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Apple Announced 17" MacBook Pro 473

artlu writes "According to Reuters news, Apple has announced the launch of the 17" MacBook Pro. The new MacBook will retail for $2,799, come with iLife '06, and begins shipping next week. Details are not yet on Apple's website, but hopefully these notebooks will be triple booting as well!"
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Apple Announced 17" MacBook Pro

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  • by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:18AM (#15189612) Homepage Journal
    Taken from ml?articleID=186100229 [] "The graphics processor of Apple Computer Inc.'s MacBook Pro portable has been deliberately slowed down, a Mac user reported recently, probably as part of the overall effort to lower the heat the machine generates. According to a posting on the French language site MacBidouille, a user identified as "SpacetitoX" uncovered the underclocking of the MacBook's ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 graphics chip after adding Windows XP to the computer, then running a beta version of the "ATITools" overclocking utility. By replacing the existing ATI drivers added to the MacBook Pro for dual-booting into Windows XP, SpacetitoX was able to boost one benchmark's result from 61 frames per second to 91."
    • Isn't that more indicative of the drivers used in Windows XP though?

      Or were the benchmarks done in OSX then in Windows in which case other issues could arise.

      Also, newer beta drivers are always improving things and tweaking applications.

      Theres no way you could determine if the Mac driver was underclocking in OSX without doing the benchmarks in OSX.
      • by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:25AM (#15189673)
        The hardware was underclocked - you can use the ATI tools to reset the clock speed, then when you reboot in os X the new clock will remain. The setting is stored on the video card.
        • by jcr ( 53032 )
          If you change that setting, and you cook your machine, it's your own fault.

          • Re:Don't. (Score:3, Interesting)

            If you change that setting, and you cook your machine, it's your own fault.

            Happen to know, say empirically, if is in fact will happen? Did Apple just underclock the card to save battery life/fan noise (in which case it'd be nice if they ramped it up when it's plugged in, vs. on battery) or is the fan and friends not able to dissipate the heat from an upclocked video card?

    • I suspect that it is a heat issue, yes. I seem to recall seeing another article (can't find the link just now) that suggested that the actual CPU is underclocked as well.

      Honestly, the only thing I do with my laptop that's really CPU intensive is Photoshop. (Okay - and some of the more obnxoiusly resource-intensive parts of OS X itself). For me, the real test of performance will be cranking through a bunch of sharpening scripts under Photoshop on an 8 megapixel, 16-bit image. Since Photoshop CS2 is still a
      • Well, you could try MacCinePaint and see if it has filters that you want. Or Aperture - from what I hear it's pretty fast when it does support what you want to do.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:36AM (#15189739) Homepage
      You have to realize that Heat = Wasted Electricity. On a laptop, battery life is bad enough without worrying about the graphics processor killing your battery. I'm sure they could build a laptop with 20 hours battery life. But nobody really seems to be focussing on this. Low power chip + old school graphics card because it doesn't affect office work anyway, and you could probably have a pretty low power computer. Use a slower hard drive, and give it enough ram that it doesn't need to have a swap file, and you'd probably get quite a bit more of life out of the thing.
      • Unfortunately, just using an older video chip would not give longer battery life. Mainly because newer chips are manufactured with smaller transistors. So the newer chips can do more work with more transistors taking up about the same amount of space and power. Newer chips also have better power management features, to shut down parts of the chip when they are not in use.

        Now, if you took some of the new features of the new chips and removed them, you'd have a smaller/cheaper chip that would take less power. I think this would be a great idea. The main problem is that the manufacturers think they wouldn't make enough money on them.

        Intel makes ultra-low-power (ULV) CPUs, but they're not used all that much in mainstream laptops. I suppose people still want fast computers, even when they don't have that much need for the speed.

