The 17" MacBook Pro is truly bittersweet.

revelated

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
993
1
It's like up and down with Apple. They just don't have a flawless machine in every way. I love MacBook Pros, but I just...

Anyway today I sold my 15" to a very accommodating older gentleman who was willing to help me. I had an $1800 budget and was going to basically redline myself by buying a 17" off Amazon, where it's now $2000 - a steal, literally, since there's no tax. Problem is, it's Sunday, I wouldn't get it until Tuesday, maybe Wednesday at the fastest, and I can't be without a MacBook until then as I use it for work. So I swallowed my pride and decided to just get it at the Apple Store - would let me do walk in support anyway. He agreed to buy my 15" with 2GB extra RAM that I'd install for him on the spot, for $1800 - another steal, but I was motivated. So he paid $700 and I paid the rest, and he was fine with that. His first Mac, and he was excited like I was..

I would have gotten the antiglare, but they only carry the super tricked out i7 version with AG. I can't justify nearly $2800 just to get antiglare, so I got the glossy, and I'll just get a Green Onions overlay which is fine. Indoors it's moot, for the most part. Now, I'm loving the extra real estate (same resolution my Gateway had and I'm happy to have it back for my development), but here's some questions.

1: Why is it that Apple trackpad clicks get louder as the MBP size gets bigger? I had a 13" where the track pad click was barely audible. The 15" was a little louder, and the 17" is so darn loud I feel like strangling myself. It's like the innards are hollow, yet I know they aren't.

2: Does anyone know the logic of Apple removing the ExpressCard slot on the 13" and the 15" yet adding it back in on the 17"?

3: These speakers blow the 15" out of the water in terms of the quality of the audio. It doesn't sound overly "discreet" like the 15" did. There's depth to it which I desperately need as a music editing machine. Can't always use my headphones.

4: It's really not heavy at all. Some have said that it's just a heavy machine; I submit those people have never held the Gateway P7805u.

5: This is a nitpick but the Apple logo is not pure white like on my 15" and 13". It's an offwhite and I can't stand looking at it. It also seems to be driven off of the brightness of the screen, yet I seem to recall neither the 15" or 13" being that way. Am I seeing things?


Overall I'm satisfied. Probably could have just waited and bought it from Amazon since I opted for the base model...but at least now I can take it right back into that store if something goes wrong.

EDIT: a calibrate did indeed resolve the battery issue. Now it reports correctly as around 8-10 hours like it should. Amazes people at work that a laptop this big can last so long when their HPs can't last 25 minutes.
 

maratus

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2009
630
146
Canada
I totally agree with you. 17" MBP is the only 17" notebook that impresses me and it's even more interesting than hi-res 15" and here's why:
– Speakers quality (as you mentioned)
– Better fans (they are quieter)
– 3rd USB + Expresscard
– Screen is 1920x1200 (w00t!)

I got 13" due to size, weight and price but 17" would be perfect for me as well.
 

revelated

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
993
1
2: They didn't remove it ont he 17" because it's a truly pro machine. Those who really need it won't buy the 13 incher. I guess they removed it from the 15" only to make it thinner and to reduce the cost.
Ok but the majority of consumer-grade cameras out there are using SD cards, not ExpressCards. The other primary use is as a data connector, which seems to have been negated by the addition of a Firewire 800 port and the Airport. The MiFi and Sprint's 4G device seem to make using USB or ExpressCard cards almost stupid in comparison. Yes, I know I can get an adapter. But it's a pain to have to do so for something that is native on the other smaller sizes is all. I don't use it enough to warrant it being a dealbreaker or anything, it's just annoying.
 

Aboo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2008
794
21
Ok but the majority of consumer-grade cameras out there are using SD cards, not ExpressCards. The other primary use is as a data connector, which seems to have been negated by the addition of a Firewire 800 port and the Airport. The MiFi and Sprint's 4G device seem to make using USB or ExpressCard cards almost stupid in comparison. Yes, I know I can get an adapter. But it's a pain to have to do so for something that is native on the other smaller sizes is all. I don't use it enough to warrant it being a dealbreaker or anything, it's just annoying.
True but eSATA speeds just don't compare to anything you can achieve with Firewire 800 or airport. Expresscards are nifty - you can get one of those 20 in 1 readers for the slot if you would really like, so that you can insert an SD card, memory stick, etc. right into the express card slot. It will sit flush with the machine also (so you can leave a memory card in there) if you would like. The SD card slot apple uses doesn't allow a sd card to sit flush, so you cant transport the MBP with SD cards in the sd slot. Also for some people who use SSDs and storage is limited, the expresscard slot can also support an expresscard ssd which, although is not very fast, can support things like an itunes music library, etc. to save space on the primary disk. The point here is that the expresscard slot is more versatile than the sd card -slot.
 

