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Review - Apple's MacBook Pro

Roblimo posted about 8 years ago | from the living-proof-that-hardware-reviews-are-subjective dept.

108

Provataki writes "OSNews posted a 2-editor review of Apple's MacBook Pro laptop. The whole review feels like a long conversation between the two editors with agreements and disagreements on several issues and topics. They both agree that the laptop is too hot, but there is disagreement on the screen quality for example."

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108 comments

It's an Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15590088)

Who gives a shit?

Oh, yeah- First Post?

Speaker quality? (4, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | about 8 years ago | (#15590113)

TH: ...That's not unacceptable, but for a computer aimed at excellence in audio processing, this is a shortcoming, plain and simple.
No one who does audio processing on a computer uses the internal speakers, no matter what brand of computer it is.

That's just one of many misinformed statements TH makes about the machine.

Re:Speaker quality? (4, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590166)

No one who does audio processing on a computer uses the internal speakers, no matter what brand of computer it is.

No, not for production work, but it's nice to be able to get good audio quality out of the speakers. No one's expecting miracles, but it should be able to reproduce a normal range of sounds at a decent volume, without major distortion. My laptop, for example, completely ignores bass frequencies, and, if they're loud enough, they distort everything else and there's a little "gap" in the audio where the bass beat was. That is bad.

There are laptops with good sound quality--a friend of mine has the Dell Inspiron e1705, and it has pretty good sound. (It's a 17" widescreen, though, so it's got room for bigger speakers.)

Re:Speaker quality? (2, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | about 8 years ago | (#15590678)

As gearheads say, "there's no replacement for displacement". No matter what the technology is, you're never going to get any kind of bass out of teenie tiny speakers crammed into a teenie tiny laptop case. They just can't move enough air to get good sound quality, especially bass. Speakers on laptops, in my opinion, are pretty much just good for alert beeps and blips. That's all I expect out of them. Anything more than that (like watching a movie), and a $5 pair of headphones from the drugstore will do much, much better.

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590727)

You know what would be really cool? A laptop where the entire wrist rest portion of the case could be used as a large speaker. When you were watching a movie, you wouldn't be typing, so the speakers could move freely. Either that or a way to fit a subwoofer into a laptop. It's been done, but like you said, it's all about available space.

Re:Speaker quality? (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15590924)

As gearheads say, "there's no replacement for displacement".

Only the lames say this. And there's a lot of lames. There are several replacements for displacement. Most significantly, High RPMs and high compression. High compression comes in two versions: forced induction, and just having high compression in the first place.

As we all know, there are small speakers that kick the shit out of cheaper speakers several times their size. Now, with speakers, it's true that there's no replacement for displacement, but you should be aware that displacement comes from two places in the case of both engines and speakers, though the terminology is different. In engines, we call it bore and stroke; AFAIK it's still stroke in audio, but the "bore" would be the "diameter".

In addition, both engines and speakers have the concept of "response", and it works much the same way in both places. In engines, you make them respond quicker by lightening the rotating mass, this allows you to achieve higher RPMs. Speakers are made lighter; this allows them to move faster, improving high-frequency response. Low-frequency response (consistency without distortion) is also achieved in the same way in both engines and speakers; You have more mass, but you use more energy to move it. A car with a heavier rotating mass is harder to stall, and thus less susceptible to small perturbations. Ditto for a speaker.

Anyway, just trying to bust up some myths. I know a lot more about the cars than the audio, but I know enough about physics to make some generalizations :P

Re:Speaker quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15592156)

Completely off topic so I'm posting AC

In engines, you make them respond quicker by lightening the rotating mass, this allows you to achieve higher RPMs

Nope. Less rotating mass lets them respond quicker because there is less inertia to overcome (an object in motion stays in motion). What enables engines to reach higher RPMs is better strength/weight ratios or shorter strokes. To run at 6,000 rpm, components are moving from point A to point B and back 100 times a second. And the acceleration the part has to endure isn't a straight line, its a half circle starting at 0 at the top of the stroke and ending at 0 at the bottom of the stroke (for pistons at least, cams actually have a different curve, determined by camshaft profile and spring rates). All the component must e able to withstand these accelerations else they'll snap.

Of course, lightening the pistons/rods/valves has the effect of reducing the forces acting on them, and thus potentially raising RPM's, replaceing a stock 40 lb flywheel with a 10 lb unit won't have any effect on your max RPM (flywheels can come apart under high enough rpm, but its really rare)

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15592176)

In engines, you make them respond quicker by lightening the rotating mass, this allows you to achieve higher RPMs
Nope. Less rotating mass lets them respond quicker because there is less inertia to overcome (an object in motion stays in motion).

Yeah, I realized I went through that sentence too fast right after I hit submit. It lets you get up to RPM quicker, doesn't help you reach higher RPMs - balancing the rotating assembly (and, often, upgrading valve springs) is what raises your peak RPMs. Well, that and accomodating the higher timing advance, when necessary, and of course, delivering sufficient fuel.

Re:Speaker quality? (2, Informative)

swtaarrs (640506) | about 8 years ago | (#15590953)

I have an Inspiron 9300 (basically the same as the e1705 but single core cpu) and it does have very nice sound, noticably better than any other laptop I've seen. However, it doesn't have very big speakers. I've taken it apart a few times and the speakers are about .5in x 1in x 2.5in. That might be large for laptop speakers, but I think biggest difference is made by the small subwoofer on the bottom. I can turn off the subwoofer and when it's off my laptop doesn't sound much better than most others, but with the subwoofer on, it removes the main weakness of laptop sounds and gives a nice bass sound.

Re:Speaker quality? (2, Interesting)

eclectic4 (665330) | about 8 years ago | (#15601846)

The 17" MacBook Pro has the best sounding internal speakers I have ever heard on a laptop. 4 speakers that actually sound incredible.

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | about 8 years ago | (#15590295)

It's pretty obvious TH is a "refugee" PC user, Mac ownership notwithstanding. He complains about the Enter key, for Steve's sake. And do the half-height arrow keys really bother him? I'd have thought most people would prefer them; they make it easier to scroll through a document, for one thing. Moreover, full height arrow keys would completely destroy the MacBook Pro's neutral, balanced aesthetic, and I just know it'd bother me subconsciously when I'm trying to work. Who but a PC user would want a lopsided keyboard?

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

aesiamun (862627) | about 8 years ago | (#15590910)

The entire point of Apple's switch and new ads with Justin Long are to get PC users to get a Mac. Who better to review an apple laptop but a PC User?

It's true, PC users might enjoy function over form more, I don't know but I think his complaints about the enter key and the arrow keys are justified. Any pc user who switches to Macs will notice the keyboard is designed with aesthetics in mind before comfort or functionality.

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | about 8 years ago | (#15591002)

Well, personally I see "aesthetics" as comprising functionality and comfort. For example, a lopsided keyboard would make me feel uncomfortable, and impair my design judgment. (OK, that's a stretch.) And as I mentioned, full-size arrow keys would make (vertical) scrolling more difficult.

But "aesthetics" concerns personal preference; you might not care about the visual balance of your workspace if you're not a visual person, and you might not care about vertical scrolling if you, um, don't scroll vertically. Reasonable people will disagree on matters of taste, so reviews offering different perspectives like this are good for everyone.

Re:Speaker quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15592136)

What you may not be aware of is that European Mac keyboard (including the reviewer's) look like this [wuffle.com] , and there is no way to get the US layout in Europe, short of importing it yourself. Maybe now the complaints about the narrow Enter key makes a bit more sense?