        And don't forget the wireless and LCD backlight. Those are other major contributors of power utilization. Hopefully OLED will help resolve the latter. I'm not sure if there's any hope in reducing power used by radio transceivers.
      • Ram is expensive too (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KZigurs ( 638781 )
        RAM uses power too. Generally ~10W per desktop DDR module (512/1024mb, depends) and 2-5w per SODIMM module. So more ram isn't exactly an answer.
      • Speaking of battery life. Apple finally put those specs on their product page.
        • 15-inch MacBook Pro 60-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (with integrated charge indicator LEDs) providing up to 4.5 hours of battery life(1)
        • 17-inch MacBook Pro 68-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (with integrated charge indicator LEDs) providing up to 5.5 hours of battery life(1)

        Notice that the bigger notebook gets an extra hour's worth of power. Odd they made this choice, since on the PB line both the 15 and the 17 got

    • SpacetitoX was able to boost one benchmark's result from 61 frames per second to 91.

      So, the fastest LCDs in terms of refresh rate are those that have 12ns or ~83 Hz refresh rate, most are still in the 60 to 70 Hz range.

      I guess its impressive to have an LCD being told to refresh its pixels faster than it can, but...

      I would assume that Apple set the refresh rate of the card to match the monitor for other reasons like heat and battery life. But then again, Apple has never really been know to be a gaming platf
  • Some notes (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:20AM (#15189632)
    - FireWire 800 (9-pin) is included, in addition to FireWire 400 (6-pin) (so no, FireWire, and particularly FireWire 800, is not dead, as some like to continually predict)

    - 3 USB 2.0 ports are included; 2 on the left, 1 on the right

    - The left side ports are: power, 2 USB 2.0, analog and digital optical audio in and out, ExpressCard/34 []; the right side ports are: DVI (supports VGA, S-Video, composite), 10/100/1000 ethernet, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, 1 USB 2.0, security port

    - An 8x dual layer SuperDrive is included (unlike the 15" MacBook Pro)[1]

    - While this is known by many, it bears repeating that the wireless chipset in all Intel-based Macs supports 802.11a/b/g, though Apple doesn't advertise 'a'

    - The 1680 x 1050 resolution of the 17" display is the same as many desktop 20" widescreen LCDs such as the Apple 20" Cinema Display and the 20" Dell 2007WFP

    - Retail $2799, Education/government $2599 with 2.16 GHz Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB 5400RPM Serial ATA drive, 256MB ATI Radeon x1600, and 8x dual layer SuperDrive

    - For detailed specs, see here []

    I'd also note that for some people who might think that the 15" MacBook Pro looks like a bad deal next to this, the 17" is simply too large for many people, and many of those same people have no need for the faster dual layer SuperDrive, nor for FireWire 800.

    And the Apple we site does not have to explicitly say it for us to know that, yes, of course the 17" MacBook Pro will support "Boot Camp" (and triple booting[2]), which is simply an umbrella marketing name for a collection of technologies that support booting Windows on Intel-based Macs:

    - A Compatibility Support Module (CSM, BIOS compatibility layer) for EFI: this is already a non-beta, supported component of the recent rounds of firmware updates for Intel-based Macs, which the 17" MacBook Pro will ship with

    - The ability to live-resize partitions on a GPT formatted volumes: this is already a non-beta, supported component of "diskutil" as of 10.4.6

    - A collection of Windows drivers for the hardware in Intel-based Macs: almost all of these are non-beta, preexisting third party drivers

    - A setup assistant that brings everything together: this is the only part of the solution, from a technical standpoint, that is "beta"

    [1] Some may note that the new 17" MacBook Pro, at the same thickness of the 15" MacBook Pro (1.0"), includes an 8x dual layer SuperDrive versus the 4x single layer drive in the 15" model. It might be recalled that the reasoning for not including a faster, dual layer SuperDrive in the 15" MacBook Pro was because of the necessary space not being available inside the case; the 15" MacBook Pro could only use a 9mm tall mechanism as opposed to the 12mm mechanism currently required for dual layer capability and the greater speed. How, then, can the 17" MacBook Pro (or even the previous 17" PowerBook), at the exact same thickness, include this drive? Does this mean Apple was holding back? Is the 8x DL drive due in a 15" MacBook Pro imminently? The answer is no: the reason why the drive didn't (and still doesn't) fit in the 15" MacBook Pro is because the wider trackpad mechanism Apple chose to use encroaches internally on the space needed for a 12mm drive by about 1/8" laterally. However, this is not the case on the 17" MacBook Pro.

