Apple :: 2.53 Unibody Macbook Pro Review (with Pics)
Jan 17, 2009
I got the computer back in October '08, but I'm on vacation now, and I thought I'd write up a 2.53 Unibody Macbook Pro review of my own
So after the whole debacle with my old '07 Macbook Pro (Santa Rosa) and the nVidia chip dying -- which Apple eventually repaired for free -- I decided to buy the new Unibody.
I got it from an Apple Store in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, configured as follows:
2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache
1066MHz frontside bus
4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
320GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics processor 512MB of GDDR3 memory
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory..........
To start I should remind everyone that i'm not a mac user. I have never owned a mac or used OSX properly before today. As such, my opinions should be taken as coming from someone who has much knowledge and experience as far as PC's are concerned, but who is a total mac n00b.
When I first walked over to the Macbooks I was quite taken aback. The build quality is out of this world. In fact, I immediately walked over to the latest PC laptops to compare and immediately thought "manufacturing FAIL". Really, the Macbooks are italian sports cars, and PC's are 30 year old farm tractors to use the typical "car analogy".
I really only had any interest in the Macbook when I first went to the Apple stand, but came away with the intention of buying a MacBook Pro. Let me explain:
The MacBook's build quality is awesome. It's solid, no creaking plastic or flexable build, completely and utterly solid. Awesome.............
So I'm definitely getting a 13" Macbook or Macbook Pro. Apple has some great prices on refurbs so that's probably the route I'll be going however I'm having trouble discerning the difference between the 13" Aluminum Unibody standard macbook and the 13" Unibody Macbook Pro. From what I've read they both have the upgraded screen, they're obviously both unibody, both have the large button-less trackpad, and both have the 9400m. They even have the same dimensions and the only difference I can see between the images is a slightly different case bevel (also the firewire and sd card ports, both are useless to me).
Unfortunately, none of the Apple stores or BestBuys in the area have a non-pro unibody 13" Macbook for me to actually handle and compare. So, basically, what makes the pro version with the slower cpu and smaller hard drive at the same price point worth it?
I am currently saving up for a laptop and i first thought about the sony fw because of its high res screen and blu ray player along with the 2.66 processor. I dont use any really demanding software but would like to play a few games.
Im also looking at the macs beacuse they look amazing and have better build quality than sony...i think. will i notice any significant difference when web browsing/light gaming with the faster processor listed in the title. The ram is not an issue because i would upgrade it myself as its cheaper.Im also going to upgrade the hdd to a 7200rpm one.
Also what are the macbook pros viewing angles like for watching films, as my sister has a unibody macbook and its pretty bad for watching and films.
I'm looking at upgrading the hard drive in my Unibody MacBook. I've been looking at 320GB and 500GB drives. I'm not really sure I need the 500GB, as the 160GB still has a bit of room left over with a 32GB Windows 7 install. But I'd like to increase the size of the Windows install.
Anyway, I was set on the Hitachi 7K320, but I've noticed that a lot of people were having issues with them in the unibody MBP. There weren't a lot of answers in the upgrade forum. So I'm here to see if any of you guys have had issues with the unibody MacBooks.
Also, I'd like to go ahead and get some suggestions for other drives that you guys have experience with. I'd like it to be a pretty good speed, so 7200 is preferable. However, I place more importance on noise and vibration. The Fujitsu 5400 rpm drive in the MacBook now is a little slow for my tastes, but acceptable. But I'd like a new drive to be at least as quiet. I've got a 100GB 7200RPM WD drive in my Dell that's really loud, and it gets annoying sometimes.
I thought it might be nice for all the macbook pro users with the 15.4" screen and unibody style to have their own place to discuss topics, enjoy! I just bought my mbp and think its the bomb. I've never had such great quality in any notebook before. I purchased and returned the HP HDX 18t and was shafted by the HP executives for getting the worst notebook from the HP home and home office website. I was so sick of buying windows based pc's that I saved until I could get the new mbp. I've never been happier with any purchase, and I would do it all over again, even for a more decked out (off brand, lol) system. You can watch the video review I did on the HDX 18t in my signature and instantly feel better about owning a mbp!
Any one still experience the blackout problem when playing games in Windows? Is the problem fixed after updating the firmware to the latest one. Just want to make sure this is not a hardware issue cos I am buying a macbook pro very soon.
