by Matt, matt@smalldog.com (posted by Ed)

A customer purchased a new 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro 15” from us the day these models were announced, and on receipt noted that the screen had a very slight flicker to it. I’ve seen plenty of flickering screens, and thought the problem would just be the inverter. We sent a replacement unit to him, but the second machine had the same issue. When I inspected the first machine, I noticed the flicker wasn’t what I expected—the backlight wasn’t going on and off, but there was more of a faint “waviness” on the display that was amplified under fluorescent light, and most evident against a white background. Same thing for the second screen. We sent another replacement unit, manufactured a week later, which did not have the flicker problem. In the end, the customer opted for a 17” 2.4GHz MacBook Pro with the new high-resolution LCD screen. The 17” is perfect and the customer is happy.

Since there is little information about the symptoms one sees with LED screens, I opted to send the machines to Apple for repair. In both cases, the low voltage display cable was replaced. The problem was lessened but not totally resolved. A few days later, Apple released MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.3 (http://tinyurl.com/2xpq7u), which “fixes a display issue on 2.2/2.4GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro models.” After applying the update, I noted that the faint “waviness” remained.

Since these laptops were already off the price list, I took the opportunity to open one up and see what was different inside. I found that things are largely identical. Minor changes include re-routing of the low voltage display cable, a perforated Express card cage, and other very minor changes. I noted also that the top case joins to the bottom case a little differently, requiring more force to properly close. While it looks largely identical in there, these machines did gain a huge amount of power in both the processor and graphics card.

In any event, the units coming in now do not have any screen issues, and the “waviness” was so slight that only the most discerning customer will detect it. I have to say that the high-resolution 17” LCD display is absolutely stunning!

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