First six weeks with my new MacBook Pro
By Eric S-Oracle on Dec 20, 2006
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.