17" MBP i7 8GB 5400 RPM, AGD: Quick impressions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by balt, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. balt macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hi all,

    for the benefit of those who wanted to know how bad it really is: This is comparing to a 3 year old 15" MBP with 6GB of RAM. Comparison taken after migrating from old MBP (which took 3 days over an 802.11g network, for 130GB? Be prepared to plug in!) and updating the system to the latest patches (as of 26/04/2010):

    • Booting: Takes about the same amount of time (WTF)
    • RAM: still limited to 8 GB? WTF? I develop software for both Mac and Windows running in VMware. Would have been nice to get 12GB or even 16GB to be able to run several VMWare machines in parallel.
    • Display: Much nicer, brighter, sharper on the new MBP with the anti glare option (which is why I bought it, so +!). I don't game, so will leave it to gamers to comment on the GPU. I do however work in 3D:
    • Rendering Maxwell benchmark scene: 22 minutes on the new MBP, 44 minutes on the old one. For reference, on my i7 930 desktop, this takes 10 minutes. A clear and present WTF!
    • Running windows on VMWare: No noticeable speed improvement, perhaps not surprising as the disk is the bottle neck (WTF?).
    • Before purchasing, it was unclear what SSD's are used, even suspected that outdated Toshiba/Samsung devices are used, hence had to go with and old 5400 HDD (they don't do 7200 RPM in the Apple store... why?). A double WTF!
    • Beautiful design, look and feel couldn't be better.
    • Excellent keyboard.
    In summary: If you're looking for a better display, it's well worth it. If you're looking for significantly improved performance and speed, don't bother. It's a bit of a disappointment that after 3 years, performance is only doubled on the CPU, and has remained stationary with disk i/o.

    What Apple could have improved:
    • Use 2nd gen SSD, and, most importantly, DECLARE WHAT'S IN THE DARN BOX! SSD'S are not just for improved durability, they're for improved speed.
    • Use the quad core i7. For eff's sake, on a 17", who really needs hours and hours of battery life? Get a 15" if you need that, 17" is for performance hungry cycle bashers such as myself!

    Hope this helps anyone decide and dampen their expectations (I didn't even know Intel produces a dual core i7 so found out the hard way!)


    - Balt
  2. macinside macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2010
    I hear ya, especially about the quad core. Wanted one of those for a long time, too!

    However, this is due in part to Intel's sort of screwy lineup. Not only are the quad core 10w more (45w), but they drop the graphics, meaning you can't use the same exact motherboard/logic configuration as they're doing with the rest of the MacBook lineup. You might even need to add 2 graphic chips, an IGP (which isn't allowed due to Intels' new licensing on the i chips) and a discrete one, to make it comparable to the other units.

    Not only is that impossible due to Intel's latest license mucky mucks, but if they could do that, it'd add even more heat and power drainage. They might break the thermal capacity of the current design.

    Also, the quad core mobiles are running at a significantly lower clock speed right now. They're not the same as in the iMac. 4 engines at 1.6ghz each with something like the high production 720QM. Kinda sucks. The 2ghz chip is 55watts, and bends the thermal envelope too much.

    A quad core would be significantly different in terms of heat, noise, graphics and other factors than the other computers in their line.

    Apple likes to keep things simple and easy to explain on a purchasing and support level. I have a feeling we won't see a quad until a quad doesn't carry much of a penalty -- i.e., until a quad based Macbook would be congruent with the rest of the Macbook line.

    While Intel isn't as lazy as IBM & Motorola were with their G processors, Intel is still lagging behind some of it's promises. They need to really needs to speed up it's R&D a bit to hit it's roadmap goals better.

    I guess we should also remember the economy put a stop to R&D for about a half a year and half in most companies as they went into a non-growth based survival mode. Apple was smart and didn't cease to innovate during this time (and thus they collected more $s than anyone during the slump! look at those financials!), but the partners they depended on sure did. Apple is not completely autonomous, unfortunately, although they are certainly trying with their latest gadgets.

    Anyway, thanks for the review! If you do ever use that thing on battery, I'd sure appreciate hearing more about that after you get to run it through it's paces.

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