Life, Technology, and Meteorology

MacBook Pro

Well, I’ve placed my order for a new MacBook Pro (with the 1.67Ghz Core Duo). I ordered the base configuration (512MB RAM, 80GB drive), and will be purchasing another gig of RAM separately. I don’t understand why Apple charges so much for their memory upgrades… Now all I have to do is try to forget about it until it’s supposed to ship, sometime in February. I’m horrible at the waiting game. 🙂

While my current Powerbook is already 4 years old (and only a 667 Mhz G4), I didn’t really need a new laptop right now. 95% of the time I use my G5 at home for development, and I can put up with a slow machine on the road since I don’t travel too much. The main reason I’m purchasing this one is to port Gaucho Software apps over to the Intel architecture. Overall, I think the switch to Intel was a smart move for Apple. Probably the biggest drawback of a switch from Power to Intel is leaving Altivec behind. This will be sorely missed by developers of graphics and mathematical-related research applications where SSE3 just doesn’t cut it. I’m still anxious to see how Seasonality performs after I port it, since it uses the Accelerate framework for doing image manipulation while generating the satellite image. Apple claims that they have already optimized the Accelerate framework for SSE3, so I’m interested to see how well it works.

On the plus side, Apple is gaining a platform that is more focused on laptops. The idea that I’ll be using a dual-processor laptop sometime next month is amazing to me. I never realized how much benefit having an additional CPU was until I got my G5. It’s really a huge gain to have a spare processor at your disposal while you are working, and it will be pretty cool to have this capability in a laptop. This brings mobile platforms one step closer to becoming a desktop replacement.

The other big advantage to switching to Intel is that Apple no longer has to put pressure on IBM to innovate on the Power architecture to keep up or surpass processors available for Wintel. The G5 is a great chip, and my Mac really does feel a lot faster than current PCs do, but IBM’s development was pretty slow when it comes to bumping the CPU Mhz. To take two and a half years for only a 700mhz speed improvement is just too long these days. Of course the dual core G5s are a great benefit, and really those Quad G5s Apple is offering right now are incredible machines, but I have to ask, where is the G5 platform going from here?

Returning to the MacBook Pro…it looks like a good upgrade from my point of view. Yes, the name sucks. I’m almost waiting for a company to come out with some kind of “Powerbook Pro” sticker to put on top of the MacBook Pro label beneath the LCD. And will the LCD really be as bright as the Cinema displays like Apple says it is? If so, I would be pretty happy, my Cinema display is so bright that for the first time I actually have to turn down the brightness while using a monitor. Having that extra brightness while using the MacBook outside will help immensely. How about battery life? Nowhere on Apple’s site do they mention it, but I would suspect it to be somewhere around 3.5 hours. Lots of questions I’m looking forward to finding definitive answers for sometime in February…

Update: Apple updated my order status. Estimated shipment is on or before February 15th.


  1. logtar

    I am more excited about you being able to play this LOL

  2. mike

    Heh, it will be nice to be able to play it on the go. I’m wondering if they are planning to release an Intel native binary for that game. Being one of the most popular titles, I would suspect they are working on it.

  3. Justin Williams

    I will order one, but I paranoid because I want to know the battery life. I cant find that information anywhere. If its poor, I will pass and just chug along with my iBook a while longer.

  4. mike

    I was concerned about battery life as well. From what I’ve heard, comparable PC Core Duo laptops are getting around 3.5-4 hours of battery life. Since Apple seems to focus a lot on battery life, I expect they will at least hit that mark.

  5. logtar

    3-4 is awesome for a laptop. I have worked with PC laptops for years and MOST degrade to a little over 2 hours after regular use. Anything over 2 hours is good.

    If you are a heavy user and need the power, I would def suggest an extra battery.

  6. Justin Williams

    I am hoping to review it on MacZealots. I just gotta scrounge up some more pennies. Almost there 🙂

  7. Justin Williams

    Found this online

    4) Battery life: I suspect that battery life will be similar or somewhat better than the current generation of Powerbooks. When I unplugged the MacBook Pro, it had a full charge and eventually listed 8:20 (!) as the estimated time remaining (Energy saver setting = Normal). However, I loaded up iPhoto and started paging through images like mad in the full-screen mode to tax the CPU and it dropped down to 2:30. This, of course, is thoroughly unscientific, but it leads me to believe that normal battery life on these things will be in the 3.5-4.5 hour rage.

  8. mike

    Cool, 3.5-4.5 sounds like about what my old TiBook will do with a new battery. I was wondering when someone at Macworld would unplug the power adapter and see how much time is left. 🙂

    It’s amazing how much less battery life PC users are accustomed to. Unless you get one of those thin PCs that are optimized for low power consumption, you’re stuck with around 1.5-2.5 hours of battery. I can’t remember the last time a stock Mac laptop would last for less than 3. Then again, for how much those replacement batteries cost, they should last awhile. It sounds like things are starting to turn around on PCs though. I think it’s the new Acer Core Duo that lasts for 3.5 hours, which is pretty good.

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