Review Apple MacBook Pro 17"

The 17" desktop replacement of Apple can also be classified as a multimedia notebook, because of its 3.1 kg and only 2.59 cm height. Optically it convinces like its 15" brother. Whether also the technical measured values of this racer equipped with Intel dual core processor convince, you can read in our detailed review.


Compared to that 17 inch Powerbook (predecessor) iSight camera in the display cover and the infrared-receiver for the remote maintenance are new. Modem and S-video connections miss at the new model. In addition the PC Card-slot was replaced by a new Express-Card/34 module. The workmanship is protruding like already with the 15" MacBook Pro. Only a somewhat wobbly display cover (in closed condition) and not equal key distances can be criticized. In addition our test sample had (in contrast to tested 15 "MacBook Pro) very easy-moving display hinges.

The interior life is nearly identical compared to the 15 inch MacBook Pro. Only the DVD drive assembly, owing to the larger design is a faster double-layer burner and there exists an additional Firewire 800 connection. The video card is the same fast X1600, however in the MacBook Pro 17"clearly faster clocked. So the MacBook Pro draws even with the Windows competitors according preformance.

The lack of an infrared port is to be criticized. The existing one is unidiretional and only appropriate for the remote maintenance). WLAN in the standard b and g and Bluetooth 2.0 allow the connection of most wireless devices.

interfaces at the left side
interfaces at the right side

Input Devices

As with the 15 inch MacBook Pro the keyboard is already excellent. It seems, that the same keyboard is implemented, since unfortunately the full width of the chassis is not used. Nevertheless all keys are of standard size and the layout is habitual for Mac - users (on the other hand Windows-users need to habituate). The typing is quiet and soft, the pressure point clearly perceptible. An unequal distance between keys, which was noticed by a forum user, exists also with this keyboard, but it does not prevent working with this great keyboard. Unfortunately yet many keys do not function in Windows (see chapter Bootcamp). Therefore the connection of an external USB keyboard is recommended.

The trackpad with widescreen format can be handled pleasantly and reacts precisely and sensitive to inputs. The single touchpad key juts a little bit out of the chassis and can be used without problems. The scrolling function of the touchpad works well and is a useful feature (regrettably not available in Windows).

Tip: In order to be able to accomplish a right mouse-click fast, it is possible to keep 2 fingers on the touchpad and press the mouse key. However first this must be adjusted in the system settings in the menu "keyboard & mouse" - "trackpad" - ". Set two fingers on the trackpad and press the trackpad key to make a secondary click.

Further an infrared remote maintenance "Apple Remote" is added to the MacBook, with which FrontRow can be attended. It functioned perfectly and is expecially useful with presentations.

touchpad (trackpad)


The display of our test sample is coated for antireflection and got a pleasent resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels. It leaves a very good impression. A pleasant resolution and good brightness values (max 226.5 cd/m²) characterize this widescreen display with the format 16:10. Illuminating is scarcely below average with 78%, however this is hardly noticeable with using. For players the switching time of somewhat over 25ms is probably too high (we did not notice streaks). A small disadvantage was noticeable for us: one-colored surfaces show the colour in Windows not completely pure but somewhat granular. Interestingly this fault exists only in Windows and not in MacOS X.

Tip: The MacBook Pro can be ordered with reflecting display, too. The colors (in particular black) thereby seem to be more brilliant. However the reflections are arduous during a usage in bright environments.

Distribution of brightness
Maximum: 226.5 cd/m² Average: 204.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 78 %
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
colour diagram

The diagram of the color representation shows a lowered blue curve, which means a rather warm representation on the screen. 3 overlaying lines bent in 45° would be ideal (from 0,0,0 to 255.255.255).

stability of viewing angles


The performance of the notebook, which is equipped with Intel Core Duo and ATI Radeon X1600 convinced us in the test. In the PCMark05 the laptop achieved outstanding values and thereby also is suitable for fastidious applications. Also the game-performance was good in Windows, according to the good hardware. In another review the editor describes the downclocking of the processor during DVD decoding because of overheating. We did not get that appropriate experience - all benchmarks went through well and did not result in the expected values (we did not test DVD decoding, because of a lack of time).

Also in Mac OS X the notebook presented itself souvereignly and processed new programs fast, which are available as universal Binary. Old applications, which are still available in PowerPC code (like Photoshop CS 2) run automatically in the Rosetta emulation. However this leads to a noticeable speed reduction. Nevertheless the programs remain well usable. More about that in our 15" MacBook Pro review.

Testbericht Apple MacBook Pro - Intel im Mac

CINEBENCH 9.5 (MacBook Pro 15" values beneath)rendering (single   CPU): 329 CB-CPU  (305)rendering (multiple CPU): 628 CB-CPU  (562)shading (CINEMA 4D): 379 CB-GFX  (347)shading (OpenGL software lighting): 1473 CB-GFX  (779)shading (OpenGL hardware lighting): 2834 CB-GFX (1376)

Xbench 1.2 (MacBook Pro 15" values beneath)
results    52.04    (60.71)
CPU test    75,64    (70.30)
memory test    124,57    (102.48)
Quartz graphics test    56,89    (52.08)
OpenGL Graphics Test    156.70    (133.57)
user interface test    18.74    (28.62)
disk test    32.07    (40.71)

benchmark comparison
benchmark comparison 3DMark06
benchmark comparison PCMark05
3DMark 2001SE Standard
15147 points
3DMark 03 Standard
6736 points
3DMark 05 Standard
3894 points
3DMark 06
1810 points
PCMark 04 Standard
6390 points
PCMark 05 Standard
3971 points
120 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 20.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 40 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 32.1 MB/s
Access Time: 16.9 ms
Burst Rate: 90.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.7 %


The fan of the MacBook Pro does not work up before full load and therefore makes the notebook nearly inaudible with measured 32,1 dB (without load). Under full load the fan starts slowly to work, whereby it discharges a turbine-like rather quiet noise (max 40dB).

