MacBook Pro 17-inch [2008] full review


NEXT: What's not so new in the 17-inch MacBook Pro


The features unchanged in this laptop far outnumber the changes. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro uses the same case as the previous model, weighs the same 6.6 pounds, and has the same peripheral ports (three USB 2.0 connectors, one FireWire 400, and one FireWire 800 port). It has the same keyboard and trackpad and can also recognize the three-finger multitouch gestures, but not the new four-finger gestures. It also has the same Intel Penryn processor, a Core 2 Duo running at 2.5GHz, a tad slower than the 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo processor in the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro. The laptop has the same 6MB shared on-chip level 2 cache and 800MHz frontside bus as before.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro still uses Nvidia’s GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 512MB of GDDR3 memory; it doesn’t have the dual graphics card setup featured in the 15-inch MacBook Pro models. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro still has a dual-link DVI graphics port that can drive monitors as big as Apple’s 30-inch Cinema Display. It cannot, however, be attached to the new 24-inch LED Cinema Display (£635), because no DVI-to-Mini Display Port converter box or cable is available at the time of this review. The laptop’s 17-inch widescreen display still uses an LED backlight.

17-inch MacBook Pro options


The list of options available for this laptop include a faster 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor for £166, a faster 320GB hard drive spinning at 7,200 rpm instead of the standard 5,400 rpm for an additional £34.01, a 128GB solid state drive for a whopping £343, and your choice of either a glossy or anti-glare screens with no difference in price.

This last option makes the 17-inch MacBook Pro the only Mac laptop available with a matte screen. Considering our recent test of the LED Cinema Display proved that glossy displays are not as good as matte displays for design and photographic work, this could be big issue. If you're looking for a print-professional laptop from Apple, then this could be the only option for you – in fact, unless Apple does a u-turn and brings a matte option to the Unibody MacBook Pro, this may well be the last matte screen laptop that Apple ever makes.

NEXT: 17-inch MacBook Pro speedmark testing


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