Sadly, it goes back...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SilentCrs, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. SilentCrs macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2006
    Let me preface what I'm about to write that this is a "I didn't like my purchase" post. If you don't want to read it, you can stop yourself now. Also, let me say I currently own a MacBook Pro (the first of the Core 2 Duo series). 2.33 Ghz processor, 2 GB RAM, etc. I also own the latest model of iMac, Time Capsule (1 TB option) and iPhone 3G.

    I bought the new, low-end MBP Wednesday night. It arrived today. After struggling to justify my purchase since I started using it, I've decided to send it back. Most of my reasons revolve around comparing it to my current machines and trying to justify the $1840 price tag (I get a company discount).

    First, benchmarking it. I used Xbench, Geekbench, PCMark and 3DMark06. While the new machine outperformed the old, in almost every test besides 3DMark06's graphics mark the difference was negligible. I don't know if it's because the processor has less L2 cache or what (4MB on the old vs. 3MB on the new) but the CPU scores were consistently within a hair's edge of each other. I know that Ghz-wise they're about the same, but the chip is 2 years newer -- you'd expect at least a minor speed increase. The memory score was very slightly higher due to the better memory speed. HD tests were about the same (despite the new model using faster SATA). The only benchmark in which the new model considerably outperformed the old was on the graphics mark. However, beating an ATI 1600 that's not saying much.

    Beyond benchmarking it, I was surprised by how little I liked the overall design. I've always argued that I like glossy screens (I love the one on my iMac. I do no photography or graphics work and they look great with movies and video games. However, comparing the glossy screen of the old model to the new one, the new one was considerably "blurrier". I checked in at a local Apple store just to make sure I didn't get a bum laptop and saw the same thing. The older glossy screen is sharper and crisper. The only reason I can think for this is the glass in front of the new model. (Which is odd, considering how clear my iMac screen looks -- maybe it's the LCD panels they used)?

    There's some questionable design decisions. The machine gets noticeably warmer than my older MacBook Pro -- uncomfortably so. It's almost impossible to open the machine without smudging your fingerprints over the camera. Even small things like the USB ports were oddly placed. On the new model, both USB ports are on the left. On the old model, one was on the left, one was on the right. For right-handed users, this made attaching a mouse a lot easier. Now I have to completely wrap the wire around the back of the machine (again, minor, but irritating). Even the Magsafe cable seems more likely to break off (not at all helped by running a USB mouse wire around it).

    On top of this, the software adds another layer of frustration. On more than one occasion the machine slowed to a crawl (I'm guessing this is more the current 10.5.5 build than anything -- I've seen it on other machines). However, unique to the new MacBooks (and the existing Air, I assume), is the trackpad software. Now, don't get me wrong -- I like the idea of the trackpad and after having used the iPhone for several years now I can't imagine using another phone without multi touch. That said, on more than one occasion I cursed the various gods when I'd accidently start turning an image, or would shrink the size of text in Safari because I accidently left an extra finger on the trackpad. This is a shame, because some of the multi touch features (such as opening Expose) work great. Software can always be updated, but it's kind of disheartening that the time they put into designing the new case obviously didn't go into designing decent multi touch features as well.

    Last but not least, subjective performance. Less impressive than I expected. I really wanted to be wowed by a completely new machine with a fresh OS build on it, solid graphic hardware, etc. However, more often than not I was underwhelmed. Even playing a game like Wow (which I was sure would run much much better on the nVidia card) was not as impressive as I thought it'd be (and yes, I had the 9600 switched on). It wasn't that the machine wasn't running well -- it was. It just wasn't running much better than my 2 year old MBP, which is disheartening for a $1800 "upgrade".

    So, it goes back to Apple tomorrow. I'm going to eat the open box penalty, but at this point I really don't care. To anyone buying the new model, all I've got to say is to be very sure of your purchase before plunking down the money. I think the white Macbook is a steal right now, but the new MBP, if anything, is stealing from the consumer as far as I'm concerned.
  2. kajitox macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    This is the first time I can say a major piece of consumer technology has been upgraded and has not tortured me until I bought it.