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | about 8 years ago | (#15592601)

Thank you, yes, I was unaware of that. It does indeed look terribly narrow, not to mention a huge stretch from home row position--wouldn't that layout give your right pinky finger RSI? (On North American keyboards, by the way, that key's labeled "Return.")

Re:Speaker quality? (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 8 years ago | (#15590569)

I'm not sure what "audio processing" means, but when I try to listen to music in my office, on the porch or in the courtyard next to my office building, the sound is way too low.

I don't expect dolby surround sound, but my beat-up thinkpad plays reasonably good sound at an acceptable volume.

Re:Speaker quality? (0, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 8 years ago | (#15590694)

Thats because 90% of the readers of TH would consider themselves "power users", when in reality most of them are still in their parents' basement.

misquoted parent (2, Informative)

pikine (771084) | about 8 years ago | (#15590780)

This is what actually appears on the second page of the review.

The Speakers

TH: The sound quality of the speakers is appalling. Again, I'm sorry to say, but my cheap Dell has better speakers. Seriously better speakers.

AS: I can't argue with you there. The speakers on the Macbook Pro suck. On top of that, the volume is way too quiet. Plus, even with normalized music files the speakers sometimes distort with maximum volume. That's not unacceptable, but for a computer aimed at excellence in audio processing, this is a shortcoming, plain and simple.

TH: However, don't forget that the machine does have the ability to connect to other audio equipment via digital (optical) means. So you can get good quality audio from the MacBook; you just need to hook it up to other equipment.

AS is the one suggesting that a computer aimed at audio processing (I take it to mean sound engineering) should have good internal speakers.

Re:misquoted parent (1)

Mononoke (88668) | about 8 years ago | (#15591228)

AS is the one suggesting that a computer aimed at audio processing (I take it to mean sound engineering) should have good internal speakers.
You're right. I screwed that up. I'll go back and edit it...oh, wait...

Summary (5, Informative)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590123)

  • Screen: Adam likes the bright screen, Thom dislikes the viewing angle (color distortion) problems
  • Speed: Both of them love it.
  • Speakers: Both agree, the speakers are too quiet and distort at loud volumes. Thom notes it has digital optical audio out.
  • Keyboard: Adam likes it, Thom finds the layout too cramped, calls it "form over function". Both like the backlighting.
  • Airport: Adam has no problems. Thom finds the reception worse than his iBook.
  • Heat: Both agree, it is too hot.
  • Rosetta: Both agree, it is awesome, but native apps are eagerly anticipated.
  • Build Quality: Both like it. Adam wants more USB ports.
  • Battery: Both agree, battery life is skimpy.
  • Running Windows: Thom says it's "a breeze", Adam doesn't plan to try it.

Frankly, I guess this points out that the MacBook Pro isn't "above" anything else. It's got its share of problems, and feelings are mixed about many features. Unlike the MacBook, though, the MacBook Pro isn't priced competitively with other brands. (The regular MacBook, surprisingly enough, since Apple is usually overpriced, matches up pretty well with PC manufacturers. It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that.)

Re:Summary (5, Insightful)

Aiku1337 (551438) | about 8 years ago | (#15590246)

(The regular MacBook, surprisingly enough, since Apple is usually overpriced, matches up pretty well with PC manufacturers. It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that.)

This is probably my Apple fanboyism talking, but the MacBook (or, previously iBook) has always been competively priced. The entry level iBook was going for 1000 USD and included more standard features than any PC laptop did, for that price. I wouldn't say Apple is usually overpriced, maybe just their pro line. But then again, the pro line is targeted towards business and professionals. You'd expect to pay more.

Re:Summary (1, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590354)

This is probably my Apple fanboyism talking, but the MacBook (or, previously iBook) has always been competively priced. The entry level iBook was going for 1000 USD and included more standard features than any PC laptop did, for that price. I wouldn't say Apple is usually overpriced, maybe just their pro line. But then again, the pro line is targeted towards business and professionals. You'd expect to pay more.

Competitive on price? Yes. Competitive on performance? Not until Intel came out. My brother has an iBook G4 that cost (before the educational discount) around $1700, and I have a PC laptop that cost the same amount. Mine is a full 50% faster on processor-intensive tasks, and is much snappier in general desktop use.

Re:Summary (5, Insightful)

hlimethe3rd (879459) | about 8 years ago | (#15590756)

The fact that the G4-based laptops weren't competitive on performance was largely due to the lag in technology. The 1.25 GHz (or whatever) G4 chip in your brother's iBook G4 probably was competitive with the PC laptops that came out at the same time, but realistically it had been three years since the G4 chips had been significantly refreshed (yes, I'm not counting moving from 1.25GHz to 1.33). Apple's portables were very, very long in the tooth looking just at the chips.

Re:Summary (2, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590869)

/me admits that maybe his chip was old. But in any other industry, if the product is obsolete, or just older, and isn't competitive with the current products, the price drops. It should have cost less since it doesn't perform as well.

Re:Summary (1)

k_187 (61692) | about 8 years ago | (#15595577)

you've never bought apple before have you? while that's the logical assumption, it doesn't quite work like that.

Re:Summary (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15596652)

/me did accidentally recommend a G5 to his dad. Sure, it was faster than our 500 MHz, Pentium III, but (since it was single-CPU, not dual) it was nothing like Steve said it would be. It wasn't blazingly fast, it was a little laggy. (Although the startup time started off fast--it's slowed down over time--and the shutdown time has always been fast. That's one good part.) And it cost $2500. I could have recommended a much faster Dell for $2500, but I didn't want to maintain a Windows box, and I wasn't comfortable enough with my own Linux skills to try to get them to use Linux.

Re:Summary (1)

planetmn (724378) | about 8 years ago | (#15591249)

One of the problems I always have with the Mac vs. PC price arguments (and I've been in enough of them myself) is that the Mac users always assume that you need exactly the features the Mac has. Let me give you my scenario. I want a laptop to surf the web, write word documents on, and upload/manage digital pictures. My Mac option is a $1000 MacBook (which I will admit I like how they look), or I can go with a $500 HP or Dell laptop. Now the HP or Dell may not have the same specs as the MacBook, but it meets the needs of the end user. In terms of quality, I highly doubt (based on my experience at least), that the Mac is going to last twice as long as the PC. In addition, I have a lot of options on that $500 PC (external accessories, maybe spend a little more for a bigger screen, etc.) that I can go through and still stay under $1000, whereas my options on the Mac start at that $1000 level and go up from there.

I guess my point is, the price arguments seem to be drastically flawed and are usually heavily handicapped to make the Mac look like it's priced competitively.

-dave

Re:Summary (1)

HuguesT (84078) | about 8 years ago | (#15595782)

Well of course you can get a cheaper laptop than the MB, but it's going to be heavier and bulkier than the MB, for a start, and at $500 it won't have a core duo in it, more like a celeron M. Too bad it won't run OS/X either.

Apple doesn't do ultra-cheap, if that's what you want to say, but feature for feature the MB is reasonably priced.

Re:Summary (1)

fermion (181285) | about 8 years ago | (#15592664)

The ibooks were well priced, and perhpas the MacBooks are not so well priced. The performance was not terrific, but for people who needed a computer to get work done, it would get work done better than many other equally priced machines.

The problem was, and seems to continue to be, quality. In 2001 the iBooks had quality problems. Same thing now. Apple does seem to cut costs on these machines, and that may be a reason to avoid them.

OTOH, the pro machines are typically good, and always seem to get better. Even though in many ways I prefer my TiPB, the way they had to put it together to make it affordable was not good. The Al construction is much better.

Re:Summary (2, Informative)

conigs (866121) | about 8 years ago | (#15590303)

Thom finds the reception worse than his iBook.

