×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MacBook Pro Reviewed

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the where-is-our-review-copy dept.

336

phaedo00 writes "Ars Technica has an in-depth review of the MacBook Pro that compares performance with a Dell Inspiron running a hacked version of OS X 10.4.4: 'Yes, you read that right. We at the Orbiting HQ were able to have some benchmarks run on an acquaintance's Dell Inspiron 9100 with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 HT chip running OS X 10.4.4, and decided that including the benchmarks from this machine would prove to be both interesting if not illustrative of what non-Apple x86 machines may be capable of if they could run Mac OS X (legally). Please keep in mind that the data from the Dell laptop is for illustrative purposes only and that no one at the Ars Orbiting HQ hacked a machine. As David Letterman says, this is not a competition. No wagering.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

336 comments

Oops! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834508)

I just FP'd!

NY Times Review (5, Informative)

nervouscat (597962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834516)

David Pogue has his review of the new Apple MacBook Pro in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/02/technology/circu its/02pogue.html [nytimes.com]

"Insightful"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834926)

Mods should learn the difference between Insightful, Informative, and Interesting. Or if there isn't any difference, why bother with the distinction at all? Perhaps it should just be thumbs up and thumbs down, if we're too stupid collectively to care.

Fat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834519)

Looks fat to me.

Running OS X on beige boxes.. (0, Offtopic)

slart42 (694765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834527)

One thing i don't understand about hacking OS X to run on beige boxes is:

wouldn't it be simpler to try to run it on a Virtual machine?
ie, make the computer boot Mac OS X, instead of making Mac OS X boot on the computer (and re-thinking your hack for every update of OS X).

Re:Running OS X on beige boxes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834556)

Most (All?) VM software has extremely poor video emulation. Running MacOS X on unaccelerated SVGA pretty much defeats the point of using it.

Re:Running OS X on beige boxes.. (1)

slart42 (694765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834590)

Most (All?) VM software has extremely poor video emulation. Running MacOS X on unaccelerated SVGA pretty much defeats the point of using it.

Well.. good point. But the same goes for most beige boxes without OS X driver support for accelerated video hardware.

Re:Running OS X on beige boxes.. (1)

MrPeavs (890124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834670)

Though, in theory, that could be fixed.

Since OS X is *nix based and can run *nix code. We may see more "hacking" to increase performance for video in OS X.

VM is a great solution, but it really depends how you plan to use OS X. If you need all the power you can get, then running it natively, with out VM software is the only option. Though I guess that raises the arguement of why not buy a Apple? Which is a valid point, but for someone like me that has a descent system. I really don't want to drop another chunk of cash when what I have will already work. Also, some people may not want to use Apple hardware, they may like the look or feel of another desktop or laptop.

Though, unless Apple releases a version of OS X that will run on a non Apple PC with out hacking it. I think people running OS X on their non Apples will mostly be limited to the techie type and/or people just running it to run it. We wouldn't see much of average Joe with their new Dell or Toshiba laptop, going through the processes of running a hacked version of OS X.

I may give it a try just to say that I did, but I don't see me keeping it around much. I will stick to my linux, I get more out of it than I could ever with OS X.

Re:Running OS X on beige boxes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835195)

If you need all the power you can get, you won't use MacOS X.

Re:Running OS X on beige boxes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834693)

Most "beige boxes" ship with Intel integrated video, which is well supported by OSX.

Head to head against Winders and *nix (4, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834532)

Another side effect of Apple switching to Intel chippies will be the increased number of comparisons of common apps (both functional and specific packages) across OS's. Before, it was always a bit sketchy comparing Win/*nix apps against OSX apps due to hardware differences. Now that the hardware is starting to become more "common", direct comparisions will take on more meaning.

Whether this is good or bad for Apple, we shall see.

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (1)

MrPeavs (890124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834684)

That and those poor people that ran a Apple computer with OS X should now be able to run MythTV.

I have a friend that has been bitching about the state of MythTV and PPC. I kept telling him, buy a cheap PC, but he just won't budge. I guess now, he doesn't have to.

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835332)

That was my plan since Tuesday (or whenever they announced the Intel MacMini). Now I can have a good, small form-factor box with DVI output to connect to my TV. And because it's an Intel processor now, I can have a reliable mythfrontend (hopefully).