revelated

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
993
1
True but eSATA speeds just don't compare to anything you can achieve with Firewire 800 or airport. Expresscards are nifty - you can get one of those 20 in 1 readers for the slot if you would really like, so that you can insert an SD card, memory stick, etc. right into the express card slot. It will sit flush with the machine also (so you can leave a memory card in there) if you would like. The SD card slot apple uses doesn't allow a sd card to sit flush, so you cant transport the MBP with SD cards in the sd slot. Also for some people who use SSDs and storage is limited, the expresscard slot can also support an expresscard ssd which, although is not very fast, can support things like an itunes music library, etc. to save space on the primary disk. The point here is that the expresscard slot is more versatile than the sd card -slot.
I don't know. I would rather have something that is more accepted (SD Card) than something that is more versatile yet limiting (ExpressCard).

Using eSATA as an example - my P7805u had an eSATA port. While nice, I found myself never using it. It didn't make sense when I could just as easily access it over a WLAN.

I think the most versatile option is the one Apple will never deploy, and that's the so-called "universal" port - the one that took Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro, XD, SD, CF, etc. But then I'm a unique consumer like that.


Anyway, at least I found another nag with the 17...the reported battery, especially when using the nVidia card. I may need to do a fresh calibrate on this sucker, because according to this I'm getting about 6 hours under ideal conditions (screen brightness at 1 notch, Intel chip, keyboard backlight off, nothing open except Firefox, doing nothing but browsing).
 

Brien

macrumors 68030
Aug 11, 2008
2,966
625
The 17" is nice, and I may choose to get a 17" next time around. I still can't believe how much cheaper they've gotten, when I got my 15" MBP 1.5 years ago it cost me nearly $3k.
 

shoppy

macrumors 65816
Mar 4, 2007
1,000
11
Hants
I have both 13 and 17" MBP's and I brought a sonnet multimedia adapter for my express card slot. It is fantastic as I have left it in there and does the same job as the 13" but with out protruding.
 

chris2k5

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2010
687
0
I have both 13 and 17" MBP's and I brought a sonnet multimedia adapter for my express card slot. It is fantastic as I have left it in there and does the same job as the 13" but with out protruding.
Can you give us a comparison picture of the 17 vs 13 inch pretty please? :p Never seen them next to each other.
 

solmaker

macrumors member
Nov 23, 2007
89
14
MBP 17" sound balance

>3: These speakers blow the 15" out of the water in terms of the quality of the audio. It doesn't sound overly "discreet" like the 15" did. There's depth to it which I desperately need as a music editing machine. Can't always use my headphones.

Could you check something for me? I just got a new MBP 17" and my only issue with it is the audio output from the left speaker, which sounds tinny and light to me, noticeably different from the much warmer right speaker output when Output Balance is adjusted back & forth in Sound System Preferences.

My question to you as a music editor: Do your left & right speaker output sound the same when you adjust Balance left & right on your MBP 17"? I'm trying to figure out whether this is a problem with my specific machine or just the way it is for all these new 17" MBPs. If your Balance right output is also noticeably richer than your Balance left output, perhaps this control just arbitrarily assigns the bass speaker to the right side and there's no real hardware problem.

Thanks to the original poster and anyone else who can provide feedback on this issue.
 

hippo206

macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2007
445
3
I don't know. I would rather have something that is more accepted (SD Card) than something that is more versatile yet limiting (ExpressCard).

Using eSATA as an example - my P7805u had an eSATA port. While nice, I found myself never using it. It didn't make sense when I could just as easily access it over a WLAN.

I think the most versatile option is the one Apple will never deploy, and that's the so-called "universal" port - the one that took Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro, XD, SD, CF, etc. But then I'm a unique consumer like that.


Anyway, at least I found another nag with the 17...the reported battery, especially when using the nVidia card. I may need to do a fresh calibrate on this sucker, because according to this I'm getting about 6 hours under ideal conditions (screen brightness at 1 notch, Intel chip, keyboard backlight off, nothing open except Firefox, doing nothing but browsing).
If you are only getting 3 hours then yes, you either need to recalibrate or replace the battery.
 

creeman

macrumors 6502
Oct 15, 2007
279
0
This thread makes me sad. It makes me wish I would have gotten the 17" instead of the 15". And, its even worse when the 17 was only around $190 more than the 15 I got. Gah!
 

chris2k5

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2010
687
0
This thread makes me sad. It makes me wish I would have gotten the 17" instead of the 15". And, its even worse when the 17 was only around $190 more than the 15 I got. Gah!
You can set it right now by getting a $1699 MBP 17" (2009) from Microcenter!
 

