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andyeb

Are Macs getting less reliable?

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This evening I came to switch on my 2 month old iMac (2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme) and it would not turn on. I unplugged everything, checked the mains cable with a multimeter, tried another power outlet. All to no avail - I hear a faint noise from the optical drive when I press the button and that's it.

 

Now this is my 4th Mac. And 3 out of those 4 machines have suffered major hardware failures. None of those failures have been hard drives failures either. The only Mac I've had which has not had a major hardware fault is this iBook G4 which is now nearly 5 years old.

 

Which begs the question: Are Macs getting less reliable? Or have you found newer machines more reliable?

 

For the curious, here is my story:

 

1st Mac - 800MHz G4 iBook. Still going strong - using it right now to type this message.

 

2nd Mac - 2GHz Dual G5 PowerMac. Started randomly powering off within two weeks of purchase. Got it swapped for a brand new machine after some pushing. The replacement made high pitch screeching noises whenever I used the network connection and it sometimes wouldn't wake up from sleep (despite OS re-installs and all the usual tricks). Eventually sold it on eBay.

 

3rd Mac - 2GHz MacBook Pro (one of the first Intel Macs off the production line) - suffered a right fan failure after 6 months, an optical drive failure, had a battery recall under warranty. It was in the shop for 6 weeks waiting for parts. Outside warranty it started randomly powering up from completely off and totally draining the battery. Then the left fan failed making it unusable. Sold it to my brother for token amount.

 

4th Mac - 2.8GHz Intel iMac. Totally dead within two months.

 

Bad luck, or evidence of an underlying trend? It's not like I don't look after my Macs too... :(

 

Andy

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I think you've just been unlucky. But as more people start to use macs, they've obviously got to make more. The percentage of macs that are defective will stay the same (roughly), so their number will increase.

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I guess I must be unlucky, because if 75% of Macs failed, Apple would be bankrupted by their warranty repair costs.

 

That said, I don't know anyone who has had such bad luck with PCs. Even the really cheap and nasty ones.

 

You'd hope that Apple could do better, in view of the price premium we all pay.

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You ought to see some of the computers that I used to look after where I used to work ;)

 

But apple is using cutting edge components now (eg the new iMacs have the new intel chip in them before anyone else has them) so I'd expect there to be teething problems. But I've not seen that many problems to be honest. I'd just go with unlucky.

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I strongly suspect it's the power supply that has gone in my iMac and that's about the lowest tech bit of the computer ;).

 

Kind of ironic that my poor experiences with prior macs made me plump for AppleCare when I bought the iMac. If we had a choice of vendors to go to (like PC users do), I'd simply have gone somewhere else. This is one big disadvantage of being locked into a single supplier - you can't simply go somewhere else unless you ditch the platform altogether.

 

I'll almost certainly go for a refurb or a 2nd hand Mac next time around and let someone else ferry the products to and fro from the AppleStore.

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I've been hesitant to switch to intel, because I personally don't think all the kinks have been worked out yet – just a feeling I have since my sister-in-law's intel mini has had so many issues. Apple finally replaced it for her, but by way of comparison, all the Motorola/PPC machines I've had (going all the back to the original mac) have been very stable and reliable.

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I think the PPC machines were some of the most reliable machines ever made, but Intel just has far more resources to devote to processor technology, and they simply outclass PPC processors in performance. And without Intel, there could be no Boot Camp, VMWare Fusion, Parallels, or Darwine. So while the PPC processor was outstanding, Apple was faced with the choice to stay with them or keep up with the best technology. Besides, the Intel machines aren't really that much less reliable than the PPC ones. So I'll have to stick with Intel on this one.

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I've had a few issues with my older intel macs, but this one has been rock solid from the day I bought it. And besides, it's allowed me to get rid of the filthy heathen machine I had knocking around to test sites in IE 6 and 7. ;)

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I strongly suspect it's the power supply that has gone in my iMac and that's about the lowest tech bit of the computer ;).

 

Kind of ironic that my poor experiences with prior macs made me plump for AppleCare when I bought the iMac. If we had a choice of vendors to go to (like PC users do), I'd simply have gone somewhere else. This is one big disadvantage of being locked into a single supplier - you can't simply go somewhere else unless you ditch the platform altogether.

