How useful are the 17" First Gen MBPs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ayeying, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #1
    So I was informed by my uncle that he's retiring his first generation Core Duo 2.16GHz 17" MBP and was asking if I wanted it or not. He babied the system so it's nearly like new. Never took it outside, not even sure about the battery but that's not really a concern.

    I want some owners of that laptop for some input to see how "useful" it is these days or should I refuse the offer?

    If I were to take the system, it would most likely become by primary machine, basically what I use my MBA for right now. I understand the ram would be limited at 2GB, which is perfectly fine with me. The real advantage would be the hard drive, I can technically store a 1TB 5400RPM drive in there (which I would love to have... my 128GB is pretty limiting these days and carrying a 500GB external around everywhere is bit tiring too).

    I look around for specs and so far I see that the 2.16GHz Core Duo and the current 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo in my MBA is more or less the same performance wise.

    I guess what I'm really asking is, how well will this system put up for the next year or two. Pretty much, this will replace my MBA as a mobile workhouse. I originally planned on keeping this MBA for another 2 years (8 months right now) then replace to something new. But I'm becoming a bit limited on the disk space here and this seems like an upgrade to me.
     
  2. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #2
    I'm sorry but "Macbook Air" and "mobile workhorse" just doesn't seem like it should go together.

    Are you rendering 21MP raw files or 3D modeling on the Air? Or just heavy web surfing?

    If he is giving you the MBP than take it, I guess.....
     
  3. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #3
    Believe it or not, I'm using the air as a mobile workhorse. It runs all my virtual machines (I have over 15 different Linux/Windows VMs stored on an 500GB external) nicely despite the limitations. I constantly have to run at least 2 Windows Server VMs along with a client VM for school work. I also edit 10MP raw files in Aperture without much problems. I do handbrake encoding for my videos. The thing I don't do much is watch HD youtube videos though.
     
  4. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a

    charlieroberts

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #4
    If you think carrying an external 500GB drive is tiring, try lugging around a 17' MBP.

    I don't have the CD MBP, but I do have a C2D 17' SR MBP and although I love it, I really make an effort every time I carry it around, even if it does pay off when I get to have a BIIIG screen everywhere I go.

    So... just think about size, might make you wanna stay with your MBA
     
  5. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #5
    I mean carrying around a 500GB desktop external hard drive... I can't justify buying another hard drive when I still have 3 extra external desktop hard drives not being used (200,250,250gb). I've carried around a 17" uMBP before and didn't find it much of a problem. Honestly, I feel kind of weak now. I feel my 13" MBA to be "heavy" when I'm just carrying around the house.

    I want to see if theres any current Core Duo owners to have any opinion on this. I don't care for the newest technology (like the i5s or i7s) and I'm not a spec person, just as long as the performance meets my expectations, just as long as its on par with my current MBA, I'll be happy.
     
  6. chopper dave macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #6
    I have a 1st gen 1.8ghz CD MBP 15" and it is significantly faster than my wife's MBA. I think the biggest factor is not the processor, but the bigger graphics card, the 2x faster hard drive, and the absence of any heat issues. Especially since it is free, the old 17" will be a welcome upgrade in speed and usability. The screen is almost 2x the resolution of the MBA, so you will probably enjoy that the most, working with multiple VMs.

    I would worry only about the doubling of weight and would probably replace the battery. You mention that you could fit a 1TB drive in there, a mistake since I believe the biggest notebook drive is 640GB.

    If you want to really make it scream, stick in an SSD and replace the superdrive with a 500-640GB hard drive, and get the best of both worlds. If you dropped a ton of $$ on a MBA SSD and want to still use it, you should be able to purchase an adapter to let you use it in the new MBP.

    http://www.mcetech.com/optibay/
     
  7. HerrWulf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Location:
    Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
    #7
    I actually purchased one of these MBPs over the summer and, for the most part, have greatly enjoyed my experience with it.

    The issues I've had with it are with the hard drive, the wireless and the processor. The hard drive is kinda small, but easily upgradable with a bit of effort. Same with the wireless card.

    The problem I have with the processor, and the reason I'm highlighting it, is due to Virtual Machines, something you use a lot of. I'm a web designer, so I have to deal with the luxury of cross browser/cross operating system testing and, to be honest, I find running virtual machines to rather slow down my computer.

    The machine does handle it, just not as well as a C2D machine would. The rest of the time my experience with the machine is flawless, and I'm now one of the people sitting waiting/hoping for a refresh of the MBP line so I can upgrade, primarily for the processor upgrade (though other things do influence the decision).

    Hope that this provides you with some insight into the MBP you're considering.
     
  8. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #8
    Actually, western digital has released a 2.5" 1TB external hard drive. I can crack one of those open and install it in the 17", even if it's a 12.5mm size because I remember the 17" models have enough room for 12.5" drives if I'm not mistaken.

    I would like to stay away from SSDs actually. I'm not a real huge fan of SSDs when it comes to VMs. Normal stuff like surfing the net, email, im, loading games and such, I'm fine with SSDs, but heavy write/read, I'm actually not a fan. I find the current air's SSD to be extremely slow when running VMs. Otherwise, it's faster then most 7200RPM drives, but once VMs are running, it drops to 4200RPM speeds, even slower sometimes. Running them off an external drive, even with only 32MB/s max speed is faster.

    Thank you. It's really what I'm looking for.

    I understand the processor would be somewhat low end. However, if you really think about it, the Air's processor isn't really all that glamorous either. It downclocks to 1.6GHz whenever the temperature hits over 75 deg C, which is always. So I believe, in terms of just comparing those two processors, the Core Duo 2.16GHz will be a slight increase rather then a slight decrease.

    The hard drive shouldn't be an issue. I'm extremely hardware savvy and have taken apart (literally everything apart) in the 15" MBPs, 17" uMBPs, MacBooks (including unibody), iMacs, MacBook Airs, Dells, HPs, Toshibas, etc. The wireless, I'm thinking of upgrading to the Core 2 Duo's wifi card with Draft-N... speed up a little bit on the go, but mostly I'm connected to the ethernet, the slow.. 100/10mbps.. (on the air)
     
  9. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a

    charlieroberts

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #9
    well then, looks like it's settled, take the 17' and enjoy.


    And with the added benefit of improving you strength by carrying it around ! stick a TB drive in there for your VM hoarding needs (although I know they exist, I haven't seen them for sale anywhere...)
     
  10. HerrWulf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Location:
    Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
    #10
    Not a problem. You even got me to register just to reply :D

    I've very little experience with the hardware of the current Apple Products. I think that, even with the downclocking, having a dual core processor might provide an edge, at least in terms of Virtual Machines. I find I have to quit certain programs (Adobe stuff primarily) any time I want to run WinXP. That may or may not be a problem, but without them running it does a decent job of running one, sometimes two, virtual machines.

    The Hardware upgrades are easy. I upgraded the 120GB drive to a 500GB and the wireless to, as you're considering, a Draft-N. The only frustrating part of the process are those frustrating little torx screws. I was not expecting them when I first cracked open my mac.

    It's a solid little machine though and I'm happy with the one I have even with the age of it, it's still trudging along.
     

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