Apple Support rocks! Here’s why.
Last Sunday, I went up the street to the local Tucson Apple Store, and pulled the trigger on a purchase of a new Mac Pro Quad-Core 2.66 computer. I had previously owned an original, first generation Mac Pro from 2006, so I’m very familiar with Mac Pros, especially the variable-speed fan system.
Back at the ranch, I toted the big cardboard box into the study, slid the Mac Pro out, and moved it into its new home. All of two minutes were needed to connect the monitor, printer, and backup hard drive.
My original plan was to boot from the external backup drive, and clone it onto the 640 GB in the new machine.
One quick press of the power button, hold down the Option key to select the external drive as the boot drive, and I’d be on my way.
But, as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
The Mac Pro started up, but the fans revved up to full speed, and stayed there, maxed out. If you’ve not heard a Mac Pro with fans at full-tilt, you’ve not heard a noisy computer. It’s hard to talk over what sounds like a small jet engine in your study.
Clearly, this was not right. A reboot didn’t change anything. Booting off the factory-installed drive did nothing. I went through the entire setup procedure, just in case. No dice. I did a clean installation to no avail. All the fans still ran at full speed.
At this point, I used my MacBook Pro to explore the Apple Knowledge Base for articles on Mac Pro fans. I found several that had various troubleshooting techniques involving resetting the SMC chip (Systems Management Controller). Nothing worked. Google turned up nothing that helped.
It’s now about 3 P.M. on Sunday afternoon. I called the Tucson Apple Store, and after a short wait, spoke with the Genius on duty. I told him the machine left his store about one hour ago, had a bad case of “fans gone wild” and I had followed the procedures in the various Apple Knowledge Base files.
He had me redo one of them, and concluded there was a problem. He was kind enough to transfer me right then and there to Level 1 AppleCare Support. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that AppleCare was open on Sunday afternoon, but hey, it’s starting to look like paying the Apple tax has some benefits. After 30 minutes with Level 1, the agent escalates me to Level 2.
I repeated my tale of woe, and the agent asked some more questions about what I did and in what order. Soon he said, “yes, that fan behavior is not right, and it looks like a hardware fault.”
I asked him if I can just go back to the Apple Store up the street, and exchange it for a new one. He checked the serial number, and says that since I bought it that day, he’d authorize an exchange. “Normally, we’d do this as a repair, but this machine is brand-new, so we’ll just swap it out.”
By this time, it was minutes before store closing time, and I couldn’t get back in time. Mr. Level 2 called the store, and made arrangements for me to do the swap first thing the next day.
Monday at 10:00 A.M., I dragged the box bearing the bad computer into the store right after opening, planning on spending an hour or more waiting around. I was more than a little surprised to find the Genius expecting me. He had all the details, and the swap was already approved by the Powers That Be. A new Mac Pro Quad-Core was in my hands in five minutes, and I was out of the store in ten.
The new Quad worked perfectly from the first moment I powered it up, and has been trouble-free ever since.
Walking out of the store, I thought to myself “THIS is how computer warranty support ought to work!”
Apple warranty service may not always get it right, but it certainly did this time.