Apple’s latest notebooks plagued with graphics glitches

Apple’s latest notebooks — the MacBook and MacBook Pro with Penryn-class Core 2 Duo processors — should be the latest and greatest. Instead many customers who’ve bought them are finding they’re getting endless onscreen corruption and flickering.

A long discussion thread on Apple’s discussion forums describes the problem which so far has not been publicly acknowledged by Apple. There are numerous other discussion threads talking about the problem. Another discussion thread at AppleInsider talks about the problem.

The problems occur across both Macbooks — with Intel’s GMA3100 graphics chipset — and MacBook Pros with the NVIDIA 8600M GT chipset.

There are two distinct issues: one is graphics corruption with lines of text repeating themselves and graphics scrolling incompletely. It occurs when scrolling documents or web pages and is most pronounced in Apple Webkit-based applications such as Safari and Mail. Users have noticed that it mostly happens when scrolling via the trackpad rather than the arrow keys.

The other problem is flickering in any area of the screen where there is animation or screen refresh and it is particularly pronounced when watching videos — especially Flash or Quicktime videos in a web browser.

Some users have reported that developer builds of the as yet unreleased OS X 10.5.3 fix the problem but in the meantime owners of new Mac notebooks are feeling disappointed that their purchase has resulted in a faulty graphics display.

Oddly the problem persists even when the Macs are restored to factory-fresh state using the restore discs shipped with the computers indicating that it’s either a hardware problem or a software glitch in the version of OS X shipped with the computers – 10.5.2.