Speed Test: MacBook Pro 17-inch with 7,200-rpm drive

Following the top-to-bottom refresh of Apple’s laptop line announced in October, people paid plenty of attention to the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro models. Little to no attention was given to either the top or the bottom of the line.

Now that we’ve reviewed the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models, we can turn our attention to those two extremes. We rated the low-end of Apple’s laptop offerings—the 2.1GHz MacBook in the white plastic enclosure—when that system first debuted in March. As for the top of the line, we’ve now gotten our hands on Apple’s 17-inch MacBook Pro—the largest laptop in the company’s product line.

Apple made only subtle changes to this MacBook Pro. The 17-inch offering features a higher-resolution 1,920-by-1,200 screen as the standard display, 4GB of RAM, and a higher capacity hard drive. The 17-inch model’s 2.5GHz processor is actually a slower clock speed than the 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo chip that powers one of the 15-inch MacBook Pros.

Macworld Lab’s tests indicate that despite the lack of any great leap forward in the 17-inch model’s under-the-hood specs, this laptop is still a very good performer.

Unlike most of the systems we test which are standard configurations, the 17-inch MacBook Pro we got our hands on is a loaner from Apple that came equipped with an optional 7,200-rpm hard drive. Typically, the 320GB Serial ATA drive in the 17-inch model runs at 5,400 rpm. Upgrading to 7,200 rpm adds £35 to the cost of the £1,949 MacBook Pro, bringing the total cost of our test system to £1,984.

NEXT: Macworld's SpeedMark 5 tests


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