And sadness descends
Remember back in the day when I first got my MacBook Pro? I was so happy. My very first Mac. Those days are gone.
Thursday morning, I got up to do my usual morning routine of checking my email and RSS feeds over breakfast before uploading a picture, and just as I'd opened my first email the screen did something entirely unpleasant. Everything became blocky and pixellated. I couldn't make out a thing--barely where the open windows were. Panic set in after 10 minutes of intense troubleshooting with no resolution.
I asked Suz to take it in to the shop to see what the technician had to say. What he said was none too pleasant. "Your GPU is fried" he said, "and that's not the bad news. The bad news is that this laptop's GPU is soldered directly onto the motherboard, and so can't be replaced without replacing the entire board."
"And so, how much is that?" asked Suzanne on my behalf, knowing I'd happily pay a couple hundred to get my baby back.
"Honestly" said the man, "this machine isn't worth fixing anymore."
Well, I went through the denial stage, madly surfing knowledge bases and forums, unable to believe that it wasn't worth it to fix this (at the time of purchase) multi-thousand dollar machine which was less than 4 years old.
As it turns out the logic board (if you can find it at all) runs about 500 bucks USD. Putting it in is a harrowing affair that even makes Apple technicians cry and would cost about 200 bucks to do. Add 300 to that and you have a new MacBook with specs that blow this one's away. He was right. Not worth it.
So, lessons learned from a dead computer: When I bought it, I thought the MacBook Pro was the perfect solution--portability when I needed it and power to use at home. Well, yes, except I ran that little 128meg onboard GPU literally into an early grave. I used it nearly 100% of the time to run a 21" flat panel, with the laptop screen as a secondary monitor, and I used it to do mostly photographic processing, among the most graphics-intensive work you can throw at a machine. Laptops inherently run hot, and in retrospect, I expected a heck of a lot from the beast, and it delivered faithfully until it just gave it up. I will not expect a laptop to do the job of a desktop computer anymore. I think I used it for its real purpose--mobile computing--all of maybe 10 times in the years I owned it. For me, a laptop doesn't seem to be the right choice.
Although someone on the forums said that statistically, Mac notebooks have an average lifespan of only 4 years owing to the usual overwork, heat and carting around, so apparently I did okay. Still and all it's shocking that something so expensive should last so short a time. Computers are like cars: outdated the minute you bring them home, and anything but an investment.
All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I'm taking a short break from posting, because my digital darkroom decided to die. There's a fix in the works, so I'll let you all know when I'm back. With luck, end of next week should see me back at it.
Chow for now--and remember back up your files! Thankfully, all of my Aperture library is on external storage! :)