In another test the editor determined a whining noise, which we detected with our 15"test equipment, too. However, our 17" test sample did not exhibit these noises.

In the MacBook Pro 17" larger and thus also better loudspeakers implemented than in the 15" MacBook Pro. They sound clean, but do not play particularly loud.

Probably the heat emissions are the most severe disadvantage of the light-weight laptop. 53°C at the bottom under full load probably speak for itself. At least the hands remain pleasantly cool with max 35°C or 32°C.


top   bottom
42 °C 42 °C 38 °C   48 °C 53 °C 50 °C
40 °C 40 °C 38 °C   40 °C 51 °C 41 °C
35 °C 32 °C 32 °C   32 °C 45 °C 35 °C
heat distribution

Battery Runtime

The desktop replacement notebook possesses a larger battery than the smaller 15 inch MacBook Pro and thereby works longer without AC power supply. It was interesting that the laptop worked shorter with Windows.

With MacOS X it operated 253 minutes (4h 13 minutes) without load. In Windows it worked only scarcely 3h (probable because of the continuously running WLAN and Bluetooth).

Under full load the mobile computer reached only 1h 01 min in Windows - rather below average.

Current Consumption

off: 0.7 Watts
standby: 1.2 Watts
idle (display off): 12,1 Watts
idle (min. brightness): 18.0 Watts (in Windows 24.5 Watts)
idle (max. brightness): 26 Watts (in Windows 31.4 Watts)
DVD (max. brightness): 34 Watts
full load (max. brightness): 60 - 66 Watts
WLAN needs about 3 Watts
Bluetooth needs about 0-2 Watts

Windows with Bootcamp

MacOS X pleases - if no software is needed, which does not exist in MacOS. In that case there is no reason for a transfer to Windows. Naturally it requires a certain habituation time for MacOS-newbees. But since the Apple transferred to Intel processors , there is the possibility to install Windows on the MacBooks Pro. For that solution a program called Bootcamp is needed. By means of this tool you can create comfortably driver CDs and a suitable partition for Windows XP. In the test this functioned simply and without complications. Unfortunately yet the driver support is not complete and the important components keyboard and trackpad are supported rudimentarily (WLAN-, Bluetooth, display brightness short keys, scrolling function of the touchpads do not work). Also for the camera and the keyboard lighting drivers do not exist up to now, whereby both do not function in Windows.


Apple MacBook 13"

Double heart and double brain - 2 processors and also the possibility of 2 of different operating systems convince with the MacBook pro 17 inch. The outstanding workmanship, the good battery runtime in MacOS X and the competitionless small weight for 17 inch notebook even allow a mobile usage. The disadvantage is a large heat development, like already with 15 the inch notebook.

According the performance the flat 17 inch racer exceeds the 15 inch notebook somewhat and does not show any performance weaknesses.

Owing to Bootcamp now also the infinite widths of the Windows software are opened for Mac users. However, up to the final version there are still restrictions left.

Tested: Apple MacBook Pro 17"



Apple MacBook Pro 17"
Graphics adapter
1024 MB 
, DDR2, PC2 5300, max. 2048MB, 1x1024 MB (Testgerät hatte 2048 MB)
17 inch 16:10, 1680x1050 pixel, optional mit Hochglanzanzeige (spiegelnd), glossy: no
120 GB - 5400 rpm, 120 GB 
, 5400 rpm, Seagate Momentus 5400.2 ST96812AS: 120GB, 5400rpm
Ein FireWire 400 Anschluss mit bis zu 400 MBit/Sek, Ein FireWire 800 Anschluss mit bis zu 800 MBit/Sek, Drei 480 MBit/Sek. USB 2.0 Anschlüsse, ExpressCard/34 Steckplatz, optisch / digitaler Soundein- und Soundausgang
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.9 x 392 x 26 ( = 1.02 x 15.43 x 1.02 in)
, 68 Wattstunden Lithium-Polymer-Batterie mit integrierter LED-Ladeanzeige
Additional features
Intel 945GME, HDD: 120GB, 5400rpm, Seagate Momentus 5400.2 ST96812AS, integrierte Intel Soundkarte, 8x SuperDrive Laufwerk (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) mit Einzug,
3.1 kg ( = 109.35 oz / 6.83 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
2799 Euro


The Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch
The battery runtime is very good with MacOS X...
The fans remain silent and only blow out air at the backside of the case.
The input devices are - typical for Mac - very good.
Also Windows runs on the new Apple notebooks and not bad.
Only the memory is accessable for changes easily.
The display convinces by good viewing angles and brightness.
iSight is the integrated webcam of Apple.
In contrast to the 15" model a Double Layer burner is available.
The interface equipment is quite good, but a lot misses (modem, S-video).
is the performance very well.
Because of Intel Core Duo and ATI X1600 ...
and slim height.
light weight...
convinces with a nice design, ...
and the battery got an LED integrated.


  • design
  • workmanship
  • low noises
  • good input devices
  • optimized for MacOS X
  • Contra

  • high temperatures
  • mediocre Windows suppor (yet)
  • high price
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    Apple MacBook Pro 17" - 08/31/2007
    Klaus Hinum

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    > Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch
    Klaus Hinum, 2006-08- 3 (Update: 2013-05- 8)