Ars Technica review of the Santa Rosa based 17-inch MacBook Pro

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By: switchtoamac at: 10:55 AM on June 27, 2007 | Comments (0)

In a June 12, 2007 article Eric Bangeman of Ars Technica posted a review of the new Santa Rosa based 17-inch MacBook Pro.  It's a very detailed and extensive review that's a must read for anyone who is considering the 17-inch MacBook Pro.  Bangeman often compares the new model to prior generation 17-inch models so it's a great way how the new model stacks up to older models.

The review is divided into four categories: Santa Rosa in the house, Out of the elegant box, Performance, Application benchmarks and battery life, Conclusions.  A few key quotes from Bangeman's review:

"Once Santa Rosa hit the streets, the Mac cognoscenti knew it was only a matter of time until before Apple updated its portables with Intel's latest mobile technology. That time has come: Apple has released a new set of MacBook Pros in 15" and 17" flavors. The speed bump is arguably the most miniscule ever from Apple—from 2.16GHz and 2.33GHz to 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz—but there are other upgrades."

"Since it uses the new Centrino Duo platform, both the 15" and 17" models come with an 800MHz front-side bus. 802.11n support is there from the get-go (instead of being available as a $1.99 update). The GPU has been changed from the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 to an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT—which offers DirectX 10 support for the Boot Camp- and Vista-inclined. There's also HDCP support built in, which means that lack of an HD DVD and Blu-ray drive aside, the MacBook Pro should be capable of outputting HD video over the requisite protected path. The maximum memory available has been upped from 3GB to 4GB as well".

"If your memory needs stretch beyond the 2GB included in the standard configuration, you can easily add more RAM to your MacBook Pro—up to 4GB."

"Once I fired up the machines side by side, the biggest difference between the two became immediately apparent. The Rev. C MacBook Pro is available with a 1920x1200 LCD in addition to the customary 1680x1050. That's a jump to about 133dpi, compared to the lower-resolution ~116dpi. It's the densest display ever produced by Apple and a welcome addition for those who have been clamoring for higher-resolution displays."

"If you focus merely on the clock speed, the difference between the Rev. B and Rev. C machines is truly miniscule. After all, we're talking about a 70MHz speed bump. However, the performance gains with the Rev. C MacBook Pro belie the modest megahertz burp, due in no small part to its 800MHz front-side bus."

"This MacBook Pro is the closest I have been able to come to replicating my desktop workflow on a laptop. If you're a graphics or video professional, you'll find the high-res display to be useful, and I strongly recommend spending the extra money for it."

"The latest MacBook Pros are a solid upgrade from their predecessor, thanks to the new Santa Rosa platform. If you already have a 17" MacBook Pro and aren't dying for the higher-resolution display, don't bother upgrading. If, however, you have been sitting on the fence with an old G4 or Core Duo laptop, this is a worthy upgrade. If you like your laptops large and in charge, I strongly recommend the 17" MacBook Pro."

You can read the detailed review here.

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