back to article Apple MacBook Pro 17in Core i7 BTO notebook

Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line earlier this year with Intel's Core i CPUs. While the glossy screens and unibody construction are now a familiar sight, Apple does offer several build-to-order tweaks that aren’t likely to appear on the shop floor. Ram and SSDs upgrades aside, MacBook Pro 15in and 17in users can opt for an …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparison specs / prices

    I Google the machine models you compared against, and both came back as £800-900 machines.

    Did you use upgraded versions of these, or did you really just compare a £2000 laptop to machines that cost less than half that price?

    Surely a comparison against similarilly priced IBMs / Dells would be better?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What car do you drive? Because I can buy a cheaper one that does the same job.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    The obvious flames...

    1)You could spend £150 to get a PC of 4X the performance

    2)32Gb was full? Stupid bloaty M$

    carry on...

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      The fire-extinguisher

      1)You could spend £150 to get a PC of 4X the performance

      Yeah, but you have to add at least that much again to get a poor monitor of similar resolution, then add the price of a generator and the trolley to make it portable.

      Now see how portable your 4x PC is. Try explaining to airport security that it's just a cheaper Apple laptop while they check your liver for alcohol damage from the inside using rubber gloves.

      carry on...

    2. foxyshadis

      Bloaty M$?

      Sounded more like bloaty Dead Rising to me. Basic Win7 is only a couple of gigs.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Windows being unable to boot

    Theres a good process to fix windows boot issues but its always documented seperatly!

    follow these steps and 9/10 times it will work again.

    Boot to recovery console from windows installation disk. use fdisk to set active partition, fixmbr, bootrec /scanos (or rebuildBCD)

    and all is well with the world!


  4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge


    A couple of weeks ago I took delivery of my own BTO MacBook Pro, in my case the 15" but with the Anti-glare screen, 8GB RAM, Core i7 2.66GHz and the 500GB 7200rpm disk option. I wanted to go for the 512GB SSD but that was just stupidly priced.

    I've been using Windows for the last 20 years but have always regarded Macs with envious eyes - so I bit the bullet and bought one. Also bought an iPad and iPhone at the same time.

    I'm happy for the most part, but not as blown away as I'd expected to be - if I'm brutally honest. The hardware is superb, no question; but there are some things with OSX that are just plain dumb (won't list them but the 'Maximize' button that doesn't maximize is a prime candidate - and yes I know it's officially called the "Zoom to Fit" button or something).

    In short Macs are jolly nice PCs, but with the advent of Win7 they're not the quantum leap forward that they once were - and the Apple forums' supercilious attitude when you happen to question something ("Maximize" button, for example) and dare to suggest that Windows' implementation might be better, beggars belief. Basically boils down to "This is the 'right' way, if you don't like it, piss off back to Windows".

    1. stu 4
      Thumb Up

      me too

      made the move last year from windoze.

      maximse windows: RightZoom

      decent finder: forklift or Pathfinder

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That'll happen

      Every new system is going to be unfamiliar and have some relative disadvantages. Imagine a lifelong Mac user switching to Windows. I'm sure the list of complaints would be an order of magnitude longer. If the maximize button in OS X is the biggest of your issues, I think you should consider the switch very successful. BTW, I made the switch 2 years ago and wouldn't think of going back.

      1. Ammaross Danan

        Mac to Win7

        My wife made the switch from OSX to Win7 (yes, and PC hardware, no boot camp here) recently and is pleasantly happy. Why did she do it? She had a "supported" printer that just wouldn't work most of the time (works fine in Win7). Her "new" computer was loads less expensive than a lowest-end Mac alternative. Also, custom options such as RAM, hard drive space (and model!) from the get-go was a big plus. Oh, and options of case designs and front-panel device support (eSATA and USB3 on the front panel).

        1. Hans 1

          e l t i t

          Cannot chose the right bloke, nor the right computer!

    3. Hans 1

      colours & taste? or just plain getting used to the better way?