 

I'll almost certainly go for a refurb or a 2nd hand Mac next time around and let someone else ferry the products to and fro from the AppleStore.

 

I think you've just had bad luck, but, if you really want choices (like PC users), you can always go back to that platform.

 

Of course, in my experience, my iMac is the best PC (it runs XP when needed) I've ever had.

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We'll all the macs that we've had have only had minor problems, such as accidently leaving them unplugged and draining the battery, the battery indicator not acurate and stuff. Even our old G3 Mac is still problem free!

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Just out of curiosity, andy, are you running your Macs on a UPS? Reason I ask is that all the problems you site could have been caused by your machines running w/o conditioned power during a brownout or other power malady. People often forget ( especially those who run machines 24/7 ) that fluctuations in power levels can wreak havok on any computer. A UPS will protect you from most of this. Just a thought.

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I've had a few issues with my older intel macs, but this one has been rock solid from the day I bought it. And besides, it's allowed me to get rid of the filthy heathen machine I had knocking around to test sites in IE 6 and 7. ;)

 

My sister's problems were either with a 1st or 2nd Gen intel mini, so maybe the kinks have been worked out now. Like any new software, hardware, car, you name it, the 1st couple of versions are always problematic.

 

One of Apple's major selling points is that the hardware and software are designed to work together. When you change a major piece of the hardware like the processor, common sense tells you that there will initially be problems. That being said, eventually I will get a new mac and I look forward to the new features that intel offers.

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My brother bought a black intel macbook in early 06 . I bought my intel imac in oct 06, and my brother bought a new aluminium 24" imac about 8 months ago. His macbook has no sound and needed the battery replaced, my imac has to go in for a new super drive, and his new imac had the screen freeze problem so had to go in for repairs. So for us thats 3 out 3 , bad luck? I think they could do a little more in the quality control department.

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i've only ever had 2 Macs; a fantastic PowerBook G4 12", that I got in 2003. :lol:

and a crappy, poor quality, now dead, MacBook intel I bought 1 year ago.

 

my 12" PB G4 is still in great condition (though the DVD/CD drive failed in it's 4th year), and battery is dead. But, it stills runs totally fine, and looks as good as it did after it's first year of use. :rolleyes::P

 

my MacBook 2007, looks like it's been thru Iraq, because of it's cheap-o "made in a hurry to get 1 million of them out" factory somewhere.

other than being dirty, 'white colour', it has hairline cracks all along the front where the 'top' (keyboard section) joins on to the bottom/outside shell of the computer!

It doesn't do any serious travel/abuse, and when i do take it, it's put in a puffy padded 13" case! never been dropped, or bashed.

 

On software front; things seem to continually crash. Apple programs, or 3rd party programs. Who knows why? My friend who bought almost same laptop as me 1 month earlier, doesn't have as many hanging problems.

 

The worst thing now, is that it has totally crashed. Hard Drivve failure?! :-( I dunno. But now when i turn it on i get a flashing folder icon with "?" in middle of it... just blinking on screen. forever.

tried to boot from DVD, but it can't even 'see' that I have a HDD in the laptop!!!

 

i dunno what to do.

we of course, don't have any Apple Stores in my city (or in australia).

:angry:

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The worst thing now, is that it has totally crashed. Hard Drivve failure?! :-( I dunno. But now when i turn it on i get a flashing folder icon with "?" in middle of it... just blinking on screen. forever.

tried to boot from DVD, but it can't even 'see' that I have a HDD in the laptop!!!

 

Typically when you get that icon, it's because it can't find the hard drive that the operating system is supposed to reside on. Sounds like it needs a new hard drive.

 

To add my point of view in here, I've been very fortunate with my Mac experience. My first Mac (a Macbook Pro 1st Gen) is still running strong and I use it almost daily. It's over two years old now and it's working great (had one issue with the LCD spotting, but Apple replaced the screen and it's fine now). I also have an iMac that I bought back in September/October of 2007 and it's working quite well at the moment and I haven't noticed any potential hardware problems yet. I'm terribly sorry to hear that so many are having issues. I really don't think that Apple is having any greater hardware failure rates (percentage wise when compared to number of units sold) than say Dell or something like that.

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