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Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A – My Review

Article by dfgrsd reeew

I use my Macbook Pro as my main computer at work where I have it hooked up to an external monitor. I do a lot of number crunching (i.e. statistics) so upgrading from my 2010 Macbook Pro to this 2011 version with the latest CPU made a lot of sense. It may not make sense for many people who own 2010 or 2009 versions of the Macbook Pro. I list all the pros and cons below.<div style=”font-family: Verdana,sans-serif;”>PROS:-</div></div><div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- Much Faster CPU</div></div>This Macbook Pro (MBP) update is all about the CPU (i5 “Sandy Bridge”). The 2010 MBP missed out on a generation upgrade last year, keeping the same Core 2 Duo family that was in the 2009 MBPs. This made the 2010 version only marginally faster than the 2009 version. The benchmark scores on the 2011 13″ 2.3 GHz MBP are 35% to 40% higher than the 2010 13″ 2.4 GHz MBP. That is a HUGE leap in computational performance. It is true that the Core 2 Duos were very dated, but the low end 2.3GHz 2011 MBP is just as fast as last year’s high end 15″/17″ MBPs which had i5 and i7 2.8 GHz processors! Very awesome.

<div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- Faster Memory</div></div>This is part of the faster performance observed, but it means that you can’t use your memory from your old MBP.

<div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- Support for the fastest SSD hard drives</div></div>If you want to upgrade to an SSD this is an important upgrade. The latests SSD hard drives are blazing fast, but require a Sata III 6Gb/s connection to achieve their 500 MB/s reads. (Right now, OCZ’s Vertex 3 and Intel’s 510 Series are the only drives that really need the higher speed port, but more are coming.) On the downside, it appears that the optical drive connection is Sata II 3 Gb/s. So if you were planning on removing the optical drive in favor of a second SSD, it will be running on a slower connection.<div style=”font-family: Verdana,sans-serif;”>NEUTRALS:</div></div><div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- same solid construction</div></div>Not much to report. Still on of the best builds in the business, but no reason to upgrade.

<div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- HD Webcam</div></div>Nice I suppose, if you are using you laptop as a camcorder, but if you are streaming video (like over Skype) you are going to have a bandwidth bottle neck so the HD webcam it isn’t going to make any difference.

<div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- Thunderbolt</div></div>Awesome technology, but there isn’t anything out there right now that takes advantage of it. Maybe in six months it will be more of a benefit. It doesn’t hurt to get it now though.

<div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- Battery Life</div></div>This is hard to determine. One of the marketing points of the Sandy Bridge CPUs are the integrated Intel HD graphics which are supposed to increase battery life. However, Apple changed their battery tests since 2010. The reported battery life is “7 hours” for the 2011 MBP vs “8-9″ hours for the 2010 MBPs, but battery life for the same usage may actually be longer for the 2011 MBP. I’m not sure how to tell, but I would guess that battery life is at least as good as the 2010 MBP due to the integrated graphics in the 2011 MBP.

UPDATE: Someone has done an apples to apples comparison on battery life. According to tests by Laptop Magazine, the 2011 MBP has approximately 45min more battery life than its predecessor. Using a web surfing via WiFi based test, they found that the 2011 MBP lasted 8:33. The 2010 MBP lasted 7:48 using the same test. Thanks to those who left comments that pointed out this battery test.

<div style=”font-family: “Trebuchet MS”,sans-serif;”>- Graphics Performance</div></div>The integrated Intel HD graphics are not as powerful as the discrete Nvidia graphics found in the 2010 MBP. Call of Duty gaming tests achieve 26fps with Intel graphics (2011 MBP) vs 33fps with Nvidia graphics (2010 MBP). For me this is a non-issue as don’t game and don’t run graphics intensive programs (Photoshop, AutoCAD, etc). The most graphically intensive task I have is running a 27″ external monitor which the Intel graphics handle without a problem. In theory, the integrated graphics have the advantage of increasing the battery life, but this is not verifiable.<div style=”font-family: Verdana,sans-serif;”>SAMMARY:</div></div>The 13″ Macbook Pros are the best “backpack” sized computers out there. The new Sandy Bridge processors are very very fast and I am getting over 9 hours battery life! Memory is upgradeable to 8GB and you can replace the HDD with a larger drive or an Intel SSD with ease.

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<div style=”font-family: Verdana,sans-serif;”>Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A Review</div>

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