"Finally apple moves to the latest intel chip technology"4.5 starson by javawolfpack
Pros: Nehalem microarchitecture (core i7 Arrandale)
Cons: SD card slot instead of ExpressCard/34 slot
Summary: I'm going to start with, CNET should remove most of these reviews, you can review a product you don't currently own with out issue, assuming you have a clue what the technology contained in the product actually is. Additionally how this technology stacks up against the rest of the products on the market. I am a rarity apparently of the other reviewers in that I have degrees in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering, and I'm currently pursuing a doctorate in computer science. I can make my current macbook pro (2.4GHz core 2 duo w/ 4GB RAM and 7200RPM HDD) slow to a crawl... so yes I actually push my computer to its physical limits, unlike a few of the other reviewers who couldn't tell if there was a speed boost by the sole fact they hardly have their computers do more than surf the web.Ok as promised, I have gotten a chance to see what an improvement the new macbook pro is over my old one, which was still a very nice machine; however, for some very specific tasks and under a few conditions it would become problematic as it didn't have the power to handle the load I was placing on it. I have run two different virtual machines on the new macbook pro and don't notice a slow down in my regular applications that i use or any lag in the mouse or other interfaces that did occur on my old macbook pro. It has matched my expectations and exceeded them... I can restart a virtual machine in nearly no time and it behaves as if it was its own machine with out much trouble.
I have moved from a core 2 quad to core i7, so previous 4 core technology to the latest 4 core technology and can verify that the nehalem microarchitecture offers a notable improvement even if you don't increase the number of cores on the system. I have been able to now encode video on my desktop at nearly 1/3 the time it used to take, which is a remarkable improvement. And even better I now no longer notice a slow down when I'm encoding video and want to use the computer for another task as well. So the many complaints that apple isn't using a 4 core version of the core i7 shouldn't put people off from wanting to buy.
Additionally, concerning the core i7 that apple is using. They chose to wait for the latest update to the mobile processor line, though still called core i7, is codenamed Arrandale, and is far different from the 4 core mobile chip or Clarksdale. The main difference would be the the Arrandale includes integrated graphics into its chip, which means that you don't actually need discrete graphics, though intel still hasn't gotten these graphics to be as good as some of the discrete options... so apple apparently created their own solution to allow you to switch to a discrete solution with superior graphics when you need to, or opt for the more energy efficient solution when you don't. Thus saving power. Additionally the Arrandale uses far less power than the Clarksdale, which is another reason apple chose this chip.
Honestly would you rather you could use your laptop w/ out having to be tethered to a power outlet, or have the bigger chip with more cores? I would rather get the speed boost of the Arrandale core i7 and not have to be tethered to a power outlet... I used to have a desktop replacement laptop, that I couldn't take with me anywhere because it needed so much power. Apple wanted this to be something you could actually use on the go. So yes it has less cores than some of the other core i7 mobile chips, but its a newer more efficient chip, designed for actual mobile use with a notable speedup over any core 2 duo chip, just look at the benchmarks (hope you can use google to find these yourself).
Another note people have brought forward as a point of contention is the fact the bus speed is less than some of the other "core i7" laptop options offered by PC vendors... this is again along the same line of this is a different core i7, and the fact the Clarksdale has a 1333MHz memory bus whereas the Arrandale has a 1066MHz bus. But as the Arrandale chip apple is using offers a higher clock speed/throughput you'd be hard to tell the difference between it and even the highend Clarksdale unless your running some extreme multi-threaded processes (and lets face it almost nothing is multi-threaded, more the fact its hard to program) But the core i7 Arrandale, that apple is using, has nearly a GHz over even the core i7 920XM (or the extreme edition chip) that a few people were upset wasn't offered.
I guess the bottom line is, do your homework... actually read up on the components your comparing before you start saying that something better is out there, or that something is cheaper yet comparable. Just because its a core i7, doesn't mean its the same line of core i7...
Ok chipset out of the way, the mini display port is a far better standard than VGA, HDMI, and even DVI (which I would prefer)... read up on it, or at the very least there are converters which don't cost that much so get one of those if its an issue. Hell the only time i connect my laptop to anything its projectors which all use VGA, so I got a mini-dp to VGA converter when i bought my new macbook pro, my current one offers DVI, and came with a DVI-> VGA convertor... And I have my mac mini hooked to my TV via VGA as well, as it isn't as glitchy as trying to do it via HDMI. HDMI is a pain, and i'm glad they didn't include it.
Well that's my rant... I have ordered one of the new macbook pros (17" anti-glare 2.66GHz core i7, 8GB RAM, 128SSD) which'll arrive this coming week, but after reading many of these reviews I figured I needed to make some clarifications people apparently are having over the technology.
Updated on Apr 21, 2010
My 64bit geekbench score was over 6100... impressive since older macbooks apparently scored between 3000-4000... though my score may be a bit high, I think most users are likely to be in the 5200 range though. Anyway the new macbook pro definitely performs... anyway if you have any questions drop me a reply.