Computerworld: Apple’s new 17-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo ‘about as future-proof as they come’

“It has been said that buyers should generally avoid the first year of a new model car, Version 1.0 of just about any application and most Rev. A computers — especially Rev. A computers,” Ken Mingis reports for Computerworld.

“Well, if you held off buying the first Intel-based versions of Apple Computer Inc.’s MacBook Pro laptops, you can safely venture forth to the nearest computer store and take one home. I base that on my hands-on experience with Apple’s latest updated consumer MacBook lineup, the recently revamped 15-in. MacBook Pro and — now, finally — the 17-in. variation of Apple’s professional laptop line,” Mingis reports.

“To paraphrase Victor Kiam, the late Gillette CEO, I liked the latest 17-in. MacBook Pro so much that I bought my own,” Mingis reports. “In case you’ve missed the latest specs on these portable workstations, the MacBook Pro — both 15-in. and 17-in. models — sport Core 2 Duo processors from Intel Corp. that are marginally faster in terms of clock speed but noticeably faster in real-world use. One factor behind that speed increase is the 4MB of dynamically allocated Level 2 cache RAM used by the new chip — twice what the Core Duo offered. It’s not a huge jump in processing power, nor would you expect it to be when moving from Rev. A to Rev. B hardware. But it’s more of an increase than Apple used to provide back in the not-so-halcyon PowerPC days.”

“When buying technology, it’s always best to try to future-proof yourself as much as possible. Apple’s 17-in. MBP is about as future-proof as they come. It offers 64-bit hardware and maybe even, eventually, 802.11n wireless networking capabilities (though 802.11g is just fine for now),” Mingis reports. “Apple is due to release its next operating system, Leopard, before spring. Once that 64-bit operating system is out, the MacBook Pro will really shine. And it’s pretty darn bright already.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Washington Times: Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro portables are ‘superb values’ – November 21, 2006
Apple now shipping 17-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo units – November 13, 2006
PC Magazine Editor’s Choice: Apple Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo; best mainstream laptop – November 07, 2006
CNET: Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo ‘provides great overall computing experience, at a premium price’ – November 03, 2006 (We dispute the “premium price” bit within the article)
Computerworld: Apple’s new MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo ‘one cool customer, fastest Apple laptop ever’ – November 02, 2006
Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo dissection photos – October 30, 2006
Why MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo units are limited to 3 GB RAM – October 30, 2006
Apple redesigns, hides iSight indicator on MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo models – October 28, 2006
Apple does it again: New Macbook Pros much cheaper than Dell – October 25, 2006
Yager: New Apple MacBook Pro is ‘mobile landing pad for Leopard in plenty of time for Macworld Expo’ – October 24, 2006
Apple MacBook Pro notebooks go Intel Core 2 Duo; up to 39-percent faster – October 24, 2006

43 Comments

  1. Gee, I hate to break it to him..the hardware is only 32 bit, hence the 3GB memory limit. this is due to the chip set on the motherboard…

    You’ve misunderstood a few things.

    The Merom CPU in all current Macs except the mini (for now) actually is a 64 bit chip. It offers a full 64 bit CPU architecture complete with 64 bit registers, ALUs and addressing range.

    The only thing is that the amount of physical RAM happens to be limited to only the lower 32 bits by the connected chip set which has to connect the CPU to the memory, but not by the CPU. This chip set is identical for the older 32 bit and the new 64 bit CPUs as far as I’m aware.

    But processes can still make use of the 64 bit virtual addressing range (as far as the swap disk allows).

    IF it could handle 64 bit, it would sell like hotcakes…

    It can – and it does! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. “When buying technology, it’s always best to try to future-proof yourself as much as possible. Apple’s 17-in. MBP is about as future-proof as they come.”

    I bought one of the original 17-inch PowerBook’s almost four years ago. It has a gig of RAM, Airport, and had an 80-gig HD. I’ve upgraded the HD to 120 gigs (first HD died after nearly 3 years of never being turned off).

    I’d sure love to have another one but this one just runs so damned well, that… when I do get another, and I will, I’ll make someone in the family very, very happy.

    The screen real estate on the 17-inch Mac is awesome; much better than the 15-inch model. The slightly larger size doesn’t feel like anything with the right slipcase bag.

    Sweet.

  3. @ ping: You’re right of course, and if we were only talking about the MacBook I’d say ‘so what’ regarding the memory limitation. But for a pro-level notebook that’s supposed to be more … professional … I think it’s an inexcusable limitation. If I was a graphics professional or a scientist, where more memory is always needed, I wouldn’t go for the MBPro until 4-6GB is possible.

    I’m not a graphics pro or scientist, so the MacBook is where my interests lay. which leads me to my second beef; I won’t spend anything close to Apple prices on integrated graphics (or, at the very least, Intel’s weakeast-of-the-weak ass version). If they could sell an iBook G4 with a dedicated graphics card, they can do the same with MacBook. and until they do, my money stays in my pocket.

    That said, I agree that Merom has finally made the MacBook & MBPro finally worth buying for some people. Yonah was not worth switching for IMO, if for no ther reason than 64bit is the future and it makes no sense to by any machine these days that doesn’t support it.

    From the article: “Core 2 Duo processors … are marginally faster in terms of clock speed but noticeably faster in real-world use [than CoreDuo]. One factor behind that speed increase is the 4MB of … Level 2 cache … twice what the Core Duo offered. It’s not a huge jump in processing power, nor would you expect it to be when moving from Rev. A to Rev. B hardware. But it’s more of an increase than Apple used to provide back in the … PowerPC days.”

    Actually, the 4MB of cache is the ONLY reason you see a performance increase, as Apple’s Intelized software & OS are ust as 64bit aware now as they were before (which is to say, not enough to make a difference). Under Tiger, the only thing that would provide increases in performance are increases in clockspeed, cache, and system memory. Once the OS and software all become totally optimized for 64bit CPUs, you’ll see a substantial boost from that (as AMD showed when they went 64bit and Intel lagged behind), but until Leopard debuts it’s all ‘potential’ – or “future proofing” as the author says.

    However, this is exactly the same situation that held sway in the “PowerPC days”, and back then clockspeed boosts & increased cach sizes were a regular occurance. More/faster system memory advances was just as constrained – if for different reasons – as they are now. And the measured speed boosts you got from the new revs of every PPC Mac made were about the same as what’s being measured for CoreDuo-to-Core2Duo Macs now. And when the product moved from a G3 to an altivec’d G4, or a G4 to a 64bit G5, there really was no comparsion in the measured performance bumps you saw then vs what we see right now.

    I’m not trolling for hits here folks. Just trying to keep things real. Appreciate the Macintels for what they are, not for ‘imagined failures’ of PPC that never were.
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool smile” style=”border:0;” />

  4. “And when the product moved from a G3 to an altivec’d G4, or a G4 to a 64bit G5, there really was no comparsion in the measured performance bumps you saw then vs what we see right now.” should say:

    “And when the product moved from a G3 to an altivec’d G4, or a G4 to a 64bit G5 (where you really did get much more & faster sys memory), there really was no comparsion in the measured performance bumps you saw then vs what we see right now.”

    sorry

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.