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834757)

Apple and innovation?

Apple is regarded by its supporters to be an innovative [macsimumnews.com] and forward looking company. They claim Apple invented most things from the GUI to Desktop publishing. Almost always the supporters make the innovation claims with restrictions like "in the field of personal computing", "over the entire product line", "affordable solution" or "as a standard feature". They also like to blur your vision when equaling "popularized" and "introducing" with "inventing". Apple supporters always maximizes the importance of Apples involvement in an innovation (even if it's very slim) and at the same time downplay any other companies involvement.

Case in point "USB":
When the supporters speak about how innovative Apple is they talk about how iMac was the first computer utilizing USB. This is arguable, but if you tell them they counterattack with something like "over the entire product line". And now they are correct. In reality Apple had absolutely nothing to do with the technical creation of USB. Intel invented USB as an answer to Apples pay-per-port licensing of firewire. Apple was one of the first companies to use USB but strictly (or not so strictly) speaking that isn't innovation. They just used an of the shelf product that where developed on the PC market.

The same can be said for a lot of products Apple supporters claim Apple invented, of course with "additional restrictions" (see above). Some of these innovations are: Audio, SCSI, Ethernet, long file names and Floppy drives. In reality Apple invented none of those products.

A nice place for looking at these "innovations" is an older wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] describing the Macintosh on which of course Mac users gone totally mad in describing the Macintosh as a very innovative platform. Almost all of claimed innovations are in fact just off the shelf parts licensed from other companies or already old products used in a slightly different manner by Apple. The wikipedia page has since been revised and is now more in line with what Macintosh actually brought to the table of computing.

It is however true that Apple are fast at picking up new technologies invented outside Apple and as a result the Macintosh is a faster evolving platform than the PC. This is a design decision made by Apple to keep the Macintosh computer interesting and "fresh". This however has some lowdowns. Every five year or so the Macintosh developers and users have to adapt to a completely new platform or a new operation system (68k->PPC, legacy Mac OS->OS X, PPC->x86, soon x86->x86-64). In the PC world this would be suicide, too much money are tied up in legacy technologies. Macintosh are mostly used by home users and small companies who don't need a homogenous environment, or have so few computers and programs they can invest in new technology every so often. The PC platform is used by everybody, small and large. It would be almost impossible to "twist and turn" the Apple way. Intel tried to introduce Itanuium for 64bit computing but in the end had to back down to a backward compatible x86 solution.

Conclusion:
All things considered, when the dust has settled. After decades of innovation and jumping between CPU families and platforms the Macintosh has transformed into nothing less than an ordinary PC, at least in hardware and mostly in software. Linux x86 booted within a month of the x86 Macintosh release using the standard EFI bootloader and Gentoo Linux distribution. Windows vista will probably boot out of the box on the Macintosh without Microsoft putting any effort in testing on the platform. On all important fronts the innovation by Apple has been nothing short of a straight copy of the PC platform. On the software side half of Apples operating system is also of the shelf available parts from different open source projects. Modern Macintosh is basically a proprietary GUI over standard open source components, running on PC hardware. The difference between Macintosh and the PC has been shrinking over the years and now they are VERY close. It's entirely possible Apple will abandon what's left of the Macintosh and go total PC, hardware and software. This isn't innovation and never has been.

Think different? No it looks like you are thinking exactly the same. Only later than everybody else.

/ttfn
iPod is UNIX

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834788)

No one cares.

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835263)

*BSD is dying....

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834762)

> Before, it was always a bit sketchy comparing Win/*nix apps against OSX apps due to hardware differences.

Linux works fine on PowerPC!

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834787)

Ah yes, but you see....

us Macheads will undoubtably...regardless of the good or bad outcome, begin touting the usability or our most Superior OS. Now that the hardware is on an even footing we can really begin looking at the software differences, which of course is the real issue of note.

We'll complain that Adobe is shorting us on performance if the Win version is faster that the X version on the same hardware specs.

We'll crow about the OS performance if the X version is faster than the Win....

We'll tell you how in real world use, X is more efficient and we get more done, even if our system doesn't measure up in the *marks.