This is also the case than with the PowerBook G4 (non titanium) when compared to the iBooks. iBooks always got better reception.

Many people seem to forget that the MacBook (and also the PowerBooks) are aluminum cases. the iBook is plastic. Here's a fun experiment. Take your cell phone (or notebook) and wrap it in aluminum. Those little gray plastic strips on either side of the display are for the antenna.

Re:Summary (5, Informative)

pVoid (607584) | about 8 years ago | (#15590341)

Frankly, I guess this points out that the MacBook Pro isn't "above" anything else.

Well, I'm a long time Microsoft'y, in that I've worked mainly on windows platforms (professionally) for the last decade. I just recently got a mac book pro. I'll tell you this much: I looked for a LONG time for a PC laptop that I could get instead. The only thing that came near in ergonomy was the LG laptops which were ridiculously overpriced. I mean, compare a Dell laptop (which looks like a tank) to a macbook pro, i.e. hold both in your hands, and you will see there is an order of magnitude in difference.

That being said, there are aspects of my Macbook that I am surprisingly disappointed about. Namely: Apple.

From everything I had read - especially anti microsoft bashing comparing how Windows has so many bugs etc - Apple is unbelievably bad at both hardware and software tech support.

Examples: there is a high pitch whining noise that comes from the MacBook Pros. It is quite obviously an electrical leak, which consistently goes away if you switch off the second core. Apple has yet to *officially* acknowledge this problem. It's one thing to acknowledge, it's another thing to replace. They could easily say "yeah, sorry, that's not repairable", but it's quite insulting to go to an authorized dealer and say "there, don't you hear it? it's driving me insane" and get an answer "uhm, sorry, no, I don't hear it". Same for AppleCare.

Speaking of apple care, they treat their custommers like idiots. I had a problem with my fan making a rattling noise - clearly a ball bearing problem. I call apple care, it was so loud she could hear it on the phone without my even putting the phone up to the laptop. I was just laughing when she took me step by step through how to put the installation CD in, boot off of it, and run checkdisk (which btw, yielded all green, to which she grunted in disappointment - I guess people shut off their computers often enough that they always get red warnings about filesystem problems...) Anyways...

And last but not least, they recently came out with a patch for Quicktime that would effectively freeze your entire UI if you ran certain programs. When contacting AppleCare, they asked me which program did this, and I said "Unrar", "Graphviz" and "Adobe apps", to which his 'straight faced' reply was: we're sorry, Apple can not take responsability for third party software. Which is preposterous because it wasn't the third party software failing so much as the *entire* OS freezing up.

They later reissued a new patch that fixed this problem - but Apple *never* admitted that their initial fix was broken.

All of this is that kind of stuff that would turn into a flame storm for Microsoft.

All that aside, I still like my mbp.

Re:Summary (1, Interesting)

Doctor Memory (6336) | about 8 years ago | (#15590659)

And last but not least, they recently came out with a patch for Quicktime that would effectively freeze your entire UI if you ran certain programs. When contacting AppleCare, they asked me which program did this, and I said "Unrar", "Graphviz" and "Adobe apps", to which his 'straight faced' reply was: we're sorry, Apple can not take responsability for third party software. Which is preposterous because it wasn't the third party software failing so much as the *entire* OS freezing up.

They later reissued a new patch that fixed this problem - but Apple *never* admitted that their initial fix was broken.


Well, that may or may not be the case. I haven't programmed on Macs since System 7 days, but it was fairly hellishly complicated making the GUI stuff work "properly" (like you had to call a routine to make the little "visual click" that was supposed to appear arount the pointer tip before you called the routine to reverse-image the close box before you called the routine to actually close the window). It could very well be that the programs you were using were doing something that Apple deprecated, and when Apple made it go away (or function properly), those programs began to misbehave. Then, enough people bitched that they made another fix to accomodate those programs that used the deprecated feature.

Not apologizing for Apple, it's just that the were one of few companies who weren't afraid to actually eliminate deprecated (or malfunctioning) routines in favor of introducing new ones. Better than M$, who would keep the old buggy routines around for external developers, and creating properly-functioning replacements which they left undocumented so only their developers could use them (timer routines, anyone?)

Re:Summary (2, Insightful)

pVoid (607584) | about 8 years ago | (#15591954)

Yeah, that's what they were arguing too. The problem: I consider it an OS vulnerability if a program I'm running can halt my entire system (whether out of neglect or malice doesn't matter, does it?)

Your point about MS is off target: MS doesn't keep old functionality to keep its OS from functioning, it keeps around old functionality to not break badly written apps - that's a choice that you can chose to say is unnecessary. But it is completely a different class of problems. Any OS that can be crippled by a simple user mode application has a serious flaw.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591081)

We call Dell at work all the time for hardware problems and they are exactly the same as you describe for AppleCare. You have to go through the script and confirm the most mundane of things before they will send a replacement part or get someone on site. The problem is not that the support is bad, but that the support is not matched to the technical proficiency of the user. I'm not sure how you would get passed the script based support team without some kind of trust that you - or anyone - is not going to take advantage of the direct route to the experts.

Re:Summary (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591226)

Speaking of apple care, they treat their custommers like idiots.

That's because the majority of their customers are idiots. Or at least that's always been the case in the past. Now that large numbers of far more intelligent Windows users are jumping over, Apple has no idea how to handle them.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591499)

"Intelligent" isn't a synonym for "dweeby."

Re:Summary (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about 8 years ago | (#15591427)

Yes, apple's updates can be a real pain. My iBook G4 800mhz had an openfirmware update early on. After that point the fans never run unless i boot into a hardware test. THey increased the temperature before the fans kick in so my iBOok freezes if i try to run a game or intensive app. Another fun factor in iBook ownership is upgrading the hard drive. 50 screws. You literally have to take everthing but the display off to swap out the hard drive. With a dell its 1 screw on most models.

With apple updates to the OS or essential software its always good to wait 24 hours before patching. They usually catch severe problems and offer an update during that time. If you think client patches are bad, try OSX server.

Re:Summary (1)

Magic5Ball (188725) | about 8 years ago | (#15593786)

If you think client patches are bad, try OSX server.

Indeed. I'm posting from 10.4.6 Server right now, and it's fantastic. Patches are good almost without exception, and the same techs are generally well versed from iPods all the way up to Xsans. Perhaps you experienced a piece of bad hardware?

Re:Summary (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about 8 years ago | (#15594445)

No, just apple patches. There are bugs in the 10.4.x patches between versions. Check out the apple osx server mailing list sometime. You'll see what i'm talking about. I suppolse you could even read the changelog in the apple support area. It depends what features you tend to use if you experience problems. In my case, I ran a file server with afp and samba support enabled. I had some weird cases where permissions on share points would change. Occasionally services would fail and not restart. 10.4.6 did seem pretty stable compared to 10.4.2-10.4.5 though.

Part of the problem was the dns name of the server was changed on me. My boss told the dns admins to change the hostname which screwed up the kerberos realm stuff. I had to delete all users, reset it and then add them again to get it working just right. That particular issue was not apple's fault, but they could make it easier to change the name. The command line utility did not fix the kerberos realm. The xserve was purchased last september and I was new to OSX server administration when i took over then. I did have other experience.