    Unfortunate, but true.
  3. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    Really well thought out comment on your experience with the new MBP. Thanks. I'd have to say that the bargain right now is the discontinued MBP, and folks better snap them up fast. They're cheap now, but I have a feeling their resale value will creep back up in the months to come once folks start losing their initial crush on the new machines. There's a good reason the physical design stood up for 5+ years basically with minor tweaks. I don't think the new version will remain unchanged for nearly as long. One will remain a classic, the other will just be this year's fashion.
  4. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Thank You SilentCrs for your in-depth experience, I really enjoyed reading about your honest comparison between your trusty old dog and the supposedly wiser, flasher replacement. I guess for many users the new machine is their first Mac, so for those users, they'll have little to no experience when it comes to performance issues on the Mac OSX platform.

    Also the way most Apple stores seem to operate, they make it absolutely impossible for potential buyers/clients/customers to test the new with the old, pity really... Makes me wonder do they have something to hide? or they're fear prospective shoppers will buy the older system instead of the new... Well, in my local Yodobashi (electrical department store) the old models are not being sent back, instead they're selling them at reduce cost. And they're flying outta there!! If your lucky you can choose between the MacBook 2.4Ghz White or Black!! I like the White still.... it's rather tempting to buy one, just to know about with..
  5. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    People keep referring to these machines and upgrades, when in fact besides for a faster FSB it really is a down grade.

    I friend of mine was eagerly awaiting this latest update. He has a 12" powerbook and was one of the people holding out, hoping that Apple would release one. With the MacBook he thought he could get close. This poor guy went back and forth to the Apple store today just unable to give up his money. He set up some bench mark test and compared them between the new MBs, MBPs, and his 1G powerbook. He was dismayed by the performaces of the new machine. The biggest things to him though was the out right huge benzel around the screen and how even though it was glass the benzel looked like cheap plastic, as does the keys.

    After the third trip he just said. "I am not going to buy something that I am not totally and utterly excited about. I am not going to buy something that maybe ok. I have to love it like I loved this powerbook, and the only time the new MB and MBP are aesthetically pleasing is when their closed"

    He was absolutely right. If you don't just love the thing to death whats the point. When he sold me his MBP in favor of keeping his powerbook I was so excited. I thought to myself "Sweet, it's a little folding version of my MP"

    I think he has decided to just pick up the previous model and enjoy the small benzel, good keyboard, and solid track pad, not to meantion, keep his audio interface since he will have FW400 and 800.

    You gave it a shot, you were honest with youself, and now you get to spend to money on other needed/wanted things.
  6. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2008
    Bellevue, WA
    Thanks SilentCrs for the in-depth review. I find it very helpful. Even though I am not super excited with the new case design, I was thinking about selling my 2.4 Penryn MBP and buy the new one just because it's new. But after reading your post, I think I will wait until at least Nehalem. I feel like upgrading now is throwing my money away when I am upgrading now is just for the new case and not the increased in performance that should go along with it.
  7. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Just my opinion... Remember the MacBook/MacBookPro's are computers,
    not a fashion accessories. You don't have to upgrade every single time a new one appears... it's a waste of money. Though if your loaded, have more money than braincells, who is to stop you?