In short, Windows will still have Games and Macheads will buy Xboxen or PS3s and doff their caps saying "I bought a game system to play games, my Mac is for 'productivity' and 'creativity'" and who amongst the Windows crowd will be able to respond?

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834880)

In short, Windows will still have Games and Macheads will buy Xboxen or PS3s and doff their caps saying "I bought a game system to play games, my Mac is for 'productivity' and 'creativity'" and who amongst the Windows crowd will be able to respond?

I will. My response will be: "I bought a Windows PC for productivity and creativity, and for the same price as a decent Mac I got a computer that plays games too, so I didn't need to fork out for a $500 PS3 as well."

And all the Mac user will be able to do is waffle on about "security" (a valid point, if you're an idiot living in 1995, but a sensible user in 2006 is as safe in Windows as in OS X, now that the major threats all rely on social engineering) and "eye candy" (as though I care what the little frames round the edge of my screen look like, when I'm trying to do important work in the middle of it).

Tell you what, how about we agree to differ? You like Macs. I find that Windows + Linux gets the job done for me. Different folks, different strokes.

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834907)

Windows + Linux, bah. You don't have the nice vendor lock-in, uhm... integration we Mac users have.

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834833)

Indeed,

Depending on what use you have for your laptop, the G4, Macbook or Dell all have slight advantages over each other.

Frankly, I'm quite surprised that it appears that the Dell was the best choice for the consumer who wants to encode quicktime.

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (2, Informative)

fyonn (115426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835205)

Frankly, I'm quite surprised that it appears that the Dell was the best choice for the consumer who wants to encode quicktime.

to be fair, quicktime encoding is a CPU intensive operation, and the dell laptop had over a Gig of processor power over the macbook. perhaps osx wasn't taking adsvantage of the HT on the dell, but even so, that's a formiddable lead and I'm quite surprised the macbook kept up so well.

I bet the macbook is alot thinner too.

dave

if we could get them to compare similar hardware (2, Insightful)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834892)

This test obviously doesn't. It looks to me like they just picked up a laptop they had laying around to try. Like someone said (further down the page) this feels more like a "look at my new toy!" than it does a real comparison. Its a decent review of the item in question I guess. But single core vs. dual core isn't exactly an even comparison, especially on software that was designed to take advantage of it. Someone drag up a windows machine with similar hardware and then I'll be interested.

Not necessarily (1)

RetiredMidn (441788) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835039)

Before, it was always a bit sketchy comparing Win/*nix apps against OSX apps due to hardware differences. Now that the hardware is starting to become more "common", direct comparisions will take on more meaning.

Maybe the instruction set differences have been eliminated, but apps on different platforms will differ significantly in terms of how they employ the native API. I would expect an application originally written for one platform and ported to the other to suffer a penalty in performance, features, or both on its non-native platform.

Applications written using platform-neutral toolkits will be dependent on the local implementation of the toolkit.

What's more relevant? How Excel on Windows compares to Excel on OS X? [I expect a disadvantage for OS X here.] Or PowerPoint on Windows vs. Keynote on OS X? [Or is this oranges and apples?]

Re:Head to head against Winders and *nix (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835065)

Before, it was always a bit sketchy comparing Win/*nix apps against OSX apps due to hardware differences. Now that the hardware is starting to become more "common", direct comparisions will take on more meaning.

What? If it takes 20 seconds to do something on one OS/computer combination, and 10 seconds to do the same thing on another OS/computer combination, what is so difficult to compare?

I regularly do benchmarks across different OSes, hardware, and compilers. I've always assumed that the lowest numbers were better. Am I doing my job wrong?

Hee. (4, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834547)

From the second page of the article:
Speaking of bedrooms, and not in the least bit tongue-in-cheek, I can see the built-in iSight as a new and even easier means for amateur, uh... adult photos... to be taken and sent around the Internet. I, for one, welcome our new Pr0nCam overlords. Okay, not really.

*sniff* It's like the reviewer was my long lost sibling!.

Re:Hee. (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834624)

Apple should bring out $49 pieces of stylish tape to cover the iSight for those that don't want the thing staring at them all the time.

Re:Hee. (5, Funny)

Coming soon! (767296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834654)

iPatch, couldn't resist...

