January 14, 2007 ·
About 3 minutes
Since the Intel Macs were published, I had been planning to get one of them; I settled on getting an iMac 20" by next Summer (so that it'd carry Leopard "for free"). But last December I found a great offer on the MacBook Pro 15.4", being the total price similar to what I was planning to buy. Furthemore, going for the MacBook Pro instead of the iMac let me get rid of my iBook G4 and my desktop PC.
Now it has been a little over two weeks since I received the MacBook Pro 15.4", equiped with a Core 2 Duo at 2.16GHz and the 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB hard disk updates. It has been enough time to get a decent impression of the machine, so let me post a little review.
The laptop is great overall. It is fast, full of features and tiny details, and has an excelent look (highly subjective ;-). Compared to the iBook G4, which had a 12" 4:3 screen, this one is noticeable bigger (15.4" 16:10) but is thinner and weights almost the same. Sincerely I don't care too much because it was also replacing the desktop PC I had, so I really wanted to have a large resolution to work comfortably (plus a decent video card, only available in the Pro model).
As regards performance, the Core 2 Duo is certainly faster than the processors in the other machines. For example, the old PC needed between 5 to 6 hours to build a full NetBSD release, while the C2D takes less than 2 (1.45, if I recall correctly). Games also behave appropriately, even at the highest available resolution (1400x900). Unfortunately, the hard disk (which does 5400RPM "only") is a bottleneck for my typical development (or gaming) tasks, as I outlined in a previous post.
Somewhat related to the previous post, the hardware virtualization available in these new microprocessors is awesome. Anyone who deals with cross-development should consider getting one of them: it's impressive to see two (or more!) different operating systems working at the same time at native speeds.
Aside that, the machine is full of tiny details. You probably know most of them: the MagSafe connector, the keyboard's backlight, the integrated webcam and microphone or the Apple Remote. I kinda like this last item, although it does not shine as it could if it was in an iMac.
However it has its problems too. When the fans spin up, it becomes very noisy... and this happens as soon as you start building any piece of software or launch a game. On another order of things, I've been attempting to install Windows XP on a partition that is not at the end of the disk and haven't been successful, which means it is restricted to the slower part of the drive (a pity for games, specially). But well, not that I can blame Apple because Boot Camp is still beta.
Not much more I can say. These machines have been reviewed in depth all around already.