Author Topic: Calling all doctors - diagnosis  (Read 2910 times)

worker201

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Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« on: 16 December 2009, 14:20 »
The patient:
1st gen MacBook Pro (May 2006) - 200GB 7200RPM HD, 2GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM, Mac OS X v10.5.8

Old troubles:
- gets very hot.
- Superdrive recognizes CDs and some video DVDs, but does not recognize software DVDs, including the Leopard install DVD.

New troubles:
- when Firefox is running, sometimes a hair-thin horizontal line of gibberish pixels will appear across the window, this line is not always continuous.  Relaunching Firefox, or closing the window and opening a new one will clear the problem.  This occurs daily.
- usually only when Firefox is running, the entire OS will quit.  The mouse pointer can still be moved, but the computer is otherwise frozen solid.  Always fixed by cold restart.  This occurs usually not more than once every 2 weeks.
- sometimes, when the computer is in screensaver or powersaver mode, the system will go dead.  If in screensaver mode, the screensaver will freeze.  No data about whether Firefox is running when this happens, but since I keep Firefox running most of the time, it's likely.  Always fixed by cold restart.  Closing lid and putting the computer to sleep when I'm away prevents this problem.  Occurs usually not more than once every 10 days.

Actions taken so far:
- repair disk permissions and verify disk integrity.  There were a lot of problems with the permissions for internet plugin folders, but repairing them did not prevent the next failure.
- memory test passed.  I used the program Rember, which can run multiple cycles.  Although no other programs were running, only 724MB were available for testing.  Firefox had been running before testing, but had been closed.
- took the computer into an Apple store back in August because networking randomly quit working.  Actually, that's when I found out that the Superdrive was failing, because I couldn't reinstall the OS.  They did a reinstall for me at the store, and networking came back.  So the OS was refreshed less than 6 months ago, and has been properly updated since then.
- shocking how often Firefox seems to be mentioned in these symptoms.  About 2 months ago, I quit using nightly builds and started using release builds instead, just in case, but that hasn't helped at all.

If anybody has any ideas, please share.  This is my main computer, and I would be lost without it.  Can't afford a replacement for at least another 6 months.

Refalm

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #1 on: 16 December 2009, 17:51 »
Try to vacuum clean the fans. If dust gets in them, the laptop can overheat. Happened to me, up to the point where it shut down after 70
« Last Edit: 16 December 2009, 18:00 by Refalm »

reactosguy

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #2 on: 16 December 2009, 21:52 »
Firefox? Try Chrome for Mac. And get Snow Leopard.

worker201

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #3 on: 17 December 2009, 00:30 »
I didn't know there was chrome for Mac yet, I will download that.  But why Snow Leopard?  What makes you think that 64-bit support is the key to my problems?

Refalm, my computer runs way hot.  It's at 62C right now, and can get as high as 108C, according to my temperature monitor.  I've been told that the temp issue is endemic to the early MBPs - this is the very first Intel line, and they weren't cooled as much as they should have been.

Lead Head

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #4 on: 17 December 2009, 01:41 »
Blow out all the cooling vents with that "Canned Air" stuff. Make sure your fans are properly functioning (Macs do have hardware self test features, right?) 108*C is far too hot for sustained operation and is very bad for overall longevity.
sig.

reactosguy

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #5 on: 17 December 2009, 02:06 »
Hmm... it must have had a high TDP like my PC with a fast fan right now. Try underclocking your MacBook Pro processor (The Intel Core Duo Yonah T2500 I believe), but beware slower performance.

Or maybe try keeping a large fan cooling your MBP but is not ideal since you're going to take it anywhere where there's no electric supply, like the beach or the taxi, right? Also you want a long term solution if you're taking it anywhere.

I heard that Snow Leopard includes power improvements according to a PCWorld article. So it's Snow Leopard's power improvements and has little to do with 64-bit, other than your processor not having SpeedStep or your software is too bloated, sucks more RAM and leads to the RAM to suck more power because it is overloaded (well not literally, I mean at the point your MBP gets slow due to the bloatware).