Re:Hee. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835299)

Dear Apple Computer,
We are sorry to inform you that iPatch and iPatchWindows have been trademarked. Please contact Microsoft if you would like to license the brand name.

Sincerely yours,
Bob
USPTO

Re:Hee. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835174)

I am not sure if your noticed it or not. But in a lot of comericals they show a person who is using a Powerbook and they have a Duct-Tape Covering the Apple Logo. And what is worse a lot of the time their Product doesn't work for the Mac. or you go to the Web Site and it doesnt support Safari.

Re:Hee. (1)

camt (162536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835218)

That's because most companies just use stock photos (which almost invariably include Powerbooks with the Apple logo edited out) with their product screenshots pasted onto the screen.

Re:Hee. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834999)

iCamelToe?

Hmmm... (2, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834554)

Looks like they still have some bugs to work out, as the PowerBook G4 still outperforms the MacBook in some of the benchmarks [arstechnica.com] .

Re:Hmmm... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834657)

As a side note, it would have been interesting to see how a PowerMac w/dual 2.5 GHz G5's stacks up in comparison.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834698)

As a side-side note, I found the benchmarks for the PowerMac dual 2.5 GHz G5's here [arstechnica.com] , in a review for the iMac Core Duo.

Even Steven (1)

Rickler (894262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834563)

What's the point of comparing it against an older laptop with a watt hungry Intel P4 desktop CPU? Are these Apple guys not comparing the MacBook Pro against the i9400 because it might be able to put the Pro to shame? Or perhaps they just can't afford another new laptop after their recent purchase from Apple.

Re:Even Steven (2, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834885)

Um no, it was because that was what they had on hand and they SAID it was only being done cause they had that laptop on hand having already been hacked and that they never did the hacking.

And as it was, the Dell did beat them barely in a few tests, it was just a shit and giggles example, NOT a lets prove the Macbook is better, cause for one thing the Dell would always be fighting with one arm tied behind it thanks to the fact you DO have to hack OS X to work on it.

battery life (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834569)

If the battery life is 3.5 hrs on a powerbook, sorry, macbook pro, it should be quite a bit more for the iBook. (if the iBook only has a single core CPU.)
I'm a big fan of ibooks, as they make awesome everyday-use machines.

Re:battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834878)

If the battery life is 3.5 hrs on a powerbook, sorry, macbook pro, it should be quite a bit more for the iBook.

It was only 3.5 hours in the reviewers very limited and shallow testing. Only 3 trials, and from 100% to 0% every time. With out a proper charge cycle beforehand? Nobody runs the battery from 100% charge to 0% charge every single time they use it. Nor should they, as that's among the worst things you can do in the long run. People just don't seem to understand that batteries are highly variable devices.

I suspect you can get another hour of life with proper use.

the question is... (0, Offtopic)

xutopia (469129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834576)

does it run World of Warcraft nicely?

Re:the question is... (1)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834653)

My old 15" iMac (700MHz/768MB) could run World of Warcraft nicely, except in lagforge and rarely in orgrimmar. I suspect the macbook pro won't even blink.

Re:the question is... (1)

Abit667 (745465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834820)

Even the highend PPC machines never did too well in WoW against similar PCs, although they updated WoW to a universal binary and it runs A LOT better on the Intel Macs. The iMacs run it without a problem and everything turned up, I suspect the powerbook will be the same way.

More data on battery life needed (1)

asliarun (636603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834583)

I'm curious to know why the battery life benchmarks given in the review are so low. According to the reviewer, 3.5 hrs. seems to be the highest figure, while my guesstimate would have been a good hour more. I'm fairly sure that it's not Core Duo (Yonah) that's at fault here, because the new Napa platform is supposed to be more efficient than its predecessor. Nor could it be the USB bug because AFAIK, it's happening because of an MS driver bug (it doesn't allow the CPU to reach the deeper-sleep state because it keeps polling). Is it the brighter display that's sapping up the power? Or is the current avatar of OSX not optimized on the new platform yet?

Furthermore, i think the benchmarks could have been more thorough, especially considering that it's hosted on ars. Anandtech does an excellent job in this department, IMO. This review came across as an easy-reading article, not a technical review.

