What Are Your MacBook Pro Impressions?

by Derrick Story

Intel Chip

Now that a steady flow of MacBook Pros are hitting the streets, I'm curious about what users' first impressions are. I'm sure there are many like me who are wildly interesting in investing in one, but who aren't sure yet how Apple's latest laptop plays out in everyday use.

So far, I've heard comments such as, "Boots faster than any Mac I've every had," "UB applications do run faster, noticeably," "It's very quiet," and "The new power adapter is really cool." This is encouraging news. But I'm also wondering about the lack of a traditional PCMCIA slot, battery life, WiFi sensitivity, case heat, etc.

Since many other forum posts run contrary to my own experiences (and comments to my blog seem more inline), I'd like to hear from MacBook Pro owners in the Mac DevCenter community. Tell me... what do you think?


Richard Testani
2006-03-09 15:57:01
Most of my experiences so far has been very positive. Boot time is awesome, isignt is great, love magpower connector.

The power connector for me sould be just oh so stronger, i often sit on my couch cross-legged or indian style and I tend to kick the cord out all the time. I also feel the locking tabs don't lock so well. Often when I think I've closed my book, I'll hear iChat connect.

I think my system may be an exception because I've installed the max RAM (2GB) & the 7200 RPM drive, so the Adobe CS2 Suite runs exceptionally well, I'd even go as far to say there is very little difference from my 1.67 PowerBook. Wait til the Universal comes out!

Battery life is has been relatively similar to my PowerBook, but I don't work too far from a power supply, so I am always juiced.

My thoughts.

Tom Bridge
2006-03-09 16:11:48
I'm fairly happy with my purchase, overall. I did have my SATA drive die on the fifth day, but the replacement drive seems to be doing very well. Rosetta makes the few non-Universal applications that I use turn into something like a dog (Office, ecto), but overall it's a real flyer.

Battery life is good, but not stellar, around 3 hours most times.

It's a good machine, but 2 weeks isn't long enough for me to make a full review.

Fraser Speirs
2006-03-09 16:29:45
Derrick, I'm quite delighted with my MacBook Pro. I'm running exactly one non-Universal application in daily use - NetNewsWire - so application performance is great for me. I'll second the observation that PowerPC apps run oviously slower than UB, but the compatibility has been quite excellent.

I haven't missed the PCMCIA slot much - the upgrade to USB 2 for connecting my 350D has more than compensated for it, for me.

Still waiting for a Universal Binary of Aperture though :-)

Scott Bourne
2006-03-09 16:31:34
Derrick my experience mirrors what you describe. Super fast boot, very quiet, UP apps run like "butter." I think the new power adapter is cool but it can sometimes come out too easily in my opinion. In addition, battery life seems to run just slightly more than three hours in most cases. I do wish I could get a PCIExpress firewire 800 card but I assume it will be available soon. I don't find too much heat coming from the bottom of the unit. While it's hot, it's no hotter than other laptops I use. WiFi has been as good as any other laptop I have used.
Roberto Cruz
2006-03-09 23:31:21
I been working with this machine for more than a week and I have to say that Apple need to work on the Darwin kernel a little more to be able to take advantage of some of the processor key advantages.

Do you know that currently Apple is not taking advantage of the Speedstep technology?

Why? Because the OS is not ready to take advantage of this.

The machine is always running at macimum speed, wasting power and generating a lot of hot.

From the other side, I dont' see any differences in lumminance with other PoerBooks, I compare side by side the G4 17" with the Macbook Pro and there is not notciable difference.

Don't work with this machine on your lap.

Eric Albert
2006-03-10 02:02:04
Roberto's comment about SpeedStep isn't correct. The MacBook Pro does a tremendous amount of CPU modulation in response to CPU usage and thermal requirements.
2006-03-10 06:50:58

Picked up my MacBook Pro from the nearby Apple store about 36 hours ago.

Comparing it to the Macs I've been using the past year (2GHz iMac G5, 800MHz TiBook, 2GHz Dual G5), Tiger appears to be tailor-made for the Core Duo. Spotlight is instantaneous, Smart Folders the same, and loading up on a boatload of Dashboard Widgets doesn't make this thing break a sweat.

