363 of 429 people found the following review helpful
Simply the best computer I've ever used... with one possibly irrelevant issue,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD104LL/A 15-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)
I used to be a die hard windows fan. I was always bashing OSx for the usual things (too expensive, too dumb, et cetera, et cetera), and I never really gave it a chance. Windows 7 was my OS of choice from the day it came out, and I used it on many different computers with (or at least what I thought then) good results. It's certainly not a bad OS but...
This past holiday season, I got an Asus tablet PC. I wanted to love it, I really did. I gave it a five star review here on Amazon, and I tried my very hardest to use it to it's fullest potential. It was working fine for a while, until I tried the Windows 8 beta. It was all down-hill from there. Viruses, problems (beyond those that should be in a beta, and a general ugliness drove me absolutely insane, and I decided to move away from Windows, at least temporarily. I bought a Chromebook, and while I absolutely love it and highly recommend it, I wanted more out a computer than it offered.
So, nearly on a whim, I bought a Mac. I have never made a better tech decision. Literally everything about it is better than any computer I've ever used, from the operating system to the hardware.
People typically say that the real reason they love Macs and other Apple products is because of the build quality. While the build quality on this computer is INSANELY good (I feel bad hauling it around with me; I feel like it should be in an art museum), I really think it's the software that makes this a standout computer and computing experience. I've had absolutely zero backround in OSx up until now, and already I am easily finding my way around this computer. Granted, I've had a good backround in Linux and OSx is similar, but the fact that I'm easily navigating a brand new operating system after only one day is quite the contrast from Windows, now that I can look at it objectively. OSx Lion is wonderful. The multi-touch gestures and the multi-touch mouse itself are immensely helpful, and it's because of features like these that make it clear to me that it's almost necessary for a company to make the hardware for a product if they're making the software as well. Everything works extremely well together.
Like I said, the included apps put Windows to shame. With the exception of Outlook (which I personally hate, but my Mom has a Mac and can't stand the contacts App and uses Outlook), I can't think of a single, rational person who would pick Windows software over Apple software when it comes to things like media, photo/video editing, and email. To be perfectly honest, it's ridiculous how well all this stuff works. I downloaded the iWorks office suite (which is not free, though significantly cheaper than Microsoft Office), and they also work like a charm. I really don't create a whole lot of spreadsheets or slide shows so I can't guarantee a qualified opinion on Numbers (Excel) or Keynote (PowerPoint), but the Pages app is lightyears ahead of Microsoft Word. I also downloaded Logic Pro 9 (an music synthesizer/recording studio app) after having used it with friends a few months back, and have spent hours digging into another fantastic piece of Mac Software, and I can say for a fact that it is truly unparalleled in the Windows world.
The actual hardware internals of the computer are amazing. The new Ivy Bridge processors whip through anything I can throw at them, and the 8 gb of fast (1600 mhz) ram makes multi-tasking a breeze. The nVidia graphics card, while not a show-stopper, is completely adequate for some heavy-duty video editing in something like Final Cut or Photo Shop (though I haven't used Photo Shop in about a year now, so I'm not COMPLETELY sure about the latter of the two statements), or gaming (whether you dual-boot or pick one of the games from the increasingly impressive OSx catalogue). The speakers, while not mind-blowing, are much better than what I'm used to from integrated laptop speakers, and the screen, even though I opted for the non-HD screen, is very good; colors are bright and saturated, the pixel density is more than satisfactory, and the viewing angles are some of the best I've ever seen. Battery life is as good as advertised, and the computer starts and runs much more quickly than I'm used to, especially considering that this computer doesn't have flash storage.
I haven't run into a single thing I would change about this computer up to this point. I love the software, I love the hardware, and I love my decision. If you're in the market for an exceptional, powerful notebook, look no further. I can't recommend this computer highly enough.
Edit: While the great things that I mentioned about OSx are all still completely viable and even after several weeks (months, perhaps?) of heavy usage I haven't experienced any problems. Mountain Lion is a great update and even though I don't own an iPhone or an iPad (I'm more of an android guy), I still like almost all of the additions it brings to OSx.
However, I have since installed Windows. Bootcamp is a marvelous program, and in about 20 minutes I had Windows 7 working great on my computer. All the drivers were installed and performance was great. Once I actually started playing games though, several design flaw were suddenly extremely apparent to me, and they were apparent in a very bad way.