      So you claim the Windows maximize" is the right way. Well, I would say it is a poor man's zoom to fit. Since the Redmond blokes could not figure out how they would zoom to fit, they just maximized everything.

      That might not have been a bad idea, after all, back then on small screens. But today, how do I hate it, when I maximize a PDF viewer or Word processor window; I get 2 sometimes even 4 fsckin' pages displayed at once.

      zoom to fit is the intelligent way, honestly, because you can see all you need AND you can see other stuff around.

      Now, Apple, since we have wide screens, which are amazing for watching video's, thanks, and crap for doing other stuff on computers, could you not think of this:

      I want the dock and menu to be either side, not top and bottom ... now I know i can move the dock, but the main menu? Workaround for now is, when I am not watching a video, like 99% of the time, my screen is in Portrait mode - but this does not work on lappy's ... come on Apple, think different!

      1. Pet Peeve
        Thumb Up

        Dock repositioning

        Use tinkertool. You can put the dock on any side, and also pin it to the corner instead of the center. I put my dock on the right side and pinned to the bottom of the screen, so the trash can is always in the bottom right corner.

    4. Ted Treen

      "Maximize" button...

      ...drives me mad on Windows by filling the whole goddamn screen, when all I want is to fit to the doc contained therein:- I STILL have to manually resize so I can see other docs, or have two in view to copy & paste between...

      It's just a case of which is most familiar to you and hence seems the norm.

      Dumb, it ain't!

  5. David Webb


    The scores were not that respectable to me tending to be below class average in all but 2 fields, it just turns out that in Comms it was a high enough margin to break the rest of the scores giving it a high average, a false high average at that. Should a below average performing machine really net a 90% score? I think not.

  6. Chris Pearson

    USB Spacing

    I have the same issue with my 08 macbook and its (2 :( ) USB ports. I find keeping a 1 foot USB extension handy when using some stuff as it saves you having to re plug stuff, or having to choose which you want plugged in at a given moment. They cost me about £1.30 for 3 on the tat bazaar IIRC.

    1. Hans 1

      same on HP laptops

      I have an HP laptop and the same issue, heck, when I forget the extension cord, I sometimes have to choose between the usb dongle and power supply ...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to see this

    up againt a similar price alienware flaptop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Just spec'd up the same spec as this (though the hard disk is 7200rpm) and it comes out at the same price. Aesthetically, not as pretty though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nor as nice to type on

        Personal preference, of course, but I've not liked any of the Alienware laptop keyboards I've tried

  8. Steve Coburn

    Very Interesting Article

    I have to replace my broken laptop soon and it is nice to see how well the Acer Aspire, which I'm considering, can out perform a machine costing over twice as much. I am considering an Apple Mac Pro 13" as well, but if the13" 's ratio of performance to cost is the same as this 17" BTO machine's ratio then I'd better strike it from my list.

    1. Goat Jam

      Megahurts != performance

      When you are comparing the performance of a Mac with the Acer are you intending to install some flavour of Linux on it or are you going to leave the Windows infection in situ?

      I assume that it is the latter. In that case you need to take into account the Windows Kruft factor which begins the moment you install some bloated anti-badware package and will continue from there until the inevitable moment when you have to put aside a day and spend it doing the normal windows refresh procedure;

      1) format drive

      2) locate Windows CD

      3) install windows

      4) find Windows activation key

      5) apply multiple patches with reboots

      6) install some more apps

      7) Try and find more activation keys

      8) Get cracks for the keys you can't find

      9) Try to make your desktop look approximately like it was before

      10) Spend next month repeating steps 6-8 for each app you forgot about earlier

      This is a routine that should be familiar to most long time Windows users and is usually performed annually.

      When you take that into account comparing the two machines based solely on their physical hardware specs would seem to be a tad foolish.

      1. foxyshadis


        How every one of those steps applies to my SLED and RHEL installs as well. Not "activation" but I still have to go find the serial key somewhere whenever I get fed up with an old version or accumulated cruft.

