Just as we approach the tail-end of Intel's Sandy Bridge snafu, now we're hearing about trouble brewing in Cupertino. It's too early to say if there's a defect in the new MacBook Pro models, but a growing list of complaints from users experiencing hard freezes is growing cause for concern. A support thread on Apple's forums already spans dozens of pages.
Feel free to wade through the entire thread if you have a lunch break or three to kill, or trust that MBP-Freeze did a good enough job for you. According to MBP-Freeze, which made "an attempt to distill the information found in" the Apple support thread, the problem appears to affect 2011 MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with both integrated Intel and AMD graphics hardware. That means if you own a 13-inch MacBook Pro, you're probably in the clear.
The problem is that "the notebook freezes or becomes unresponsive to input when under a heavy load." Strangely enough, this doesn't appear to have anything to do with overheating, as "many have reported freezing at very low temperatures as measured by internal sensors and when the machine is cool to the touch."
One user claims he was able to reproduce the problem on every machine at his local Apple Store, while others have reported equally widespread issues, including one user who purchased three MacBook Pros from three separate locations, each of which supposedly freezes.