I'm sure part of it was me and my ignorant boss. There is a dark side to Mac administration though. I think I'd personally pick Windows, freebsd or linux for a file server in the future. (freebsd has bad samba throughput)

Re:Summary (5, Informative)

Darsovit (40293) | about 8 years ago | (#15590405)

Funny, I have found that the Macbook Pro 17" is cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell XPS M1710 17". I've left the Macbook Pro with the default settings (although the hard drive can be changed to truly match the Dell's 100GB 7200 rpm drive since the Dell doesn't have the 120 GB 5400rpm option that the Macbook Pro has) and it's listed on the online store at $2799.00. For the Dell XPS M1710, I chose the basic model, then upgraded the processor to 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo, added the Remote for Windows XP Media Center (the Macbook Pro comes with a remote standard, $29), upgraded the hard drive to 100 GB as noted ($215), upgraded to the CD/DVD Burner combo drive ($50), and added the Bluetooth ($49) and the total at their online store is $3118.

I could upgrade the memory on the Macbook Pro to 2GB and still be under the Dell with 1 GB of RAM.

Granted, this is only a comparison with one competitor, but with the use of the Intel processor in the Mac it can now be compared pretty closely and it would seem to be competing fairly well, at least with this brand.

Comparing MacBook Pro and Dell Inspiron e1705 (3, Informative)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590554)

Funny, I have found that the Macbook Pro 17" is cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell XPS M1710 17"

Of course Dell's high-end gaming laptop is going to cost more! A much more realistic comparison would be with the Dell Inspiron e1705. I set them up with the following config: 2.16 GHz processor, 2 GB 667 MHz RAM, 120 GB 5400 RPM HDD (available on the e1705, if not the XPS M1710), remote (added on the Dell), DVD burner, Bluetooth. The Dell came out to $2708; the Mac came out to $3099. With 1 GB of RAM and a 100 GB 7200 RPM HDD, the Dell comes to $2638 and the Mac comes to $2699. A lot closer. But that's the highest-end configuration of the Dell. If we start with the second-lowest and configure it the same, it comes to $2480. Pretty much no matter what you do, you get the same specs for $200-$400 less with a Dell.

Correction (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15590577)

Sorry, I made a mistake. The $2480 one is with a 5400 RPM hard drive. So it'd probably end up around $2600. The prce difference scales with how high-end the components are; a RAM upgrade from 1 GB to 2 GB costs a lot more from Apple ($400 more) than from Dell ($175 more).

Re:Correction (4, Informative)

Darsovit (40293) | about 8 years ago | (#15591061)

The RAM upgrade on the apple is $300 more. But I think you also need to upgrade the video card from the Dell e1705. The ATI Mobility X1400 with Hypermemory (when you click on the Help Me Choose on the Dell website) seems to indicate that it uses 256MB of shared System memory vs. the Macbook Pro's 256MB of GDDR3 on the ATI X1600. So, yes, I did indeed compare it to the high-end gaming laptop because of this.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591337)

The ATI Mobility X1400 is half shared and half not. The Dell site isn't very clear on this, but I looked it up 'cause I just got an e1705. Also, with Dell you'll always save at least another $200 (I saved about $800) with the various special offers and coupons that are always around.

Re:Correction (1)

Superfarstucker (621775) | about 8 years ago | (#15591412)

A X1600 is not comparable to a 7900 GS/GTX Go, orders of magnitude difference, literally. Also, if you're spending money on a Dell, you can wait some time and score an even better deal (real discounts from coupons, sometimes in excess of 30%). Personally, I take a liking to IBM/Lenovo notebooks but they are very expensive, even more so than Apple's machines. They say you get what you pay for, and it isn't stylish excess in the case of an X series thinkpad, though other manufacturers have made considerable inroads in the way of truly portable computing, including Apple.

Re:Comparing MacBook Pro and Dell Inspiron e1705 (1)

sheldon (2322) | about 8 years ago | (#15591978)

Actually the Dell is closer to $2000.

They usually run $750 coupons about every other week, sometimes you can find 40% off coupons also.

Oh yeah, and watch the warranty. Apple only offers you 1 year.

Re:Comparing MacBook Pro and Dell Inspiron e1705 (3, Informative)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 8 years ago | (#15592271)

Are you placing no value on the (I'm guessing here) optical audio out, the camera, firewire, backlit keyboard, iLife applications, OS X itself, fancy power chord thing, the fact that it can run either OS (or both), etc? I'm really asking, not arguing.

Re:Comparing MacBook Pro and Dell Inspiron e1705 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15592864)

"fancy power chord thing"

Pete Townsend bundled with Apple laptops?

Re:Comparing MacBook Pro and Dell Inspiron e1705 (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 8 years ago | (#15595855)

Pete Townsend bundled with Apple laptops?

Yeah, that's gotta be worth something :-)

Re:Comparing MacBook Pro and Dell Inspiron e1705 (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 years ago | (#15593383)

Pretty much no matter what you do, you get the same specs for $200-$400 less with a Dell.
No, you don't.

A Mac comes with mac OS X. A Dell comes with what? Windows? Linux?

This comparision about what "speccs" you get for the buck makes absolutely no sense.

It would make sense if your onyl application you run is Photoshop, or Outlook. then you could say: my computer X is $400 cheaper and has a faster DVD drive ... and as I only use Outlook its of couorse the better performing machine ... and as such the cheaper machine.

Insert for X what ever you want.

A Dell can be as cheap as it wants to be, I would not buy a Dell that is 4 times as "good" as a Mac for $500 ... because its not a Mac. Plain simple.

angel'o'sphere

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591229)

MacBook Pro 15.4" w/ 1GB RAM - cheapest price from a reputable retailer on PriceGrabber: $2090
Acer TravelMate 8024WLMi I just purchased - $1966

The Acer has basically almost all of the features of the MacBook Pro, PLUS:

* 2GB RAM instead of 1GB RAM
* 1680 x 1050 LCD instead of 1440 x 900 LCD
* 120GB 5400rpm HDD instead of 100GB 5400rpm
* Removeable dual-layer Super Multi DVD instead of single-layer, non-removable (if I've read reviews correctly)
* PC card slot
* Dedicated VGA port (no DVI-VGA cable required)
* Dedicated S-Video port (no DVI-S-Video cable required)
* Built-in webcam
* Bluetooth VOIP phone included
* 802.11A compatibility as well as G.
* 5-in-1 card reader
* 9-cell battery instead of 6-cell
* Windows XP Professional included (familiar to more people, more software available, more hardware compatible)
* 0.2" wider, 1.1" deeper, same thickness
* 1 lb heavier ...and for only another $160, you can have Acer's three-year warranty with accidental damage cover as well, for a total of $2126 - only $36 more than the MacBook Pro with its one-year warranty that excludes accidental damage.

So no, Apple aren't competitive on pricing. To get the same as the Acer, you would have to pay about $400 (20%) more, at the minimum - and that's before you consider the operating system being a niche one compared to a mainstream one.

Re:Summary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591922)

* Built-in webcam

included with MacBook Pro

* Dedicated VGA port (no DVI-VGA cable required)
* Dedicated S-Video port (no DVI-S-Video cable required)

Cables are included with the MBP; no need to buy them.

* Windows XP Professional included (familiar to more people, more software available, more hardware compatible)
* 0.2" wider, 1.1" deeper, same thickness
* 1 lb heavier

These aren't exactly features...

Re:Summary (1)

MojoStan (776183) | about 8 years ago | (#15594041)

Funny, I have found that the Macbook Pro 17" is cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell XPS M1710 17".

