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Review update Apple MacBook Pro 17 Early 2011 (2.3 GHz quad-core, matte)

Klaus Hinum (translated by B Schulisch), 05/13/2011

Top model. In our review update we have dedicated ourselves to the powerful 2.3 GHz version of the 17 inch MacBook Pro. Above all the optionally attainable matte display is at the center of the following review.

MBP17 2011 matte - Aluminum frame without reflections

The following article is a review update for the comprehensive review of the 2.2 GHz MacBook Pro 17 Early 2011 basic notebook. Due to this the primary areas of focus are the matte 17" display, and the powerful processor. All the other descriptions and ratings can be found in the review of the basic model, since the case, cooling system, input devices, and interfaces are identical.

Display

The optionally attainable matte display officially offers the same specifications as the reflective version covered with a glass sheet. With 1920x1200 pixels the resolution is relatively fine, and still provides the meanwhile almost extinct 16:10 format. A brightness sensor integrated into the notebook controls the keyboard illumination, as well as the intensity of the LED backlight. As usual for Apple, the full brightness is also available when the notebook is battery powered.

According to our measurements the matte version of the display provides slightly more brightness (maximum and average). The black level also rises slightly, whereby the maximum contrast remains at a good 600:1. The illumination is clearly worse though, with 73% compared to 87%.

314
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
260
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
325
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 341 cd/m²
Average: 296.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 73 %
Center on Battery: 309 cd/m²
Black: 0.51 cd/m²
Contrast: 606:1

Due to the high maximum brightness and the non-reflective display surface, the MacBook Pro 17 is very well suited for outdoor use. Although under direct sunlight only transreflective displays are usable without restrictions, use without the sun shining directly at the display is definitely still very satisfactory.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use

The viewing angle area is good compared to other TN displays. IPS displays, such as those used in the HP Dreamcolor notebooks, in the iPad, or in good desktop monitors, are still noticeably better though.

Viewing angles Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch 2011-02 MC725D/A 2.3GHz anti-glare
Viewing angles Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch 2011-02 MC725D/A 2.3GHz anti-glare

The color space of the matte display is comparable with the reflective version in our review. Thus the anti-glare display also exceeds the sRGB color space to a small extent. The color space of the Dell XPS 17 with full-HD display is also similar. For the best possible color representation we recommend the calibration with a colorimeter.

Performance

In the synthetic benchmarks the faster processor is able to prove its processing power. The multi-thread benchmarks showed that the 2320QM is about 2-3% faster (Cinebench R10 and R11). While the single-core tests showed an advantage of up to 11%. This is also the case with the Geekbench total score. The processor thus definitely provides for good performance improvements.

Benchmarks Mac OS X 10.6 MBP 17 2.2 GHz MBP 17 2.3 GHz
Cinebench R10 single-core 4254 4735 (+11%)
Cinebench R10 multi-core 15469 15878 (+3%)
Cinebench R10 OpenGL 7542 8314 (+10%)
Cinebench R11.5 CPU 5.45 5.56 (+2%)
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 35.52 36.71 (+3%)
Geekbench 9342 10412 (+11%)
Geekbench
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R11.5

The picture looks a little different when it comes to the XBench 1.3 system benchmark though (also using Mac OS X). In this case the faster CPU wasn't able to make a significant difference. The average results are practically the same as those with the slower 2.2 GHz version.

XBench 1.3 - 5 iterations with the 2.3 GHz version (in black) compared to the results with the slower MBP models.
XBench 1.3 - 5 iterations with the 2.3 GHz version (in black) compared to the results with the slower MBP models.

Verdict

With an entry price of 2799 Euros, the version tested by us is definitely not a bargain. The 250 Euros additional cost for the faster processor will only be worth it for very few users. 3-11% improved performance was determined by us using the synthetic benchmarks. Also the graphics performance of the integrated Intel graphics is improved by the larger cache memory. In XBench the improvement in performance is dulled by the more general score of the benchmark. The performance advantage is therefore only noticeable in rare cases.

The 50 Euros for the anti-glare version of the display can be recommended for all users. This allows for tireless use in bright surroundings, and also the use outdoors is noticeably more pleasant. Thanks to the weight of 2.9 kilograms, and the flat shape of the case, the mobile use of the DTR notebook is definitely possible. The display rating remains more or less the same, since the device tested by us showed a noticeably reduced illumination compared to the device we tested with a reflective display.

Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch 2011-02 MC725D/A 2.3GHz Non Glare

Specifications

Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch 2011-02 MC725D/A 2.3GHz Non Glare
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon HD 6750M - 1 GB MB, Core: 600 MHz, Memory: 794 MHz, + Intel HD Graphics 3000, atiumdag8.812.0.0 Win7/64
Memory
4096 MB 
, 2x 2GB DDR3 1333 Mhz, 2 slots, max. 8GB
Display
17.3 inch 16:10, 1920x1200 pixel, LTN170CT10, via sRGB, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM65
Harddisk
Toshiba MK7559GSXF, 750 GB 
5400 rpm
Soundcard
Intel Cougar Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 3 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Microphone, headphones, Thunderbolt
Networking
Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000MBit), Broadcom 802.11n (a b g n ), Broadcom 2.1+EDR Bluetooth
Optical drive
Matshita DVD-R UJ-898
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25 x 393 x 267 ( = 0.98 x 15.47 x 10.51 in)
Weight
2.9 kg ( = 102.29 oz) Power Supply: 317 g ( = 11.18 oz)
Battery
95 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Price
2499 Euro
Operating System
Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
Additional features
Webcam: Face Time HD, Microfiber cloth, iLife, 12 Months Warranty

 

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Pro

+Simplistic design
+Very stable case
+Trackpad
+Keyboard quality, keyboard illumination
+Display: matte, bright, high contrast, sRGB
+Processing power
+Graphics power
+Battery life with Mac OS
+System noise with a low load
+Relatively good mobility
 

Cons

-Throttles at maximum load (AC adapter too small)
-High CPU temperatures with a high load
-Loud system noise with a high load
-No return key
-No Intel graphics with Windows... ...causing shorter battery life
-No Docking port, no USB 3.0 port, and no Blu-Ray available
-Integrated battery
-Very expensive
-Only 12 months warranty
-High price for BTO components

Ratings

Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch 2011-02 MC725D/A 2.3GHz Non Glare
05/10/2011 v2
Klaus Hinum

Chassis
98%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
98%
Connectivity
71%
Weight
75%
Battery
87%
Display
85%
Games Performance
90%
Application Performance
91%
Temperature
84%
Noise
86%
Add Points
90%
Average
87%
87%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review update Apple MacBook Pro 17 Early 2011 (2.3 GHz quad-core, matte)
Author: Klaus Hinum, 2011-05-13 (Update: 2013-06- 6)