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Old Feb 24, 2011, 07:01 PM   #1
-Ryan-
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Thoughts coming from Mid-2009 13" to Early-2011 13"

Earlier this year I began to consider an upgrade to my already fairly new Macbook Pro. I purchased it in December 2009 as the 2.26GHz C2D 13" model. Internally I upgraded two components - first, I kicked the hard drive up to 7200 RPM and upgraded the RAM to 4gb. As time has gone on, this computer developed a bottleneck; the processor. This was particularly evident with HD video, both the watching and editing of. As such, I felt it was time for an upgrade. When the new Macbook Pros were released today, I headed to the Victoria Square Apple Store in Belfast and picked up a 2.7GHz Dual Core i7 high end 13" with everything else standard. Before I turned it on I upgraded the HDD to an SSD. Below, in bullet point list are some of my day 1 thoughts on this change.
  • The first thing I noticed when I turned the machine on was the quality of the display. It is certainly incrementally better in terms of both colour quality and brightness than what I had in my now eighteen month old machine.
  • Yet again I have had a machine enter an endless loop when restoring from a Time Machine backup. Apple need to sort this, although it bears no relevance to this machine, I have had it happen on several ocassions.
  • The processor is certainly considerably better. I have been watching both Youtube and BBC iPlayer in HD without any dropped frames or stuttering. Very impressed on this front.
  • In other tasks there is no evident improvement seen from the processor (bar perhaps Safari mentioned later), though this needs more testing.
  • The biggest jump here for me is the SSD. It is a Crucial 128gb I purchased from Amazon for 162. This makes everything feel much more smooth - particularly navigating large folders in Finder and the opening of applications.
  • Unlike the 2009 Macbook Pro, the Dock no longer stutters when opening both Folders and Stacks. I think this is likely to be a combination between the much improved graphics chip and the SSD.
  • The machine is running noticably louder than my previous model. While the 2009 model was completely silent for light use, this has a humming fan permanently, although not distractingly loud.
  • The same screen resolution is a definite disappointment. A bump to the Macbook Air panel is a must for the next refresh.
  • There is quite possibly some minor refinement of the backlight positioning under the keyboard. I have had both a unibody Macbook with a backlight and the 2009 Macbook Pro, and this one is certainly better at containing light spillage. YMMV.
  • I had some trouble out of the box connecting my 27" Cinema Display to the 'Thunderbolt' port. It went glitchy (red lines horizontally across the Cinema Display) several times before finally accepting the connection through a restart while plugged in. Hot swapping the display has worked since this initial blip. Again YMMV.
  • Possibly as a result of the fans running more noticably in this model compared to my previous, the machine is running significantly cooler after a period of 8 hours.
  • Scrolling in Safari is now completely smooth on image-heavy pages or while background loading is taking place. It is a much better browsing experience than on the previous model, but that is a nice bonus rather than a reason to upgrade.

In all, I feel that for me this machine is a necessary upgrade. The C2D really wasn't cutting it for me anymore, and so far this machine is admirably handling HD video, of which I consume and create rather a lot of. However, if you are a light user who rarely taxes the system, I honestly doubt whether this is even a worthwhile update from the mid-2009 model. Even less so from the 2010 model. For me, the greatest speed improvement so far has been by a long shot gained from the addition of an SSD. Thus, if you are in a position to swap over to an SSD in your older model, that would possibly be a better option than replacing altogether.

I hope these observations are helpful to some in a similar position to myself. This is certainly a great machine, and an upgrade I urgently needed, but for many they may find themselves underwhelmed by the latest and greatest. Buy if required. For those who have been waiting to buy their first Mac, go ahead. You won't be disappointed. Feel free to ask any questions or disagree.

Last edited by -Ryan-; Feb 24, 2011 at 07:24 PM.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 07:17 PM   #2
MultiBat
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sweden
Thank you for the post!
Now I am almost certain I will get the 13" with a BTO SSD.
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13" MBP 2,7GHz i7 (early 2011) 32 GB iPod touch (4th Gen) iPhone4 16GB
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 07:19 PM   #3
Katanae
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by -Ryan- View Post
I hope these observations are helpful to some in a similar position to myself.
They are; thank you.
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