Update on Macbook Pro Display Corruption Issues

I took the Macbook Pro in for a second visit to the local Apple Store’s Genius Bar on Friday night. Much busier this time around (apparently mid-day visits are a better bet). After a good wait I finally got called up for a seat at the bar. I explained to the Apple tech guy what the issue was and what had been done on the previous visit.

As an aside, let me say here that I have nothing but respect for these guys. Especially after watching all the attractive yet technically ignorant people that jumped in front of line and pestered them with iPod and iPhone questions. These guys handle it all with great professionalism and calm. And best of all, they never seem to start the conversation assuming they’re talking to a dumbass. I really doubt I could do the same.

So after the previous visit’s disk repair, PRAM and SMC reset, the proposal this time was to do an Archive and Install of the Mac OS X. They offered to do it there in the store and make sure it was up and running before I left, which they did (the Netboot install went pretty quickly). They also promised to replace the Macbook Pro if this didn’t fix it (assuming it was a stock configuration and it is). I was not hopeful that the reinstall would fix it, but kept my doubts to myself and said I was more than willing to try whatever they thought might work.

But, no, this didn’t fix it.

I mostly stayed off of the laptop over the weekend, too busy with other stuff. I briefly popped it open Saturday to see if I could duplicate the problem and all seemed well then. I then left it plugged in but asleep for the rest of Sunday before getting back to work on it this morning. Immediately I knew the display problems were back by the telltale flashes as it tried to render the Apple home page and further in the scrollbar of Twitterific. Playing around a little bit shows there has been absolutely no change in behavior of this issue, still seeing display corruption of Webkit views, slow redraws and occasional misdraws of list views and flashing on playing video.

There seems to be a lot of activity on the Apple Support discussion forums about this issue, but I won’t pretend to know how widespread of an issue it really is. I’m sure something like this always seems more widespread to the people who are experiencing it. That’s just the way humans work: problems affecting us are magnified, while those affecting others are minimized. In any case, I hope it isn’t a universal issue with all recent Macbook Pros and not tied to the NVIDIA GPU issues. I suspect it might be, but I really have nothing to base this on. NVIDIA certainly seems to be denying the problem is really as big an issue as has been rumored (see the recent ArsTechnica article from which the screenshot above was taken).

So far I have no complaints with the way Apple is handling this. Again, nothing but professional tech support people that seem to really want to help and I’m still hopeful that they can…

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