Macbook Pro users: Have you seen this bug in Mavericks?


I installed MacOS 10.9 (aka Mavericks) the day after it became available.  Ars Technica has a fantastic and obsessively detailed review of Mavericks, so I’ll continue just with my own experiences.    As of this date, its second dot-release 10.9.2 is in testing.

For me, Mavericks has pros and cons.  On the plus side, there is a noticeable improvement in the computer’s performance – it seems ‘snappier.’  Fewer ‘lags’ when you scroll windows, that sort of thing.  Also, font-rendering is better, much clearer.

On the minus side, there’s sometimes a performance issue relating to how quickly the contents of directories to show up in a Finder window.  I’ve only seen it in column-view in the Finder (as opposed to list view or the icon view).  When I’m saving a file attachment from an email or printing a Web page to PDF and navigating to a folder to save it, it sometimes will take as long as 10 seconds for the list of contents to appear.  I don’t know what causes this – maybe an underlying change somewhere inside the operating system.  Only in Column view.  A little annoying but not a show-stopper.

I am also experiencing an egregious bug.

Egregious Mavericks Bug

With my particular model of machine, there is a graphics issue that many users of that model have been experiencing, and it is absolutely as a result of Mavericks.  I have a Mid-2010 MacBook Pro 15 inch, Apple model ID 6,2 (see **** below).  The Intel I5 processor has in-chip graphics, but also, there’s a separate nVidia graphics card.  If you set System Preferences > Energy Saver > Automatic Graphics Switching for better battery life, it forces all graphics rendering to the Intel processor.  If you set it for “better performance”, it uses the nVidia.

By doing the former, many users, myself included, experience an issue where the drop-shadows surrounding application and Finder windows don’t render correctly.  Instead of shadows, they are sharp lines.   By doing the latter, the problem goes away, but battery life suffers slightly (not too bad, maybe 10%).  But that’s not the point.  Mavericks, in effect, has broken my computer.  I shouldn’t have to rely upon a work-around.

I’ve been participating in several Apple discussion threads and other users also have this issue.  This apparently is model-specific – everyone on these threads has the same MacBook Pro model, and nobody seems to be reporting this for any other model.

Apple is aware of the issue – to the extent that they have a pre-defined test for it in their retail stores.  Also, they are replacing MacBook Pro motherboards (“Logic Boards”) for this issue, at no charge.  In my case, it was replaced at no charge even though my machine is >3 years old and out of the AppleCare warranty altogether.   On one hand, this is above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty customer service (I couldn’t imagine Dell or HP doing this, let alone a big-box retailer/reseller).  On the other hand, Apple has made no formal acknowledgement or response to the issue – and I’m hoping that this issue is resolved on the next dot-release (10.9.2), which apparently is already in beta.

Many of the people with this issue, including myself, have also reported the problem to Apple’s Feedback ‘suggestion box’ which Apple engineers apparently actually look at.  Also, I am a registered Apple developer and I’ve submitted this as a bug.

Other than this, there is no impact on the actual functioning of my machine other than the improvements that I mentioned at the outset, and the graphics issue.  Which I can turn off by changing the ‘Energy Saver’ setting.

****  You can find out your model number by going to Apple Menu > About this Mac > More Info > System Report – and then read the Hardware Overview: “Model Identifier”)


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