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on February 27, 2011
I upgraded to this model (early 2011 Quad Core i7 17" MacBook Pro) from the first in Apple's series of "unibody" laptops (late 2008 Core 2 duo 15" MacBook Pro). Both have been excellent laptops and have remarkably similar features given the years between them. However, what makes the difference here is pure raw speed.

The i7 processor has four cores each running at 2.2Ghz and the ability to "hyperthread" to operate in a virtual eight core mode. Applications must be written in a specific way to take full advantage of the multiple cores, however the processor has another trick up its sleeve in such cases. If some of the cores are underutilized then the processing speed of the those in use are bumped up. This translates into blazing speed across the board.

Other improvements include automatic switching between the two included (and upgraded) video processors, one for high performance and the other for economic power consumption. A new "Thunderbolt" port is provided, which permits extremely high-speed data transmission to and from external devices (as soon as they become available with this new standard!). This is in addition to the more familiar set of ports, including gigabit ethernet, Firewire 800, USB2.0, digital audio in/out, analog audio in/out, magsafe power, etc.

While this laptop may not physically appear to be a new model, I feel this is an advantage unto itself. This being my second unibody mac, I can attest that Apple has a brilliant case design that needs no modification. One needs only to pick it up to immediately feel the solid build quality and ruggedness despite its thin and relatively lightweight specs. The body is carved from a solid block of aluminum, and save for the back plate there are no visible seams or screws. There is a world of difference between this and most other plastic laptops.

Unfortunately Apple has decided to saddlebag this wicked-fast tank with a relatively pokey 5400rpm hard drive, which ends up being a noticeable bottleneck in performance at startup and other disk-intensive times. I appreciate the capacity of the included 750GB drive, but swapping it out with my existing 500GB solid state hybrid drive provided an additional performance boost well worth the reduced storage space. Incidentally, changing just about any of the internal components appears to be relatively straight forward, as the back plate removes to expose all.

To conclude, this is one speedy machine who's only noticeable flaw is the included large but unimpressive hard drive. Swap it out for a faster drive (especially a SSD) and this is a laptop that cannot be topped.
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on May 30, 2015
I love this laptop, and wished that I could buy a brand new one, but Apple stopped making them at 17 inches. I bought this one used on Amazon about a year ago. Just last week, it started doing some crazy things. Eventually it booted to a grey screen and would not go any further. It would also heat up very quickly if you left it on the grey screen. It turns out that he Logic Board (AKA Motherboard) went bad, which is $483 for replacement cost of the part itself at Apple. Fortunately a couple of months ago, Apple began a warranty program because they have had issues with this part, so until next April 2016, they are paying 100% of the costs to replace the Logic Board. I was impressed that Apple is doing that, and I even heard they will refund you if you paid previously to replace the part. I want everyone to know this so that if you experience some issues that are a result of the logic board, take it to Apple and get it fixed for free!
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on November 25, 2017
The last 17" Macbook Pro they made, and I got it and love it! This is the 2nd Macbook I've owned since the white Macbook 13' with the Dual Core. Mac products last a while and the white Macbook just sold last year when I couldn't upgrade past Snow Leopard. I bought with 4Gb Ram and 750GB all original. Now that I saved a bit of money (College student) I upgraded with an SSHD 1TB and another 4GB Ram to = 8GB.
I'm very happy with it and had no problem upgrading to 10.12 Sierra. I'll wait for the bug fixes to get 10.13 High Sierra. I use this Mac for Photoshop and web design but its also great watching HD YouTube and Streaming Video. The only complaint it that the fans can get loud when watching 1080P videos but I think I can help by using better Thermal Compound than whats installed in factory. That update will come until futher notice, but im really happy with it and don't consider upgrading for another 5 years.
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on September 24, 2014
I've been using this laptop for audio/video/photo production for years now. It has been a badass.

I eventually swapped out the DVD drive for a second hard drive. Rather, I moved the built-in HDD to secondary and added an SSD as primary. Works very fast with a good Intel SATA controller.

The screen is nice but it's not IPS so viewing angle affects color a lot, but I deal! At least it color corrects well. I can get very accurate colors even if I can't adjust everything.

Nothing has stopped working in the years I've bought this. Wheras in a 2009 13" laptop the trackpad stopped working for no reason and the SATA controller was crap, and the system hanged all the time for no reason. No, this one is wonderful.

Lately it had been running a bit hot when running Logic for extended periods in an uncooled room (no AC here). I found that it is the fault of the GPU. I opened 'er up and applied fresh thermal grease but that brought fan speed down a little, but since I don't game on this and don't utilize the GPU that often in other cases, I use gfxStatus to force it to use integrated graphics instead. This is great since Logic will run on either chip. It runs SIGNIFICANTLY cooler with integrated graphics. Don't try playing a game on the ATI chip unless you want to burn the skin off your knees.

I still get 2-3 hours of battery life out of the original battery. Apple is so insane with battery longevity. I've had the same experience with all my prior PowerBooks and MacBook Pros. My 1st Gen 15" Intel MBP was just put to sleep finally. The GPU started overheating and glitching out and the battery is kaput. That's like 8 years of service. I used to get 1 year out of my HP laptops before the battery lasted 10 minutes and the system overheated and crapped out.

I really don't want to replace this but I might have to eventually. Though, really, nothing significantly faster has come out. I can get better battery life on a newer system but I don't run mine on battery often. It is my production machine. The battery is for non-work browsing and to act as a UPS so I don't lose my work.

In short, I love it. It hasn't let me down for years
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on June 24, 2011
I have had this computer for about 1 1/2 months, and I love it! I am a college student, so this model is not very typical in people in my age range. Most people at my school who get a macbook pro get the 13 inch, which is very light. However, I wanted to get this one because of the high resolution screen. If you read the description, the resolution on this screen is actually higher than that of current full HDTVs. Current HDTVs are 1920 X 1080p, whereas this one is 1920 X 1200p. It is not a great difference, but it is still significant. It comes really handy for me since I have terrible eye sight, and I like to zoom in to words to read them, which, on this screen, look very clear. One downside is that you cannot play blu ray movies on this computer even though it has the screen for it. Another one is that it is, in my opinion, overpriced. Nevertheless, coming in as an apple product, it is far from being a surprising price. Also, some people consider it to be very heavy. I think it is fine for the size. If you try to lift other computers of similar size from other companies they are usually heavier.
As you might have read from the description of the computer, the macbook pro 17 inch comes with four 2.2 GHz cores, which comes in really handy for heavy work and multitasking. It has many other cool features that you can learn from the description. So far, I am very pleased with this computer. I see my roommates and other people many times having trouble with their non-apple products. It reminds me that my investment is worth it. If you are a person who surfs the web and uses Word a lot, you more than likely will not need this expensive model (if you look at the macbook pro 13 inch, the macbook pro 17 inch is worth two of them). The macbook pro 13 inch will still come in very handy.
I was going to purchase the macbook pro 15 inch. However, I found out that it has a lower resolution than any of the other macbook pro's. You can get a high resolution screen from the apple store for the 15 inch model at an additional fee that cannot be purchased through amazon. However, I am a person who likes to save, so I buy from amazon because it is both cheaper and you don't have to pay taxes, which, when get to 1k, 2k, or even 3k prices can add a few hundred dollars to your bill.
In conclusion, this is a great computer. However, it is quite pricy. Nevertheless, you will more than likely be pleased for your investment. Thanks!
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on May 27, 2011
The 17-inch 2011 MBP has a hefty price tag, but for those looking to replace a desktop or in dire need of a true mobile workstation -- look no further. The performance beats my BTO 2.93 GHZ i7 27-inch iMac (late 2010), and the high resolution 1920x1200 display is worth the added cost over the high-end 15-inch MBP.

Prior to biting the bullet I was on the fence over whether to get the entry-level or high-end 15-inch model. Unfortunately unless you order from Apple there's no way to add the high-res display (1680x1050). If you are a Final Cut Pro user, this could be important since Color requires the high-res display. Of course you could connect to an auxiliary monitor, but that's another $999 (27-inch Cinema display) -- or $399 for a 24-inch IPS HP display.

At the end of the day the difference in price between the 15-inch high-end and the 17-inch was just over $200 (1959 vs 2163 open box 'like-new' Warehouse Deals). In everyday use I would have no problem using the 1440x900 resolution of the 15-inch model, but I really wanted the hig-res option. Ordering the 15-inch top model + high-res option from Apple with a student discount still ended up being more expensive than the 17-inch MBP through Amazon.

I was hesitant about the size and weight. In the store I felt like the 17-inch model would be overkill, but now that I've handled and transported it for a few days I'm not bothered by the size. With that being said, if Amazon was to offer the high-res 15 inch model I would probably opt for that instead since there's little benefit of going from 1680x1050 to 1920x1200 in terms of application compatibility.

On a side note, if you are considering a Warehouse deal via Amazon, I highly recommend it -- just make sure you choose the 'like-new' model. These things are sealed, brand new with just some minor cosmetic damage to the retail packaging (or possibly none). $2163.99 for the 17-inch MBP is a deal.
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on July 19, 2011
I have been running Pro Tools on my Mac Pro for many years and finally decided to upgrade to Pro Tools 9 Software and Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0. The only problem with this plan was that these products would not run on my rock-solid G5 Mac.

While my G5 Mac Pro still felt snappy and responsive, this laptop absolutely destroys it! I have been pleasantly surprised at every turn, as the new version of OS X is great and the quad-core processor is a monster. I am eagerly awaiting the production of a Thunderbolt hub and a thunderbolt-to-eSATA adapter, as I had an eSATA card in my Mac Pro and multiple external eSATA drives. I have a workaround at the moment, but Thunderbolt would be preferable.

I upgraded the RAM to 8GB with the Corsair 8 GB DDR3 Laptop Memory Kit CMSO8GX3M2A1333C9, which was very easy to install. While installing the memory was very easy, I believe that Apple could have made it a lot easier if they would have made it where you didn't have to take the entire bottom off the computer. Once the bottom is off the computer, installation is super easy, just be sure to ground yourself before messing around inside the case.

The three USB 2 ports, Thunderbolt port, and Firewire 800 port provide ample connections for external devices. The only problem for Pro Tools users is the iLOK key; if you, like me, have the old version. The ports are close together and you won't be able to connect two keys beside each other.

The display is beautiful. Nothing more needs to be said about this... it is stunning.

The mag-safe adapter is the best invention ever as far as power adapters go. I have actually had a laptop ruined when someone tripped over the power cord and broke the board, so I am in love with the mag-safe adapter.

The Thunderbolt port is a revolution, as it works for displays, drives, etc. I have connected multiple displays to my MacBook with a Thunderbolt-to-DVI and a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter. Both of these solutions are completely perfect and painless.

The only problem I can see with this laptop does not apply to me, but rather to business users or travelers. The problem is that the battery is not field replaceable, as you have to take the bottom off the computer in order to replace the battery. This is a minor concern.

Overall: 5 stars
HIGHLY recommended!
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on November 27, 2015
Although the machine I received was not the one pictured, I'm kind of glad. This machine is in much better condition with only one small dent and one small scratch. VERY fast shipping (though I did pay for expedited shipping) even with the holiday on Thursday. It is kind of iffy considering it wasn't the same machine pictured, so I guess it's kind of a luck of the draw thing. It did not come installed with iMovie or Garage Band, but that's okay with me. Overall, very impressed, great machine, great quality.
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on September 17, 2011
Ok, remember when the trusty Captain would say warp speed Scotty? Then everything CHANGED to a whole new level! Well, with the new MBP you are changing things to a whole new level. Look out Clingons! So, I went from having countless laptops made by various companies, only to find major flaws in all of them. I decided to go with the very best according to one of my sons friends who is a major teen geek. Hey, I can identify! lol So knowing quite a bit about computers, I researched the OS X and all the other unique features that the MBP offers and to be honest, I found no comparisons in the overall outside market. I see it as a benchmark for other designers, as well as Apple and I can see it only getting better. I love to game and blaze on downloads and this things flys~ I will probably upgrade it to the very max but just out of the BOX, it can run blazing~ Also, if you order now, you can get the new and very best OS X Lion free! I will not bore you with all the technical jargon but just know that none of your enemies in the Galaxy will ever see you coming. ;)
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VINE VOICEon April 6, 2011
INTRODUCTION
Deciding on which size MacBook Pro one "needs" can be a fun and bewildering process. When I went into an Apple Store, I quite literally found myself envisioning a particular niche need for each of their MacBook Air 11", 13", MacBook Pro 13", 15", and 17" models!

