Ars Technica reviews Apple 17-inch MacBook Pro Santa Rosa: ‘large and in charge’

“Once Santa Rosa hit the streets, the Mac cognoscenti knew it was only a matter of time until before Apple updated its portables with Intel’s latest mobile technology. That time has come: Apple has released a new set of MacBook Pros in 15″ and 17″ flavors,” Eric Bangeman reports for Ars Technica.

“Since it uses the new Centrino Duo platform, both the 15″ and 17″ models come with an 800MHz front-side bus. 802.11n support is there from the get-go (instead of being available as a $1.99 update). The GPU has been changed from the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 to an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT—which offers DirectX 10 support for the Boot Camp- and Vista-inclined. There’s also HDCP support built in, which means that lack of an HD DVD and Blu-ray drive aside, the MacBook Pro should be capable of outputting HD video over the requisite protected path. The maximum memory available has been upped from 3GB to 4GB as well,” Bangeman reports.

“The new 17-inch MacBook Pro “is available with a 1920×1200 LCD in addition to the customary 1680×1050. That’s a jump to about 133dpi, compared to the lower-resolution ~116dpi. It’s the densest display ever produced by Apple and a welcome addition for those who have been clamoring for higher-resolution displays… 1920×1200 packed into a 17″ display makes for some small text. Once Leopard gets here with its long-awaited resolution-independent UI and resolution scaling, that won’t be as much of an issue. I was fearful that the text would be too small for me… but the text is easily legible. Be forewarned: 133dpi displays are not for everyone. But if you want to work with HD video in its full 1080p glory, then this machine is for you,” Bangeman reports.

“If you focus merely on the clock speed, the difference between the Rev. B and Rev. C machines is truly miniscule. After all, we’re talking about a 70MHz speed bump. However, the performance gains with the Rev. C MacBook Pro belie the modest megahertz burp, due in no small part to its 800MHz front-side bus… [It’s] significantly faster than its predecessor,” Bangeman reports.

“This MacBook Pro is the closest I have been able to come to replicating my desktop workflow on a laptop. If you’re a graphics or video professional, you’ll find the high-res display to be useful, and I strongly recommend spending the extra money for it,” Bangeman reports. “The latest MacBook Pros are a solid upgrade from their predecessor, thanks to the new Santa Rosa platform. If you already have a 17″ MacBook Pro and aren’t dying for the higher-resolution display, don’t bother upgrading. If, however, you have been sitting on the fence with an old G4 or Core Duo laptop, this is a worthy upgrade. If you like your laptops large and in charge, I strongly recommend the 17″ MacBook Pro.”

Full comprehensive (as always) review, with benchmarks – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Island Girl” for the heads up.]

18 Comments

  1. I wonder if the High Rez screen if you turned rit down to the 1680 x whatever, if it would look just like the non high rez laptop display. i baught the high rez and waiting for it to come in, im excited!!!!!

  2. Native resolution is what you have to go with, otherwise it won’t look good at all. So if you get the high res screen, you’re stuck with the smaller print. Unless you’re going to be dealing with a lot of 1080p video, you’re probably better off to go with the 1680×1050 version.

  3. I have to go with the 1920×1200 option, both for the HD resolution, but also because (as a designer) I like the precise match with my 23″ Cinema display. The lower-resolution option is 80p more vertically than my ADC 20″ displays. I just really like being able to drag windows from screen to screen without them getting caught on the lip, so to speak.

  4. As I write this on my new 17″ glossy high-res, I will report: text is indeed very small, but the pixel structure is soooo amazing that it’s like looking at paper. I have very sharp eyes, and visible pixel structure has always been at the top of my complaints list. At 25 inches (I measured–ppftt) I cannot see anything. It’s like looking at a glossy photo print. Simply stunning. This will be the last computer I buy for at least four or five years. I’m broke, but very, very happy ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  5. One more thing–Migration Assistant–Oh My God! I moved from my 4 1/2 year old 17″ iMac, with all the baggage that implies, and it went PERFECTLY in about 40 minutes. I mean, PERFECTLY!

    I have been bilingual since System 7. I even worked in VAX/VMS at the dawn of the hard disk. The ease with which I moved 4 1/2 years worth of shite and cobwebs was simply stunning. Three or four clicks. No mistakes. All apps, including some very obscure video processing apps, transferred perfectly. Like someone cloned my accounts and dropped them in a new box.

    I have never ever never had something work like that in any other computer environment. My hat’s off to all the folks in Cupertino, and I can’t wait for Leopard!

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