I was setting my bag down and it slipped out of my hands from about a foot high. It dented the corner of the unibody, not the batter cover. It was in a bag with only a small amount of foam at the bottom.
I was sick about it. I called the apple store and they wanted $600, LA Computer wanted 500, and finally found a place in the midwest that only charged me 350 to replace it. I got it back and its as good as new. I DONT work for them or know them personally but Mission is the name of the place that helped me. They do deserve some credit.
I now carry it in a suspension laptop bag by Swiss.
The funny thing is that I have dropped my Thinkpads higher than that and they have never needed to be repaired.
My 3 months old unibody macbook pro power down itself when i am use batteries. i did smell somethings burning after it is been powerdown, do you all face this by the way i am just surfing cnet tv, call apple singapore and they ask me to bring to HQ
I've got my first Macbook Unibody that i've had for a little over a week now, and I love it (First Apple computer period). I've been using it with Parallels and everything's been running great, however I'm beginning to wonder if I'll get better performance with more RAM. I haven't really looked at the RAM usage of OS X right now, however I do know that with Linux the amount of RAM you're currently using isn't really relevant, it's swap space that's relevant.
Also, I don't do anything graphic intensive except for gaming in Windows (bootcamp) every once in a while, in OS X I use Parallels all of the time, so it may come in use there, but again that's what I'm asking for.
I had a Dell E1505 before my MacBook and used a Targus Cooling Pad with it that also served as a USB hub. The Dell has alot of vents on the bottom and the cooling pad worked well but now that I have the uMB is there any reason to have the cooling pad even on as I question how effective it is? On top of that, is it even needed?
I am having some trouble with my Unibody Macbook. Like a week ago, I began to have issues with my Macbook where after being booted up for a while programs would close and new ones would not open, and I would have to reboot. To me this sounded like a memory issue where there was a bad sector on the memory that was randomly used, which is why there was no pattern to when this problem would show up. It could have started at boot up or after hours of using the computer. It worked like that for a couple of days, and since I decided that it was probably the memory, I would just by 4 gigs of memory to replace these bad ones because I was planning on doing it sooner or later, it just gave me an excuse to do it. Then over the weekend, my mac would no longer boot up. It chimes, and gets to the gray apple boot up screen and then just spins for a while until it turns off. I just put the new 4 gigs in there and that did not fix my problem. Also, for something that it did last week for a couple times, is that when it booted up it would do 3 beeps, which I was told meant a memory issue. I would really like to get this fixed without having to re install the OS or going to the Apple Store.
In bootcamp, using a Macbook Pro unibody, players were having difficulty hearing me. At first, I thought the mic was near the iSight (similar to my last laptop) but soon realized that it's under the left grill. Do I need an external mic? Are there some settings I missed?
I tried to test it in the game options and it would go up a tiny bit, so I do know it's picking up my voice.
I went to the Apple store definitely not expecting to walk out with anything. But that all changed when i spotted the 17" MBP. It was just so sexxxy. I had to have it. I didn't even bother playing around with it in the store cause it was so crowded. I purchased on and i get home and begin playing around with it. First thing i did was do a clean install of Leopard. I was definitely looking to dual boot it with Vista X64 but I had some issues finding drivers, and I'm not that crazy about Windows on my Mac. If i need it I can just use the desktop in my room. The first thing I have to say since I am a big music junkie is the speakers on this thing ARE BANGIN. Second I really underestimated Leopard, I always like the User Interface, but now I see that it's more than just that. Now to get my point across, anyone who has any hesitation buying one of these or is interested but is having second thoughts...you are straight up out of your mind. Pull the plug already.
Well, after having my macbook for over like 5 months already i would like to share my experiences and thoughts of all this.
This is not a complete review, just those points I feel are most important.
I'm not actually a switcher as i have other comps using Windows, but this is my first experience with mac.
Also i have to say that some of the points in this review will probably have a solution and I'd welcome if you answered it so this works both as a review and as a solution for my problems.
The reviewed macbook was a 13'' one.
Unboxing and first impressions:
Well, I don't think that unboxing and first impressions are actually that important but here we go... The packaging was good, compact and nice. The case where the macbook was has worked some times as a real case for keeping it safe, althougt i missed some kind of real case, maybe not a briefcase but at least a soft one............