    [2] Who wants to dual boot, much less triple boot? I'd rather have all of my environments running side by side in virtualization []. And yes, I know there are some specific reasons people may want to dual boot (such as games for native 3D graphics support), and that's fine...but other than for those specific tasks, who would really prefer dual/triple booting over virtualization, especially given the excellent benefits Intel VT [] now offers for virtual machines?
    • I definitely hadn't heard that about the MacBook's wifi card (not that I've really been following it or anything, since I'm not really in the market for one).

      Does Apple's driver actually use the 802.11a functionality? Or is it just there in the hardware, but unimplemented by Apple? (So that you'd have to use Windows drivers or something in order for it to be useful.)

      Also, what's the status on Linux drivers for whatever chipset they use in there? (Are they retaining the same chipset across all models?) Has a
      • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:40AM (#15189764)
        Yes, Apple's driver supports the "a" functionality. Also, on page 62 of Apple's MacBook Pro user's guide, it confirms that it is capable of connecting to "any 802.11a-, 802.11b-, or 802.11g-compliant product."

        Apple has so far used the Broadcom BCM4311 and Atheros AR5000 Series (AR5006EX) wireless chipsets, both of which support 802.11a/b/g. Don't know what the status with regard to Linux is for any of those chipsets.

        Of course, I've used RHEL, Fedora Core, and CentOS happily with networking, in virtualization, on my MacBook Pro, so there's no need to worry about "Linux drivers".
    • I'd also note that for some people who might think that the 15" MacBook Pro looks like a bad deal next to this, the 17" is simply too large for many people
      Which is why I'm surprised they didn't come out with the 12" one before the 17", it seems, at least in my personal experience(obviously I don't have stats on hand) that the 12" is much more popular than the 17". Though they could still be having heat issues with the 12" mac book.
      • Yeah, I really wanted a 12 inch MacBook Pro to replace my 866MHz G4 Powerbook, but I got tired of waiting and bought a Mac Mini instead. I'll just keep the Pbook for now and enjoy MacIntel goodness at home for the time being, plus save myself over $1000 to boot. I figure in a year or 2 Apple to provide something in the MacBook Pros that will compel me to get one, like say Gigabit Wireless or something. For now it looks like there's just a speed bump.
    • Re:Some notes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Reaperducer ( 871695 )
      I'm really glad to hear that Firewire 800 is still there. I didn't realize how much of a mental dealbreaker this was for me until I saw it and felt relieved. All of my external drives are triple interface (FW400/FW800/USB), but I really prefer using 800. Speed is important for me when I'm moving around lots of data; it's not uncommon for me to have to move 40 gigs from one drive to another a couple of times a week. FW800 is also fast enough that I can keep my Virtual PC partitions on it and not really h
    • Re:Some notes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ktappe ( 747125 )

      Does this mean Apple was holding back?

      Unfortunately, that does seem like a possibility. With dual-layer DVD and FireWire 800 both missing from the 15", it appears on the surface as though those features were reserved for the 17" model. Apple needs to realize that many of us cannot/will not buy the 17" because it is simply too large & bulky. And that fact is no reason to punish us by keeping features off of the 15" that both its PowerPC predecessor had and its 17" bigger brother has. So as much as I w

      • Re:Some notes (Score:5, Informative)

        by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:53AM (#15189866)
        So as much as I want a MacBook Pro so I can utilize Windows virtualization, I won't be buying one until I see these features returned to the 15" model.

        Then you'll probably be waiting a long time.

        1.) I just explained exactly why the dual layer burner isn't present on the 15" MacBook Pro. It's a purely physical/technical reason. Until there is a 9mm 8x dual layer burner, you won't see one in the 15" MacBook Pro, period.

        2.) FireWire 800 was also left out of the 15" MacBook Pro for space reasons (adding it requires additional support chipsets that aren't a part of any of Intel's standard chipsets, which means a comparatively considerable amount of space is required to implement it. Yes, it's still small, but every ounce of space counts.