That, and with about 20 apps open, the CPUs rarely spike.

"Butter" is the best way to describe this. Silent butter.

I'm very impressed so far. I think the OS was waiting for this. I *finally* feel that we have exceeded Classic-era GUI responsiveness across the board.

Ron Robson
2006-03-10 06:57:56
Upgraded from a 12" 640MB 867 Mhz 1st generation G4 and there is absolutely no comparison. Rossetta or UB, it blows the old G4 right out of the water. (I have the 1.83GHz/2GB RAM) The Rosetta apps I'm familiar with are Word and Excel, both run great. Heat has not been a problem. I have had 2 instances were I needed to do a forced reboot, they were isolated enough that I can't figure out what caused them.

The only downside is that I don't have UB printer drivers yet for the machines I use, thus many of the special printer features are not accessible.

Chris Ryan
2006-03-10 09:30:15
I got a 1.83GHz MacBook Pro yesterday. It seems good. Unfortunately it looks like there is a nasty driver bug that results in huge packet losses on at least some corporate networks. If I'd known this I would defintely have held off. The MacBook Pro is unusable for me, for now. See:


Roberto Cruz
2006-03-10 16:58:16
Eric Albert, perhaps should be mine but I checked several times if you check with sysctl -a hw you can see that the minimum speed is 2000000, if i did the same with another BSD distribution in a Lenovo Dual Core, the minimum speed is 1000000.

If you check the speed is allways at 2000000, in this case Apple is not using speedstep.

I don't comment about other optimizations, but I checked and compared Lenovo and MacBook pro with similar configurations and OS (Lenovo with a version of FreeBSD) Lenovo and FreeBSD beat the battery time of MacBook by an hour and a half.

I'm now compiling a small tool to check the usage of the speedstep in OS X, I will post the results.

Roberto Cruz
2006-03-10 17:06:55
Eric Albert, in any case I think it's a fantastic machine that I ordered the same day of announcement, we have now 4 at the office with 4 imac Core Duo, waitting to buy the new "Big one".
Roberto Cruz
2006-03-10 17:44:16
I continue looking for information, I installet last version of CHUD and launched Reggie, if you look into it you can see that the register for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology is disable. I don' say that apple it's not using another way to save power but not SpeedStep as it's disable.

Roberto Cruz
2006-03-10 17:48:35
Forget All the stupid things I say before, don't belive in other tools, I checked directly the registers and SpeedStep it's active, but seen that the normal tools don't show this information. If you check directly the information you can check that it's active but you can not force to use a specific mode by now.

Sorry Enric, I apology for the wrong information

Roberto Cruz
2006-03-10 18:04:57
Test this:

Download the last CHUD tools, open Reggie Select CPU1, PLATAFORM_ID, if you move over the register 27 Sample stated (1 indicated the processor is a pre-production sample a value of 0 indicated the part is inteded for production.

I don't know it I can belive or not the CHUD tools, but I checked the same register directly and stated the same information, checked in the technical information from Intel not luck.

But if it's true, how is it possible?

John Proffitt
2006-03-10 22:07:51
I've had mine for about two weeks now, 2GHz/2GB/7200rpm. Before this I was on an 800MHz G4 iMac. The difference cannot be described -- it's utterly phenomenal.

I think what has surprised me the most is the size of the screen. I mean, I saw the specs before purchasing just like everyone else, but having it in your hands and working with the unit for hours on end you begin to feel like the screen is really, really big. Plus the case is so damn slim.

As far as heat goes, this puppy gets hot, hot, hot. Hotter than other laptops I've used at work or home or wherever. But I live in Alaska, so this is a good thing! Actually, it does get uncomfortable for my hands after a while, especially if I have to engage Rosetta to run Office or some other older app. But most of the time I'm in Intel-only mode, in multimedia bliss.

I think the 2GB of RAM makes a big difference, too, especially having read some comments from early Intel Mac mini buyers that go with 512MB of RAM. I don't think I've maxed out either my processors or my RAM yet. But that's probably because I'm not using Adobe's PowerPC suite.

Man, I tell you what -- as all the great apps out there transition to Universal Binaries, I will get a faster and faster machine. How about that? When have you ever bought a computer that actually upgraded itself over time? Sweet.