    Well, I think it's wiser bBefore you consider selling your machine, to visit a n AppleStore and take the new beast for a spin. Maybe once your sure you can consider selling your Penryn after? I hate to think you'll have regrets after... know what i mean?
  8. sukanas macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    since you already have your mbp, id say keep it
    as for me, i had an imac and im in college so i decided to go mobile and didn't have a laptop

    the new mbp is nice in my opinion but no reason to sell your old computer for a new one

    maybe i shouldve gone refurb?
    well lets just say 'new' and aesthetics are a huge plus for me (and yes, do like the black/silver look)
  9. SkylerXR macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008

    Agreed. I bought the same model new MBP and my "old" clearance 512mb MBP arrived today. I've been using a MB Black before the new release, so after playing with all the worn-out models in the retail store, I decided that the new MBP is indeed better and worthy of purchase. I thought it was pretty sweet when I first got it and enjoyed it until my older gen MBP arrived in the mail (too much explaining to do for that one, just take it that I bought both), and I simply fell in love with it. The keyboard was better (which I didn't think it would be), the screen was better (matte, although I'm not one of those who hates glossy screens, I just thought images looked crisper and more refined). And in my personal opinion I thought the older gen looked better because it looked more classy and upscale, so after fiddling with both, comparing them side-by-side for a few hours, I have now decided that the new MBP will be returned tomorrow.

    This is not meant to rain on new MBP owners' parade or discourage anybody from buying a new MBP, but simply meant for those people who instinctively thought that there was something not right with the new design, almost as if Apple took one step forward and two steps back, for those of you, this is an reassurance: you're not crazy. This is also meant for those sitting on the fence debating on whether they should buy a clearance old model MBP or refurb, or the new MBP because they for some reason like the older model better. My advice: do it, I think you'll be pleased with your decision.
  10. rychencop macrumors 65816


    Aug 17, 2007
    South Carolina
    even though i have not even touched a new model MBP, i have to say i totally agree with him. i could not ever justify to myself or my wife to "upgrade" from my 1 year old MBP. but besides all that, there is not enough of a change for me at this time. i want to try and keep my current model for 2 more years and see what is out then.
  11. markrivers macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2008
    Valencia, California
    i commend silentCRS for this very helpful review.
    a crystal clear comparison, not just on the aesthetics but with the performance as well.
    keep it up!
    NOW, you validated my hesitation to buy it simply because it's the NEWest.
    thanks for that!:D
  12. magallanes macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    South of Jurassic Park
    Sound like Windows, are you update the graphics driver? (tips :bootcamp driver stink). are you using vista?. (tips:you don't).

    And how annoying/good is the new keyboard?

    Anyways, thanks for the reviews.
  13. SilentCrs thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2006
    Xbench and Geekbench were in Mac OS. 3DMark06 and PCMark were in Windows XP. I ran tests both with the Bootcamp drivers and newer ones.

    The keyboard, in my opinion, is fine. I use the "chicklet" keyboard that comes with the new iMac and it's very similar.
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Thanks for that excellent and impartial review; I had no intention of upgrading - I bought my MBP last April, am very impressed by it, and have no intention of upgrading for another year or so, - but, nevertheless, it is always interesting to keep abreast of what has been unveiled, and yours was a well argued, informative and objective piece.
  15. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
    i just bought a 2.4 refurb from the apple store today. i just could not spend $2,000 on a laptop, not in my budget.

    i could not justify spending $1,600 on a new macbook when i could get a refurb macbook pro with firewire and a 15 in screen for a cheaper price.

    my hope is in the future they bring firewire back, which i doubt they will.
  16. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    To the OP, it's certainly your decision. But in response to your complaints, I've had the previous machine you refer to and the new one runs much cooler. The old one when charging on a lap was an inferno. The new one gets warm but is very tolerable and runs very cool in easy tasks such as web browsing. I haven't seen any of the slowdowns you talk about and haven't had any issues with the trackpad software.
  17. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Ah, geez. You could have just said you had buyer's remorse and left it at that. The new MBP is not as bad as you make it. Sorry. In fact, I think its one of the best I've ever used going back 16 years worth of laptops. These upgrades are all incremental and evolutionary. You just have to accept that fact.

