Apple: Turning Negative to Positive

Three weeks ago my MacBook Pro started behaving weird. All of a sudden its LCD screen would turned off. After that, simple rebooting would never work from the first attempt, and sometimes it wouldn’t work at all unless it sat still for several hours. This reminded me of my first used car – I never knew if the engine would start or not.

This computer was not that old though. : Spring 2011 edition (15″, 500Gb HD, 2.4 GHz 4 core CPU). I’m sure Apple would like me to buy a new one, but I’m not the guy who simply shell off $2500 for a new notebook every two years. I’m cheap. In a good way.

After leaving my MacBook in the Genius Bar at thee Apple store overnight for some serious diagnostic tests, I got a message that the logicboard in my computer had to be replaced. I never buy this expensive $350 AppleCare 3-year protection plan (I’m cheap, remember?). I take my chances.

The term logicboard means motherboard. A friendly guy form the Genius Bar told me that if I’d be replacing it in Apple store, it would cost me $500. But if they’ll send to to Apple’s repair depot, they’ll replace it as a flat fee job for $310 and in 3-5 business days I’d get it back. Done deal, just do it.

Seven days later I got a call from Apple depot – the part is in back order and they need several more days. OK, I can live for several more days working on my 5-year old old MacBook Pro (btw, working on 4GB or RAM sucks).

After ten days passed, I called the Apple store – they didn’t have any dates for me. Called to Apple support – they told me that some part is in back order and they would try to expedite (I had to use a couple of strong arguments during this call).

Next day, I got a call from Apple depot – they’ve replaced the logic board, but the problem was not fixed. I was given a choice – either let them continue trying to find the problem or get from them a refurbished computer with the same technical parameters. I picked the latter. The guy started to browse his database trying to find the same model of the same year. He found one, but their HD was 5400 RPM, while mine was 7200. I rejected. Then he offered me a newer 2012 model with 500Gb SSD instead of HD. I’ve agreed as long as all this goodness would fit into the same $310 repair deal. Yes, it would. I paid, and two days later the refurbished computer arrived.

It looked like new. It was thinner than my old one though. To make the store short, it was a model with the retina display! What a nice surprise! When last year Apple announced these retina displays macbooks I said, “No”. But I never said, “No” to replacing an old MacBook with a new one with the retina display for free, did I?

Can life be all that rosy? There should be something wrong here, right? Wrong is the wrong word here. Let’s use the word “surprising”. I wanted to recover all my data from the external drive (in Apple’s world it’s called time machine). WAT? There is no firewire jack in this computer. Having two thunderbolt jacks is nice but… OK, went to the store and bought a firewire-thunderbolt adapter.

Then I took my network wire (it would give me a connection that was twice as fast than my wifi). WAT? There is no jack in this notebook for a network wire. Can you believe this? My first thought was to find an adapter for this cable too, but then I tested the speed of my new MacBook Pro – it was the same as my hard wire would give me in the past. On the photo, the new computer is on the right, and the old one (2008 edition) i on the left. They both go through the same WiFi router.

photo (7)

BTW, where is the slot for my DVD drive? None. Nada. OK, can live without it. Next. In the old MacBook I was getting an electric power from my 24″ Apple Cinema monitor. No good. They changed the power connector too to fit in the slimmer body. I can understand this.

The final surprise (at least I hope so) is that they’ve removed that line-in input. WHY? It was really small! Now there is only one headphone jack, which is a problem for me. I’m recording audio podcasts and screencasts using a professional microphone (Sure 7B) that goes into the voice processor (Aphex 230) that was connected to my old MacBook through the line-in jack via an optical cable. Now I need to buy some audio interface or adapter to route the sound via the USB port. OK, ok, I will. Despise all these little glitches, I consider this experience with Apple repair service as positive. Would you agree?

P.S. One more, I get a feeling that Google Chrome doesn’t really know how to properly maximize itself on the retina display. Am I just being a grumpy old man?

P.S.S. This new computer comes with a one year warranty from Apple, yay!

11 thoughts on “Apple: Turning Negative to Positive

  1. I had another problem with my Macbook Pro early 2011.
    Firstly, one USB slot didn’t work. I worked with another slot. As it refused too (suddenly i could only print, example), i had no warranty any more. I haven’t buy Apple Care Protection too, I’m cheap, too, for more reasons.

    The friendly guy in Gravis shop (Apple certified partner) said that logicboard has to be replaced and it costs 800 Euro. I thought it’d toooo much, and I have only USB problem right now…

    Now i use a Matrox docking station via thunderbolt (240 Euro with thunderbolt cabel). It solves my problem and is cheaper as logicboard replacement.

      1. and, yeah, I’m happy enough, because I solved my problem.
        I haven’t try audio input though.
        I have read test reports, the people reckon that Gigabit-LAN works well too.
        Minus for me: my display is an old one and haven’t HDMI, and the device is last in daisy chain. Belkin docking station have 2 thunderbolts, but it costs almost 300 euro.
        As a conclusion, I could it recommend, but it is cheap only in compare with a perspective of logicboard replacement🙂

  2. Yakov, you definitely have far better options that we do here in Ukraine. My macbook has been in repair service for two months already and still no light on it’s power problems. They’re not even sure if replacing motherboard will help, while it costs half of the original macbook price. After several of their “repairs” it always failed the next day or two. The only thing these guys advised me by now: “we can repair it once again as we did before and you can sell it to someone else before it fails next time.”
    As far as I know it’s one of the best services in the city.
    And yes, 4GB RAM is painful indeed.

  3. Why do you continue buying from the Biggest Monopoly on Earth in computers and electronics,
    which manufacturing mostly in China ? So your PC would cost them say $500, the rest is pure revenue (they manage to not paying taxes). Why not to buy the same configuration from Dell (which manufactures mostly in US) for say $1000 + pay $200 for extended warranty (they do send technicians to your home within 1-2 days and do replace to new one if unable to fix). And they do have good sales (20-30% off). I might not like Windows 8, but I was told that with Touchscreen ones it makes a lot of sense (and 8.1 should bring back Start button and lots of other enhancements). In case you are interested, I recommend XPS 15 or 15z laptops. Do not forget who killed Flex & Flash. 😉

    1. 1. Life is short. I want to work on the best currently available computer, which is not Dell. As to other sentiments about nasty corporations that take jobs overseas – all of them are the same.

      2. I remember who killed Flex and Flash: Adobe.

  4. Hmm, how is Apple making best currently available computers? They can pay for lots of Ads… You can get decent 1080p screen from Dell laptop for extra $50-100. You don’t overpay, you keep jobs in US, they pay taxes in US (and I do like TX politically way more than CA). Reliability wise they are almost the same. Apple did not produce any computers in US for > 20 yrs. Well, they recently started talking of maybe building something in TX in distant future… And without Steve Jobs’ war on Flash player (monopoly again), Adobe would NOT have killed it. But you guys keep feeding that crocodile…

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