I'm not sure if Windows is just a more demanding operating system or if a fan driver was left out of my Bootcamp install, but the cooling of this computer when doing ANYTHING intensive under Windows is absolutely atrocious. The unibody design is gorgeous. It's revolutionary, it's stylish, it's classy, and it has major practical issues. The vents are hidden under the hinges of the screen, and anything but the most perfect of screen angles will block off much of the fans output. Even with the fans blowing full blast at nearly all times while running Windows, the computer gets extremely hot during usage. I use a laptop as a literal "lap" top computer frequently. This works fine under OSx; it's impossible under Windows. The bottom of the computer gets painfully hot during heavy usage (to the point where I literally can't touch it for more than a few seconds), and the metal area (ironically) around the "wasd" keys gets extremely hot as well. I've had the computer completely overheat three times only in the past two weeks. Since I only play online games, this isn't a real issue, but I can't imagine what would happen were someone actually doing something important on a Windows partition and have the computer overheat and shut down. Even with good ventilation (meaning smooth granite surfaces and a laptop stand specifically designed to enhance ventilation), there is no avoiding an extremely hot computer and constantly whirring fans.
Long story short, I'm very glad they improved the fan design in the Retina Display Macbooks, because it is, frankly, very, very poor here.
I'm conflicted on whether I should change my overall rating of the computer though. Even though Macs are equipped (through Bootcamp) to run Windows, they weren't designed to do so, and I certainly haven't had a single issue while running (the far superior) OSx. Considering the fact that I should be basing my opinion of the product on its own merits and not on those of a competing product, I don't think I will change my overall scoring. I do think it is prudent to add, however, that cooling while running Windows 7 is terrible. If you NEED Windows, stick with a Windows computer. They will most likely handle Windows better than this one will.
Tracked by 2 customers
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 24, 2012 4:49:45 AM PDT
Very good in depth review but this model does have intel integrated graphics 4000.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 9:28:46 PM PDT
Yes it does. All the new Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs have the Ivy Bridge graphics (graphics 4000), and the 15 inch macbooks come with an nVidia graphics card too, which is literally at least twice as good as the integrated graphics. The thing that the 15 inch Pros do is switch back and forth between the integrated graphics and the discrete graphics card. If you're just doing everyday computing, the integrated graphics work fine and you get better battery life. If you're working on any sort of video or you're playing a game, the computer will automatically switch to the nVidia card and the graphical performance is a lot better.
Posted on Jul 2, 2012 3:01:00 AM PDT
Juan Leal says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 9:04:09 PM PDT
The reviews for the 13" and the 15" are posted on the same page (if you look, you can see a "this review is for [insert computer here]" immediately under either the "Amazon Verified Purchase" or the reviewers name, so the mention of the nVidia gpu is completely relevant here. Also, I specifically specified that only the 15" comes with a gpu in my reply to c joy. I don't have the 13" Macbook Pro, so obviously I can't review that model.
Posted on Aug 5, 2012 2:28:13 PM PDT
M. J. Mccaffrey says:
Very in depth review. One tip: if you are running Windows, you need to add more RAM. Otherwise Windows will keep "paging" segments of itself in and out of virtual memory, on your hard drive. The more RAM you can give Windows, the less work the CPUs will have to do, and in the end the less heat will be generated. You are correct to say that your MBP was not designed to run Windows. But there are ways to make it less painful. I purchased an 8GB RAM kit along with my new MBPro in June, and it cost well under fifty from Amazon.
Hope this helps!
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:54:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 5, 2012 11:57:08 PM PDT
I had a feeling that adding more RAM would help, but I read somewhere (I think it was here on Amazon) that said the new Macbook Pros, while they do possess the physical room for it, do not support 16 gb of RAM. I have the 15 inch Macbook Pro, so it does come with 8 gigabytes of RAM. I don't know how this could possibly not be enough (not even remotely suggesting that you're wrong, however I think we can all agree that 8 gigabytes of ram should be plenty for any operating system!), but I suppose that it would be worth looking into upgrading to 16 gb. Thank you for the suggestion!
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 6:38:41 PM PDT
Mir Islam says:
I think all new macbook pro supports upto 16 gig. Even my old macbook pro (early 2011) supports 16gig. It is not supposed to but I got two 8gig sticks and installed in it. And it worked. So I am holding off buying the new macbooks for a little bit longer. :)
Posted on Sep 6, 2012 4:52:05 PM PDT
Finally someone who reviewed the higher end model MD104ll/a. Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2012 9:27:29 PM PDT
Well then I'll certainly try it. Thank you for the suggestion!
Posted on Sep 27, 2012 9:55:14 PM PDT
You put a beta version of an OS on your tablet and were surprised when it had bugs? Thats why its a beta version...