Re:More data on battery life needed (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834678)

It is a first-generation version of an Apple product, they always have limitations. Look at the battery life difference between 1G and 2G iPod minis, for example.
Personally, I'm going to wait for the second generation Mactels, presumably released Q4 06 or Q1 07.

Re:More data on battery life needed (1)

pboulang (16954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834830)

It was also real world testing, not even with "best power savings" mode enabled.

Re:More data on battery life needed (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835104)

According to the reviewer, 3.5 hrs. seems to be the highest figure,

Indeed. 3.5 hours was the highest among 3 tests. That graph is especially misleading -- why show 3 values, highest, lowest, and average, when you only ran 3 tests?

That said, while you might get an full hour turning everything off, I don't think I would expect the average to be that much higher. Yonah is relatively low power, but it's not magic. The biggest factor in battery life is still going to be the size of the battery, which on the MacBook Pro is not particularly large.

I'm amazed that they are still selling the 15in PB (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834587)

The MacBook Pro looks great, and it is amazing that they still sell the Powerbook 15inch at the same price as the MacBook Pro- and the MacBook Pro has a better configuration at the same price. If you think I'm lying about them still selling the 15inch powerbook, then look here- Apple China Store [apple.com.cn] . But, the site makes no mention of how well apps perform under Rosetta compared to native PPC operation.

Re:I'm amazed that they are still selling the 15in (1)

slart42 (694765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834638)

The MacBook Pro looks great, and it is amazing that they still sell the Powerbook 15inch at the same price as the MacBook Pro- and the MacBook Pro has a better configuration at the same price.

I could imaginge that lot's of specialized software (such as professional audio/video editing stuff) doesn't yet work properly on the intel macs, so there's still a market for G4 Powerbooks.

Plus, would you rather buy something called "Powerbook", or "MacBook Pro"??

no more 15 (1)

engagebot (941678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835171)

Actually, there is no more Powerbook 15. It's been removed from the online store for about a week. They have refurbs and whatnot still available, but no new ones directly from Apple.

just wait ... (1)

brenddie (897982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834600)

Apple has an issue about their OS being hacked but now their official product is compared against a hacked version that performs equeally or better. This is gonna get insteresting as some people stated there was no real reason to hack it besides curiosity but I think PERFORMANCE is a good reason to try it.

Did anyone notice? (2)

Markvs (17298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834643)

1) That the Dell is non-natively beating up on the G4, and is nearly the same as the Mac?

2) The Dell is hobbled with a 4200rpm hard drive. Imagine if they'd used the same speed, or even a 5400! :-)

Re:Did anyone notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834800)

You are just noticing now that G4s are grossly obsolete? That CPU hasn't been competitive since the Pentium-Ms came out in 2002.

I am sticking with linux... (2, Interesting)

michalf (849657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834655)

after reading the article (and many others) now I am sure I am sticking with linux. after a few days of hasitation (I have tried macosx in vmware-player) and reading these hardware reviews I finally ordered a turion-based notebook.

sorry apple - maybe for my mom, not for me. not this time.

Re:I am sticking with linux... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834738)

after reading the article (and many others) now I am sure I am sticking with linux. after a few days of hasitation[sic] (I have tried macosx in vmware-player) and reading these hardware reviews I finally ordered a turion-based notebook.

One of the nicer features of OS X that has not been pulled into other OSs (as far as I know) is the system level services. These allow all applications that use the standard APIs (oversimplification) to perform common operations. For example, you can use the same spellchecker with the vast majority of programs that manipulate text, even programs that were designed without any consideration of using a spellchecker. This makes it easy to avoid words like "hasitation."

But I'm sure you know the relative merits of the OSs if you ran MacOS X in a vmware-player. If you ran it in a vmware-player. If you did you should probably let people know since the guys at VMWare had not managed it the last time I queried them.

Finally, why did you order a Turion based laptop? OSs aside, it seems to be getting beaten down by the Intel Core duo. Why not wait till the end of the year when AMD releases their new laptop chips that should not only do as well, but probably better?