        Do you really need a dual layer DVD burner and FireWire 800 on a 15" Mac laptop so much that you'd forgo what is almost a perfect environment for virtualization of multiple operating systems, alongside Mac OS X?
        • by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:10PM (#15191898) Journal
          but every ounce of space counts

          In space, an ounce is weightless.

          Turn up the volume!!

    • Re:Some notes (Score:2, Informative)

      by lababidi ( 879163 )
      You can purchase this Laptop as a Developer for $2239 using the ADC Discount found here. []
      • Grrr, sometimes I hate the ADC discounts. Members in the US get the price dropped by US$460. Members in Canada get the price dropped by CDN$165. Also known as US$145. Guess which one I get?


    • Dude, you must kiiled on those research papers in college...Some notes? sheesh!
    • Once Again (Score:3, Insightful)

      - The 1680 x 1050 resolution of the 17" display is the same as many desktop 20" widescreen LCDs such as the Apple 20" Cinema Display and the 20" Dell 2007WFP

      Who again is NOT totally angered that Apple won't offer high resolution displays. Comparing the pixel count to their 20" Display is SAD, SO SAD...

      I have a 2002 Toshiba Laptop with a 15" screen that does 1600x1200, and a 17" Laptop that does 1920x1200...

      Why is Apple still the poor cousin when it comes to graphics? (Let alone the Video solution they are
  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes&xmsnet,nl> on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:20AM (#15189633)
    What's this [] about, then?
  • 12" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sehryan ( 412731 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:26AM (#15189674)
    I wish the 12" MacBook would get here. I am in the market right now for an ultraportable for my wife, and would probably get an Apple if they offered it.
    • I think the 12" won't debut until the new iBook (MacBook?) is revealed. The current 12" PowerBook is engineered in a very similar way to the iBook, and there have been lots of rumors that the next version will have lots of new bells and whistles (one prominent rumor is that it will have a wide screen.
  • 1600x1050 LCD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pfhor ( 40220 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:26AM (#15189675) Homepage
    Same pixels as the 20" lcd cinema display.

    120gig SATA drive

    2.16ghz Duo's

    256meg ati graphics []
  • by grm_wnr ( 781219 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:26AM (#15189676)
    Since my own blurb for this was rejected (no blame on the editors, they were probably flooded with stories on this), I'll state an observation here: The 17" PowerBook G4 is now gone, but the 12" model stll hasn't been updated yet. Is that an indication that the rumors about a 13.3" MacBook [] to replace the 12" PowerBook and the 14" iBook are true?
    • The difference between the 12" iBook and 12" PowerBook is mainly down to fine print: audio line in (analogue but still useful), 5200rpm vs 4200rpm (yes there is a difference), 12" iBook slightly bigger in all dimensions, DVD burner not default, no monitor spanning without hacks, graphics even more god awful than the PowerBook[1], etc.

      [1] NVIDIA should take the GeForce4 Ti 4200 and shrink it right down and use that as a mobile chip. Screw pixel shaded desktops, no use if your graphics chip isn't going to ren
    • Given that core-duo are so much faster than the g4, I figured Apple would drop the price on the PowerPC models. Guess not!! Yeah, I heard about the emminent demise of the 12" Model. But, with such the delay we are seeing in the Macbook, they must be bringing out a new design. One where the the weight will be in the 4 pound range. I suspect that there won't much a need for a 12" notebook with that out.
  • by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:29AM (#15189693) Homepage
    I love my 12" Powerbook. It's SMALL, it's light, it's easy to carry around, it fits in a backpack, it can take a 4' fall onto concrete not even dent (ok, maybe that was just luck). It's perfect. The screen's big enough, and the keyboard is full-sized.

    I don't want a giant laptop. I want some features that the bigger ones have, like the illuminated keyboard and maybe a PCCARD slot. I definitely do NOT want the bulk.

    Come on, Apple! Gimmie a 12" (or the not-even-rumoured-much 13.1") MacBookPro! And if it can use the same battery as my Powerbook that'd be nice!
    • "it can take a 4' fall onto concrete not even dent (ok, maybe that was just luck)"

      It was just luck.

