2011 Macbook Pro (15 &17) reviews

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hin3sy, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Hin3sy macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2011
    Hello all,

    I'm considering buying a new MBP and after weeks of deliberation, I think I've pretty much set myself on the 15 (even though I REALLY want that 17" screen!)

    Anyway, I was looking for these Specs:

    2.3 i7
    8 GB RAM
    500 @7200 HD
    15" Hi-res widescreen display
    (and since I plan on having this one for a long while) AppleCare 3yr.

    If I was going to get the 17", I'd get the same specs, just without the apple care (can't have everything)

    But What I really posted here was to get some reviews from the guys and gals who have one of these computers. How are they running? do you like them? As powerful as they seem on paper? Average temps and fan speeds? did 10.6.7 fix any issues you had? things of that nature.

    Rant and rave about them, any information helps!

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    I have a 17" 2.2. I'd suggest you do not buy the 2.3 (the 1 GHz and 2 mb cache extra equate to about 5% performance increase IF you manage to use it to full potential), and also do the RAM upgrade from an aftermarket source. I have 8 GB of G.Skill RAM in mine, and it's running perfectly. I paid $65 for the RAM (it was on sale). If you have access to the student discount, I'd go for the $90 128 GB SSD as well, since that's a good price (I realize the SSD isn't actually 128 GB since the higher end MBPs start with a better HDD standard, but even factoring that in, ~$180 for a 128 GB SSD isn't bad at all).
  3. Hin3sy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2011
    I was wondering how much performance I would actually get out of the faster processor. I guess I just figured that if I was going to have it for a while, I'd better get the top of the line one.

    I would love to get the SSD, but I work with so much media and ad creation, I'd be worried that I would squander 128GBs FAST. What all do you keep on yours?
  4. tcador macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    It wouldn't be possible for me if I didn't have NAS storage available. I have moved my iTunes library and other media files over to the NAS which has freed up enough space for other documents, pictures, etc. I'm right at 20GB free right now and hope to keep it thereabout.
  5. Robbug, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    Robbug macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2010

    Based on what you work on you probably would want more screen real estate. 17" should be higher on your list IMHO. I am a documentary photographer and had to weigh the 17" vs 15". The only thing that prevented me from going 17" was portability. 17" is portable but not in my field of work. Sounds like you'd benifit more from larger screen real estate.

    Also the 2.3 may be overkill for you tbh. Price vs usability for what you're doing. Hard to say but bang for buck you would definately be better off with an SSD. I personally opted for the apple 256GB SSD. It's pushing the price vs worth it envelope but I didn't want to deal with any potential issues for installing any aftermarket SSD. Higher than 256GB and you are getting into better prices for aftermarket. Again not sayin there are issues out there with 3rd party SSDs - just do your homework.

    With an expresscard in the 17" you have lots of expansion in the realm of esata harddrives. PCIe bus speeds now and then thunderbolt whenever 3rd party solutions become available later.

    So basically with your original planned config you were looking at 3098 with apple care. Add 50 with anti glare

    with the 17" you could get a 128 SSD or the same drive (-100) and 4gb ram (upgrade later) for 2948 with apple care. Anti glare add 50

    Again you stated you would love the real estate so .... I would go with 17"

    Edit: to answer your question. My 15" runs great. Heat is not a problem etc. It's hard to gauge how widespread issues are even with threadnaughts because remember, most people complain on the forums to coallate data. People that have no issues usually have no need to do the same. As to temperatures - mine runs very cool. Even when I run crazy stuff on my computer it doesn't get hot. I would say subjectively it runs cooler than my core duo 15" MBP.

    Based on how much the forums calmed down from the churn earlier, I would have to say it appears 10.6.7 has fixed the majority of issues out there. As with any computer - mac or pc - there will be outliers but for the most part it appears to have calmed the masses.
  6. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    The future-proofing idea doesn't really work. By the time the 2.2 GHz quad i7 is obsolete, will the 2.3 GHz not be? By then, all the processors will be orders of magnitude faster anyway, so that 5% performance boost will mean absolutely nothing either way.

    I only keep apps, documents, and some photos on my SSD. I keep my iTunes library as well as my movies on an external HDD. You can also put in an Optibay so that you can have both an SSD and an HDD in your machine, at the expense of the optical drive. In my opinion, the space constraints of an SSD are trivial compared to the performance gains you get with one.
  7. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    Get the 2.2 and use the extra money on RAM and AppleCare. Like many have said, the upgrade (for the price) is not worth it. In terms of resale - people on CL or eBay will be looking for the cheapest option, not the best high end option from previous generations.
  8. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I've had a few 15" MBP's ... the 17" in my signature is my first experience with a larger screen.

    I can say I'll never go back to the 15". My experience with the 15" screen it doesn't seem so much bigger than a 13", especially comparing to the 13" MBA screen I didn't see a benefit.

    Now with the 17" screen... 'wow', I certainly don't need to hook up to an ACD, I can do my design work in one window and cruise MacRumors in the other. It's nice to have a mobile screen that large ... when I don't need the screen real estate or if I'm just replying to emails on the couch I'll use the MacBook Air.