Re:I am sticking with linux... (1)

michalf (849657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835113)

I have to buy a new notebook _now_ so that is the problem. so the choice is limited to: intel centrino duo, turion and macbook pro. my decision is to buy a turion-based notebook now (not very expensive, msi s270 costs ~1200$) and possibly buy another one when dual-core turion appears and linux succesfully runs on it.

I know macosx is claimed a heaven for programmers. linux is not since the diversity of libs. my needs however are very specific and limited (eclipse + java + php + apache + postgresql + some-other-software). I need 64bit. I need a notebook with weight 2kg. gentoo on amd64 is blazingly fast. that is all ;-)

best regards - michal

Re:I am sticking with linux... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835115)

No one gives a flying fuck.

good review... (2, Interesting)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834675)

Mine showed up Monday. Thoughts from a mac os x beginner:

1. the screen does have some flicker on very dim settings as noted. The auto adjust for room brightness is also a bit too sensitive - an aspiring os x hacker might want to see if an app could be written to make it less real time - use a rolling x seconds average of brightness? It is a very nice screen all in all, though.
2. the power brick's connector goes green when plugged in to the laptop, and then the light goes brown. This isn't very intuitive.
3. The blinding white led near the lid latch oscillates in brightness when the machine is in sleep. Did I mention how blinding it is?

Been trying to see if I can get it to vpn to a watchguard with free add ons - no such luck yet (anyone have a racoon conf for that?). Office 2004 took what seemed to be a long time to install, but installed without incident - I have only used remote desktop so far. This weekend I am going to play with the encrypted home directory stuff, and see what I can cook up to have my home directory sync with my active directory home dir.

Re:good review... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14834731)

green means the power is in, orange means it's charging. Very intuative.

Re:good review... (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834817)

"The blinding white led near the lid latch oscillates in brightness when the machine is in sleep"

It's breathing deeply. You're lucky it doesn't snore.

Re:good review... (2, Informative)

avalys (221114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835137)

2. the power brick's connector goes green when plugged in to the laptop, and then the light goes brown. This isn't very intuitive.

The light is green when the battery is fully charged, and orange/brown when it is charging.

It takes a few seconds to begin charging the battery, I guess.

lessons or ergonomic perfection (1)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835224)

the power brick's connector goes green when plugged in to the laptop, and then the light goes brown. This isn't very intuitive.

It's funny that you should say this, because that function is nearly perfect otherwise. As noted, green when charged, amber when charging. I've had to use other laptops which do not have this feature, and it's missed.

On the other hand, as the saying goes, it's the stone in your sandal which bugs you, and not the mountain you're climbing.

I'm not an electrical engineer, so I dunno why the light defaults to green. If the light could be programmed to default to anything, it should default to amber, and once it's figured out the battery is charged, default to green.

I'm not sure what it would take for that to occur. I wouldn't call this problem "unintuitive." I hesitate to call it sloppy, since it's so well designed otherwise.

Knowing Apple, it's probably some type of unfortunate compromise (the expense and complexity of getting a default to amber would not have been justifiable.) And yet, as you work with something that's been expertly crafted, it's minor failures seem more significant.

Not a typical Ars review (4, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834702)

I do not mean any offence to Jacqui Cheng, but with the (notable) exception of the Dell comparison, this review was shallow at best. When I surf Ars I typically expect the nitty-gritty Hannibal type review, and instead we more or less have a completely mundane blog entry about someone's new toy. The writing style is all wrong for that site.

Re:Not a typical Ars review (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835108)

Meh. Seemed about par. I didn't notice the name, and just assumed it was one of the guys writing until I saw the PhotoBooth picture. Mighta been nice if they'd a run it over though.

If you use Xcode, you want one of these (4, Informative)

macrom (537566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834733)

I just got back from the Apple Compatibility Labs in Cupertino, and I was able to put my code on a MacBook Pro to do some build comparisons. On my current PowerBook G4, with a 7200 RPM drive, 1 GB RAM and a 1.67 G4, it takes about 20-25 minutes to do a full Release rebuild of my code (Universal Binary). It took around 5 on the MacBook Pro. Thank God my boss was with me to help test because that's the easiest convincing that I need a new laptop I ever done.

Bottom line : if you're a developer and you have long compile times on your code (AND you have the need/desire to be mobile), you NEED one of these machines.