It looks like you made an honest effort (unlike many other Slashdot comments) to configure a "comparably equipped" Dell to a Macbook Pro 17", but there are several significant unchangeable differences that make it an improper comparison:

  • Dell's XPS M1710 LCD is 1920x1200, the Macbook Pro's 17" LCD is 1680x1050
  • Dell's NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS far outclasses the Macbook Pro's ATI Mobility Radeon X1600:
    • GeForce Go 7900 GS: 20 pixel pipelines, 7 vertex pipelines, 32 GB/s memory bandwidth (256-bit)
    • Mobility Radeon X1600: 12 pixel pipelines, 5 vertex pipelines, 15 GB/s memory bandwidth (128-bit)
  • Both default warranties should be upgraded, but the defaults are significantly different:
    • Dell: 1 year XPS warranty covers hardware, at-home service, and "rapid response" telephone support
    • Apple: 1 year warranty covers hardware and in-store service. Free telephone support is 90 days.
The "comparable PC" is at a price disadvantage if you try to configure it to make it "comparable" to a default Apple configuration. Try configuring an Apple to make it "comparable" to a default Dell. "Add-ons" are always more expensive than "default" components.

Re:Summary (3, Funny)

legal_asshole (859683) | about 8 years ago | (#15590432)

"The regular MacBook, surprisingly enough, since Apple is usually overpriced, matches up pretty well with PC manufacturers. It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that."

Only $200 more? You're forgetting the value-adds of the bundled apps. It's more like $400 more when you add in the value of Windows bundled apps like calculator--and clock. They provide hours of fun, or at least minutes...

Re:Summary (1)

vanyel (28049) | about 8 years ago | (#15590437)

I like mine; it is too hot, but the speakers are better than anything I would expect in something that size. You're not going to get anywhere near audiophile in something that size though. It's the first laptop I've ever had that would reliable suspend/resume. Of course, it's my first Mac laptop too ;-)

Re:Summary (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 8 years ago | (#15591135)

It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that.)

$100-200 is about right. You can buy a Lenovo 14" 512Mb 80Gb 1.66Ghz Core Duo w/ DVD+RW for $899. That's $200 of a difference. I expect other makers will be equally competitive with their Core Duo models as they begin to appear.

But is $100-200 justifiable? It certainly sounds like a pretty large markup for a basic system. And by all accounts the MacBook has its fair share of build quality issues. I would be livid if any laptop I bought had horrible yellowy brown patches within a few weeks of using it. Or one that got so hot that it might explain why Apple insists its a "notebook", not a "laptop".

Apple defenders used to justify the price difference for build quality, but basically we're talking about a consumer level device with highly visible issues which costs more than its competition. Apple OS X is a great OS and I love how fast my decrepit Mac boots, but I wonder if it is justification to buy a hardware lemon. Still, they are desirable devices, but perhaps it's better to wait a revision or two. After all it's the people who queue up on launch day who we should thank for paying to find all the problems.

Actually, it is (2, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | about 8 years ago | (#15591973)

I guess this points out that the MacBook Pro isn't "above" anything else

It has Mac OS X. For me, that puts it high enough above everything else.

Re:Actually, it is (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | about 8 years ago | (#15592769)

It has Mac OS X. For me, that puts it high enough above everything else.

Why? I'm much happier with Linux... the directory names are easier to type, the GNU command-line utilities beat the crap out of the BSD versions most of the time, there's much more software available, features that should be free (virtual desktops, for example) are free, and so on. Why do you like Mac OS X? (Seriously... I'm curious.)

Why I prefer Mac OS X to Linux and Windows (1)

LKM (227954) | about 8 years ago | (#15595198)

It has Mac OS X. For me, that puts it high enough above everything else.
Why? I'm much happier with Linux...

That's why I said "for me". I don't claim that Mac OS X is best for everyone, and in fact, the MythTV box in our living room runs Linux (obviously). There are valid reasons to go with Linux over Mac OS X - especially if you know what you're doing.

For my personal computer, though, I prefer something that actually works for what I want to do and does what I want it to do, and for me, that's a Mac.

Although your criticisms seem a bit weird:


the directory names are easier to type,

Easier to type? How so?


the GNU command-line utilities beat the crap out of the BSD versions most of the time

Which ones are you talking about? What don't you like about BSD's command-line utilities?


there's much more software available

Now this is quite simply not true. If anything, the Mac has way more software than Linux. All of Apple's aplications like iMovie or iDVD, Apple's pro apps, Microsoft Office, Adobe's apps, all the Cocoa apps like Delicious Library or Omni Graffle: There's nothing like those on Linux.


features that should be free (virtual desktops, for example) are free

They're free on the Mac, too [macupdate.com] .


Why do you like Mac OS X? (Seriously... I'm curious.)

Why do I like the Mac?

First, it has a consistent and beautiful user interface. Yes, that matters to me. I have to stare at that (imho, of course) butt ugly excuse for an interface that is Windows all day long at work, I don't need that in my spare time.

Second, it has Xcode and Cocoa, which allow for rapid development of real Mac OS X applications.

Third, stuff just works. Plug a Gamepad into your Mac: Done. Plug a gamepad into your Linux box: Spend a day hunting for drivers, then spend a day hunting for games which actually support gamepads, then, if you don't find any, try to find an app which translates your particular gamepad's movement to keyboard entries so you can use them with the games that don't support your pad (like, all of them), then don't find anything that actually works, then get annoyed, throw the gamepad into a corner and never touch it again. Yes, there's a gamepad lying in our living room next to the MythTV box.

Fourth, it has the apps. There simply is nothing like iMovie or iDVD on any other platform. I was in Berlin last month, spent a week there visiting friends. I took some pictures and movies while hanging out, going to the zoo, stuff like that. At the end, I spent two hours (yes, that's it, two hours) to put it all on my Mac, create a nice DVD with a movie short movie containing video sequences shot that week, added a matching soundtrack using Garage Band (one song which changes its' speed and theme according to the pictures), put the pictures into slide shows, also with matching movies and then burned half a dozen DVDs (that's the part which took longer than two hours, but since you don't have to actually sit there and wait for it, it doesn't really matter) to give to my friends as a parting gift.

There simply is no other platform where you can do this as effortlessly - and all the apps you need come free with your Mac, to boot.

When I got the MacBook Pro, I created a short comic-style review for my blog. Mac OS X comes with Comic Life, which creates panels, speech bubbles, titles and "draw" effects for you. Using Photoshop, this would have taken me about a quarter of a day. Using Comic Life, which is not available anyhwere else and comes free with your Mac, it took me half an hour.

A few days ago, I needed a script which regularly takes some data from a web site and stores it on my disk. I could have written this in perl or I could have written a shell script. But instead of spending five minutes doing that, I fired up Automator, clicked a few times and had the script running.

To sum this up: I prefer Mac OS X because it's a pleasure to use, because it has apps that allow me to do what I could not do or not do as easily and as cheap with any other OS, and because it quite simply saves me time.

in other news (-1, Offtopic)

saurabhdutta (904490) | about 8 years ago | (#15590137)

A dell exploded in a jap conference with a misterious man in tux around the scene. Search is still on. About the mcbkpro, ya we all know it runs hot and the glossy screen is no better than an acer.

how timely (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 8 years ago | (#15590179)

Coming up next on Slashdot, Zonk takes a look at Microsoft's latest operating system offering, Windows XP!

screen is important! (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | about 8 years ago | (#15590232)

The weakest link in user experience is one of the most important features to have maximum information. This is an ongoing frustration -- for me, the screen is the weakest link in interacting with a computer (assuming disk, cpu, and memory are reasonably up to snuff). If the screen isn't pretty, I ain't happy.