        Double the length of the list if you intend to compile your own install and apps, including having to come back and check on it every hour to type the next step, and make it every other month instead of every other year. Believe me, I've been there too many times.

        But I understand, it's easy to ignore what you can't gloat about.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    use bootcamp assistant

    to resize your partitions, works evertime - unless you don't have any contiguous space.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    @Lord Elpuss you might want to try this bit of freeware to change the default zoom button behavior:

  11. John Latham

    @Steve Coburn

    The 13" ones don't come with i3/5/7 processors, you're stuck with Core Duo for various reasons, mostly related to 3D graphics performance.

    It's a real shame as I need a OSX dev machine with a decent CPU to complement my Win7 Thinkpad X201, and have no need for flashy graphics, but Jobs say no!

  12. Marco Alfarrobinha
    Thumb Down


    Seriously, two grand for THIS laptop? For that price i can go to Alienware and leave with a machine 8x as fast as this thing. True, it looks good, so what?


    1. Wyrdness

      Go on then, let's see you do it.

      I've just specced out the nearest equivalent Alienware laptop (2.66Ghz i7, 1920x1200 screen, Win7 Pro, 500Gb disk, bluetooth, no anti-virus). It comes out at £2,139. So that's £39 more than this Mac.

      8 times faster for the same price? You're talking out of your arse.

      1. Ted Treen


        "8 times faster for the same price? You're talking out of your arse."

        My sentiments exactly. But almost without exception, the "Look at me! I'm too cool to like Apple" brigade are long on wishful thinking sophistry and short on reason.

        If Jobs & Ives found a cure for Aids, Ebola virus, brought peace to the Middle East and ended African famine, you can bet your last penny these people would still be spewing out spittle-laden invective...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      how about

      1. the fact that the same spec alienware laptop is the SAME price (see post above which I have verified)

      2. the fact that the comparable alienware laptop weighs 5.5KG

      3. the fact that Dell rate the battery life of the aforementioned alienware laptop at 2.5 hours.

      4. AW laptop = ugly as hell

      So you can add the cost of 3 spare batteries (and their weight) to the specs if you want something you can really compare with.

      Go away troll

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Do it then

      If you can then do it. Why tell us that? Some of us like to run OSX and software only available for it. Just like some people are totally fixated with Excel and all the VBA rubbish.

      But then 8 times as fast? I doubt it. The Core I7 is the fastest Intel mobile CPU at present.

      1. Haydies

        i7 is fast when it has a Q

        I just wanted to say that people seem to miss one important aspect about this laptop. There is now Q.

        With out that Q what you get is a dual core with 4 threads. With the Q? Well, 4 cores, and 8 threads!!!

        This laptop is not fast, its not high end, and if you think it is you don't have a clue about hardware. Its not even a high end or current line of GPU. The 4XXm series are out now. So what you have here is a budget machine with low end parts and a high end price tag.

    4. koncordski

      No you can't.

      Macs are expensive but Macbook Pro's are such a well engineered product that Is genuinely a pleasure to use everyday that I would never give mine up now.

  13. BadwolfBracken

    Nice bit of kit

    I was not convinced until I got my hands on one the other day - sheesh, the form factor is amazing.

    I'm sticking with my MacBook Pro but I can see the appeal

  14. Anonymous Coward

    £ = $ :D

    Or $2,549.00 if you spec it up on the US store. Because, of course, the current exchange rate is $1.21 to the £. Oh... wait...

    1. TeraTelnet

      There's the little matter ...

      of Value Added Tax.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Right, because...

        ...they don't have local sales taxes in America, do they? They are just for socialist countries, right? Er, right? And of course what kind of manufacturer would think to rip off British people? Who ever heard of such a thing?