2006-03-13 01:37:16
It's a really nice laptop: very fast (boots in about 20 seconds), super quiet (all you hear is the harddisk), great display and other features (I didn't have Airport, keyboard backlight and scrolling trackpad before, so I'm even more impressed). No problem with the MagSafe connector here. Battery life is ok, but I hardly ever use a notebook on the road anyway. Yes, it gets a little hot, but not as hot as the 12" 867 MHz Powerbook - and to me, it's more important the fans don't run all the time. So, everything is fine, but...
... my MacBook emits that strange high pitched noise from the upper left side, too. It goes away when the iSight is running, and the Mirror widget works as well; but i decided to return it to Apple, I don't want to rely on a workaround (and you never know, this trick might work no longer with the next OS X update).
The Book is going to get picked up today, and the replacement will be here 3 days later! Not bad.
2006-03-13 02:25:09
For me the MacBook pro is a fantastic notebook. Impressive fast, beautiful design and extremely quiet. Rosetta works well, unfortunately some applications doesn't work. For example Azureus or other shareware applications. Maybe in few weeks this aps works as universal b.
I do never shutdown my mb pro. I have it always in sleep mode. I open it and "boom" the bright screen shows me OSX in a second. Awesome :-)

2006-03-13 03:29:52
everything's perfect...

... except the noisy power supply beep and a malfunctioning DAO battery which apple obviously doesn't want to replace by shipping a new battery. unit crashes sporadically even when the battery has enough capacity. as soon as the unit is on the external power supply everything's fine.

oh... the performance of the macbook pro is unbelievable. i can recommend to buy the macbook pro even though it's a rev #a.

2006-03-13 04:09:25
At Bright (Dutch Magazine and blog) we did a video review of the MacBook Pro. We compared it to a two year old 1,25 ghz PowerBook, 512 mb RAM and a 64 mb graphics card and the new 2 ghz MacBook Pro with 2 gigs of RAM and a 256 mb graphics-card. At the end of the video we did some quick and dirty Photoshop tests such as startup and a gaussian blur. By no means did we do extensive benchmarking but the 'user' results came as a bit of a shock. Even though the video is Dutch spoken you can see for yourself how iPhoto flies and Photoshop sucks.

The reason we compared it with an 'ancient' model of the PowerBook is because so many friends of ours asked if they would benefit by upgrrading their 2 and 3 year old PowerBooks. Many of them rely on Photoshop for their work.

The bottomline is that the MacBook Pro is blindingly fast as long as the apps are Universal. Not a big issue unless you rely on Photoshop for your work. You simply have to wait till the Universal CS3 appears hopefully at the end of the year. By then most likely, the first gen MacBook will be superseded by a new, faster model. Or better yet, Apple will disclose perhaps an entire new formfactor of a Pro laptop


2006-03-13 12:10:02
Not so sure, if PowerStep is really enabled... I see the following in my system.log after every reboot:

Mar 12 10:00:10 localhost configd[64]: com.apple.SystemConfiguration.DynamicPowerStep load failed

do others have the same?

2006-03-13 12:53:02
Hmm, I'm surprised you're all so blown away, I'm a long time 12" user and I find the mac book pro quite arb really.

Other than boot time it's not noticibly quicker for the majority of my apps, and I find the battery life sucks a bit. All in all I feel that this is just an incrimental change and not worth the money I spent upgrading. To keep their edge, Apple seriously needs to create some sort of laptop revolution, and this, for me, is'nt it...!

Roberto Cruz
2006-03-13 13:00:18
Regarding SpeedStep, OK apple seen to use some of the C states, but not all. There're 4 C1E, C2E,C3E,C4E and OS X only set some of them.

Running on batteries, the system slow down some of the core but not use the speedstep capabilities as in Windows XP or Vista.

I change manually some of the states and the system perform cooler.

When the MacBook pro run connected, not battery, the OS X did not use the advanced capabilities to reduce the speed and voltage of the processor.

As an example I was able to reduce the voltage and speed whrn not load in Windows XP on a T2500 (Lenovo) to arround 600 Mhz and 0,8 v, I was not able still to do the same on OS X with out system crash.

