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. more people everyday are falling for the MAC vaporware!

    “Once Leopard gets here with its long-awaited resolution-independent UI and resolution scaling, that won’t be as much of an issue…”

    Resolution-independedt UI doesn’t and will not EVER exists on OS anything. Open GL is not capable…

    The “real IT world” is looking forward to using this technology on VIsta SP1 with the far superior Direct3D graphics engine.

    On a side note: we are blocking Safari 3.x on all of our networks…
    – it is a very dangerous product!

  2. Sputnik, you must not have enough to do in your IT job if you can find the time to post flamebait here. I doubt that there’s a lack of work given that you’re a M$ professional, so the real question is why won’t the other boys let you play with their toys?

  3. Sputnik-douche.

    Real IT world? yeah, the same guys that continually push the most dangerous OS on the planet are worried about Safari – which has ALREADY been updated, you putz.

    Give it up – Direct3D will do what in the Real IT World? Oh yeah, play games better.

    Jackhole.

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