        Incidentally, I paid £699 for my Toshiba I7 laptop (needed for voice software-the Mac version is no good), and think this £2000 stuff is shocking-although back in 2001 that's what I paid for a titanium PowerBook.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Test scores

    It would have been better to have had the machine scored against the 15" i5 version of the MBP tested back in April which was itself tested against previous versions of the MacBook rather than Windows machines costing a third or more less.

  16. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    It doesn't just look good...

    Take one apart - truly apart, not just taking the bottom cover off - and you'll see what you really pay for. It's properly designed, and tremendously well engineered compared to the competition.

    I used to be a complete skeptic on Apple hardware, but I now work in an Apple authorised shop and get to work on a lot of Cupertinos gear and I've been genuinely pleasantly surprised.

    Similar class Dells and Sonys genuinely don't come close in terms of build quality - I've taken plenty of them apart over the years.

    How much of this is relevant to you, of course, is variable - I don't have £2k of disposable income, simple as that. And if I did, I could spend it on something more useful than a nice laptop.

    If I had a £2k budget specifically for a laptop though, a BTO MBP would be very near to the top of the list.

    Steven R

    (iMacs and Mac Minis are just as pleasingly well put together, for what it's worth)

    (NB: I'm not Apple staff or owt, and still don't think Mac OS X is all that - I'm still very much an atheist when it comes to the relevant cults of computing, but the Apple kit *is* nice)

  17. Rob Davis

    Comparing Apples with oranges @Marco Alfarrobinha 17:34 @AC 14:56

    You are comparing Apples with oranges, apologies for making that figure of speech into a pun, but it's true.

    Your comparison is purely based on internal hardware and benchmarks and not the OS, the software available or the experience of using the machine.

    It really depends on what you want to do with the machine: if, like me, you want a portable means to learn Final Cut studio, one of the leading film editing systems, then you'd get a Mac as only it can run this software. And if, like me, you wanted to learn iPhone/iPod touch development (I only forked out for a iPod touch though), again you'd need a Mac, though platform restrictions appear to becoming more relaxed here.

    However, if you want to only run Adobe software such as Premiere, or the leading After Effects (better even than Motion on the Mac, apparently) then I would say get a desktop PC for as you say much cheaper and with the saving get a companion laptop, still with some pennies left over. The Adobe license allows for 2 installs provided you are the only user, using one at a time. With this setup you get the total flexibility of building the desktop PC you want with a companion portable machine for on the move. Discussion I started about platform choice for Adobe, with some useful answers from more experienced users here:

    My thoughts are based on that I own a similarly spec'd MacBookPro but from the June model update earlier this year and with faster 7200rpm hard drive, hoping to benefit from an eSATA drive via the express card interface later on when cash allows. I also own a desktop Windows 7 PC upgraded from a cheap Celeron Vista bought from a supermarket but now has Intel 1.8Ghz Core Duo with 2Gb RAM, fanless ATI graphics, near silent main fan. Cheap as chips for these parts off ebay, I would agree and runs sweetly too, plays 1080p HD video effortlessly.

  18. Powelly

    Just taken the plunge

    After months of procrastinating I've finally taken the plunge and taken delivery this morning of exactly the same machine to use as a music laptop. I actually paid £1550 including delivery on ebay from a UK supplier and, other than coming with a US power supply and the £ key being a # key there's no discernable difference. I agree with what others have said about the learning curve when moving from a PC, but I'd expected that. Even so, I'm getting up to speed pretty quickly as it's all fairly intuitive once you learn the basics. Price wise, I think it's pretty reasonable, especially for the 500 quid off list that I've paid and, aesthetically it's streets ahead of any PC laptop I've ever used. Oh, and the multi-touch trackpad is a work of genius!

    Ironically the thing that put me off for so long was the holier than thou nature of a lot of the Mac fans. It's not the panacea that some people make out, but it is a very nice machine indeed.

    1. Weird_George
      Thumb Up

      As a Python, bash and Apache config hacker...

      ...the £ key being a # key sounds like a most excellent idea to me. Hmmm.

