Is the 17 inch MacBook Pro good value for money?

by Giles Turnbull

OK, according to Apple's own figures, here's what the MacBook Pro 17 inch has got that the 15 inch model hasn't:




  • Faster processor

  • More RAM

  • One extra USB port

  • A Firewire 800 port

  • One (1) additional hour of battery life (estimated)

  • More oomph in the graphics card (well, more than the lower-end 15-inchers anyway)

  • Faster hard disk, but only if you sacrifice 20GB of storage: "120GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive. Optional 100GB 7200-rpm drive." (??!!)

  • 1680 by 1050 pixels

  • Additional pound or so of weight



Here's what's the same in each of them:




  • 667MHz frontside bus

  • Airport, Bluetooth, 10/100

  • Optical digital in

  • Optical digital out

  • Speakers, mic, iSight, Photo Booth (yay!), Apple Remote

  • DVI, VGA adapter



So, is that a compelling package? Are the extra dollars worth all those additional pixels and another USB port?



Personally, I'm not persuaded, but then I'm not a video/photo professional for whom those extra pixels may well be worth spending the money on. But I'd expected to see a few more extras in this very top-of-the-line machine, things to make purchasers feel like they were getting something insanely special.



So, raise your hands. Are you planning on buying one?



Update: Macintouch has rounded up some good comments on the pricing, especially compared to recent purchases of 15 inch models. In and of itself, the 17 inch price tag looks more appealing, unless of course you've recently spent money on a 15 inch.


19 Comments

Markus
2006-04-24 14:39:11
More pixels implies more productivity. Which means money. So yep, they're pretty well invested if you ask me.
Larry
2006-04-24 14:43:33

Don't forget the 8x DL SuperDrive on the 17" MBP. The 15" MBPs only have 4X SL SDs.

Hermit
2006-04-24 14:43:53
One more improvement: 8x double-layer SuperDrive vs 4x SuperDrive.
It might be important for some users!
DC1974
2006-04-24 14:44:03
The folks on the message boards (mostly English and Europeans) over at MacRumors have found that if you were to outfit the 15-incher up to the specs of the 17-incher the cost would EXCEED the 17-incher (this is in Euros and Pounds), I haven't done the work to figure out if this is true. But that sounds like a bargain to me, because you also get more pixels. Personally if I had the dough (or the credit, I never qualify for Apple credit), I'd buy one.
MikeC
2006-04-24 14:55:46
upon arriving at the online Apple Store I decided to max both MacBook Pro's (15 & 17inch) with the same specs. 2.16ghz, 2 gb RAM, 100gb @7200rpm and also the applecare.


When I saw the final prices I was shocked. The 17inch was $100 dollars "cheaper" then the 15inch.
17->$3,448.00
15->$3,548.00


I'm wondering what your comments are regarding these prices. I think it's a deal and a half, but also too good to be true. Lol. But that's what the figures show.

Dweebert
2006-04-24 15:05:28
I think that it's a great bargain, if you need the speed and don't mind the extra volume. I got a fully maximised 15-incher just last week, and absolutely love it. (It takes just over two hours inside Parallels workstation to build my employer's software product from scratch, which is actually better than most of the dedicated Windows desktops around here.)


I'm kind of glad that this didn't come out until this week, though, because they might have gotten that for me instead (because you get so much more for your money), and I don't think I'd want to manage the extra two inches or 1.2 pounds on my lap at home.

Dutch
2006-04-24 15:09:53
I will fly to Miami in three weeks from overseas. If I can put my hands on one of these babies during my stay, I will certainly do so to replace my aging PowerBook G4
Small Paul
2006-04-24 15:13:58
If I was in the market for a new laptop, I'd be seriously considering it as I've got two FireWire 800 external hard drives that I'd used to edit DV footage, and I reckon one needs all the bandwidth one can get for that.
No Name
2006-04-24 19:10:43
Not interested. Merom, where forth are thou?
JohnK
2006-04-24 19:12:09
I'll be buying one in a few weeks once I hear that there are no major problems. I've been waiting for this to replace a 2.5 year old 1.25GHz Al PB. I do some page layouts which will be easier with the larger screen (among other reasons to buy).
Walt French
2006-04-24 22:17:18
There are lots of compelling features.


As a DVD player, parked on our bed a few inches from our eyes, it gives a wider screen (in terms of viewed angle) and more resolution (pixels / square arc-minute) than any other likely solution -- save some higher-rez Windows laptop monsters. (Neither my budget nor my spousal arrangement is compatible with a 52" screen in the bedroom.)


If I can keep finagling either bulkheads, exit rows or first class, there wouldn't be a better way to enjoy vids or do my various writing / coding / spreadsheeting / reading PDFs on my (alas) weekly+ flights. (I guess it'd be pretty useless in a regular coach seat with the person ahead reclined.) That extra hour of battery life might mean that I can watch a whole DVD even after the battery gets a bit tired.


