The 17-inch MacBook Pro report: From slug to sprinter

“When the 17-inch MacBook Pro was killed in 2012, I may have mourned for the loss of my favorite notebook, but I could understand that maybe it was a little too large and heavy to attract a large number of users,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Or I am assuming that is one possibility, the other being that making a Retina display variant might have been too expensive given the state of the technology then. Obviously Apple knows how to do a 27-inch 5K version now, but I do not expect them to resurrect the larger MacBook Pro.”

“While it’s certainly heavy and all, I’m quite satisfied with my MacBook Pro,” Steinberg writes. “While it benchmarks well enough, to me the MacBook Pro is a real slug mostly because of the traditional 500GB hard drive. Having placed a 1TB SSD in my late 2009 iMac, I can see what a tremendous performance improvement you get from just going SSD. Even though processor-intensive tasks move no faster, anything that requires disk access benefits.”

“<y solution was obvious, and that was to replace the drive with an SSD," Steinberg writes. "The full startup process was reduced from several minutes to 30-40 seconds, which included loading four apps. From the very first, I could believe I had purchased a new computer. Without the heat buildup from a busy hard drive, the unit also runs cooler. With a lower voltage storage device, the battery may last somewhat longer too, but I didn't do any actual measurements.""

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in April 2012:

On the rare occasion that we use a non-SSD Mac, the experience is jarring, as we’ve become used to the speed of the SSDs in our MacBook Airs and iMacs. It’s a huge difference. Once you go SSD, you won’t go back.

Related articles:
What does (and doesn’t) actually speed up your Mac – February 6, 2014
Don’t buy a new Mac without an SSD or you’ll regret it – April 9, 2012


  1. Of course, I wouldn’t even consider an SSD until now that they actually offer a 1TB SSD option. I mean, I know everyone will tell me how silly I am for not embracing the wonderful new technology that is SSD, but for me, it’s a case of simple math.

    I have a 750GB HD on my MacBook Pro. I actually use those 750GB. I have a Windows partition that runs on Bootcamp, and now that I’m in school for Computer Science, I actually use my Windows partition frequently. That actually takes up 250GB right there. (God forbid I would ever be forced to use Linux!) I would love to add a music studio setup to my MacBook, but that would take up space too.

    If I would be forced to shrink down to a 512GB SSD drive because they discontinued HDs and that’s the biggest SSD they’ve got, that would actually curtail what I could do with my new MacBook Pro that’s designed to replace the old one.

    At least with the option to get a lower model with a 1TB HD or spend basically an extra $1,000 to get a 1TB SSD, I’m still increasing my storage space, and then I can do more, not less, with my brand new computer. Sure, $1,000 is an expensive option, but I’m not complaining – having an expensive option is better than having no option. 🙂

      1. Eh, the only class where I absolutely _had_ to use it was in Assembly Language. In several of the classes, they actually want us to log into their Linux server! :-O I’m using Windows in one class because compiling in CodeBlocks is causing me problems, and so I just go into Windows and use Visual Studio. 😉

  2. I installed a 1TB SSD in my 17″ MBP a couple of months ago. Wow, new Mac indeed! Sure, I’d like to have Retina a some point, but for not I have a rocking work station.

  3. I have a 17″ Early 2009 model Macbook and love it! I’m going to keep it going as long as possible and have been hoping to see Apple bring out another 17″ model! Sadly that hasn’t happened! I put a 512GB SSD in it and have the ram maxed out and dread the day it dies or the day I can’t stand the lag anymore!

  4. I picked up a 2011 Used 17 inch Macbook Pro with a matt screen last year that was in brand new condition to replace my 2007 17 inch Macbook Pro. I love this laptop, don’t know what I’m going to do when the day comes that I need to replace it.

    It’s hooked to an Apple 30 monitor which I also love.

    I do intend to put a 1 TB SSD in it later this year and upgrade the memory from 8 gigs to 16 gigs.

    Hopefull Apple will at some point reintroduce the17 inch Macbook Pro. I love this laptop, don’t know what I’m going to do when the day comes that I need to replace it.

    I do intend to put a 1 TB SSD in it later this year an upgrade the memory from 8 gigs to 16 gigs.

