First six weeks with my new MacBook Pro

I've now had my shiny new Intel Core 2 Duo based, 15" MacBook Pro for about six weeks. Here are my impressions, good & bad.

First the bad:

NOTHING. After reading all the reports of various problems with the MacBook Pros, mine has been operating flawlessly. No strange noises, no overheating, no optical drive issues (though I've yet to burn a DVD), no wireless issues.

Okay, one thing: memory. I wish it supported more. I know this isn't Apple's fault, but the 2GB I have is clearly not enough when running Parallels VMs, and I suspect upgrading to the limit of 3GB would only help marginally.

Oh yeah, one more thing: disk speed. The 120GB drive only rotates at 5400RPM, and on I/O bound work, it feels a tad sluggish. The hard drive upgrade option from Apple was even slower, so I stuck with the 120GB.

Now the good:

It's FAST. I'm upgrading from an 867MHz TiBook, and the speed difference is amazing. The migration assistant made the transition painless, and since I'm good about keeping my software up to date, almost everything was already a universal binary and ran at full speed from day one.

One key CPU benchmark for me, SETI@Home, processes each job approximately 5x faster than my TiBook. But with two CPUs, it now processes two jobs at once, for almost a 10x throughput increase!

I opted for the glossy screen, and haven't regretted the decision. This thing is so crisp! I almost never have an issue with glare, and when I do, a very slight adjustment usually resolves that problem.

Other features that are a nice upgrade from the TiBook: built-in Bluetooth & iSight, better WiFi reception, backlit keyboard, and two-finger scrolling. I have to say that this last feature is one of the most productivity-enhancing I've come across in a long time. I now can't stand to sit in front of a laptop who's trackpad desn't support it.

I also splurged for a Bluetooth Mighty Mouse (I already own & love a wired one), and losing the wire is such a pleasure for mousing!

Luckily, Cisco upgraded their VPN client just in time to resolve an issue with the Core 2 Duo chips, so I was able to VPN into Sun's network with no issues.

I love seeing those _two_ CPU load meters in my menu bar, thanks to MenuMeters. At first, I thought it was malfunctioning! Took me a second or two to realize...

There were a couple quirks with X11, but those were quickly resolved with an Update from Apple. I've got Emacs and Open Office working just fine. I haven't been able to get the X11 version of VNC to compile & run sucessfully, so I'm using Chicken of the VNC.

Finally, Parallels rules! I have VMs for Windows XP (Yuck), Ubuntu Linux, and Solaris currently installed. As someone who's currently working on virtualization in my day job (see my posts on LDoms), it's so sweet to have this option on my laptop.

The increasing availability of virtual appliances for Parallels on the web is not only totally cool; it also represents an important evolution for virtualization technology in general. Being able to download, install, configure and run complete software stacks in a matter of minutes really brought home that point to me. It's given me some ideas that I want to see us incorporate into LDoms.

All in all, I'm one very happy customer.

Comments:

question: there seems to be quite a lot of secrecy with the LDOM feature of solaris 10/11. Will ldom make it to NV before it makes it to a 10 release? when will docs providing information as to the feature will be posted? when is the targetted release date for the feature? The functionality is within firmware v6.4 for the T2K, but it has not been released yet, very little pieces of the puzzle are all over the place on U3 and 6.3, and some on opensolaris.. I am just puzzled as to why so much caution and secrecy with the ldom feature set.. it would be nice to actually be able to understand and see what the feature does so one could determine proper fit of the technology within ones infrastructure...

Posted by sysot1t on December 27, 2006 at 03:14 PM EST #

Hi sysot1t. LDoms is not actually a feature of Solaris. It's a platform feature that requires updates to the firmware, the OS, as well a some unbundled software to fully enable. The fact that the Solaris portions of LDoms support are showing up now is indicative of the release schedules of the various subsystems I just mentioned, not of the general release or availability of LDoms.

So it's not that we're being secretive; it just that General Availability of LDoms is still a few months out.

Posted by Eric Sharakan on January 02, 2007 at 04:13 AM EST #

Thanks for clarifying, it has been hard getting info from the individuals assigned to the account. By platform feature, that means only those CPU's with hypervisors will be able to use and leverage ldoms? I will assume a yes... if that is the case, then only Niagara based Chips can run the technology..

Posted by sysot1t on January 04, 2007 at 02:16 AM EST #

sysot1t, sorry for the delay in responding. Yes, LDoms is only targeted at those platforms implementing the sun4v architecture via our hypervisor technology. In terms of chips, this currently includes the T1000/T2000 (aka Niagara) and its various followons, as well as another upcoming processor, code-named ROCK.

Posted by Eric Sharakan on February 02, 2007 at 03:28 AM EST #

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I work on the Oracle VM Server for SPARC (nee LDoms) team.

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