Apple announced a 17″ MacBook Pro today, as expected. Aside from a bigger screen and a standard 2.16GHz Core Duo processor, the 17″ MacBook Pro offers a dual-layer DVD burner (missing on the 15″ model), three USB 2.0 ports instead of two, a bigger hard drive, and an additional FireWire 800 port as well as the FireWire 400 port available on the 15″. (Check the specs from Apple.)

Minor details aside, the main reason to choose the 17″ MacBook Pro is because you like a bigger screen. Despite the griping of Apple fans, I don’t think FireWire 800 is much to miss out on, as it never delivered on the performance gains over FW400 some had hoped. (Of course, having two FireWire ports is nice, because you can plug FW400 devices into the FW800 jack with an adapter.) I’ve been testing a 15″ MacBook Pro, and I’ve come to like that screen size.

The big difference here is that the 17″ no longer carries a big price premium, spec for spec. As thesimplicity notes on the CDM forums, if you were planning on loading up the 15″ model with all the options, the 17″ is actually cheaper, not more expensive.

Apple is repeating their “5 times as fast” as a PowerBook G4 claim, based on integer and floating-point calculation benchmarks. Those don’t sound like real-world numbers, but real performance is compelling, too. We’ll be looking more at Intel Mac performance later this week, which I think is the big story for Mac users, at long last. And if I were buying a PC laptop now, it’d sure be Core Duo-based, too.

  • http://www.antisleep.com gse

    Mostly unrelated, but I did some performance tests of a Macbook Pro doing compiles on the open-source platform that I work on at the day job… compiles were about 2x that of a recent model G5.

    details here: http://weblog.openlaszlo.org/archives/2006/03/int

  • Eric Richmond

    There are a small number of us (like me) who specifically bought a RME Fireface 800 so I could have a mobile studio that could handle any inputs I needed.

    Now, once they get a PCMCIA card so I dont need to replace my echo dj card, then I'll consider upgrading :)

  • velocipede

    Here is an interesting statement from the downloadable technology overview pdf"

    Hear the big picture

    With twice the number of speakers, larger

    speaker enclosures, and increased total power,

    MacBook Pro delivers double the sound and

    plays more low frequencies than the 17-inch

    PowerBook G4.

    I wish they provided some numbers. I wonder if these speakers might actually sound okay for ordinary listening.

  • http://www.modiba.net dave ahl

    i wouldn't expect anything fantastic from the internal speakers… they are just laptop speakers… but more low end and more wattage would certainly be nice. The key, i think, would be making it loud enough to be able to deliver enough volume for DVD playback etc… the old 800 MHz G4 Powerbook i am rocking isn't quite loud enough for this purpose if there's background noise.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yeah, that seems more like something to use with TV watching, etc., though it would be welcome . . . the speakers are indeed very soft on the older models.

    If anyone is looking for portable speakers, there are some nice models out there. I use Altec Lansing XT1s:

    http://www.alteclansing.com/product_details.asp?p

    They're perfect for informal rehearsals (i.e., any time you're not competing with real amps), playing a quick track, etc. And they're really, really compact, so it's no big deal to toss them in your laptop bag.

    I will say, the 17" is looking like the MacBook to beat. It's a welcome change, because it no longer punishes users buying the larger screen real estate. I'm hearing some 15" early-adopters complaining, though it seems to me that logic board differences may have forced the DVD burner and FireWire downgrades — the 15" MBP is configured similarly to competing Core Duo PCs. More on this soon.

    Let us know what you decide to buy, folks, and how it works out for you!

  • http://maxcascone.com Max Cascone

    Eric, I feel your pain, i have an indigo i/o. I asked Echo if they're planning on moving to ExpressCard, and got a pretty unsatisfactory response:

    - We don't have immediate plans to create an ExpressCard version of Indigo.

    > But, we will be introducing a new FireWire product soon that will meet

    > all the needs of our customers looking for such a solution…

  • Dig

    So, can´t i use an Echo Indigo with a Macbook Pro ???