      If it had hit on a corner, you would have been screwed. Well, screwed from an aesthetic point of 12" took such a tumble and now has 'character'. Kinda bugs me occasionally because its such a beautiful machine. Same sorta thing happened with my Wallstreet G3...great neoprene cover that no other laptop has matched for the grip, and while at a friends place, I threw it under a couch...unfortunately,
      • The thing I've learned about Macs is that you really shouldn't get too attached to the beauty...

        Oh, no worries. I've actually gone to some lengths to make it look more beaten up than it is. I figure people are less likely to steal a laptop that seems to be held together with duct tape. (it's actually just gaffer's tape, but they don't know that).

        That 4' fall was off the table at airport security. Fell smack on the LCD. I was really surprised when it actually turned on later that day...

        For how long I'
      • After a few small dents, my powerbook had so much "character" that the Apple store decided that my 3-year Applecare warranty was just too plain and boring to be used with it anymore.

    • They've already committed to migrating off G4/G5 by the end of the year. I suspect you won't have long to wait.
      • I know (or at least I hope). It's just a bit annoying when you go "I'll buy a new laptop when they release the 12"/13.3"/small MacBookPro (and then I'll sand off where it says MacBookPro and etch in "Powerbook ID")" and then they release the giant one first.

        On the plus side, now I know I should start putting money aside...
  • by Microsift ( 223381 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:30AM (#15189698)
    At $2799 the 17" MacBook Pro with a 2.16Ghz core duo costs the same as the 15.4" model with 2.16 Ghz core duo, one must assume a price drop is imminent on the 15.4" model.

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:30AM (#15189699)
    Lots of reports of noise and excessive heat from the first rount of MBPs. Apple's much touted fix resulted in the problem getting worse for many owners (see MBP reader reports). So these issues are still out there, and the heat issue is severe (MBP so hot you can't touch it in places near the keyboard).

    Here's hoping that these issues are resolved this time around.
  • 13" please! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by benbritten ( 72301 )
    I had a 17" g4 and it was absolutely fantastic. I write code, and having all your .h and files open at the same time, as well as all the interface windows open all at once is a great boon to efficient programming. However, eventually i came to hate lugging it around (at 7 pounds, still lighter than most of my friends shitty dells at the time) and i finally downgraded to a 12".

    best choice i ever made. the 12" is not noticeably slower for doing the stuff i do. (compiles a tiny bit slower,
  • MacBook Pro (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:39AM (#15189761)
    I got one of the 15" ones just a few days ago. It rocks.

    If you have a significant other that isn't interested in computers, get one of these and then demonstrate Frontrow with the remote to go through your photos/music/video. You might find they suddenly take an interest...

  • Interesting that the announcement was made without any kind of special media event that gets the entire tech world whipped up into a frenzy. Apple gets so much free press from their media events that it seems a bit unwise to have a product announcement without one. Maybe they didn't want the inevitable letdown by all the fanboyz wanting a new video iPod followed by predictions of Apple's pending doom because they only announced a new computer.
  • by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:06AM (#15189969)
    They also released a universal binary version [] of Final Cut Studio.
  • by fak3r ( 917687 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:07AM (#15189979) Homepage
    this is nice, but who would have thought the next Power...MacBook Pro would come out, instead of a 'consumer line' (read, NOT a ~2800$ laptop) MacBook to really get ppl switching.

    For me I'm really starting to fall for (or lean hard towards) a Mac Mini Duo -- not only can you triple boot on it, there's now video of it doing 'fast OS switching []', much as it does its 'fast user switching'.

    Damn, this is getting fun.

  • I don't like big-screen notebooks myself. I worked on a 13 inch display just fine on my desktop back in the day. Even if your laptop is going to be your primary computer, I'd prefer something light and compact even if it was my primary computer, and to just hook that up to a larger external display at home (an iBook in my case which isn't the smallist, but it is far from large). But we'll see how I stick to this when I actually can afford a 17" MacBook Pro....
  • No thanks.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO ( 693085 )
    Spending nearly $3000 on a computer that isn't nearly as powerful as $3000 would buy me otherwise? No thanks... I'm waiting for a sub-$1000 Mac so I can just have a Mac... I'm not going to spend obscene money on something that quickly will be outdated. Even if it is a Mac.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault