New Apple MacBook Pro Notebooks Experience Issues with Nvidia’s Graphics Chip

New Nvidia Graphics Processor Overheats, Produces Artifacts in MacBook Pro Systems

by Anton Shilov
12/04/2008 | 09:01 AM

End-users who purchased the recently launched Apple MacBook Pro in unibody cases are reportedly having issues with Nvidia GeForce 9-series graphics processor. According to a media story, customers complain about freezes as well as “wave-like video distortions” while scrolling in Web browsers.


AppleInsider reports that numerous end-users have run into “the black screen of death” issues while playing certain video-games. Apparently, screens of Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT-powered Mac Book Pros’ screens go black after just a few minutes of gaming, while the system locks up and the audio enters into an infinite loop. There is no way to quit the game and a hardware reset is required.

Some end-users claim that special software that can set the fans to spin at higher speed help them to avoid freezes because of overheating of the graphics processing units. Others claim that the hardware-related issues may be corrected with the mainboard replacement.

“Apple are aware of the issue and are investigating,” a customer quotes Apple Support as saying.

There are also reports about “wave-like video distortions” while scrolling in web browsers of viewing HD content. The issues are reportedly present in all MacBook Pro notebooks, which, it is believed, makes them likely to be corrected via software updates. Some customers note that the problem also exists on Nvidia-based iMacs, but does not show up on the MacBook Air with integrated Intel graphics or iMacs with ATI graphics cards. There is a theory that Nvidia graphics card drivers and Apple's Webkit rendering engine is to blame, which would explain why the distortions do not appear under Windows or Mac browsers that do not rely on WebKit, such as Opera.

Earlier this year Nvidia admitted that its GeForce graphics processing units (GPUs) and nForce chipsets (which the company calls MCPs, media and communication processors) designed for mobile computers could fail due to issues with high-lead packaging. The company took $196 million charge to help its partners to tackle the problem, however, it said that the issue only affected certain notebook configurations. Apple, Dell and HP acknowledged issues with their mobile systems and GeForce M-series chips.