Penryn MBP Review from first time Mac buyer / Student / Gamer

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nzoMD, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. nzoMD macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    San Diego
    Base Model with a 4GB ram upgrade on the way. Bootcamp'd running Windows XP Pro.

    This is my Mac computer and I was very excited about making the transition from Windows. So far I am having a great time trying to learn every detail about Leopard. I find that it has some great tools that Windows lacks, but it also lacks some very basic functions that Windows offers. For example, an icon changer? hello? I found that I needed to install third-party software to change icons in Leopard, but even then I could not change the icon of the only one folder I wanted to change unless I changed it for all generic folders. Small things like that.. or perhaps I've yet to figure out how take advantage of that feature.

    Another issue I had is with the clock. It seems to reset itself after every boot to some random time and one day in advance. I don't know if leap year put Leopard in a twist or what.. but it is really annoying having to reset the clock every day. Also, I plugged in my iPod and the MBP set the clock on the iPod to the non-accurate time... not so awesome.

    Small issues that will be fixed no doubt.. so far I am loving it.

    As for schoo and/or work, my first experience with iWork was a rather quick install and uninstall. Keynote is a horrible program for anyone who needs to do college level material, if you are a math or science students and need to include long and dreadful formulas into your papers... keynote cannot do that in the way Word '07. Also, if you need to make graphs that have X-Y graph correlation, polar graphs, curves, and other functions that excel can easily handle. iWork is a definite 'do-not-buy' if you are a student.

    So what about Office 2008? No VBA really made me skeptical about buying Office 2008. However, with no trial version available, iWork being disappointing, and my personal want for an office-like I can run in Leopard, I had no choice but to buy Mac Office 2008. I received a great deal from my university which made the choice to buy a whole lot easier ($75). The interface is very pretty, but the program itself ran very slow and especially slow on the initial launch. The no VBA gave me issues right away when I needed to create thorough statistical analyzes and histograms. I had Word crash on me a few times while running multiple programs such as iTunes in the background. I guess Office 2008 was not created with the mindset that people listen to music while they work.

    At the end of the day, Office 2008 ended being just a power point reader for my lecture slides and iWork was just a waste of time. I installed Office 2007 on the Windows XP partition, and I am sad to say I won't be able to do my school work while running Leopard. As a result, I find myself using Windows XP more so than I do Leopard.

    I created my Windows partition for the sole purpose of it being my gaming partition. I won't include benchmarks since they can easily be acquired through some google searchers, but so far World of Warcraft runs like a camp @ a steady 60 FPS. Guitar Hero III runs great at low settings but it has some FPS-spikes on high settings, however, the game does look great on low settings. Call of Duty 4 also runs surprising smooth(40-60FPS), but do not expect to play competitively on a MBP (requires 100+ FPS). The multiplayer iin Call of Duty 4 can become a bit hectic and very graphic intensive so I noticed the FPS go into the 20s. Age of Conan Beta ran surprisingly smooth @ 50-60 FPS. I expect the performance will increase once my 4GB of ram arrives.

    Overall, the base model of the MBP performs like other "gaming" computers within its price range. Buying an Apple you have to go into the deal willing to give up some gaming performance for other features, so if gaming is extremely important to you than you might be better off being an Alienware.

    Final say.... great buy.

    • Leopard is a very intriguing OS for a new user. Having a blast learning the OS.
    • Stacks, Quicklook, and spaces is sweet.
    • Looks sexy.
    • Best of both worlds. Leopard + XP Pro = win.
    • Performs like a performance laptop within its price range.

    • Horrible WiFi connection.
    • Computer clock resets to a wrong date / time.
    • Touch pad has some scrolling issues in Windows.
    • Leopard seriously lacks any word processor, spreadsheet, or power point program that is adequate for college level material.
    • Due to the issue above ^^^, I find myself using Windows OS more than Leopard. Only reason to buy a Mac is because of OS X... shame.
  2. mgacam2 macrumors regular


    Jul 27, 2007
    In terms of your wifi issues, It can sometimes be the router your connecting too and its settings. Also make sure you download all the nessisary updates. In terms of word processing, Neo office is a GREAT free alternative to Iwork and is a gem to use. Personally i use office 2008 and and i work for my powerpoint presentations. In terms of the clock reset i had that issue too. To fix it click set time automatically to apple blah blah blah in the clock settings. Done and done it's all fixed. Track pad issues are a bit sketchy in windows xp but work better in vista. I dont have to many issues with windows runnning on the mac except for the fact that Vista and my optical sound port are a no go.
  3. Lyshen macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    That clock issue shows up for me as well. However, it only shows up when I go to Bootcamp Windows and then back to OS X. I have the option checked for Apple to update the time but I have to manually open the time to get it to update. As soon as I open the date & time setting, it auto updates.

    Oh and as mgacam2 has said, Office 2008 works nice... I have that as well.
  4. nzoMD thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    San Diego
    Wifi issues are not only with my own linksys router, but at all wireless hot-spots at my school and a router (netgear) at my friend's house... lead me to believe it wasn't the routers. I guess I need to look into it more.
  5. Neanderphil macrumors member


    Sep 28, 2006
    Use grapher located in your utilities folder for creating the equations. Then just copy and paste them into keynote.
  6. bruno75 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    nZOMD, what size macbook pro did you buy? 15.4" or 17"?

    Great review.
  7. Stridder44 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2003

    I'm praying to the Apple God's that we'll see a software fix or something soon.
  8. Lyshen macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Strange, what type of wifi issues are you guys having? Intermittent disconnects?

