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. 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.

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The 2009 17″ MBP if my everyday workhorse. Recently put in a hybrid drive, but am considering going SSD.

    I recently was looking around eBay for a newer 17″ MBP. Guess I should find one while nice ones are still available.

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