2006-03-29 12:46:55
Well i have unwrapped my MacBook Pro Today looks good not so different from my powerbook but a little thinner.Boots quicker than my powerbook and my G5 Quad all running smooth all apps work well even the non UB Apps.

Very Quiet Machine i have pushed it and still low fan noise. Also it does get a little hot but nothing to bad and no different from the Power Book Range.

We Shall see how the UB Apps take place in the future. but running the UB Apps it is Quicker on MBP than my G5 Quad on a WD Raptor 10000 Rpm HD.

Overall Great Machine and it is looking good for the Future

Aaron Blohowiak
2006-03-30 16:20:14
The macbook pro is the best computing experience I have ever had. That being said, there are a couple things that annoy me -- you cannot manually have the backlight on the keyboard activate without it being "dark" according to the photosister. Further, the arrow keys are also pgup/pgdown/home/end -- which sucks if you have any shortuct keys that use alt/option and a direction.
2006-04-06 15:49:26
The cpu emits a steady hum when not under a load (idle). This is ver annoying and tends to give people a headache. When under a load though its nearly silent exept for the expected fan noise.

Over all I give it a 9 out of 10 for being one of the best experiences i've ever had with laptop!

Chris Kemberling
2006-04-19 17:48:32
In the graphics biz & have a 2 GHz with 2GB ram. Boot up is still faster even with startup slugs like Suitcase X1 client. Quark 6.5 won't quit, so I have to force quit and loose prefs. Moving away from Quark so not a great deal.

Browsing is much faster since updates. Seems like I get more consistant speed in downloads. Haven't tried uploads yet.

Sad about loosing my PCMCIA slot for extra USB and firewire.

Wifi sensitivity seems better especially with "Interference Robustness" turned on. Wifi transfer from Windows PC was very slow like "b" speeds. Not sure what happened there.

Very happy with battery. I was able to record an hour-long speech with 60% battery left. On old book would only have 25% left. Doesn't run any hotter than my last Powerbook.

Jorge Gonzalez
2006-05-15 13:43:39
I have the new Mac Book Pro 1.86 core duo.

I have used PC all my life and needed to learn MAC for my new job.
1- Looks nice.
2- Makes me look Smug

1- Gets too hot for lap
2- Slow programs
3- Some programs don't run when clicked executed. Others freeze
4- Programs lag to start up

2006-05-27 16:23:39
The PBP is pretty slow( 2.0ghz/1gb of ram). I ran it against my powerbook 12" 1.5ghz/1.5gbram. The powerbook is so much faster at doing almost everything. What's up with that!?
2006-06-01 10:24:33
Well all this aside i've had nothing but problems. First Intel Powerbook I had had to be sent back to Apple as the display was faulty... OK that's not the end of the world. Quark 6.5 doesn't quit force quit required. Adobe CS 2 Version cue hung the machine after apple bought out QT 7.1 fixed with QT 7.1.1 but a serious head banger for a while. Acrobat 7 did not launch this was due to a security update Apple released and also QT 7 I believe. Ended up reformatting and going back to 10.4.6 without Security update-003. So nearly two weeks later we're finally getting to having a working system. Cheers Apple thanks for nothing, my advice to anyone who want a Mac Book Pro and actually uses the machine for design purposes.. Wait for Adobe CS3 and wait for Quark 7 intel Native (beta available now)
dennis white
2006-06-04 13:27:40
I just bought a 15.4 Mac book Pro with Intel 2.0 and 2GB Ram with 100 GB 7200RPM HD and love/hate it.

I love the size and look and feel of it. Simple undersraed with lots of class.
I Hate the fact that all my expensive G5 desk top software isn't working or is slow with it. Also the high temp problem when charging or taxing the Cpu

am puzzled why Apple would honor some trade in on upgrade of late modle expensive software/ I guess thats why they report such high earnings. "Jobs Greedy Ways"

As someone who had a G5 Dual CPU desktop with FCP HD and Motion it pisses me off that I am looking at so much money to get my softwre upgraded/ I could understand if I had an older G3 or 4or clamshell laptop with 9.0 classic. ???? very upsetting.

I am hopping they get enough complaints to make an offer.