17-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 duo/2.66ghz


Bethany Walsh

Aug 02, 2022

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro came a little later to the unibody redesign party—most of Apple's laptop line transitioned to the slimmer, lighter, precision-crafted aluminum design back in October 2008.

In terms of hardware, the new 17-inch laptop isn't lacking in any advancements. However, the new battery design in the 17-inch MacBook Pro is the main story, not the incremental improvements to the processor, system bus, and RAM.

Apple says a new laptop's capacity is 40 percent larger than the batteries in its 17-inch predecessors, allowing a new 17-inch MacBook Pro to operate for up to 8 hours of battery life. Faster processor, front side bus, and memory speeds benefit the new 17-inch MacBook Pro's unibody design.

Add in a new battery that lasts lengthier per charge, and you've got yourself a winner. This new 17-inch MacBook Pro battery should last at least three times as much as the previous 17-inch MacBook Pro battery, so the decision to lock it away behind 10 screws and a warranty-voiding warning notice is not without merit.

What’s New

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New MacBook Pros come stock with about the same 5,400-rpm hard drive as the previous model, but you can upgrade to a 7,200-rpm drive for $50 or choose between 128GB or 256GB solid-state drives (SSDs) for $300 and $700, respectively (SSD).

This laptop's memory is DDR3 (running at 1,066MHz) rather than DDR2 (running at 667MHz) like its predecessor, which comes standard with 4GB (you can upgrade to 8GB for $1,000). With a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (up from 2.5GHz in the previous model) and 6MB of L2 cache, the new laptop is faster than its predecessor, but you can spend an additional $300 for a faster 2.93GHz processor.

The previous 17-inch MacBook Pro had an 800MHz front-side bus; the new one had a 1,066MHz front-side bus. The 17-inch MacBook Pro, like the other unibody computers, features mercury-free LED illumination and arsenic-free glass for its widescreen display.

The display has a native resolution of 1,920-by-1,200 pixels, and with so many pixels filling just 17 diagonal inches, it's easy to have numerous windows open at once. As someone accustomed to working at lower resolutions, you'll notice that everything on the screen is much smaller.

An ultra-thin pane of glass hides the glossy display of the new MacBook Pro. Bright, vivid colors and deep, rich blacks look wonderful on glossy screens. Some folks, including a handful of my colleagues and Macworld editors, dislike the glare from these highly reflecting glossy screens. For those gloss-phobic persons, Apple provides an anti-glare alternative for $50.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro outperforms its predecessor, but only by a small margin; the new system was around 1.8 percent faster in our test that measures overall system performance, called Speed mark 5.

As you might assume, this is due to the slightly better processor with the new model. The majority of the tests, however, including those for Photoshop, iMovie, and iTunes, were all completed within a second or two.

Earlier this week, we published an analysis of the benchmarks; for a look at the performance results, check out the analysis of the benchmarks that were performed on the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Bigger, Better Battery

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The main headline with the new 17-inch MacBook Pro is its battery life. The new battery is produced with lithium-ion sheets rather than cylindrical lithium-ion cells; according to Apple, this creates less wasted space.

Another way to increase the battery's size is to make it a fixed component, which eliminates the option for the user to change it. This is an unpopular decision. By not needing to include the latches and other pieces essential to make a battery easily detachable, Apple claims it was able to boost the battery performance so it can carry more juice.

Because of the new adaptive charging technology, which Apple claims can be recharged up to 1,000 times before losing 80 percent of its capacity, the battery's overall life is expected to be three to five times longer than the average laptop battery, according to the company.

For our next battery test, we'll mimic Apple's wireless productivity testing, which the company uses to evaluate battery life for its products. Our video loop test used this Energy Saver preferences as our web browsing test, but we dimmed the screen to half brightness while working in Microsoft Office productivity apps like Excel and Word.

We were able to work for more over seven hours before the laptop reached its safe sleep mode, which is still amazing considering the laptop's power usage estimate of eight hours.

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