  5. Hear that, Apple? You built your reputation by building hardware that was user-friendly and upgradeable. Don’t abandon your people. Bring back the 17″ laptop. It doesn’t not have to be thinner than a pencil, either.

    1. Apple makes the decision to discontinue products based on their sales volume. I’d love to have a 17″ MacBook Pro with a retina display, and I sorely miss the Xserve, but the long and short of it is that Apple’s engineering resources are limited, and they have a duty to their shareholders to concentrate on their most profitable products.

      The Retina iMac and the 15″ MBP are where the money is today.


    1. I got sonnet usb3 card giving 2 ports. I port connects my 8tb (2x4tb) audio drive. Soon I’ll be installing a 1tb ssd and replacing the DVD drive with a 2tb fusion drive. 16g of ram as well (why not as the thing is dismantled anyhow)

      Dear Apple, many people in the film and audio industries love the 17″ form factor because of the screen. There are loads of people still running them for as long as they can by whatever way they can.

      Apple (nudge nudge) please please bring the 17″ back 😢

  6. I sold my last of the line 17″ Macbook pro for $1500 on Craigslist 3+ years ago, used the money going in and out of Airs (11/13″), 15″ Macbook Pro non-retina, then a 13″ Retina, finally ending up with a 15″ Retina. I loved the 17″ but it does not even compare to the 15″ Retina, for me. It is THE form factor. The retina display is just soooo much better. The funny thing is that its an early 2013, and I have the latest mid-2014 that work bought me. I think my personal laptop is much better. Does ownership create that much more bias??? Well when it is a Mac it does!

    1. I agree. The 15″ MBP RD is top notch. An incredible performer and near perfect computer (nothing’s perfect but this is darn close). Looking forward to replacing my Mac Pro monitors with 4K, 5K, RD or whatever. It’s hard to look at anything now that isn’t. We have been spoiled rotten!

  7. Back in 2003 when the 17-inch model debuted I bought it immediately, loaded it up, and you know what? It is still humming along like a champ.

    I fire it up on weekends and have fun doing legacy work in Freehand MX, Lightwave 7 and a few other older programs. Adobe CS6 suite during the week and PS7 on the weekend. It’s all good.

    Last month the head of our IT department offered me four-digit dollars because it runs Mac Classic in OS 9. Sorry, dude.

    Running beautiful OSX Panther native and ugly Microsoft look alike Tiger on a bootable external drive. Marooned on an ancient tech island, you simply get buy with what works and no worries with the rest.

    It’s almost like stepping back on the weekend and buying a ticket for a steam train ride in a gorge or crossing a country covered bridge standing the test of time.

    The only way I will part with this baby, is to buy a new one, Apple …

    Apple owner since my Lisa. 🙂

  8. “The full startup process was reduced from several minutes”

    If your start up process took several minutes on a Mac, you had/have issues beyond a mechanical hard drive.

  9. I bought one of the last 17″ MBP made (including the special higher res matte screen and fastest processor). Before I started it up I put in a Samsung 840 SSD and installed 10.8. Later went up to 10.9 and then to 10.10 where I hit the ugly wall. Yosemite is such an eyesore on non-retina displays that I downgraded my 17″MBP to 10.9 from a TimeCapsule backup. I see very little chance of another higher Mac OS on it since Apple decided to make fugly the direction they’re taking.

  10. I have an early 2008 17″MBP and replaced the hard drive and optical drive with 2 x 240Gb OWC SSD’s and turned them into a home made Fusion Drive with a little Terminal magic. Works well and there is no way I would go back to a platter drive. Passing this little baby on to my wife and buying a new MBP in April. Can’t wait. 🙂

  11. Of course Apple is moving rapidly away from computers you could drop an SSD in for a performance jump. All glued together shit so the day will come faster that your ‘earth friendly’ Mac or iPhone ends up in a burning pile of e-waste in Africa.

    Thanks Jony.

  12. Right on point.

    I’ve seen Apple gradually moving away from upgradability and shortening the lifespan of OS support for all their older products.

    Buy new and dispose of the old. Like they don’t have enough money, sheesh. Now that Apple transformed into a fashion company we will have the Spring and Fall runway tech shows every year.

    And that year old iPhone will be out of fashion and dated in less than a year.

    This is madness and a great injustice to loyal customers.

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