My evidence on the bloatware sucking RAM sucking power is that Windows 7 netbook users get an average 47-57 minutes according to Engadget. I went on the comments and said that Windows 7's hidden bloatware sucks power (well in this case bloatware sucks RAM sucking power).

And SpeedStep is a technology in most newer Intel processors that automatically underclocks the processor slightly when it is running netbook level applications and overclocks the processor slightly when you're running a lot of applications or running high performance or demanding applications.

So try underclocking your processor and see if the computer can run much better with reduced fan speeds, but again, beware slower performance.


A little upgrade to Snow Leopard should improve battery life and performance while underclocking your processor to something like 1.5-1.73 GHz should give you a way to run your MBP better with (again!) reduced fan speeds and even better battery life but the less performance disadvantage.

Also do some optional ways to better improve the laptop. Add a cheap energy efficient SSD if you can. I don't know if that should help your MBP more if you use it a lot but it consumes less power so meaning less heat. This is optional and expensive though, but it would be recommended IF your MBP gets 4x hotter than a pizza that just came out of the oven a few seconds ago cooked for 10 minutes at 500
« Last Edit: 17 December 2009, 02:29 by reactosguy »

davidnix71

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #6 on: 17 December 2009, 04:17 »
Video chipset failing, or hd failing. Apples disc utilities suck. There is no surface scan in it. Get the hd makers bootable disc and run the full test including surface scan. I had a drive fail and never got the SMART warning, even though it was enabled.

Go back to Apple and demand they use their hardware tester disc on the machine and tell you what is failing.

worker201

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #7 on: 17 December 2009, 09:44 »
^ That's way more likely than dust or overclocking.  Unfortunately, I don't have any bootable Hitachi CDs.  I downloaded an iso, but the Mac won't read any of my CDs.  Luckily, the Windows computer is nearby, and its burner works just fine.

worker201

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #8 on: 17 December 2009, 10:23 »
^ Dammit, the superdrive is too fucked to even boot from CD.  Any ideas on how I can accomplish a drive fitness test without using an optical drive?

reactosguy

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #9 on: 17 December 2009, 21:58 »
First of all, it's underclocking.

And ask for a CAD$100 external SuperDrive. Your internal drive won't work but your external one should. ;)

worker201

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #10 on: 18 December 2009, 01:19 »
Why would I want to pay CAD$100 for an external superdrive when I can get an internal for USD$140?

New symptom - pixel-width horizontal line appeared in Safari.  Disappeared when window was closed.  Guess this can't really be blamed on Firefox.  The graphical issues make me think that either the GPU or some of the RAM is failing.  How can I do a RAM integrity test on all 2 GB?

Refalm

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #11 on: 18 December 2009, 01:23 »
Why would I want to pay CAD$100 for an external superdrive when I can get an internal for USD$140?

New symptom - pixel-width horizontal line appeared in Safari.  Disappeared when window was closed.  Guess this can't really be blamed on Firefox.  The graphical issues make me think that either the GPU or some of the RAM is failing.  How can I do a RAM integrity test on all 2 GB?
Search for Hiren's BootCD on that well-known Swedish BitTorrent website. It has a number of memory testers, and loads without an OS (except for DOS of course).

worker201

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #12 on: 18 December 2009, 04:48 »
^ CDs aren't possible at this time.  I can watch some DVDs and can access most music CDs, but seems like data discs are out.  Boot from CD is totally out.  The Superdrive is just that fucked.

I was thinking the other day that I should not replace the Superdrive, and not upgrade to a bigger hard drive and not upgrade to Snow Leopard - instead I should apply that $300 toward a new MBP.  But I'll still be about $1700 short. :(

Refalm

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #13 on: 18 December 2009, 10:30 »
Hiren's BootCD also has an USB stick version.

worker201

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Re: Calling all doctors - diagnosis
« Reply #14 on: 18 December 2009, 11:25 »
How do you boot from USB stick?