And, while you’re noting down the cost of various added extras, you may need to earmark another £20 for an adaptor that will allow you to connect the MacBook Pro’s DisplayPort connector to an external DVI monitor. Previous models included a number of display cables convertors, but this latest model includes nothing but its own power line. Cutting corners on a less expensive model such as the basic MacBook is one thing, but it puts your nose a bit out of joint when you’re paying almost £2000 for a new laptop.
Yes, there's a 16x multi-format DVD burner - but still not Blu-ray
Cables and cosmetics aside, it’s the internal redesign that has been attracting the most attention with this model. The good news is that the processor and graphics sub-systems have been updated so that the 17in MacBook Pro can match the performance of its 15in counterpart once more.
There’s just a single version of the 17in MacBook Pro available off the shelf, priced at £1949. This now has a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of DDR 3 memory, a 320GB hard disk running at 5400rpm, and the twin GeForce combo of the 9400M and 9600M GT. The frontside bus and memory speeds have both been increased to 1066MHz, compared to, respectively, 800MHz and 667MHz in the previous model, so there should be an extra little performance boost there as well.
That price compares with £1712 for the 15in model with a virtually identical specification - although the review model that we tested back in October actually ran at 2.53GHz, before being tweaked to 2.66GHz recently.
As you’d expect, the 2.66GHz processor in the 17in model allows it to nudge slightly ahead of the 15in” model running at 2.53GHz in terms of processor performance. There’s a slight hiccup on graphics performance when using the GeForce 9600M GT in the 17in model, as it falls fractionally behind the same graphics processor in the 15in model - the higher resolution screen means it has more pixels to push in the bigger machine. However, the gap between the two is small enough to fall into the ‘margin for error’ category.
If you’re prepared to bust through the £2000 price barrier, there’s also a build-to-order option on the Apple website that upgrades the processor to 2.93GHz for an extra £210, along with an optional 128GB solid-state drive for another £240. We also noticed that Apple's charging an exorbitant £800 to increase the memory from 4GB to 8GB – at least £200 more than it would cost to buy a similar 2x4GB kit online and install the new memory yourself.
un-paid product developer
One thing that many fail to consider when comparing products is the tendency of PC manufacturers to "lowball" products with a lot of "trial ware", if you will. I bought a 2006 Toshiba A205-S4587 for under $800. Of course, you couldn't find a Mac anywhere close to that price. Great deal, right?
Well, the first thing I noticed was that it just didn't seem that fast considering the processor it had when compared to my older Compaq running XP. The newer machine runs Vista, of course. Well, that set me off on a quest to "fix" my dual core intel Toshiba. I started editing the register regarding running processes and start-up programs. And I had to re-install the OS to even get it to up-date correctly, most up-dates failed to install at first. None of the software that came on the machine works now because it was trial-ware! If I paid what Microsoft wanted, the price would then be equal to the Mac I didn't get!
I feel I did get the Vista to perform satisfactorily, though, except for the Vista bugs that are causing Microsoft to rush out another OS because of all the richly deserved bad press it has gotten!
I finally did buy a Macbook. It was a refurbished unit I got just to see what all the fuss was about. It's roughly comparable to the Toshiba, hardware-wise. It has 3 different office suites installed on it, though, and they all work! They all print (wirelessly) to an old (2003) HP all in one printer. Every time, not just when it feels like it!
Never have to worry about jammed printer queues with items that won't print and won't delete (like on Vista). Never have to worry about constantly keeping up to date with the latest and greatest anti-spy, anti-virus software, either!
I've been working with PC's since the first Pentium, before windows 95, at home and at work. Work is one thing, you get paid (hopefully). At home, it should be different because don't get paid. Unfortunately, that doesn't make any difference to Bill Gates. It seems he would like us all to work for him at home, too (as unpaid product developers)! I've seen it with all the windows products, and even now, I see no signs of change.
In my opinion, Apple makes good hardware. The value of a 17in Macbook Pro should not, however, be limited to just a hardware comparison, it's the software it runs as well. One needs to consider the price and the utility of the applications they will be running as well.
Oh, granted, you can put an open-source OS on that Toshiba, I had a dual-boot Linux-Vista system since the first year I bought it. Still doesn't work like Leopard, though. I'll take Safari over IE6,7,or 8, Firefox, or Opera, too.
Microsoft Office? Expensive! You can put Sun Microsystems Open Office.org on your PC. It works a lot like Microsoft Office, and it's free. It's not as easy to use as Apple's IWork, though.
The point is, how are you going to compare a Macbook to a Dell or a Toshiba?
Even running the latest Linux they still won't be as "polished", as integrated as Leopard. Yeah, they'll be better than Vista, and if you want a hobby, they might be OK, but for 99% of the stuff I do on a computer, there is no comparison.
Only if Apple releases OS X for PC's like they have Safari (not a hackintosh) would you really be able to make such a comparison.
I do believe...
Another AC and Rod proved my point entirely.
@AC - leave poor Rod alone
People normally type straight out and then post it. It's a post to an article not a 'kin essay. Jings. Plus the youngsters weren't beaten when they got there grammar wrong like you were.
There is a market for this.
That's pretty much it, and it's a big market, ask any photographer, designer, animator, flimmaker, etc.
A lot of the industry is freelance and people are often paid more for being able to use their own hardware, and prefer using their own rig anyway, so whatever they use needs to be powerful and portable, with firewire for camcorder input.
Pricing in this market depends on how much money the gear will save you... I personally spend £1500 on a cintiq graphics tablet and it's genuinely saved me more than that in wages over the last year or so in terms of time saved = money earnt.
Can't see why anyone would want to buy this for non-professional reasons or even just for showing off... the air fills that niche better.
"The lowest price I could get was 900 quid _with_ a educational discount".
Noticing the poor grammar all the way through your post, I suggest you try obtaining an education first.