Some tech questions before buying a SR MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chem, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. chem macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    Hey. I have never owned a Mac, but I'm in the market for a notebook and the new MBPs are really appealing. I've done a lot of research on the web, and even got some hands-on action at a local Apple store today. Yet, I still have some questions. Forgive me if these are obvious, but any answers (especially ones with references) would really be appreciated!

    1. The wireless chipset in the new SR MBPs: is it manufactured to be "draft 2.0" of the 802.11n standard? I can't find out if it's draft 1 or draft 2.

    2. Is this "Airport Extreme" chipset something custom by Apple, an Intel chipset, or a third-party chipset? I ask because I am concerned about dual-booting Linux, and having native Linux drivers (in a recent Fedora or Ubuntu distribution, for example).

    3. When I was testing the MBPs in-store today, I opened up 3 hi-res videos in quicktime, and a demo video in Final Cut Pro, and had all four looping (to get 100% load on both cores). I also had an "istat" widget running to monitor the CPU and GPU temps. The MBP was on a flat desk, the store at normal room temp. The CPU temp ran between 82-90 degrees Celsius under load, averaging 84 or so. This seems really high. The rear underside of the MBP was also extremely hot to the touch -- it would not have been something to sit on your lap (say... in an airplane). The GPU temp was in the high 60s or 70s (probably ok). Are these CPU temps normal for MBPs? The new Lenovo T61 notebooks are supposed to run really cool compared to this.

    4. I prefer the matte screen, but I am concerned about using it outdoors. Does anyone with the new LED backlit matte screen have firsthand comments about using it outdoors? Is it still easy to read? I will want to use the MBP outside sometimes.

    5. Does anyone here have firsthand experience getting any Linux installation to dual-boot on the SR MBPs? Any specific driver problems?

    6. If I buy the MBP through the Apple Developer Connection store, can I still bring it in to a local Apple store for exchanges/repairs?

    7. A question about Parallels: I saw version 2 of Parallels made it up to 2.5. Were the 2.1, 2.2, etc releases free upgrades if you purchased 2.0? I am hesitant to buy version 3.0, when you can pretty much guess that 3.1 is coming before year's end. I mean, I want virtualization, but I can get by with boot camp for a while.

    Thank you for all answers! I'm new to Apple stuff and trying to figure out if it's right for me. Gotta do my homework before I buy.
  2. powerocool macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2007
    1. The wireless chipset in the new SR MBPs: is it manufactured to be "draft 2.0" of the 802.11n standard? I can't find out if it's draft 1 or draft 2.

    1. According to Mac Genius I talked to, it is draft 2.

    3. My 1st Gen ran up to 90C, the new one seems a lot cooler, up to around 70C.

    6. I believe if you get the standard configurations you can.

    7. They only charge for major releases. But I found that the new VMware is much nicer. Unity looks a lot better than coherence, and supports Expose. And best of all, it's currently FREE.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    2. Before Santa Rosa, it was identified as the Atheros AR5008; with the new Macs, it's most likely either that or the one that's part of the Santa Rosa version of Centrino. Either way, it's not an Apple-designed chip (they haven't been since long before the Intel transition).

    5. You might wish to look at this:

    A program called rEFIt has been used to get around the issue that Macs use EFI. It looks like rEFIt and Santa Rosa do not completely get along at the moment, although I'm sure that'll change.

    I suspect that, outside of that, and perhaps the iSight, drivers won't be too big a deal, although the Linux community might need some catch-up time. At a chipset level, almost everything in the Macbook Pro now is a piece of hardware that exists somewhere in the Windows world too. So you get the same ups (most of the hardware should work fairly well...) and downs (there may not be a driver for the new nvidia yet, bluetooth has poor support in Linux, etc).[/QUOTE]
  4. chem thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    Yeah, the sales rep at our store went to the back and asked a "Mac Genius", but he didn't know either. I wonder if they just make this stuff up as they go along. heh.

    Your new MBP runs at 70C under full dual core load? Hmm. How about other people with the SR MBP? I mean, it's weird that the one in the store would run 20C higher than yours. I hope 70C under load really is the standard...

    Powerocool, mkrishnan, thanks for the replies!

    Any matte screen people out there? (question #4) :)
  5. mattsajay macrumors member

    May 24, 2007
    1. draft 1 : macgenius @ store.

    5. a fellow student in my dept said there were some w.r.t. ubuntu fiesty fawn, am not sure what was the problem though: this info is from a "water-cooler" chat we were having.

    6. you can. ref: macgenius; apparently they give you expedited service.

    an alternative to parallels is mentioned.

    i would like to know about point 3. above as well...

    thanks guys!
  6. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Why say that before ever owning Mac?

    You seem disappointed by the answer? Our new SR MBP is running about the same.
  7. elithrar macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2007
    Draft 1. Expect firmware updates to bring it up to full 802.11n spec once it's finalised, though.

    It's an Atheros chipset, and it's supported under Ubuntu by using the MadWiFi drivers. Check the Intel Mac forum on for details about this; it's not too complex and people report fairly good signal quality with those drivers, even if they're not 100% as good as the ones in OS X. In time though, in time!

    Yes, they run hot; there's not a lot of room for a lot of active cooling in a MBP. You can get a program called "smcFanControl" which can sit in your menubar and monitor temperatures & RPM: and also control fan speed. With the fans maxed out your MBP will sound like it's about to take off, but the temperature drops rapidly. Mine's sitting at 43°C (it's a cool day, ~18°C) with a few light apps open, and gets up to ~70°C when doing some more hardcore work. I haven't completely stressed it out at the moment though, semester is winding down so I haven't much to do!

    Matte is far better than glossy for outdoors. I used mine outdoors on the day I got it; works fine. It's not perfect, as very few LCD's are, but it's substantially better under glare than my old CCFL-backlit iMac. Even glare coming through the window on that would make it frustrating to read text; not so much on this. It's subjective though, as to what you're doing and what you consider tolerable. again. I won't be putting Fiesty on this yet, not until I upgrade to a 250GB hard drive. Can't afford to partition it and kill the limited hard drive space I have. When I do I will definitely post about it; hopefully I can get that 250GB drive sooner, rather than later.

    It's free, it's better, and it's still in beta:

  8. chem thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    Er, no. 70C under load would be just fine. I'm concerned about the discrepancy between the store model (84C average under load) and the poster's new MBP. I mean, if I get a MBP that runs hot, I don't know if they'll exchange it.
  9. chem thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    This is why I ask :) Disagreeing reports on whether it's draft 1 or 2, even in this thread. Thank you for all your replies elithrar, very detailed, good info. Matte is okay, and your MBP runs around 70C too (at least under moderate load). Noted.

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