Apple MacBook Pro (15.4-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo)

If you've been holding off on making the leap to a MacBook because of the lack of Core 2 Duo processors, this new update adds the latest Intel CPUs and provides a great overall computing experience, albeit at a premium price.

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The MacBook Pro was introduced earlier this year with Intel's Core Duo processor, and now Apple's high-end laptop gets a boost to Intel's latest-and-greatest processor, the Core 2 Duo. Other than the updated CPU, the rest of the MacBook Pro remains largely the same, with appreciated bumps to the memory and the hard drive. There are two 15-inch versions that use either a 2.16GHz or a 2.33GHz CPU, as well as a 17-inch version with the 2.33GHz chip. Apple supplied us with the 2.33GHz 15-inch model, which has a base price of $3,999. Our review unit features memory and hard drive upgrades, which bring the price to $5,089. While the performance gains aren't game-changing, anyone who recently purchased a Core Duo MacBook Pro is doubtlessly gnashing their teeth right now, but this move to Core 2 Duo removes one of the last objections some buyers felt about plunking down for a Mac laptop.

The sleek, aluminum MacBook Pro is the same size and shape as its predecessor, and it clearly stands out from the white plastic look of iPods, iMacs, MacBooks, and other more consumer-oriented Apple products. The MacBook Pro feels lighter than the aluminum casing makes it look, but at 2.54 kg (2.9 kilos with the AC adaptor), it's at the upper end of the weight scale for a laptop you'd want to carry around every day. The dimensions remain as slim as the previous model's, at 35.7 cm wide by 24.3 cm deep by 2.59 cm thick.

Apple's minimalist school of design is well represented in the MacBook Pro. Opening the lid, you'll find only a power button, a full-size keyboard, stereo speakers, a sizable touch pad with a single mouse button, and a built-in iSight camera that sits above the display. We're still big fans of the keyboard's backlighting feature and the two-finger touch pad scroll (run two fingers down the touch pad and it scrolls like a mouse wheel).

The MacBook Pro supplies you with two USB 2.0 ports, both FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 ports (previous models had only FireWire 400), and a slot-loading SuperDrive DVD burner. You won't find a media card reader, however, which has become an almost ubiquitous feature on Windows laptops. The Airport Extreme 802.11a/b/g wireless card and the built-in Bluetooth keep you connected.

The 15.4-inch display has a native resolution of 1,440x900, which isn't the highest resolution we've seen in a laptop of this size, but if offers a nice balance of screen real estate and readability, especially when reading Web-based text. Video output is offered via a DVI port on the side, and a DVI-to-VGA cable is included in the box.

Compared to the 15-inch Core Duo MacBook Pro, which had a 60GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM, the new model brings important upgrades in addition to the Core 2 Duo processor, starting with 2GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive. Our system was upgraded to 3GB of RAM, instead of the default 2GB -- a $930 option -- and it had a larger 160GB hard drive, which added another $160 to the price.

Apple has touted performance boosts of up to 39 percent over the Core Duo MacBook Pro models. We ran several applications on the new Core 2 Duo version and found a notable boost in performance. In iTunes, the Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro was 32 percent faster than a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro. It was also significantly faster than a comparable Core 2 Duo Windows laptop, the HP Pavilion dv6000t, in iTunes -- although we should note that iTunes was built by Apple and we'd expect it run better on Apple hardware. We are currently testing Photoshop CS2 and will update this review with those numbers as soon as we have them.

Gaming is not always the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Macs, much less Mac laptops, but we were able to get a very playable frame rate of 42fps in Quake 4, thanks to the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 GPU, which was also found in Core Duo MacBook Pros.

With Boot Camp, the utility that allows users to run a partitioned installation of Windows XP on their Intel Macs, many popular PC games can be played on this hardware. We plan on conducting further tests with both Mac applications and Windows applications under Boot Camp and will report the results in an update to this review. We will also update this review with battery life test results as soon as they are available.

For Apple devotees, it's the little things that make the difference, and the MacBook Pro has a handful of extras that help it stand out amid a fairly generic field of competitors. The MacBook's AC adaptor connects magnetically to the laptop, so if you accidentally trip over the cord, it will simply detach instead of sending the entire thing crashing to the floor. And you additionally get Apple's Front Row remote. This tiny remote is the same as the one that comes with the iMac, and it controls Apple's Front Row software for playing back movies, music, and photos from a 10-foot interface.

Also included is Apple's much-loved suite of proprietary software, iLife '06, which includes intuitive tools for building Web sites, creating DVDs, composing music, and working with photos.

The default warranty for the MacBook Pro is one year of coverage for parts and labour, but toll-free telephone support is limited to a mere 90 days -- well short of what you'd typically find on the PC side -- unless you purchase the $579 AppleCare Protection Plan, which extends phone support and repair coverage to three years.