      1. Tom 38

        £ == # == Americanism

        I can never understand why a british programmer would even consider a crappy US keyboard layout. On a UK keyboard, '#' is its own character, right next to our full size enter key, and we have a distinct key for '\' and '|'. Clearly superior layout.

      2. Mark Rendle

        Alt-3 is the hash key


    2. Ted Treen
      Jobs Halo

      Mac fans?

      The holier than thou attitude to which you allude is generally merely a reaction to the execrable diatribes of invective aimed at them (which we can imagine is spittle-flecked) from a certain section of Windows lovers.

      And for what?

      It's usually a case of resentment that we can easily achieve things where they're having to jump through hoops and demonstrate their über-geeky superiority by battling the machine & its OS before they can successfully carry out similar actions.

      To hell with that - I just prefer to get on and do what I want to do...

  19. Bob Merkin

    Sorely disappointed

    This article had absolutely nothing to do with Bachman-Turner-Overdrive.

  20. Kevin


    Hang on a sec, you bought this laptop from your own money, then reviewed it?

    Surely your review becomes un-impartial (partial?) as you look to justify your purchase?

  21. Shades

    "Into that bargain"

    <--- No further questions, m'lud.

  22. JonHendry
    Jobs Halo

    Partitions, and Ports

    If you need to adjust the partition size, you'll probably want to use either the BootCamp tool, or I think you can boot from the OS X DVD and run Disk Utility from one of the menus. That'll let you resize partitions, but I don't recall if it handles BootCamp partitions correctly. At this point it probably does.

    Now as far as ports go, my annoyance with my 15" 2010 MBP is that when I have Firewire and USB cables plugged into it, it's hard to get the little mini-displayport connector in or out.

  23. JonHendry

    Oh, and another MBP gripe

    My 2010 15" MBP barfs if I use the Intel graphics. The screen goes to fat white and black bars across the screen, although the mouse cursor is visible. I have to keep it set to always use the NVidia GPU.

    1. stu 4


      well if it's a 2010, it must still be under warranty ? - take it into yer apple store and get it fixed ?

      1. JonHendry

        Haven't bothered yet

        I'll get to it eventually. It's annoying but not a killer.

  24. Haydies
    Jobs Horns

    Budget Hardware at Premium prices

    I just brought my GF a new laptop. It cost me £1800.

    The screen is 18.6 inch

    The processor is a i7 QUAD not a dual core like the mac book

    Its got 6 gig of DDR 3

    an Nvidia 360m

    64gig SSD

    500 Gig HDD

    In just about every aspect it has a much better spec, its high end. This mac book is not. Any one that thinks this is a high end laptop doesn't know what they are talking about.

    I think the author of the review is a fanboi or just clueless. I guess thats proven when you had to compare it to laptops over a year old, and half the price. Toshiba Qosmio X500-148 cheaper and much much better.

    Ever wonder how apple make record profits? its fools spending over £2000 on £1000 hardware.

    1. Player_16
      Thumb Up

      I just brought my GF a new laptop.

      You bought her a 'overpriced, £1800, generic' laptop. Yep, that says it all.


      You'll get some tonight!

  25. Harris Upham

    weak ethernet

    I recently bought an identically-configured 17" macbook pro. I can agree with just about everything in this article, however recent experience has caused me to notice that Apple cheaped out a bit on the ethernet port. The chipset in this model does not support jumbo frames as previous Macbooks did. Working with large media files as I do, this has a substantial impact on overall performance.

    I have taken advantage of the expresscard34 port to install an expansion box which gives me 2 expresscard slots and 2 cardbus slots among other things. I load one slot with a jumbo-capable gigabit NIC and still have another open for future expansion.

    It certainly isn't the largest or fastest laptop around, but for my money it's an excellent balance of performance, size & weight.

    My next choice would have been a Lenovo w701ds, which is double the price, double the size, and several times the weight of the Apple.... but packs quite a lot more features into a portable frame.

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