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Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware

Analyzing the New MacBook Pro 914

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the buy-a-few-spares dept.
MrSeb writes "Late yesterday, Apple released a next-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. It has a 2880×1800 220 PPI display. The normal 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have also been updated, but the 17-inch MBP has been retired, in effect replaced by the new Retina display MBP. Without a doubt, this new laptop is an engineering marvel in the same league as the original iPhone or MacBook Air. ... The Retina display MBP really looks nothing we've ever seen before. Here, ExtremeTech dives into the engineering behind the laptop, paying close attention to that new and rather shiny display — and the fact that this thing has no user-replaceable parts at all." Fleshing things out a bit more, iFixit has a teardown of the internals. Their verdict: effectively unrepairable by the user.
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Analyzing the New MacBook Pro

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  • Heat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NoZart (961808) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:38AM (#40309623)

    I read a few articles on the new shiny, but there seems to be no information on how the thermal and related noise situation is. How does the smaller design and needed computing power to drive that screen impact the temperature (under stress)?
    My old MBP already gets annoyingly hot and loud when i am doing stuff on it.

  • by LocalH (28506) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:38AM (#40309625) Homepage

    That's how Apple does high DPI - it's basically a 2x mode. The idea is that programs not designed for a Retina display will still act like they're running on a 1440x900 display (and thus will be of a decent size on the screen) but programs with 2x assets will display with the increased sharpness. Non-Retina-aware programs still get some of the benefit in terms of font and UI rendering (as standard system widgets are always displayed at Retina resolution regardless of whether the app is Retina-aware). This is the same way that it works on the iPhone/iPod touch 4 and the iPad 3.

    This is where the fact that Apple chose to use unhinted fonts is a big win. Windows can't easily do high DPI because many programs are not designed for it, font spacing will be way off in some programs because Microsoft chooses to hammer fonts to the pixel grid.

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:39AM (#40309643) Homepage Journal

    While a wholly proprietary pinout(and a different wholly proprietary pinout than the last model's wholly proprietary pinout) the storage card is at least socketed... Given that there are likely to be a reasonable number of these sold, and to deep pocketed buyers, 3rd-party options will likely exist sooner or later. RAM, though, may leave you with a case of buyer's remorse...

    Easy, just buy the largest option. Apple is doing one thing smart here, they are making a design that if produced by the tens of millions (which these will surely be) will prove to be VERY cheap. That means you can probably buy the upgraded ram for what the same version would have cost you with a modular ram socket but no upgrade in place. Comparing these notebooks to other similar competitors will probably put Apple on a footing closer than they were in the past. The question is, at what price does giving up choice come at? Clearly Apple is OK with removing choice (as seen in all other product lines) in favor of a cost-competitive set of options that "you want". Why should they not take their laptops to the same model?

  • SSD storage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Geeky (90998) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:44AM (#40309711)
    I think the big turnoff for me is that they only have flash storage

    The limited writes are likely to be a factor for some uses, surely? I certainly wouldn't want to be using one as a development machine, or for serious photography (my other main computer use).

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:48AM (#40309753) Journal

    So have I, but we're not normal users. I'm actually not a user at all, except for a third generation ipod in my truck -- I got the special tools and a line on several parts suppliers because the disposable mentality of the Apple product line just annoys the hell out of me. I offer repair/refurbish services to family, friends, friends-of-friends because I get satisfaction out of spoiling Apple's throw-away stand-in-line-for-new-model paradigm. And that it's more environmentally moral to keep the older devices in play.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:49AM (#40309759)

    If you run with XP style scaling, yes (which is the default and what all sites I've seen actually demonstrate, they always forget to change the setting). But not with Vista style scaling, in which case non-DPI apps will also employ pixel doubling, if DPI is set to 200%.
    W8 has a preset option for this (W7 this must be done manually).

  • Re:Christ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:52AM (#40309825)

    Are they replacing your battery? Or giving you a refurb laptop? The last 5 people I know that had the battery replaced also needed to restore their data. Never knew that changing a battery required data to be restored in a laptop.

    I know the apple store people also re-imaged the laptop. No need to, but that is part of their procedure. That was on 3 of them. The other 2 actually got a different laptops back.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:54AM (#40309875) Journal

    > Appliance buyers don't tear down their toaster very often either.

    Not very often. On the other hand, toasters last longer, (ours is over 17 years old, my mother-in-law's still functional toaster is from a time when Bakelite was considered a valid construction material) and don't cost nearly as much. And they *are* fixable by anyone with a screwdriver and some aptitude.

    > I won't be buying one. The ability to quickly repair Thinkpads is a key reason I buy them instead.

    Agreed. Exactly. I just recently "repaired" my daughter's T30 -- open one door, replace battery, open a different door, replace hard drive, install OS, done.

  • by firesyde424 (1127527) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:00PM (#40309989)

    FFS, buy Apple because you like OSX or you like using software made for OSX. I will even go so far as to say, buy it because you like the look and feel of a Mac. Don't buy a Mac because you think it has great hardware. If that is your reason for buying a Mac, go buy a PC and turn it into a Hackintosh, it's much cheaper.

    A 15inch MacBook Pro has Core i7-3720QM CPU(2.6 Ghz boost to 3.6Ghz, 8 GB DDR3 RAM(1600 Mhz), 750 GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive, and a Geforce 650M with 1 GB of dedicated RAM for $2200. I can get an Alienware M14x with the exact same CPU, exact same size and speed of RAM, same size but FASTER hard drive(they don't offer a 5400 RPM option), and the exact same video card but with twice the video ram, for $650 less than the Mac.

