Customer Review

295 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a "Pro" in every sense., March 12, 2008
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB133LL/A 15.4-inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
In March 2008, I decided it was time to upgrade from a G4-based laptop to one of the new Intel models. I deliberated back and forth whether the lower priced MacBook would be sufficient or whether to pay the premium for the "Pro" model. Ultimately, I decided upon the MacBook Pro for these reasons.

Construction quality
The aluminum case of the MacBook Pro reminds me of a product made by the Swiss. The build quality is outstanding for a mass-produced device. It feels very substantial, and all the pieces fit together nearly seamlessly. The MacBook's case, however, is made from a high-grade plastic rather than metal. It's nice ... but I found the front edge of the MacBook's case a bit sharp on my wrists as I typed.

Ports
Compared with the MacBook, the MacBook Pro provides an additional USB port plus Firewire 800. The latter is desirable for people who work with video and external drives that have Firewire 800 connectors. The ExpressCard slot is useful for future expansion and services such as wireless broadband (EVDO).

Keyboard
Keyboard experiences are subjective; but I find the keyboard on the MacBook Pro the most comfortable of any laptop I've ever used. It feels solid and responsive. Plus, its backlighting is helpful when typing in dark environments.

Dedicated video
Unlike the MacBook that shares system memory for video (integrated graphics), the MacBook Pro has a dedicated video processor. This is beneficial for driving large external displays and running graphics-intensive applications.

Is the MacBook Pro worth the $700 price differential over a MacBook? That depends on whether you are a general home computer user (i.e., e-mail, web browsing, iTunes, word processing) or someone who uses their laptop for more advanced purposes. My user profile is more in the second category. Also, since I intend to keep this computer for three years, I figure that the premium breaks down to about $233 each year. This seems reasonable to me for something I use every day.

In view of the additional quality and benefits that the MacBook Pro offers, I think its higher price brings with it commensurate value. It's hard to imagine even finicky laptop users being disappointed with the MacBook Pro.

P.S. -- There are two 15-inch MacBook Pro models. I bought the 2.4 gHz "entry level" model. It is the better value. I do not feel the 2.5 gHz MacBook Pro is worth the extra $500.

Also, people who care to add system memory (beyond the stock 2 gigabytes supplied by Apple) ought to purchase it from a third-party vendor and install it themselves. It is a simple process.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 22, 2008 11:30:30 PM PDT
R. Watson says:
Please note that the difference between the "entry model" and the 2.5ghz big brother is not just 1 ghz in speed, the 2.5 chip also has 6 MB on-chip shared L2 cache compared to the 3 MB of the 2.4 chip. People often over look this spec, not realizing just how much the on chip cache affects the total performance.

From Wikipedia - Multi-level caches generally operate by checking the smallest Level 1 (L1) cache first; if it hits, the processor proceeds at high speed. If the smaller cache misses, the next larger cache (L2) is checked, and so on, before external (system board)memory is checked.
Also the 2.5ghz big brother also has 512mb of video ram compared to 256mb of the Entry model. Since it does have DVI-D capability, if you video work plan to use a 30" monitor you may want to have the extra video ram.

Is this worth $500... That is up to you. I just got my 2.5ghz with the 200gb/7200rpm drive and upgraded the RAM to 4GB (third party- Apple's price is stupid crazy ).... IT IS AWESOME!!!!
If you use J. Shea's reasoning the difference in price is about $500 divided by 3 years it's only $166 a year...

Great review J.Shea, you hit it right on the head, which is why I figured I would just add a comment and not basically write the same review you wrote.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2008 11:36:12 AM PDT
Jason says:
And please note the 512mb graphics card, which allows playing high end games, quicker renders in motion, and other 3d apps.

You can render out dynamic effects in your 3d program of choice. The 6mb cache is essential, the .1 ghz bump is negligible. The 512mb is the difference between laptop and desktop replacement for graphic professionals.

Posted on Oct 30, 2008 7:15:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 30, 2008 7:29:45 PM PDT
M. Clark says:
J. Shea.

You (mostly) have convinced me to buy a new 2.5 gHz MacBook Pro, but the other posts helped as well !!!!! I currently run a 5 year old Powerbook with a 12 inch screen. It has run flawless since it was new. I also have a HP Desktop that is supposed to be a "work horse", according to Consumer Reports. However, I use my Mac for almost everything, usually about 5 hours a day. Of course it is wireless and I can use it anywhere in my house. When I get my new MacBook Pro, I'm thinking of using the HP as an extra anchor for my fishing boat... hahahaha. Thank you for your excellent review and thank you all for your comments.
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