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rstroud

MacBook Pro review

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Well, I took the plunge and got a MacBook Pro. I took advantage of CompUSA’s 48 months no interest on purchases $1999 or more. Suffice to say, I couldn’t leave the store without it. Now, I sit typing on my shiny new Mac. Here are the specs:

 

15.4” MacBook Pro 1.83 Ghz Intel Core Duo

512mb 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM

ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 128mb

80GB Hard Disk (Seagate)

Slot Loading SuperDrive (Matshita)

iSight

Front Row with Apple Remote

 

Now, I’ll break it down by area. I’ve had it long enough to give a summary about this thing.

 

Speed: I played with it in the Apple Store and noticed that it was fast, but I’m impressed with the speed of this machine. I only have 512mb of RAM and I can’t tell you how incredible this machine is. Of course, Safari renders webpages almost instantly, even if I only have a DSL connection. iPhoto renders images quickly, and even when using effects, adjustments, and enhancements. Blows my iBook away. Even Microsoft Word 2004 runs smoothly (and once again, better than my iBook) under Rosetta. The GUI is faster, windows render quickly and menus no longer take time to open. Hard disk access is blazing. Mind you, I’m stepping up from a PATA 4200 RPM disk, so I’m impressed with the speed.

 

Rosetta: Given that I only have 512mb of RAM at the moment, Rosetta runs beautifully. I notice a bit of a slowdown when I have three or more documents under Word running. NetNewsWire Lite tends to run a tad slower than I would think, but given that it is a PPC app, I don’t feel so bad. Most apps I use are Universal anyway. I wonder if I will see a benefit when I upgrade to 1gig of ram.

 

Screen: Holy cow, this thing is BRIGHT. Blinding is more like it. Going from a 12” screen is shocking. I can’t believe how much bigger it is and how much I can fit on the screen. DVDs look gorgeous on this thing, as well as fullscreen videos. It’s currently dead-pixel free and is a huge improvement over the last PowerBook. Didn’t even need calibration!

 

Build: Everything feels very solid. The new, wider trackpad is welcome. The actual machine itself looks gorgeous, and there were only a few minor scuffs which turned out to be some glue. There is a bit of a gap on each end of the screen when the lid is shut. A minor annoyance and doesn’t take away from the aesthetics. Keyboard is easy to type on and is a joy to use. It is very thin, 1” is impressive.

 

Battery life: Depends on the screen brightness, Bluetooth and Airport usage, and a host of other things. Depending on what I’m doing, it ranges from 3-4 hours. Not bad considering my iBook went 4 and a half. It’s something I can live with.

 

MagSafe: Very cool and yes, it does work like it’s supposed to. The power brick is significantly larger, but not too large. It does have the tendency to come out of you happen to pick up the machine and get the cord stuck on something. Great idea Apple!

 

iSight: I have loved playing with this thing. Photo Booth is addicting and once you start taking pictures, you can’t stop. I’ve taken 57 so far. I’m still waiting to test iChat using the iSight. iMovie also works with it, great if you’d like to do a video podcast or want to show someone how to do something and would like to email it to them.

 

Front Row: I debated the usefulness of this, but goodness it’s neat. I’m wanting to get an AirPort Express and a home stereo to get the most out of this. It would be great for vacations and for the times you’d just want to watch a movie by yourself. The supplied Apple Remote works well, but has some trouble picking up the signal sometimes. If you plan on using Front Row, go ahead and open up iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, or DVD Player because it will take some time to open in Front Row anyway.

 

Heat: Yeah, it gets hot sometimes. Right now I have it on my lap and it’s pretty comfortable. I’m running a backup app called BackityMac (great app by the way!), as well as Safari, iWeb, iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, and QuietMBP. The bottom is warm, but the area near the LCD is very hot. The wrist area is cool to the touch.

It did get hot when I used HandBrake to rip a movie last night.

 

iLife ’06: I stepped up from the ’04 version , so it’s a big improvement. iWeb is very nice and that’s what I’m using to do my write up. Nicely laid out and very easy to use. The .Mac advertisement when starting up is annoying, but I can live with it. iPhoto’s speed has improved, as well as it’s retouch options. I don’t know this for sure, but I think it has Core Image support which may explain it’s speed in rendering. iMovie I played with briefly, just made a movie of me goofing off with the iSight. I’m supposed to put together a movie about our school for the school board, so we’ll see how that goes. iDVD I haven’t got a chance to play with yet. GarageBand makes me want to start a podcast, it’s a great program. I spent some time last night playing with all the virtual instruments and trying to make a song. Awesome app.

 

Illuminated Keyboard: WOW! I didn’t realize how neat this feature is. If you’re sitting in the dark, it’s nice to see where things are. I don’t look down to type much, but it’s very nice.

 

Stability: Rock solid. You can tell OS X has been on Intel for a while. The speed increase is nice, but keeping the stability of Mac OSX is key. Nice job Apple.

 

Other Included Apps: OmniOutliner is a great app if you want to take notes, do a grocery list, or any other type of list. Handles them well. Show notes for a podcast would be excellent! iWork ’06 trial is fun...Keynote blows PowerPoint out of the water, definitely neat. I may purchase iWork just for this. Works well with an Apple Remote. Pages I’m not so impressed with, but give it some time and I think it will mature. QuickBooks is PPC native, but I haven’t really found a use for it yet. Maybe I’ll test it out sometime. Comic Life is really fun to use and play with. Make a comic book with your pictures about your life. Great concept.

?Universal Apps: So far, BackityMac, Cyberduck, Firefox, and HandBrake all work well with the Intel Core Duo. The native speed is impressive and I have not had any trouble with these apps. I guess apps written in xCode 2 are able to be ported easily.

 

Rants: Okay, I have the whine. It is REEAAAAAAALY annoying, but I have found a program called QuietMBP which keeps the processor from becoming idle (which is where you get the whine) and works like a charm. Waiting for Apple to fix this one.

 

Overall it’s a great machine. I need to get a sleeve to carry it in, some more ram, and maybe a bluetooth mouse. This machine will last me a long time and I’m happy with my purchase. I’ll be waiting to put XP on for now, I still have a tower machine to use. I’ll soon be rid of that though! I’d like to see Apple deal with the whine issue, but I can live with it for now. If you have thought about getting an Intel Mac: go for it. It’s a great investment and will last you for years to come!

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So did I, I preordered mine in the middle of february and I've had it since around 14th of march.

Rants: Okay, I have the whine. It is REEAAAAAAALY annoying, but I have found a program called QuietMBP which keeps the processor from becoming idle (which is where you get the whine) and works like a charm. Waiting for Apple to fix this one.  

 

There's a better program to deal with that called magicnoisekiller, google it.

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So did I, I preordered mine in the middle of february and I've had it since around 14th of march.
Rants: Okay, I have the whine. It is REEAAAAAAALY annoying, but I have found a program called QuietMBP which keeps the processor from becoming idle (which is where you get the whine) and works like a charm. Waiting for Apple to fix this one.  

 

There's a better program to deal with that called magicnoisekiller, google it.

Or you could enable CHUD and disable processor napping.

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That option is not available for the core duo. :x

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