    Let me put it another way. If I add $49 to the price of the Mac and spend it on the Alienware, I can get the next fastest CPU, max the RAM at 16GB, and add a 256 GB SSD!

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:03PM (#40310037) Homepage Journal

    Yes it did, and it still does. It's a perfectly valid complaint.
    Something to be weighed when considering the whole.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:04PM (#40310053) Journal
    I really enjoyed my 3rd-gen iPod. That 10 GB sucker kept me in good listening mode for about five years. Eventually, the hard drive crapped out. I still have it, though it is difficult to see how much use it would be unless I replaced the hard drive and battery - assuming I could even find replacement parts. It's particularly difficult to see how useful it would be, when my wife has a (still functioning) 120-GB iPod that is thinner, lighter, longer-playing, more capacious, and has a color screen and video-out capability.
  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:07PM (#40310117) Homepage

    and I see it as a Major PLUS!

    It means in 3 years a Macbook Pro will be sold on the used market for a LOT less than current models with a replaceable battery. Those of us that actually have a brain will be able to trade an hour or so of time for a $300-$400 lower price on a used mac laptop.

    Hell I now have two iPad 2's that I paid nothing for except for the price of a new digitizer front and 1 hour each to replace it. They were GIVEN to me, one is a 64gig 3G unit.

    I want apple to make everything hard for the general moron to fix. Because it turns into a boon for those of us that have ability and IQ.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:11PM (#40310187) Journal

    By offering those repair services you add value to Apple's product, thereby encouraging Apple's business model. The right thing to do is guide those who ask to offerings that are owner friendly, and if they still choose to go with Apple let them be bitten by the consequences of that decision.

  • by adisakp (705706) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:27PM (#40310463) Journal
    It's DDR3L SDRAM - that L stands for low-power. If you can even find a high-speed DDR3L sodimm, you will pay more for it than for the Apple memory. What do you get with that L? Maybe about an hour more battery life with 16GB installed. Is 17% longer battery life worth the $100 premium? Probably to most people spending $3K or more on a laptop already.
  • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:38PM (#40310661) Homepage
    I deeply wish to know this, and shall take an Ubuntu usb stick into the Apple store to find out.
  • IT Nightmare (Score:4, Interesting)

    by na1led (1030470) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:47PM (#40310803)
    If our firm had these laptops and they broke down, how am I suppose to remove/wipe the hard drive? I would have to take a Sludge Hammer to the laptop in the parking lot, just to be sure no sensitive data gets out.
  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:03PM (#40311047)
    Just to makea point: The 'base' ram is 8GB. Taking it up to 16GB costs £160. On EBuyer, 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 in laptop form (Corsair, not unbranded) are £45 each - so that means apple is charging people a little over three and a half times as much. If you do the math for the SSDs you'll find similar. So, while the Apple engineering is impressive, there can really be no doubt that they utterly screw their customers over on price. The only other sector I can think of that gets away with that sort of thing is brand-name clothing, and for exactly the same reason.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:07PM (#40311103) Journal

    > How many normal people do you think ever upgrade any piece of electronics they own, by themselves?

    Just about everyone I know have at some point replaced their battery or upgraded their SD card (or have multiple cards), even my mother-in-law, and she's in her seventies and has never been a geek. Except for the people I know who own Apple products, where it is not part of the culture to do so.

    An Apple user has a different perspective on this. If you have to be Apple certified to replace the battery in your macbook, not many regular users could do that. But a seven year old can replace a battery in a thinkpad. (I've seen one do so.)

    It's important, I think, to agree to a common definition of terms. Non-Apple users, for instance, don't consider replacing the battery to be an "upgrade".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:31PM (#40311515)

    Batteries are cheap and 128GB Solid State IDE PATA drives are available in the 1.8" form factor now. You could build an amazingly fast and capacious retro iPod.

  • Re:IT Nightmare (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RecoveredMarketroid (569802) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @01:35PM (#40311591)
    You use the full-disk encryption, so you don't have this problem.
  • by wfolta (603698) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @03:05PM (#40312769)

    Perhaps if you also added, "No other competitor offers this combination of features in this small a package. Most compact competitors do not offer discrete graphics, nor quad-core CPUs. No laptop of any kind offers a retinal display for any price. Most competitors are only beginning to offer Intel's Thunderbolt connectivity. Apple continues to design systems, while their competitors throw components together."

  • Re:Christ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @04:02PM (#40313643)

    Thats fine, and if youre buying the laptop because of the slim formfactor, the lower weight, the aesthetics, or the superior resolution, and its truly worth it to you, go for it.

    Just dont try to feed the rest of us some line about how its a superior machine; I could easily link a $1400 laptop that has superior specs in various areas that ARE important to some people (like upgradeability, video performance, etc).

    Im not against Apple as a market option, im just against the idea that we need to swallow some bull about how PCs are inferior. I have a $450 laptop that does 1366x768, and you know what? The fact that I have a built in ethernet port and can expand the crap out of it is far more important to me than any of that other stuff, and it doesnt mean my machine is inferior.

  • by Jaktar (975138) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @08:33PM (#40317109)

    I'm still using my Creative Zen Vision M from 2005. I've never replaced anything in it, not even the battery. It's been in my car for the last 3 years in direct sunlight and freezing temperatures.

    If it's built well, you shouldn't need to replace things. If you do need to replace things, you should be able to do so fairly easily. I don't know which category Apple really falls into. I don't own anything they sell.

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