    As for eating the restock fee. Unless you are made of money why would you eat nearly $200? I'm sure if you put your machine up on Craigslist you could find someone to take it off your hands at cost, especially since you paid below retail.
  18. Bobioden macrumors 68000


    Sep 23, 2007
    Thanks for sharing your experiences with the new MBP. I was also on the fence, especially since I watched the keynote speech and thought I HAD to have the new. As the days have passed so have my desire to switch. My biggest drawback is the keyboard. I have an iMac so I am comfortable with the chicklet keys, and had a Blackbook before the MBP. One of my biggest complaints was the Black keys showed fingerprints worse than the case. The spacebar always looked greasy and was in constant need of a wipe down. I also am not fond of the huge black bezel, or the layout of the connections.
  19. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    This is what my family and friends (8) have been discussing since the introduction. We all have Mac laptops today (either MB or MBP) and while several of our group really would like to upgrade (we have older (2 yrs) MB & MBP models) we just don't see enough new features to jump. Since all play games the new GPUs are a big plus. However, the lack of hi-res options (1680x1050 at least!) and missing FW on the MB make it really hard to be excited enough to spend the time (selling old machines) and money to buy a new MB/MBP.

    I do have a few co-workers who really like the style and have never owned a Mac. I think both will buy the new MBP.

    This is exactly what many of the MR faithful are afraid of. When Apple was a small niche player they had to keep the faithful happy and dedicated. How else to keep selling very expensive machines when other, albeit less easy to use, systems were available. Now that Apple is approaching 10% market share and selling to a much wider audience, their focus has changed. While not looking at the lowest common denominator, Apple has definately decided to produce more general use systems with sufficent style to help consumers beleive they are getting a "cool" computer that is easy to use. Owning an Apple is almost, if not yet truly, a status symbol. All this makes catering to the dedicated faithful that stuck with them through the dark times less important.

    So there you have it. Less decerning, broader customer base (from a technical standpoint) and the desire to make big money producing systems with few options and you have the new MB/MBP line. Buy one today. :rolleyes:
  20. MowingDevil macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2008
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    Thanks for the useful info OP, I'm currently on the fence myself.

    Can anyone else confirm that the screens actually blurrier? I never noticed that but then again I didn't have an old model to do a comparison with.
  21. jstanier macrumors regular


    Sep 6, 2008
    Brighton, England.
    Well, mine is a significant upgrade from my PowerBook G4, so I'm pretty sure I'll be very happy when it arrives.

    I can't see why anyone would want to upgrade a MBP that's only a year old though, most of the researchers in my department still use ancient machines just fine...
  22. Kaupa macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2008
    nice to read about people thinking the same as I do:)
    I went with the old 2,5er which was sold out almost 800€ cheaper than before (around 1000$US cheaper then).
    The machine is amazing and the screen (LG) is a crystal compared to my old 2,4er Merom (AUO Display). Also it stays much cooler.
    What I think is very bad designed on the new MBP is the position of the displayport. I wouldnt want to use an Elgato Eye TV plus an older bigger USB flashdrive plus the displayport. Must be annoying fiddling there- why not one more USB on the right side?
    Today I tried the new Macbook at an Apple Reseller and its screen is way better than the old Macbook screen, but not brighter than my MBP screen. Somewhere ive read about a plus of 30% in brightness compared to the older LED screens!:confused:
  23. magallanes macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    South of Jurassic Park
    Im start thinging :even if in the new mbp was able to give the option to choose between matte and glossy and firewire400 is present, then still is a freakin effin update.. May be this "update" is just a half time show. in fact they was unable to show any new macbook 17".

    The difference between the gpu 8600m and 9600m is almost zero and the difference between both cpu (the old 2.5 and the new 2.5) is really unnoticeable. No matter if you are a Apple's ultra-fans or not, still a mere 5-10% of performance is the same as nothing.
  24. buyusfear macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2007

    I look forward to upgrading to this new design (in a year or two), but my current penryn sure still makes me smile.
  25. Zorn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2006
    Wow. Count me as someone who really disliked the old MBP design, I didn't at all like the squishy keyboard or the construction that didn't feel solid, or the latch that was a pain and hassle. I think the new MBP is better in every single possible respect.

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