    Hope that helps, let us know what you buy.

    ps- forget 2.3, go 2.2 regardless of the screen size you buy...
  9. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    Have you decided on the size of MBA yet (I'm looking at your sig)? I went with the 11" and it seems to compliment the 17" MBP perfectly.
  10. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    If you ever want to move around, I would recommend reconsidering the 15". You could spend on the 2.3GHz if you really want it, but the $250 just isn't worth it. Most users are reporting less than 2% bump for that 5% bump in CPU spec.

    IMHO you should go for a SSD instead & get an external LCD + storage as well.

    Check out my detailed review/notes here for why I went with the 15" 2.2 GHz + 8GB RAM + 128GB SSD + 750GB FW800 OWC Drive - http://bit.ly/fp35F7

  11. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
  12. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Thank you :)

  13. karthiks macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    I like your review. I am stuck between the two 15" models - 2.0 and 2.2. From what I can see only the graphics card is better (other than the obvious diff in the processor). I am primarily going to be using it for light photoshop, mainly lightroom and programming using bootcamp. From your analysis, what is your opinion?
  14. Hin3sy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2011
    Well, one of the reasons I was considering the 15" was because I do the majority of my work at a desk, I just occasionally take it to school and such, so I was considering just getting an external display and making up my screen size dilemma there.

    I'd like to hear more about the advantages of the SSD, even though 128/256 seems low to me, but maybe I just have gotten too use to having everything at my fingertips.
  15. hvgotcodes macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2011
    whatever you do, get the SSD over the increased processor. If you have never experienced the joy of an ssd, you are missing something. I put an ssd in my 2010 mbp and it is like a new computer.
  16. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Thanks, please share or tweet it if you found it useful :)

    I actually thought the exact same thing. I do Zero gaming & intend to do no work requiring a crazy GPU. But the 2.0 -> 2.2 is a big upgrade and worth it! Its way more significant compared to the 2.2 -> 2.3. There is a noticeable difference in speed & if you upgrade to SSD and not get the 2.2, you would be missing out imho.

    Bottomline, if the single thing you upgrade is an Apple (only! for now) SSD, then you won't regret it. But upgrading CPU later is a pain and honestly I wouldn't advise it. Get the 2.2 CPU & the 128GB SSD for now, for sure.

  17. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    The 2.0 -> 2.2 CPU upgrade itself actually isn't that big of a difference. The real jump comes from the 6490 -> 6750.
  18. 1quick1, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011

    1quick1 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2008
    I debated the same thing and the GPU and faster processor are what sold me. The extra 250gb of space was a perk. I don't do anything graphically intensive but it's nice to know I can if I'd like to.
  19. blue22 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2010
    if your CPU tasks aren't intense then consider the 2.0 GHz...

    And to add to that important detail: unless you plan to do some heavy photo/video editing/production, or any gaming, on a regular basis then you're actually better off price-wise going for the 2.0GHz CPU, since your actual computing needs won't warrant the higher specs that you'd never fully utilize anyway, so why overpay? With $400+ saved you can put it towards a SSD and extra RAM.

    Otherwise, the 2.2 GHz CPU will be just fine if you do processor intense stuff; the extra $250 for a 2-5%max performance boost isn't worth it at all IMO. Installing a SSD along with more RAM will make you feel the difference a lot more than a mere 0.1GHz - 0.2GHz CPU spec bump.
  20. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011

  21. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    True! Missed that in my post.

  22. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
    I like the way you included the charts and test results from different sites in your review. It's nice to have everything in one place along with your thoughts and experiences. Good job.
  23. abhic macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Thank you! Please share if you found it useful :rolleyes:

  24. legreve macrumors regular


    Nov 22, 2010
    Got my 15" today... did the battery calibration thing and then went ahead and reapplied the thermal paste. Strong nerves needed for that :p

    I ordered:
    750gb 5400 rpm
    4gb ram

    on the side I ordered:
    8gb crucial ram
    750gb WD black scorp 7200rpm
    Vertex 3 240gb

    As I just started it up now, the boot was fast. The system runs smooth and with the reapplication of the paste Im running at 39 degrees celcius under light usage... make that 38 ;P
    The fact that they build the mbp to be one big cooler thrills me. No need to worry about dust etc. getting in the fans.
    The handling of it is a pleasure as well. Keyboard is nice and responsive, the trackpad is nice and I love the lack of buttons (build into the pad).

    Im happy that I didnt buy the 2.3... this one is fast enough as it is now, and will be perfect once the Vertex arrives.
    The installation of OSX is true to Apple... easy peacy without any need to worry about it going bad. Atleast mine was. (I had to reinstall because I changed the HD).

    So in all, go for it... buy the 15". I dont miss the extra two inches, and when I do need them, thats when my external monitor comes in handy.

    Best of luck and enjoy the unboxing, cause they still know how to make you feel you're opening something special ;P
  25. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
    I did find it useful. Sorry if I didn't make that clear before. I am considering a new 15" too and I really want the anti glare screen but I don't think these old eyes can deal with the small text on the hi res screen. I have looked at both screens along with the 17' at the Apple store and I think I have even more trouble with the text on the 17". I really wish there was an option for the anti glare with the standard res screen. I keep looking and trying to get used to the high res but I don't think I can.

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