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds

3D gaming performance (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Quake 4 1,024x768, 4xAA 8xAF

CineBench 9.5: 3D rendering test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Single CPU
Rendering Multiple CPUs

Find out more about how we test Windows laptops.

System configurations:

Apple MacBook Pro (15.4-inch 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo)
OS X 10.4.8; Core 2 Duo 2.3GHz; 3GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x1600 256MB; 160GB Hitachi HTS541616J9SA00 5,400rpm

Apple MacBook Pro (15.4-inch 2.0GHz Core Duo)
OS X 10.4; Intel Core Duo 2GHz; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x1600 256MB; 100GB Toshiba MK1032GSX 5,400rpm

Apple Mac Pro
OS X 10.4.7; 2x 2.66GHz Intel Xeon 5150; 1GB DDR2 FB-SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

HP Pavilion dv6000t
Windows XP Professional; Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 2.16GHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 256MB; 100GB Fujitsu MHV2100BH 5,400rpm

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Lil Larisa

Lil Larisa posted a review   

The Good:Sleek, stylish, very fast, amazing screen resoloution, great one touch mouse and well preety much everything bout it!

The Bad:hmm I don`t know probably a bit expensive but still I think it`s around the right price for something as perfect as this!

It it GREAT by far the greatest laptop I have ever seen/used WOW JUST AMAZING!!! :) :) :)


ricoanna posted a comment   

The Good:As perfect as any choice

The Bad:Overpriced, less extras

To those who comment that this is perfect, any latop is perfect as long as it is exactly what you need it for and does exactly all that you require it to do. To those who havent experienced both worlds of a Mac and non Mac notebook, This will seem perfect. If you only use it for internet and iTunes, this is perfect. if you require Video and Audio editing, this is perfect. But NOT in every way just like any notebook. Each one has it's specifics and targets.

have you ever seen offices using macbooks or mac systems..I don't think so. Vice-Versa as you will not see windows systems used by Creative Designers and Photographers.


ricoanna posted a comment   

The Good:Stylish and sleek design that oozes modern machismo!

The Bad:The price..You can get more bang for your buck!

I will try and explain this as simply as I can. Macbooks are for those people who are in the Graphic Design, Photography, Creative Design field as it has the best functionalities and programs for multimedia as well as graphic capabilites. Home use-wise this will not pose as a problem. HP's and other Windows based laptops are for work/office people. the great thing about a non-Mac laptop like HP is that it is inbuilt with an HDMI input which makes viewing 720p or 1080p/i images on any Plasam or LCD or LED TV a delight! macbooks do not have this input. Also, the Macbook needs more than a couple of USB ports. This will be advantageous. Then we come to the fact that this laptop is simply overpriced. For the amount you pay for the Macbook you could easily get an extra 1.74 GB Ram , More Hard Drive space and even spend the extra on a 2 or 1 TB station and a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Printer. I know I have.


Tarsip posted a review   

The glossy screen is the "vista" of a mac...The Mac team need to quickly provide a non-glare/reflective cover or the apple will lose its shine...


__chris posted a review   

The Good:Sleek design.
Fast processing.
Easy to use.

The Bad:It could use another one or two USB ports.
Messenger:Mac needs to have the webcam feature enabled, but thats a software problem, not hardware.

It is such a perfect machine.
It does everything I need it to do.
I recommend it to anyone.


azul posted a review   

i love this and the macbook.I dont know which one to get.



nicko posted a review   

The Good:Run multiple operating systems. I am running OS X, Windows XP, & Fedora Core 5 Linux. Fast, powerful, great build quality, beautiful screen, lots of good applications included, and the list goes on.

The Bad:People have said expensive, but I think a computer this good has to be.

The best laptop there is.


laurence posted a review   

Really is very good...just upgrade from 2.16 CD 17" to a 2.33 C2D 15.4"...awesome!


ipsyd posted a review   

The Good:Mac OSX and included software suite - in fact, just about everything.

The Bad:Nitpicking here, but the screen doesn't tilt back quite enough for my taste - misses by about 1cm.

Fabulous machine - stylish, sleek, powerful, and the OS can't be beat. The little things like 2-finger scrolling (inc. diagonal & horizontal!), and the baclit keyboard are just the icing on the cake. Apple has done it again.


EMMANUELA posted a review   

The Good:SO GOOD

The Bad:10$

i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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User Reviews / Comments  Apple MacBook Pro (15.4-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo)

  • Lil Larisa

    Lil Larisa


    "It it GREAT by far the greatest laptop I have ever seen/used WOW JUST AMAZING!!! :) :) :)"

  • ricoanna


    "To those who comment that this is perfect, any latop is perfect as long as it is exactly what you need it for and does exactly all that you require it to do. To those who havent experienced both wo..."

  • ricoanna


    "I will try and explain this as simply as I can. Macbooks are for those people who are in the Graphic Design, Photography, Creative Design field as it has the best functionalities and programs for m..."

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