In this review as often occurs there is little feedback objective or otherwise on the screen quality. From the article:

The Screen
TH: I find that the MBP screen has very bad viewing angles, which is extra annoying because it's a laptop (you have to adjust the screen angle all the time). The screen on my 'cheap' Dell Inspiron 6000 is much better in that respect.
AS: I disagree. Everyone seems to go ga-ga over "Brightview" or whatever they're calling it these days. While it does make the picture crisp, it also adds glare from virtually every other angle. I have no issue with the screen position or angle.
TH: I'm not talking about the glossy thing; my Inspiron does not have a glossy screen either. What bothers me on the MacBook Pro is how the colours change even when you tilt your head slightly away from the ideal viewing angle, causing me to adjust or my head, or the screen, continuously; this especially reveals itself via the shadows underneath the windows in the MacOS. The Dell does not have this problem, or at least, not as bad as the MacBook Pro.
AS: I haven't noticed this. I actually find the display to be very bright. I'm in love with the widescreen.
TH: That's for sure, the brightness and wideness are very much appreciated. I just expected a better viewing angle on a 'pro' laptop.

I want to know screen resolution! I want to know measured viewing angles! (For $2000, or $2500 you get 1440x900 -- so-so, for $2800 you get 1680x1050 -- not bad, but way too expensive.) I want to know contrast ratios.

Unfortunately lots if not all of this information is rarely included in discussions and ads for laptops -- I think it's intentional. And, it's the reason I would never buy a notebook or laptop sight-unseen. The screen is something you can't change on a laptop, you'd better be happy with it when you get it. (This has been an excellent policy for me -- I've been very happy with the last several laptops I've had -- if the screen's pretty, I'm happy.)

Also (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 years ago | (#15590369)

One thing the artcile neglects to mention is that you have the option of ordering a Macbook Pro with or without a glossy screen.

Even after seeing them in person I am still unsure which I'd prefer.

I agree with you it would be nice to see more technical details on the laptop screens.

Re:screen is important! (1)

techstar25 (556988) | about 8 years ago | (#15594448)

It sounds like these guys should have tried the glossy screen. I love mine. The colors look wonderful from all kinds of viewing angles. It's the best looking screen I've ever seen, worth every penny. As for the reflections people talk about ... it's all BS. I use mine in the library and never does glare become a problem.

Re:screen is important! (1)

superposed (308216) | about 8 years ago | (#15595145)

I just got a MacBook Pro with the 15" matte screen. The resolution is very clear and sharp (hard to say what I mean by that exactly, but think of the opposite of fuzzy pixels on a CRT display). It is bright enough that I keep it set a few notches below top brightness for normal use. That may be because I'm used to using an iBook G4, which may have been dimming as it got older. I haven't thought much about contrast or response time, but I've seen no sign of trouble.

However, the color accuracy does suffer more than I would expect when I move off the perpendicular viewing axis. Moving left or right is not too bad: the white balance and contrast seem to change a little, but the picture remains basically correct and viewable out to at least about 60 degrees off-axis (i.e., a 120 degree viewing angle). When I move off-axis vertically, it can be worse. Looking from a few degrees below, the contrast is exaggerated, but not too badly. However, if I tilt the top of the screen towards me by even a couple of inches, the image can become reversed in light areas, and highlights in photos become completely washed out. It's rare to move my head up or down enough to notice this (e.g., if I'm sitting in a chair and the computer is on a desk). But if I have the computer propped on my knees while lying down, I may end up fiddling with the screen angle more than I'd expect when I reposition the computer, to get the image right again. This sort of thing is probably what the TH editor was referring to.

Re:screen is important! (1)

fmbraga (51582) | about 8 years ago | (#15600029)

I want to know screen resolution! I want to know measured viewing angles! (For $2000, or $2500 you get 1440x900 -- so-so, for $2800 you get 1680x1050 -- not bad, but way too expensive.)

http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs.html [apple.com]

Display: 15.4-inch (diagonal), 1440 x 900 resolution, TFT widescreen. 17-inch (diagonal), 1680 x 1050 resolution, TFT widescreen

This irked me (2, Interesting)

anti-human 1 (911677) | about 8 years ago | (#15590364)

AS: My closing thoughts: the transition to Intel is nearly complete.


Umm. No?

The iPod-centric portion of the Apple lineup is all Intel, but how about a real desktop? What Intel Mac do I want to buy if I'm not making a media center, or going to college, or bringing it with me? What if I just want a fast-as-balls Mac with a full sized keyboard, top of the line video, and expansion slots? Sadly lacking.

Its not like it matters, as I'll still wait for a while before going to intel. I guess I still carry a torch for PowerPC...

Re:This irked me (3, Informative)

TheGreek (2403) | about 8 years ago | (#15591803)

AS: My closing thoughts: the transition to Intel is nearly complete.
Umm. No?

The iPod-centric portion of the Apple lineup is all Intel, but how about a real desktop?
Entry-level desktop (Mac Mini): Intel.
Consumer portable (MacBook): Intel.
Consumer desktop (iMac): Intel.
Pro portable (MacBook Pro): Intel.
Pro desktop (PowerMac): PPC.
Rack-mount server (Xserve): PPC.

4/6 of Apple's computer models are now Intel, and these 4/6 comprise the bulk of Apple's sales. The two stragglers await the chips from Intel.

That Apple's transition isn't complete enough for you doesn't make the transition any less nearing completion.

Re:This irked me (1)

anti-human 1 (911677) | about 8 years ago | (#15592146)

Its the flagship model! Sure, if you look at sales numbers I'm sure the number sold intel:ppc ratio is way up there, but come on. It is the desktop Mac that is missing.

Maybe its just the way I read the original statement I referenced, but the connotation to me was that the "real" Apple line had jumped ship to Intel, and there were just a few lesser products to be nailed down. A flagship model (powermac or equivalent) should not be classified as such. Xserve is well, considerably more specialized.

I suppose I should expect this though, remember when OSX Server came out? I don't even remember how big the discrepancy was between releases of the server and desktop OS. I guess turtlenecks will do that eh?

That's all I'm sayin'. :P

Re:This irked me (1)

TheGreek (2403) | about 8 years ago | (#15592466)

Maybe its just the way I read the original statement I referenced
It is.

I suppose I should expect this though, remember when OSX Server came out? I don't even remember how big the discrepancy was between releases of the server and desktop OS. I guess turtlenecks will do that eh?
Mac OS X Server 10.0 was very similar to Mac OS X 10.0.

Mac OS X Server 1.x wasn't like anything else at all.

BeOSnews (3, Funny)

dr.badass (25287) | about 8 years ago | (#15590401)

This has got to be the first thing I've read on OSnews where I had to scroll down before the first mention of how great BeOS was.

Re:BeOSnews (1)

miscz (888242) | about 8 years ago | (#15592311)

Oh god, that made my day. Funniest thing I've read this month, it's so true :D

Review (2, Insightful)

general scruff (938598) | about 8 years ago | (#15590408)

ME: I thought that this review was quite two sided.
ME: Agreed. There were definitley two points of view on most of the subject covered.
ME: I think that a review should be more talking about pros/cons and not just agreeing with another editor.
ME: I totally dissagree! Seeing two people converse about a certain item seems to get the point across quiet nice!
ME: Dude! Shut up about your DELL!
ME: Agreed. Dell is quite the SUX0R!

Battery life (1)

OlivierB (709839) | about 8 years ago | (#15590438)

I've been thinking about changing for one of them new MacBooks, but to be honest the new generation of Apple Intel powered notebooks don't overly impress me (same critics as in the review).
What upsets me the most is the lack of autonomy; whereas the old iBooks held up to +5H, the new ones only last for 3.5H, not enough for a day's work.

I sure hope that the next generation of Intel Chips will consume less, so they can bump up the autonomy.

2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (4, Interesting)

bloosqr (33593) | about 8 years ago | (#15590487)

Ha I just got a macbook pro two days ago (for free via work). My previous laptop was a powerbook g4 running at 1.333 (which wasn't that old to be honest). The heat issue people are talking about really does seem to be a problem. It feels much warmer than it should be. The keyboard is medium warm (it'd be brilliant in winter i guess!) and the underside is plain hot.