Call it productivity or enjoyment. Or both. I figure that if you can tolerate the extra bulk & weight, and have the spare change, it's a beauty.


Sure, I'd like 64 bits / 50% faster / a 200GB disk / built in #@$# modem. A touch-sensitive, rotating screen tablet.


But against an aging 800MHz Powerbook, it looks like something to keep me as productive and happy as a laptop, as we currently conceive them, can.

Kelmon
2006-04-24 23:41:59
I'm not planning on buying this particular model but I am planning on buying a 17" MacBook Pro when the Merom-based versions appear. What this announcement does for me is show me that the 17" will be worth the purchase in the future as at least it delivers some additional features beyond the increased screen size when compared to a 15" MacBook Pro. From my perspective the faster SuperDrive will be useful, FireWire 800 will come in handy and an extra USB port can't be sniffed at since I find 2 ports far too easy to fill up today.


While I'm unsure whether I'd get them later this year, an increase in the maximum RAM would be nice for running multiple virtualised operating systems, some more hard drive space to store those operating systems, and a top-of-the-line graphics card would be welcome, although the X1600 isn't bad.

Sig
2006-04-25 05:19:06
My old 1GHz Powerbook G4 has an 8x Superdrive with DL support, $130 from an online retailer for a kit (the actual drives are probably $60, Pioneer K-05). Easy install. So that's no big deal. Firewire 800 is definitely worth it for video professionals, so is the extra real estate.


I still have to ask myself whether the upgrade is worth it, since I've already upgraded my hard drive to 80GB @ 7200 rpm, and installed a new Superdrive. All I can honestly see adding is another 1GB of ram. Wouldn't be the same as '5x faster' claims, but it'd generally suit me till the thing dies, especially when one is looking at $2500 to $3k for a new one. I'm certainly not ready to jump on the upgrade wagon just yet.

Adrian
2006-04-25 07:23:23
It's 10/100/1000 or Gigabit Ethernet
Adrian
2006-04-25 07:38:17
I'm really dissappointed. I thought they are going to name the 17" notebook the MacBook Extreme. It looks like I won't be getting the MacBook Express (12" that is) I wished for. But then again there is no Logic Extreme or Final Cut Extreme either, so I've got only myself to blame for guessing. There would be if they would start to name GarageBand -> Logic Express and iMovie -> Final Cut Express. Yeah, that would make sense. Let's see what Apple Legal would say if I sent them my ideas. Maybe they can final-ly explain me the logic.
Andy Lester
2006-04-25 09:25:18
My iBook is getting older and creakier, but I can't buy a MacBook Pro until they come out in a 12" model. I just don't want something as big as a 15"er.
Adrian
2006-04-25 16:38:21
I'm waiting for a truly portable, silent and cool notebook from Apple.


I don't care that much about speed or graphics performance. I just want to lie on the couch have my [insert product name here] on my belly (bellytop, now that's something new) or lap and just happily compile, code or surf away, without getting all sweaty fingers (or other body parts).


I hate heat and I hate fan noise. And the small diameter fan noise is one of the worst, thank to Zeus there's something called music and in-ear headphones.


I went to a local store and felt the bottom of a MacBook Pro 15" after playing a 1020p HD movie in a loop for about 5 minutes. Guys, I thought that my PowerBook G4 667MHz (the -- overclocked by Apple -- Gigabit Ethernet Series real funky real one) was getting hot, but it is nothing compared to the heat that the MBP 15" is building up.


Why is it that temperature and silence is not a big selling point for notebooks?

Patrick
2008-07-25 07:40:27
Yes I am going to buy the new 17 incher tomorrow july 26. It took me a long time before to choose that model.
But in my opinion Apple is still late in its various releases for ex there is still no blu-ray drive and no really good screen (I mean it's not bright enough), a shame considering the high price.
But Mr Jobs does not listen to his customer's advices, busy perhaps facing so many lawsuits.
Also the macbook pro should now be 'modernised' with for ex a black keyboard and casing colors options (not everybody likes this silver).
I really hope that I'll be able to upgrade the hardware later on, a better screen would come first, like an OLED from Samsung if made available (I'm dreaming of course !).
Cheers.
Patrick
2008-07-25 07:40:41
Yes I am going to buy the new 17 incher tomorrow july 26. It took me a long time before to choose that model.
But in my opinion Apple is still late in its various releases for ex there is still no blu-ray drive and no really good screen (I mean it's not bright enough), a shame considering the high price.
But Mr Jobs does not listen to his customer's advices, busy perhaps facing so many lawsuits.
Also the macbook pro should now be 'modernised' with for ex a black keyboard and casing colors options (not everybody likes this silver).
I really hope that I'll be able to upgrade the hardware later on, a better screen would come first, like an OLED from Samsung if made available (I'm dreaming of course !).
Cheers.