is just going to go up regardless of the quality controls.

  • GilTaylor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your response.....i would submit that, for the sake of argument, that it is a valid question as it relates to the failure rate.  i guess if you really want to look at failure rates of hardware, one must also consider the number of units being produced per year.  i am sure that they produce more units per year now then in the mid 80's.  it just seemed odd to me that my newer macs are failing quicker then my older ones....your points of course are valid.

  • g_wolfman Level 4 Level 4 (1,120 points)

    Well, take "valid question" as being in a scientific sense of the term.  Ie, to be valid there needs to be only one independant variable against which you can measure changes in a dependent variable (unless you want to deal with co-variants).


    You're quite right that the question is worth asking - I just don't think you can answer it with a simple measure of year vs # of failures.

  • Russa Level 4 Level 4 (1,315 points)

    .. I wonder if anyone has compared six sigma yields for computer chips and calculated system reliability over the decades i.e. 80's, 90's and then 00's. It's true, every 18 months, chip densities have doubled, if you beleive Moore's Law, but then again manufacturing processes have improved as well. One could assume then, that chip yields and failure rates could be at least equivalent during these periods. The O/S and application software is much more complex compareably. Therefore, I would expect SW crashes to be more prevalent than hardware.. but my experiecne with all my SW is very good. I've experienced some hardware failures on my MBP e.g. video and Apple replaced it. However, by-and-large, I have not experienced any significant HW failure rate increases between my Mac c. 1984 and my MBP c. 2008.  Touch wood.

  • GilTaylor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    the origional intent of this post was to compare hardware failures in Macs from those of the earlier models compared to the more modern models.  I still believe Mac offers a superior product, but at the same time, the question must be asked is that because of the Operating System or the Hardware.  I really hadn't considered the two to be the same, but that in itself has to be considered too.


    Please correct any assumpitons i make, but until the conversion to the Intel Chips, Mac hardware/software compatiability issues ran in part that the chips between PCs and Macs were not compatible.  Yet, Soft Windows was in fact born and could be run on older Macs.


    My question was considering the hardware only and not the OS.  i had noticed a more frequent failure rate in my newer Macs compared to my older ones.   what units had i owned?

    • Mac IIsi     (retired in 2000 with no failures)
    • Mac 7200 Power PC (retired in 2004 had had processor upgrade but no failures)
    • G3 Laptop (still in use to run PPT on the road with data projector-slow but works. minor screen issues)
    • G4 Laptop (still in use to run PPT on the road, replaced screen after impact damage)
    • G4 DP (still in use for kids)
    • MacBook Pro Titanium (DAMAGED- Screen failure)
    • G5 DP (Damaged - Motherboard failure, slight liquid coolant leak just started)
    • iMac (flat panel-not sure model) - still in use
    • iMac (flat panel-not sure model) (2nd one) - purchased in Nov 2011
    • MacBook Pro 2.2g i7 - just purchsed.

    i do realize that the machines have increased in complexity, heat production, and so forth too.  It was good to in Russa, reply that he had not seen an increase failure.  i am also compelled to point out that over this 25 year time span, that many of my friends have owned many more machines and replaced them much faster.  some of those failures were hardware....some was just massive virus infections and it was easier for them to start new.  My data is too comlicated and vast to just walk away from.

  • dalstott Level 4 Level 4 (2,625 points)

    Regarding more recent Macs I also had a G 5 logic board failure after Apple Care expired. In addition a MacBook Pro that had the Nvidia graphics failure 1 month before the expiration of the warranty which was fixed by Apple. My trouble free Macs have been a G 4 12", MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, all of which we use frequently.


    I don't think there are any conclusions about actual failure rates to make. I do believe that the emergence of help forums has made the publication of problems more popular so as to suggest an increase.

  • xtremecarbon Level 4 Level 4 (2,235 points)

    I would actually think it be the other way around, due to achievements in engineering. However, I haven't used enough Mac computers to provide a solid opinion. My 2 year old Macbook pro should have at least another 4 or so (used as a desktop), but is in need of a memory upgrade. I know my university uses the older white iMacs (ones new enough to have C2D and run Lion), which run great.

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (43,135 points)

    GilTaylor wrote:..

    • MacBook Pro Titanium (DAMAGED- Screen failure)


    There is no MacBook Pro Titanium; the Titanium PB was discontinued nine years ago. The youngest G5 iMacs and Powerbooks are 6 years old.

    My data is too comlicated and vast to just walk away from.


    All hard disk drives fail eventually. Don't rely upon a single Mac to store what you need.


    I've never had a Mac fail, maybe I'm just lucky. Both my HP laptops were junk in two to three years. The first was at the repair shop during much of its warranty period. Its motherboard failed after three years. The second had its display fail at two years.


    I have come to expect a Mac to be economically viable for about eight years. The limiting factor in their useful life is not hardware longevity, but advances in technology that often did not exist when they were designed. Arguably, such advances are only accelerating. Facebook, for example, barely existed six years ago. Same for YouTube. The iPhone is not even five years old; the iPad, two.

  • GilTaylor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    john you are correct the Titanium was in fact just a PB Titanium....


    i never rely on a single method of storage and back up for data....i actually back up 3 different ways.  i did have a hard disk failure once...but i lost nothing as i back up all the time.

  • GilTaylor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    i agree on the appearnce of more problems because of the help forum.  i have had several accounts in here over the years.  from time to time when apple re-organizes the forum, i have had to rejoin under new accounts.  i was a regular for many years.


    i would say, the forums have helped solve many issues, most of which weren't actual failures but need for guidence to get it working.

  • GilTaylor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    john, i am not sure on the age of that titanium as being 9 years.....i think i had it for 5.  i could be wrong on that, but it was new when i bought it.  it was older then the G5 Tower I had....the G5 i was refering to was now called the pro line, but don't recall what it was then....it isn't a iMac though...it was the DP liquid cooled tower that weight had to be equiviliant of the tonnage of a WWI submarine