Apple MacBook Pro 15in

Sandy Bridge stunner


Review The 13in MacBook Pro I reviewed last week is a machine for folk who fancy a carry-around computer but who want a bit more welly than the way more portable 13in MacBook Air can provide. The 15in version, on the other hand, is a desktop replacement for the power hungry.

Sure, it's mobile. It has a decent battery life. But it's not a computer to keep with you at all times. Performance is its virtue, not portability.

Apple MacBook Pro 15in

Apple's MacBook Pro 15in: very metal

And what performance. Like the 13in MBP, the new 15-incher is built around Intel's second-generation Core i processors, this time all four-core, eight-thread boys. As you'll see from the benchmark results on the following pages, it makes a difference.

I took a spin with the 2GHz Core i7-2635QM-based version, but Apple also offers a model with a 2.2GHz quad-core chip. The latter is £300 more expensive, but you get an extra 250GB of hard drive storage - 750GB to the lesser model's 500GB - double the dedicated video memory - 1GB of it - and a more upscale AMD GPU, the Radeon HD 6750M.

The cheaper of the two 15in MBPs has the Radeon HD 6490M with 512MB of GDDR 5. Both version also have an integrated Intel graphics core clocked at 650MHz but capable of being overclocked to 1.2GHz here. It's built right into the CPU, and Mac OS X switches between the two graphics cores - Intel to keep the power consumption as low as possible, AMD when your app needs some visual performance - dynamically and entirely invisibly.

Apple MacBook Pro 15in 2011

Rugged

I have a previous-generation 15in MBP and use Cody Krieger's excellent free, open source utility gfxCardStatus to control which GPU my machine - which has a mix of Intel and Nvidia graphics - to set which is in play. Cody has just updated his app to support the new MBP's AMD chippery. If you get one of these machines, his app is a must-have download.

Next page: Maximum power

Other stories you might like

  • We sat through Apple's product launch disguised as a dev event so you don't have to
    M2 chip teased plus MacBooks, iOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9 and more

    WWDC Apple opened its 33rd annual Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday with a preview of upcoming hardware and planned changes in its mobile, desktop, and wrist accessory operating systems.

    The confab consists primarily of streamed video, as it did in 2020 and 2021, though there is a limited in-person component for the favored few. Apart from the preview of Apple's homegrown Arm-compatible M2 chip – coming next month in a redesigned MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro – there was not much meaningful innovation. The M2 Air has a full-size touch ID button, apparently.

    Apple's software-oriented enhancements consist mainly of worthy but not particularly thrilling interface and workflow improvements, alongside a handful of useful APIs and personalization capabilities. Company video performers made no mention of Apple's anticipated AR/VR headset.

    Continue reading
  • Workers win vote to form first-ever US Apple Store union
    Results set to be ratified by labor board by end of the week

    Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland have voted to form a union, making them the first of the iGiant's retail staff to do so in the United States.

    Out of 110 eligible voters, 65 employees voted in support of unionization versus 33 who voted against it. The organizing committee, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), has now filed to certify the results with America's National Labor Relations Board. Members joining this first-ever US Apple Store union will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

    "I applaud the courage displayed by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory," IAM's international president Robert Martinez Jr said in a statement on Saturday. "They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election."

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: Too edgy for comfort?
    And perhaps too heavy, which is a weighty issue for a machine that turns into a tablet

    Desktop Tourism My 20-year-old son is an aspiring athlete who spends a lot of time in the gym and thinks nothing of lifting 100 kilograms in various directions. So I was a little surprised when I handed him Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio and he declared it uncomfortably heavy.

    At 1.8kg it's certainly not among today's lighter laptops. That matters, because the device's big design selling point is a split along the rear of its screen that lets it sit at an angle that covers the keyboard and places its touch-sensitive surface in a comfortable position for prodding with a pen. The screen can also fold completely flat to allow the laptop to serve as a tablet.

    Below is a .GIF to show that all in action.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022