In the end, I decided that the MBP 13" screen was too small for my needs and although the i5 and i7 CPUs in the MBP 13" were significantly faster than the previous generation CPUs, they actually underperformed the previous generation in their graphics intensive applications as the integrated Intel GPU was not as robust as the older generation MBP 13" models.

That left the MBP 15" and 17" models with screen sizes suitable for my needs. The MBP 15" is offered in either the 2.0 vs 2.2 gHz i7 speeds and only the 2.2 gHz model comes with the discrete graphics (i.e. AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory).

Considering that the price difference between the MBP 15" with the 2.2 gHz i7 (with AMD 6750M GPU) and the MBP 17" was not as great as I expected, I went with the MBP 17".

PROS
1. Amazingly light for a laptop of its size (i.e. 6.6 lbs). In many ways, it is the perception of weight and size that matters more than the actual measurements. I own a 2008 MBP 15" which is 1.1 lbs lighter, and yet this MBP 17" actually seemed lighter, because of its larger dimensions confined within a thickness of less than 1".
2. Fantastically bright, beautiful LCD. The viewing angles vertically and horizontally are fantastic (and something Apple owners take for granted anyways).
3. Although the sizes of the individual pixels at full resolution (1920 x 1200) do seem smaller than my 2008 MBP 15", they are not too small for me. The text and graphics are sharp and clear.
4. Pure CPU speed with the i7 quad-core Sandy Bridge 2.2 gHz. I haven't benchmarked this personally, but search online and you will find that this generation MBP is significantly faster than the previous generation models.
5. Separate discrete graphics (i.e. AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory).
6. Phenomenal battery life of 7 hours (using more real-world testing specifications to which Apple has recently changed)
7. Quiet (so far) but I anticipate the fans will turn on with heavy GPU intensive use
8. Great chiclet (i.e. island-style) keys that allow for great tactile feedback to touch typers with lit keys
9. Phenomenal glass track pad that Mac users have come to expect. The OS allows for different finger gestures like pinch and zooming (just like on the iPhone)
10. Amazingly simple and fast setup using Apple's built in migration tools. When I first started the MBP, it allowed me to hook up a FireWire cable to the other MBP and it transferred all my applications, documents, and settings automatically. The transfer of data was amazingly fast, > 300 GB of total data over 2-3 hours!
11. Same great Apple cable management system with the small AC adapter with the interchangeable power cord and MagSafe magnetic connector
12. Same great touches that existed on much older MacBook Pros that you expect, photolight sensor, easy ability and detection of external monitors while remembering the individual relative screen positions so swapping multiple monitors is easier, amazing 1 hour backup intervals using Time Machine, incredibly fast startup and sleep/awake even without a solid state drive, FaceTime camera
13. Mac OS X Snow Leopard with its rock stable UNIX heritage
14. No need for virus check software (so far)
15. New Thunderbolt (i.e. Light Peak) interface via mini-DisplayPort which allows bidirectional 10 Gb/s bandwidth
16. Phenomenal resale value of Apple MBPs when you do need to sell to upgrade later

CONS
1. Before update 10.6.7, there have been reports that when all 4 cores with 8 threads are running, the MBP i7's have been freezing for some users. Supposedly after 10.6.7, most of these issues were solved. I have not yet tested this but there hasn't been any freezing in the short time that I've been using this MBP 17". (Those who have experienced this have reported using a 3rd party utility to select either the discrete or integrated GPU seems to solve the problem.)
2. There have been reports that some models of external LCD displays have had problems as being recognized as TV's rather than computer monitors when attached to the mini-display Thunderbolt connector. It may be more pronounced when using a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable (than when using a mini-DP to DVI or mini-DP to HDMI cable).
3. Although Thunderbolt (i.e. Light Peak) seems amazing and is far more revolutionary than USB3 or eSATA, there are no devices that take advantage of this yet. I expect that these devices will also cost a premium for all of us early adopters. Thankfully, there is still a dedicated FireWire 800 port.
4. The MBP in the 17" model does not come with a SecureDigital memory card slot. While the 17" MBP lacks this feature found in the other MBPs, there is an ExpressCard/34 slot as well as a third USB 2.0 port.

CONCLUSION
The MBP 17" has exceeded my expectations and is indeed, like most Apple products, far greater than the sum of its amazing parts.
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