Re:If you use Xcode, you want one of these (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835133)

Does the Intel version of XCode use the Intel compiler?

Re:If you use Xcode, you want one of these (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835347)

This just raised an interesting question that I hadn't thought about before...

When you compile an ap in xcode as a universal binary, how does a PPC chip compile code for x86 and vice versa?

What is the time difference if you compile your project on the PowerBook as PPC only?

Slight Correction (3, Interesting)

duplo1 (719988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834747)

The reviewer states, "It is important to note, however, that there is a "Better Performance" option under the battery life menu which, undoubtedly, maximizes the battery life in every way that the computer can..."

Actually "Better Performance" means the opposite, as it disables most if not all power saving options. "Better Energy Savings" will give the user longer battery life at the expense of performance. I find most applications almost unusable at that setting and tend to run under the "Normal" setting when I need to get work done. The better savings option is good for movies and checking email.

Best new MBP feature ... the screen! (3, Interesting)

newdamage (753043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834752)

I got my new 1.83 ghz MBP on Monday, and am upgrading from a 1ghz G4 iBook circa Apr '04.

Okay, the increased performance is awesome. Really, things are just quicker all around.

But the biggest improvement...

The screen. Oh my. It's wonderful. It makes the 12" iBook screen look like it might be broken because of how much brighter the new MBP screens are. It's amazing. It actually may be nicer than my external 17" LCD screen. It makes working away from home positively enjoyable. Really, the screen alone makes the upgrade worthwhile.

More on the Dell? (1)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834772)

I would have liked a little more context on the Dell running OS X vs. the MacBook Pro, like general impressions rather than straight up numbers, but this was a great review. MagSafe sounds like kind of a bummer, at least for now. For people who need one now, this sounds like a great machine, but it really convinced me, who has a perfectly working dual G5 and giant monitor at home, that my need for a portable isn't *that* pressing. I'm eagerly awaiting the next revision, which hopefully will fix the MagSafe issues and, with any luck, restore those 60 vertical pixels they decided to chop from the display.

Re:More on the Dell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835086)

I'm eagerly awaiting the next revision, which hopefully will fix the MagSafe issues and, with any luck, restore those 60 vertical pixels they decided to chop from the display.

The only MagSafe "issue" was when trying to use the power cable in places where you don't need it. If you're lying in bed, use the friggin' battery.

Also, the "60 pixels" were chopped so that all of Apple's widescreen displays would have a 1.6 aspect ratio. They aren't going to add them back. Expect the next iBook to have a 1.6 display as well. Then all of Apple's displays will be widescreen and the same ratio, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to design interfaces.

I'll wait for (1)

astroblaster (600838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834786)

A true comparison: this should have been tried on a non-Apple Core Duo laptop running OS X. Core Duo is available from the likes of several OEM retailers in plain old Socket 478 variation, and on a variety of PC laptops with similar intel chipsets and graphics.

What about the noise? (3, Interesting)

iion_tichy (643234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834794)

The main thing that interests me is the noise. How loud are the fans? I have already heard several bad things about the MacBook: display emits a humming, notebook emits a humming if cpu is idle (apparently known from earlier apple hardware, too), fans spinning very often. Is anybody able to comment on that?

Re:What about the noise? (1)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834883)

A laptop with a fans in it? I've never heard of that before. I don't think my iBook G4 has any fans. In fact I didn't even know that the iMac G5 or the current iMacs had any fans. Or the Mac Minis...?

Re:What about the noise? (2, Funny)

iion_tichy (643234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834954)

Don't know about the iBook G4, but all the other machines you mention have fans in them. Or do you mean fan as in "worshipper"?

Re:What about the noise? (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835026)

I'm pretty sure every Mac ever built, at least since the original all-in-one case design died out, and IIRC the Cube, and probably a couple more along the way I've forgotten, has had a built-in fan. This includes all PowerBooks, all iBooks, the iMac G5 and the current iMac. The fan only spins up, however, once the internal temperature hits a certain threshold, which is probably why you haven't noticed it's there. My Rev. A 12" PowerBook fan runs pretty much constantly. :-(

Re:What about the noise? (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835236)

The fan only spins up, however, once the internal temperature hits a certain threshold, which is probably why you haven't noticed it's there. My Rev. A 12" PowerBook fan runs pretty much constantly.