The machine is definitely nice and speedy though. The fact that the "emulation" mode works so well however I honestly a reflection of how bad the old motorola g4 chips were. I benchmarked code on the g4 and it was about as fast as my old p3 800 that it replaced. Native apps work remarkably well (as they should) and emulated apps aka word seem at least as fast as on the motorola chip. I have a feeling these machines will likely really shine once everything goes universal binary.

Where the machine really shines is some of their attention to detail. The camera built into the screen is seriously genius in this day and age of ichat/aim and everyone being permantly logged in. The new frontrow app is so awesome I actually ported that over to my desktop g5 machine at home. (where it is a bit more useful). The weird glowing keyboard thing is a bit pointless if you know how to type but is eye candy, and a fun way.

Battery life: If I unplug it it says I get 3 hours off of it which is about what my old g4 got when I first bought it. (I am surprised the # is that high considering how much heat this thing generates).

Other random things, the machine is dual core but the version of top that it comes w/ only shows one cpu (this is my first dual core machine). I have not benchmarked the machine but i have a feeling it'll be decent. I did try running two video/quicktime apps simultaneously and it seems like each app gets 50% of "the cpu" via top and it doesn't seem like they are both running as if alone (some of that may be drive issues of course, but i have 2 gigs of ram so it should be able to cache it). At least in theory having a dual core unix laptop is totally sex :)

I'll benchmark our mpich/g++ code soon just for fun. Hopefully there is an intel port of their compiler as that is going to make a huge difference. (I had heard somewhere apple had compiled the OS/apps using intels compilers, i hope thats true, i do know however they never used xlc/xlf aka ibm's compiler for the ppc machines).

Incidentally, I think the screen isn't as bright as I was expecting it would be (but same as the g4) and my keyboard "squeeks" in a weird way when i type!

-bloosqr

Ported? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 8 years ago | (#15590732)

So you install an app onto a computer, and you've "ported" it? That's like saying the Linux kernel is just a bunch of .h and .c files, with some comments.

An überhacker you ain't.

Re:Ported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591143)

What a completely unnecessary overreaction. Not a douchebag, you ain't.

Re:Ported? (2, Interesting)

bloosqr (33593) | about 8 years ago | (#15591209)

No i didn't mean port in that sense obviously, Frontrow does not natively run on the power machines because it officially wants a built in IR module on the machine , so there is a bit of trickery involved w/ getting the the power G5 machine to think its got the IR built in.

Re:2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (1)

swtaarrs (640506) | about 8 years ago | (#15590987)

The fact that the "emulation" mode works so well however I honestly a reflection of how bad the old motorola g4 chips were.
The PowerPC, G3, G4, and G5 were all IBM. Motorola made the 68k series which was used in Macs before the PowerPC.

Re:2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (1)

bloosqr (33593) | about 8 years ago | (#15591230)

My understanding is the powerpc design was a IBM/Motorola (and i think fujitsu) collaboration. IBM built the PWR series chips and Motorola actually designed/built the G3, G4 chips (using the PPC instruction set). IBM actually designed/built the G5 chip which they also use on their blades. Thats why the G5 had such a brilliant architecture. But yea motorola also built the 68000 chips as well.

-best,
-bloo

Re:2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (4, Informative)

splatterboy (815820) | about 8 years ago | (#15591457)

I wasn't fujitsu - PPC was a product of the AIM consortium - Apple, IBM, Motorola... Moto designed the G3 & 4 using the PPC architecture from IBM and the G5 was all IBM

Re:2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (1)

bloosqr (33593) | about 8 years ago | (#15592022)

Yea you are right I think i was thinking of sparc..

Re:2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15591323)

the machine is dual core but the version of top that it comes w/ only shows one cpu (this is my first dual core machine).

Well, it's pretty obvious that this is your first dual core/cpu machine. I've never seen any version of top for any flavor of unix that cared how many cpus there were. It just shows the percentage of total available cpu time used. If there are two cpus, then 50% usage means the equivalent of one full cpu used and the other idle. In reality the work usually gets split between them, so it might be more accurate to assume that it's both cpus running at 50%. If there are 4 cpus/cores, then 50% means the equivalent of two running at full throttle and two running idle; 25% is the equivalent of one running full steam and the other three idle. Simple as that.

If you want to see individual cpus, open Activity Monitor (in /Applications/Utilities). It's essentially a gui for top.

Re:2 day review of the 1.83/intel dual core (1)

bloosqr (33593) | about 8 years ago | (#15592189)

I think it depends on the top implementation : This is a dual processor linux box (which I am used to)
Both processes are pegged at 100% which is what I was expecting i.e. each processor is pegged at 100 i was expecting the video jobs on the mac to do the same.

    PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
  5193 thoppe 25 0 21312 1512 1188 R 99.8 0.1 341755:45 sendrec
  5281 thoppe 25 0 19604 1536 1212 R 99.8 0.1 340497:51 sendrec

And this is our 4 processor sun box which labels the cpus

      PID USERNAME LWP PRI NICE SIZE RES STATE TIME CPU COMMAND
  12989 root 1 20 0 2896K 2048K cpu/3 0:19 15.35% stupid.pl
  12991 root 1 30 0 2896K 2048K run 0:13 11.85% stupid.pl
  12992 root 1 20 0 2896K 2048K cpu/1 0:12 11.51% stupid.pl
  12993 root 1 30 0 2896K 2048K cpu/2 0:10 9.80% stupid.pl
  12994 root 1 20 0 1848K 1456K cpu/0 0:01 1.83% top

I was expecting top to look like either of these two implementations, the laptop pegs both processes at 50%

oh you know that is weird actually, when i was running two video jobs it was showing up as two jobs running at 50% (like I had posted) if run two commandline jobs they both peg at 90% or so which is what you expect so the top at least matches the linux version, i wonder if quicktime does something weird to the dual core.

-bloo

Existing owners' CPU whine-logic board replacement (3, Informative)

mccalli (323026) | about 8 years ago | (#15590537)

I own a 15" 1.83Ghz MacBook Pro, and the whine is appalling on it. As of yesterday, there's now a programme for swapping the logic boards out. That story takes place in the US - I've just called in the UK and found that although the swap exists, I'll have to go in to an Apple service centre to get the fault confirmed before I can go ahead with it.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Existing owners' CPU whine-logic board replacem (1)

azadam (250783) | about 8 years ago | (#15590997)

Do you have any information about the program? I've been trying to track it down and I'm having trouble...

Re:Existing owners' CPU whine-logic board replacem (1)

mccalli (323026) | about 8 years ago | (#15592227)

I got my information from here [appledefects.com] . The rest was via a phone call to Apple.

Cheers,
Ian

My MBPro 17 results (1)

leaping_laughter (865757) | about 8 years ago | (#15590693)

No whine here; after the firewire noise I experienced on my G5 (did you even TEST that, Apple?), this is a major improvement.

Too f'ing hot.

Screen == gorgeous, though the edge discoloration from some angles it disappointing. But hey, Frodo's usually in the center of the screen, right?

For all the claims of superlative performance, I still see PUH-LENTY of my good friend the beachball. Of course, I'm often running two command line builds, XCode, Mail, Safari, FileMaker, Remote Desktop Connection (yes, I _could_ run WinXP on the MBPro, but why waste the drive space and sully the experience?), BBEdit, Perforce visual client, OmniOutliner (kinklessGTD rocks!), and maybe a couple others as need arises.

Still, the performance is perceptibly better than my G5 2 x 2.0 Ghz 3gig ram machine.

