By James Galbraith Macworld.com | on June 15, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 781 . 999 . 1130 . 1475
17-inch MacBook Pro
The 17-inch MacBook Pro has a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive for £1,610. It also has the dual graphics set, using the GeForce 9400M and the GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB of video RAM.
The new 17-inch 2.8GHz MacBook Pro was about 3 per cent faster in our Speedmark tests than the 2.66GHz 17-inch model it replaces.
When compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with the same 2.8GHz processor as the 17-inch MacBook Pro, we see that the 15-inch model with the same processor was faster in our Speedmark scores, but not by much. Both systems posted identical Photoshop and Cinema 4D test times, with the 17-inch being a little slower in our Compressor test as well as a bit slower to start up.
Since the 17-inch MacBook Pro can be considered a desktop replacement, we retested a 2.66GHz, 24-inch iMac to see how its performance stands up. In overall performance, the iMac, with a Speedmark score of 280, was a little more than 9 percent faster than the new 17-inch 2.8GHz MacBook Pro. In processor-intensive tests like Cinema 4D, the new 17-inch MacBook Pro prevailed. But in hard drive-based tests, like unzipping a 2GB file archive, the portables with their 5,400-RPM notebook hard drives were no match for the iMac and its full-sized 7,200-RPM drive. Of course, it's very difficult to fit a 24-inch iMac into a backpack.
Overall, the new 13-, 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros offer a very good speed boost over the respective models they replace -- a boost that has more added value when you consider that the new laptops are priced lower than the older models they replace.
Check back soon for full reviews of these new systems, including battery life tests and more performance scores. Also coming soon will be our review of the new MacBook Air models.