    I know another user posted about being connected for 10 minutes and then being disconnected. To fix it he had to reboot the laptop and it would consistently do it.
  9. SummerBreeze macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    To change just a single icon, just find a replacement icon that you like better (I personally use Interface Lift). Ctrl+click the icon and choose "Get Info." Click on the icon image at the top left of the get info dialog to select it, cmd+c to copy it, then close that window. Then find the folder/document/whatever whose icon you want to change, ctrl+click, get info, select the folder icon and cmd+v to paste the new icon over the old one. It should change instantly. To change back to the default icon, you can just select the custom icon and delete it.

    Glad to hear you're enjoying your new Macbook Pro, I can't wait to get mine!
  10. matperk macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2004
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    I recommend getting Parallels or VMWare, so then you can work on Office 07 side by side w/ OS X without much performance hits. You can even run your boot camp install inside either of them. I run Outlook, Word, and a few high memory usage apps (service ticket software) and i have absolutely no issues. Especially with that 4gb RAM.
  11. jeff^d macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2007
    I've been using NeoOffice, the Mac version of OpenOffice. I believe NeoOffice offers limited VBA support, but I cannot speak to this personally.

    Unfortunately, NeoOffice is a bit sluggish starting up, and it doesn't run as smoothly as my old PC with Office 2003, but it keeps me from booting into Windows and documents are fully compatible with MS Office.
  12. JustGetnStarted macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2008
    This scares me. I hear a number of people are having similiar issues on their Pwenryn MacBook Pros. It's making me rethink my decisoin to get a 17"er. If I can't get reliable WiFi access I'm SOL.

    I'm JustGetnStarted
  13. dedzombie macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2007
    For gaming, what nvidia drivers are you using, the ones that come with bootcamp?

    check for updated drivers, you wont be disappointed
  14. TheBigApple2006 macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2006
    I STRONGLY disagree with your remarks that OS X has no word processor...Other than Microsoft Word, there is Mellel, which together with either Bookends or Sente provided unparalleled scientific/academic writing ...check your facts before making such normative statements...even Nisus isnt that bad. Then there is scrivener ( ) which is a very handy workflow organizer...there are literally tons of tools for academic writing on OS X, most better than anything there is for Windows...
  15. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    I think you could like Pages if you gave it more of a chance...its much faster and simpler than Word, and so it is overall better for noting.
  16. luffx macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2007
    OMG, you're in the AoC beta?

    Pleeeasse give me some details. :D

    I pre-ordered awhile ago, in a guild, and can't wait for the game to finally come out.

    When you say it runs smooth, are your settings mid to high?

  17. Bootsie macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2008
    This review scares me.

    I ONLY use Wi-fi, and I use it a lot, right now, my notebook is connected continuously for about 6-7 hours per night, and when I return to school in the fall that will probably double. I do not want to have to worry about router settings and stuff because the router is also connected to my parents PC. I want to be able to just go to some place (home, school, ect.) and connect easily to the network as I can with my current PC. I want to switch to Mac to make my life easier not more complicated.

    I am also planning on getting Office 2008 for Mac, is this really a problem, I was under the impression that it would run just as good if not better than 2003 does on my PC notebook. I am not planning to use Windows on my Mac at all (want to leave it behind) unless I have to, and I don't think that I should have to for Office.
  18. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    Besides pretty hardware, what else would the reason be?

    Not only did the older versions of apps for OS X suit my college needs years ago, but they all suit my needs just fine now for a myself, an engineer. Need a word processor? Try these:
    Word 2008 - similar to Word 2007 for Windows, mostly compatible
    NeoOffice - port of OpenOffice. A bit slow on older machines. VERY good for 99% of everything.
    iWork - if you don't mind working with a "light" suite of apps, this can get the basic stuff done.
  19. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    get vmware to run office 07 in osx. Kinda sucks that you blew money of 08 if you're not going to use it but w/e. Yes, iwork sucks.

    you mentioned that you need 100+ fps to play COD4 competatively. Considering the refresh rate of lcds is 60 fps, anything higher will be impossible to discern

    for better fps in games, use these drivers:
    upped my fps in a 3dmark05 from 7100 to 7600.

    you can change icons in osx natively. you go to get info and drag a new icon on top of the old one and it replaces it. Works fine.
  20. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    This is a known issue with boot camp and there is no fix as of right now. I completely agree that it is annoying as all hell. What I did is set my apple time to a few hours earlier to make it match up. Setting it to sync with does NOT work as some have suggested.

    It sucks. Period. I used office 2004 and it was POS. Boot camp office 2007 is nice, but sooooo annoying to reboot. You should really consider getting vmware or parallels (can be downloaded in free trials to choose which one you like more). They can be configured to boot you windows partition so that you only have one windows drive that you can either a) boot in mac os using virutalization when you just need something easily without performance demand (like office) or b) retain ability to boot into boot camp for gaming and other high-performance applications, etc. You can see the guide for this here.

    I too had problems on my 2.6 non-penryn MBP, it sucks and I don't know what the hell is up with wifi not working and cutting out all the time. It always "lost" my encrypted password (which is a pain in the butt to remember anyways!)

    You can read my thoughts of converting to mac here.

    Good luck.
  21. Schizophrenic macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2008
    I ordered iWork 08 with my MBP (shipping) does it really suck THAT much? :(
    it looks cool on apple's site:confused:
  22. Bootsie macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2008
    Is there any way for me to try office on my Mac before buying it?
  23. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    You can try it in the apple store. Also microsoft usually has free trials to download on their website.
  24. Shackler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2007
    behind you!
    haha amazing!!
    Apple would never make there own product look bad on its website.
  25. Fundillo macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2008
    I too am a student and a first time mac owner, i havent encountered ANY of the problems you've adressed:confused: but i didnt even want to try iWork, im running Office 08 and it hasnt failed me so far

    but as this is my first mac i have noooo clue what i SHOULD expect

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