From all the sub-notebooks that I have owned and tested, this macbook 3.1 stands out as a reliable mobile performer. Granted that it is Apple proprietaire piece of work, it lives up to the expectation of a fast, quiet, long-life battery performance.
The design is simply "Apple". The cleanliness in form and lines is still carrying Apple Trademark - simple and cool.
For the 1st Intel based Core Duo, Apple surprises many with a solid replacement of the iBook and PowerBook.
The lid is being held close by magnets instead of traditional latches, giving it a surprise and nice touch. The MagSafe power adapter eliminates the worriness of bad connection and ensures long working device.
Start up and shut down are amazingly fast. The macbook 3.1 is quiet and cool in performance, and with 5hrs plus of battery usage, this is truly portable.
The glossy screen offers bright pictures to video watching. Music enjoyment is particular good with the speakers behind the hinges and in the back - crisp and plenty loud for a notebook.
background: I have always been a "PC guy". I need to say that up front. Back in 2007, when I was looking for a replacement for my aging Acer Ferrari 3200 notebook, I went and looked at a MacBook Pro then, and although I thought they were nice, I couldn't pull the trigger on one, considering I was going to pay about $300 or more then I would pay for a similarly configured Dell with my corporate discount. So, I bought a Dell, which I have been very happy with.
This year, I decided I needed to broaden my horizions and after seeing the Macworld Keynote and how cool the new iLife looked, I thought I would buy a used mac on ebay and explore MacOSX and add that to my resume. That was a mistake, and I ended up sending it back to the seller so I could order a new MacBook.
Apple's site was extremely easy to navigate and order my new notebook. I didn't want a Macbook pro, as I wanted the 13.3 inch screen. I also thought that if I was ordering new, I should get the new aluminum body, since that is highly rated as durable and this machine would become my traveling companion when I went places.
Apon unboxing (Which I understand is almost a religious experience for many Apple fans ) I plugged in the power cord into the wall and the "Magsafe adapter" into the side of the notebook. There are 2 USB2.0 ports, 1 mini DVI video out port, a headphone and mic/audio input ports and a Kensington lock port on the left side.
On the right side is the slot for the DVD superdrive. There is no button on the side to eject the disc..............
I know the iphone is fragile as hell so everybody has all this protection for it but what about the macbook pro? I see it kind of odd to want to cover up that kind of beauty with a skin, but having never owned one, not really sure.
I know that Apple did not include any HDCP support in their notebooks. As I understand it though, HDCP is an actual piece of hardware on the graphics card. I'm guessing Apple uses the same graphic cards as everyone else, but their drivers simply don't support HDCP.
Now that Nvidia has released drivers, I'm wondering, is it possible to update a Macbook Pro's drivers with Nvidia drivers and enable hdcp?
I have just bought my Unibody Macbook. I haven't received it yet, but I was wondering if anyone has any tips on undervolting, buying a different battery, etc. to get more battery life on it. I really need it for school and I don't always like sitting next to the plug in a classroom.
I have had my 2008 unibody macbook for sometime now. 3 weeks ago there was a clunking sound in the fan constantly. picture a Ford Model T sound like " dugdugdugdugdug" or something i cant explain the sound. suddenly today it got a ton worse. now sounds like a lawnmower. Here is a video of someones macbook that sounds EXACTLY like mine. YouTube - macbook pro fan problem
i would just like to know how hot the 15 inch macbook pro unibody runs after being under load for a few hours. I will be playing games 3-4 hours straight some nights.
i heard it runs at 70 degrees celsius under load and it stays around there, but if its running that hot:
Is it uncomfortable to use on your lap? will you want to take it off your lap after a few seconds?
Any tips on keeping it cool? i dont understand how a notebook cooler helps that much, as there are no intakes on the bottom of the notebook. And because of that how does keeping the macbook on your bed affect its temps at all? as long as you keep the vents sucking air in and blowing air out clear shouldnt it not matter?
this might've been asked but do the new unibody macbook/macbook pro gpu's (9400m, 9600m gt) have the same problems in manufacturing that caused higher than normal gpu chip failures in the last generation of nvidia gpu's (8-series)?
i've heard so much bad press about those chips but i'm not sure if nvidia has fixed the issue with their current 9-series chips.