|MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz (15 Inch)|
April 13, 2006 | Eddie Park
PowerUntil they make fuel cell batteries or whatever, we're still stuck with Lithum-ions. Unplugged and left by its lonesome, my MacBook lasted just under 4 hours until it started to complain. Of course, this is hardly a real-world test, so purely in the name of fact finding, I unplugged the power cord, booted up UT2k4, and settled in for an extended session. Playing full-tilt without pause, I was able to clock in about 2 hours of play before the usual warning indicators started popping up. I'd estimate general use for the battery life to be about 3 hours.
Much has been made of the new MagSafe power cord. A purely magnetic connection, the MagSafe is designed to easily pop out should a clumsy beast, such as a drunk roommate, roommate's dog, drunk roommate's dog, or combination thereof, attempt to destroy your laptop by tripping over the power cord. Fiddling with the MagSafe for a while yielded the following conclusions:
1) In general, it takes a decent amount of applied pressure to break the magnetic seal. Casual bumping of the cord and wildly waving the MacBook around failed to dislodge it.
2) When pressure is applied at an angle (i.e. someone tripping over the cord or yanking it sideways), the MagSafe pops out quite cleanly and with little resistance.
3) When deliberately pulled straight away from the socket with gentle, steady force, the MagSafe failed to come loose, and it was possible to slowly pull the MacBook around.
To sum up, the connection is probably stronger than you think – strong enough to remain connected when a steady pull in the direction of the port opening is applied. However, angled pressure of any kind generally caused a disconnect, meaning that it'll probably save your investment next time a drunk dog comes staggering through the room.
RosettaIn general, Rosetta is a wonderful bridge. Most non-Universal Binary apps, including MS Office and Photoshop run fine, though there is definitely a noticeable drop in performance. This is not to say it's crippling, but they do run more slowly on an Intel chip in their current non-UB states.
Firefox, unfortunately, runs about as fast as molasses during Winter. In the meantime, I'm using Safari for surfing purposes, but I'm crossing my fingers for a quick upgrade to UB. Also of note is that some of my favorite programs, Unsanity's Haxies, generally don't work on the new Intel Macs. This includes WindowShade X, an absence that punches a hole in my heart every time I'm forced to consign a window to the Dock.
My recommendation for those looking to upgrade is to check the numerous lists available online that show both current and planned UB applications. If you have any vital programs, make sure they can at least run under Rosetta before you upgrade, and also mentally prepare yourself that even if they run, they'll probably run at a slower speed. Thankfully, Rosetta is significantly more transparent than Classic ever was, so the transition is generally more of a speed bump than an uprooting.
Boot CampNot a few days after I received the MacBook, Apple stunned the world by announcing Boot Camp, an application that allows what many computer users of all persuasions have been dreaming about for years – the installation of Windows on an Apple machine. While I don't intend to insert a review of Boot Camp here, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least give it a mention.
Installation, even in its beta state, was painless and laughably easy, especially if you're already used to installing Windows. Boot Camp pretty much holds your hand through the entire process, doing practically everything for you. Once I had WinXP up and running, I may as well have had a PC laptop on my desk, albeit an extremely attractive one.
Not everything hardware-wise works yet as far as Boot Camp and the MacBook go. While the CD eject key thankfully functions, things like the backlit keyboard and self-adjusting brightness functions do not. The LCD brightness keys still function via a key combo, though they tend to jump in large degrees rather than the fine ones offered by OS X. The volume keys don't function at all. Sleep still kicks in when closing the lid. HID devices, such as gaming pads, seem to function perfectly.
WinXP itself runs quite well – even better than my work Thinkpad. As for games, I've been testing out Doom 3, F.E.A.R., and a 2D fighter favorite of mine called Melty Blood (bonus points if you know this one), and they all run beautifully. I've included benchmarks in this review for these as well so folks can get an idea of just how well they run in Boot Camp.