updated 05:15 pm EST, Wed November 26, 2008
MacBook graphics errors
Apple is investigating two different graphics issues relating to MacBooks, posters in the company's support forums say. The first is limited to unibody MacBook Pros, but involves a hard lockup during various games, in which the screen goes black, audio loops and no cursor control is possible. The problem affects both Mac and Windows games, and appears to be unrelated to a specific title, since crashes have occurred in games like Call of Duty 4, World of Warcraft and Company of Heroes.
Customer speculation suggests that the trouble may lie with drivers or cooling, leading to a situation in which a Mac overheats. This is supported by some mildly successful troubleshooting efforts, which have involved installing alternate NVIDIA drivers and a utility for manually controlling fan speed. Other Pro owners have reported having to swap out their logic boards however, or getting a replacement system.
The second problem affects both Pro and basic unibody MacBooks, and entails wave distortions in web browsers as well as HD video. The error is said to be particularly unusual in that it affects only Mac OS X and not Windows, and has a parallel with NVIDIA-based iMacs, but no Apple computer with Intel or AMD graphics.
It is thought that the cause could again be related to NVIDIA drivers, but also the WebKit engine, used in browsers such as Safari. Non-WebKit browsers such as Opera appear to be unaffected by the distortions.