That wasnt a review..... (1)

FlyingSpank (589824) | about 8 years ago | (#15590811)

That was a mirror of conversations I had with when they received their units MONTHS ago. Maybe better to call this "Impressions" since neither seemed interested in any real review details. Form and finish are nice, but a lot of folks want to see numbers, or relatively clear comparisons of speed.

I bought my MBP 15" back in May and have been fairly well satisfied. 90% of my apps are now native mac apps ( 50% are universal ) - definitely need MORE universal apps...

And, to provide a benchmark of anything I did benchmark the MBP running XP and 3dmark05/3dmark06 if any of you all are interested. A mac bigot would yell , use mac native games.. to which my reply is ... uhm, NO.

http://rfoundry.com/mbpbenchmark/Site/index.html [rfoundry.com]

The lack of games is a plus... (1)

argent (18001) | about 8 years ago | (#15591656)

Computer games are enough of a distraction as it is.

I have a Wintendo for running games, and it stays at home. There's already too many games that run on my Macbook Pro as it is, but luckily I don't like most of them. The last thing I want is a wider selection of timewasters.

Re:The lack of games is a plus... (1)

rthille (8526) | about 8 years ago | (#15592663)

Yeah, good thing there's no networking on the MBP, otherwise I'd be able to get to slashdot and waste _all_ my time.

I am happy (2, Informative)

tsa (15680) | about 8 years ago | (#15590821)

I bought a MacBook Pro four weeks ago, and I was a bit afraid of problems after reading all the horrorstories on the Internet. But I have no whine, and although it can get quite hot, it also cools down fairly quickly when it doesn't have to work hard. I'm happy with the wide screen, and the battery life (3 hours if I just surf the web and do email). The reception is comparable the that of the iBook G4 I had. All in all, I am very satisfied with my shiny new MBP. The only thing I don't like about it is the size; if there had been one with the size of the MacBook I would have bought that one.

1st Generation (0)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 8 years ago | (#15591003)

Prototypical of 1.0 products, Intel laptops running Apple's MacOS X are a step forward. The products exhibit problems concurrent with innovation in areas of battery, screen, keyboard as well as software. 2nd generation versions will fix the problems, then rollout solid product in the 3rd Generation.

Wait, buy 3rd generation, sometime in the late fall of 2006.

Re:1st Generation (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 8 years ago | (#15591493)

But, Apple has been using the same form factor in aluminum Power/Mac book pros for over 3 years now. Shouldn't the current MacBook Pros be like generation 4 of the line? While I would agree that anything related to the Intel chip and sub-system (such as power savings and battery life) might be prone to flaky gen 1.0 like issues, the screen, battery, cooling, finish and keyboard should all pretty much be flawless.

I don't agree with the idea that this is Apple's first kick at the can. Having screens which whine loudly if the brightness is too high, overly hot and swelling batteries, and other things like that speak more of a reduction in the quality of production of these products, which is unfortunate. Apple is getting more life out of an original form factor, and if there is growing quality problems, perhaps they should change their Chinese production factory.

If Apple had radically changed the design of their MacBook Pros, then I would expect the regular type of growing pains inherent in product development, but this isn't a new design. In fact, if Intel hadn't come along, I think these would have just been the next revision of the PowerBook lineup implementing dual core G5's or something. I don't think Apple went back to the drawing board when creating the Intel MacBook Pro, as with ALL their Intel based Mac lineup.

Love the memory bus, hate the keyboard. (3, Interesting)

argent (18001) | about 8 years ago | (#15591596)

The high speed memory bus that makes it run so fast is greatly appreciated, though I'd rather have had a Freescale MP8641D (which would have even more memory bandwidth than the Core Duo), it seems like Freescale dropped the ball... or they just took it and went home when Apple dumped their product line in 2005.

They keyboard is just as bad as the Powerbooks, and the one-button trackpad is all but unusable even with Sidetrack to simulate 2 buttons. When I say "bad", by the way, I mean "a couple of days using it and my RSI was flaring up again". I got a tiny bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and even if my boss thinks I'm nuts for using it with a Logitech keyboard balanced on it my wrists aren't hurting any more.

They really need to get Lenovo to make a "businessman's macbook" with a Thinkpad shell and keyboard, and Apple's electronics. I don't miss Windows on my Thinkpad at all, but I sure miss that keyboard. And I prefer the Thinkpad's white LED above the screen that illuminated the whole keyboard area to the illuminated keys.

The speakers are (as they say) apalling, but it's not just the speakers. I get more distortion at the same volume level over my harman/kardon speaker system than with my Mac mini. They really need to do something about the whole audio system.

And they need to release a software or firmware upgrade to let us choose between running the fans more and running the computer hotter. I'd be happy to have the fans whooshing away most of the time if it let me actually use my laptop in my lap!

Rosetta works pretty well, but it's all-or-nothing. I've got a boatload of plugins and drivers I can't use until they get upgraded... and since some are abandonware I suspect I'm going to have to find replacements. The big one that may be a show stopper is Palm Hotsync, unless I can find some kind of bridge... I am not using iSync with my Palm, its syncing model if you have multiple computers is completely screwed up unless you use ".MAC", possibly deliberately so.

Wake from sleep is completely unreliable. I've taken to unplugging everything and waiting half a minute before closing the lid, but last night even that failed.

Parallel's Desktop is pretty well done. It's apalling that it's necessary, but I'm grateful that it's possible. Palm Desktop and Hotsync still runs under Windows, maybe I can keep synced that way.

Re:Love the memory bus, hate the keyboard. (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | about 8 years ago | (#15592837)

Completely agree about the keyboard/trackpad issues. I have a PowerBook G4, and while it's fine for desktop usage, I actively avoid taking it places just because of the noobishness and poor feel of the keyboard and trackpad. And what's the point of a laptop if you don't want use it on the go?

I would really like to give Apple $2500 and replace my Windows laptop, and almost did, but that's a lot of money for a machine with such obvious flaws. Now with the hardware issues, I'm really glad I waited, figuring everythign won't be sorted until the Core 2 models come out.

And while I'm offering to send Apple money, it would be nice if they had an overpriced docking station as well.

Kernel panics related to wireless (2, Informative)

jks (269) | about 8 years ago | (#15592018)

Some of the MacBook Pros have a faulty motherboard causing kernel panics when using a wireless connection. See this thread [apple.com] for details, but the upshot is that if you buy a MBP, it might be a good idea to download some big files over wireless immediately, so if you have this problem you can get a replacement computer immediately. There is some short window (one or two weeks?) within which you can get the computer declared DOA, and if you find out about the problem after that you will have to send the computer to be repaired, which might take a long time.

version 2 (1)

koick (770435) | about 8 years ago | (#15592945)

Say, I'm looking at getting my first Mac notebook (have a PPC Mac Mini and love it), but am very concerned about these heat issues (reboots when watching DVDs, too much thermal paste, etc.). Can anyone tell me how I can know for sure when version two (of either the MacBook or MacBook Pro) comes out and if it fixes this serious issue? (I'd prefer to get notified as opposed to occasional visiting of some 'mac rumor' website)

Re:version 2 (1)

JulesFM (984907) | about 8 years ago | (#15600966)

My MBP gets so hot underneath that it burns my fingers. But I have found the perfect low-tech solution to it.

It's a thing called "Lapinator" which costs about $25 and is a very well thought out simple solution. It insulates the bottom of my laptop so the surface underneath barely gets warm at all. And it still gives some air circulation to the laptop too.

I have no connection with them at all, I'm just a very happy customer. The standard one is plenty big enough for a 17" MBPro.

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