Apple MacBook Pro Fall 2011 review: Apple MacBook Pro Fall 2011

The AMD Radeon HD 6750M in our review unit is a solid GPU, and a nice jump over the Radeon 6490M previously offered with the $1,799 15-inch Pro. As with the previous few generations of MacBook Pros, the discrete graphics swap out with the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics as needed, saving battery life as you go.

Mac gaming, no matter what anyone says, is still a pretty fallow field, with many big games still only available for Windows systems. In our older Modern Warfare Mac gaming benchmark, we got 41.3 frames per second at 1,440x900 pixels, which was not quite as good as the 51.8 frames per second we got with the high-end $2,199 version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro earlier this year, which also had a 6750M card.

MacBooks are also known for offering long battery life, even in larger systems such as the 15-inch Pro. In this case, the system ran for 6 hours and 54 minutes in our video playback battery drain test, essentially the same result as the previous version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro we tested, which ran for 7 hours and 5 minutes. In comparison, Dell's XPS 15z, clearly aimed at the same audience, ran for only 3 hours and 30 minutes in the same test.

Service and support from Apple has always been a mixed bag. Apple includes a one-year parts-and-labor warranty, but only 90 days of telephone support. Upgrading to a full three-year plan under AppleCare will cost an extra $349 and is pretty much a must-buy, considering the proprietary nature of Apple products and their sealed bodies. Support is also accessible through a well-stocked online knowledge base, video tutorials, and e-mail with customer service, or through in-person visits to Apple's retail store Genius Bars, which, in our experience, have always been fairly frustration-free encounters.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

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

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Annual power consumption cost
Dell XPS 15z
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Fall 2011)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Fall 2011)
OS X 10.7.2 Lion; 2.2GHz Intel Core i7; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6750M / 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 500GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch (Summer 2011)
OS X 10.7 Lion; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 128GB Apple SSD

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Winter 2011)
OS X 10.6.6 Snow Leopard; Intel Core i7 2.2GHz; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6750M / 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Alienware M14x
Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-2820M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M + 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; 720GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Dell XPS 15z
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 525M / 64MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Apple MacBook Pro Fall 2011 (2.4GHz Core i7, 15-inch)

Part Number: MD322LL/A Released: Oct 24, 2011

MSRP: $2,199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 24, 2011
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • CPU Intel Core i7 2.4 GHz
  • Resolution 1440 x 900 ( WXGA+ )
  • Weight 5.5 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) - fixed
  • Graphics Processor AMD Radeon HD 6770M / Intel HD Graphics 3000 - 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM
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