Xombie11

macrumors regular
Nov 2, 2009
123
12
Eh, I find the 17" unwieldy--at least in comparison to the 13/15".

Also, it desperately needs a number pad. The wide open space on each side of the keyboard just looks so wrong.
 

revelated

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
993
1
Could you check something for me? I just got a new MBP 17" and my only issue with it is the audio output from the left speaker, which sounds tinny and light to me, noticeably different from the much warmer right speaker output when Output Balance is adjusted back & forth in Sound System Preferences.

My question to you as a music editor: Do your left & right speaker output sound the same when you adjust Balance left & right on your MBP 17"? I'm trying to figure out whether this is a problem with my specific machine or just the way it is for all these new 17" MBPs. If your Balance right output is also noticeably richer than your Balance left output, perhaps this control just arbitrarily assigns the bass speaker to the right side and there's no real hardware problem.

Thanks to the original poster and anyone else who can provide feedback on this issue.
The right side speakers have a little more depth to them. This is probably because the microphone is at the bottom right corner of the left speaker grill, and having the bass would add to the interference with the mic. A theory, may be way off base. But no, you're not hearing things.

One thing is for sure though. If you crank the output to 32bit, it sounds quite amazing.

Eh, I find the 17" unwieldy--at least in comparison to the 13/15".

Also, it desperately needs a number pad. The wide open space on each side of the keyboard just looks so wrong.
I said the same thing myself when I bought the 15. But then I realized that for home use I'm never using the number pad. After using the 17 for a while, you really don't notice the wasted real estate, and the quality of the speakers they put there are by far and away superior to the other MacBooks.
 

solmaker

macrumors member
Nov 23, 2007
89
14
MBP 17" sound balance

>The right side speakers have a little more depth to them. This is probably
>because the microphone is at the bottom right corner of the left speaker grill,
>and having the bass would add to the interference with the mic. A theory,
>may be way off base. But no, you're not hearing things.

Thanks for this reality check. One thing I found is if I nudge the Balance slightly right (say to about 60%), I like the sound better.

>One thing is for sure though. If you crank the output to 32bit, it sounds quite amazing.

Forgive my ignorance... how do I do that? Are you talking about a playback setting (if so, where?) or are you talking about 32bit detail in the sound file that's being played?
 

tim100

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2009
1,368
0
i got a 17 i7 anti glare and reading on here makes me feel like i got the largest ugly un-useable machine. its not that much bigger than the 15. i can understand the need for a portable machine. its like going to starbucks and saying that large drink is just too big. they all look the same small, medium, and large.
 

revelated

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 30, 2010
993
1
>One thing is for sure though. If you crank the output to 32bit, it sounds quite amazing.

Forgive my ignorance... how do I do that? Are you talking about a playback setting (if so, where?) or are you talking about 32bit detail in the sound file that's being played?
Go to Spotlight and search "MIDI". Open Audio MIDI Setup. Select the speaker, change the drop down on the right from 16bit to 32bit. You can also amplify the left or the right from here - but it doesn't do much on the left channel. This is also where you'd increase or decrease microphone input levels.

About the noise - just turn on the tap to click setting in preferences so you don't have to fully depress the trackpad (forget what it's actually called). I much preferred the older trackpad anyway with the button on the bottom.
I hate tap-to-click. Can't stand it. Too many misfires from that setting. I like a click where it will only execute if I exert force. What I want is the trackpad from the 13" where it's a much softer click sound. My colleague just bought him a 13" and it had an awesome trackpad.
 

Shreknow91

macrumors newbie
Jun 26, 2010
26
0
5: This is a nitpick but the Apple logo is not pure white like on my 15" and 13". It's an offwhite and I can't stand looking at it. It also seems to be driven off of the brightness of the screen, yet I seem to recall neither the 15" or 13" being that way. Am I seeing things?


Just looked at my apple while adjusting the screen brightness, I'm on a 15 inch 2009 MBP, and it definitely changes with that control...


and congrats on the new purchase!
 

farmermac

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2009
775
2
Iowa
i thought i was the only one with a 13 & 17 combo

i like carrying the 13 around much more, but working on the 17 more. It is definitely hard to manage, but what you gonna do. the 1920x1200 is very useful, it's allowed me to ditch the second monitor I used to need.