No longer! Download Silent Night [versiontracker.com] , and use Pacifist [charlessoft.com] to install it. Then reset the PRAM by holding CMD-Opt-P-R when booting until it chimes twice.

Silent Night is just a package containing the original fan drivers for the Rev. A 12" PowerBook. The only real difference is the fan-on/fan-off temperatures, which are significantly higher than the existing drivers. Unfortunately, installing the package alone never seems to work, but using Pacifist does. Resetting the PRAM seems to be necessary, too, though I couldn't explain why.

I've been using this method ever since the update that changed the fan temperatures, without any trouble. The case does get much warmer, of course, but unless you're constantly running a full load, it's unlikely to get unbearably hot.

Re:What about the noise? (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835248)

The G3 laptops had fans in them. The G5 iMac has several (5?). Most laptops have at least one fan to cool the processor.

I dont see a lot here (2, Insightful)

soloes (415223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834925)

I hope Im not offending anybody, but that review was lacking in substance. Even the dell comparisons are not explained. just some graphs with no explanation of what the test methodology was.

Now all we need is a company that stands behind it (2, Interesting)

expro (597113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834968)

As owner of a G4 PowerBook, AppleCare does not happily repair the many defects discovered during the warranty periods of their hardware.

The list of defective parts is long, and there are some things broken by simple use that they refuse to fix under warranty.

Every user experience is different, but it makes me sad I encouraged our research project to use a lot of Apple hardware from XServers to powerbooks and desktops.

The result with generic hardware (which I have used often in the past) or Dell hardware would have cost less and hardly could have been worse from a support or defect perspective. How is switching to a new CPU going to affect the basic experience that Apple really sucks as a hardware producer and as a support company.

Re:Now all we need is a company that stands behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835312)

I agree. I am a longtime user of IBM (Lenovo) notebooks and those things are tanks. Mine have gone through inumerable metal detectors, I've dropped the bag they're in, etc. No problems at all. This summer, I bought my daughter a 12" iBook for school, and it already needs a $150 repair for a bracket not covered under warranty. She loves the computer and takes good care of it, but it's ridiculous that a new machine should need repairs so soon.

You know what would be nice? (1)

mapmaker (140036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14834981)

An article summary that summarized the article. Like, for instance, how did they compare?

Heat (2, Interesting)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835047)

How's the heat dissipation on these things? Everybody talks about performance, but nobody is talking about heat. Will it cook my legs and sterilize me or not?

Bryan

Re:Heat (1)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835328)

It got hot sitting on a blanket on my bed, while it was not doing anything profound. I tried a temperature monitoring app I found, but it did not pick up any sensors on the macbook.

Mac fanboy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835084)

[...]the level of backlight behind the keys of the keyboard.
For the longest time, this was the single most exciting thing about the prospect of getting a new PowerBook for me [...]


What kind of shit is that ? That guy gets excited only about some fucking backlights ? Man, get a life dude !

I am in love (0, Offtopic)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835119)

If the picture of the women in the photo booth demo is the reviewer, the damn she is CUTE!!!.

Hello from my bedroom, where all the magic happens.

I, for one, welcome our new Pr0nCam overlords.

I love where her mind is. If she is reading this, my name is Hank. I love long walks on the beach. I am into exercising, science, and computers. Though I am geek, I am considered cool amongst other geeks. Also, I am tall, dark, and handsome.

PS: The review was great- so in depth.

Automatic transfer data (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835130)

nd then asked if I'd like to transfer my data from another Mac.
 
Ok, this bit has almost sold me. No wonder everybody loves the mac, what a beautifully designed machine. And what do we get from Microsoft to compare to this??

As a linux user on Mac. (1)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835274)

The performance difference between "consumer" laptops as dell and top-noch laptop as mac, the comparsion ends to price and hardware compatibility.

I cannot whine about Linux drivers support on MAC, I even have the modem working, most things that linux con laptop never works...

And ofcourse, the "coolness factor"... but, I think that the other laptops manufacturers will jump to the coolness factor...

Lets se... But for now. No new macbook for me...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...