Apple MacBook Pro Summer 2009 review: Apple MacBook Pro Summer 2009

The 13-inch MacBook Pro performed as expected in our benchmark tests, with the 2.26GHz GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU roughly on par with the 2.4GHz processor in the late-2008 version of the 13-inch MacBook. Trading up to the faster 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo available in the 15-inch MacBook Pro yields a marked improvement on paper, but for most anecdotal use--Web surfing, working on office documents, multimedia playback--any of the current MacBooks will be more than adequate. An even faster 3.08GHz CPU is available on the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but the 13-inch model tops out at 2.53GHz.

We found the same Nvidia GeForce 9400 graphics as last time--a GPU that redefined the meaning of integrated graphics. The previous 13-inch MacBook gave us almost 60 frames per second in Quake IV (admittedly not the most hardware-intensive game) at 1,024x768-pixel resolution. Only the 15- and 17-inch versions offer the second, discrete GeForce 9600 GPU. But being able to play new games, even at lower resolutions, on this system is a major plus for nonhardcore gamers.

The new battery in the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros is nonremovable, but Apple claims the system can last up to 7 hours while surfing the Web, and about half that for DVD playback. To assuage concerns about the sealed battery, according to Apple, the new models are good for at least 1,000 full recharge cycles--which it estimate to be about five years of use. We were able to run the system for 5 hours and 42 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, which is about 40 minutes longer than the current 15-inch MacBook and more than an hour longer than the basic white MacBook--the only model Apple still offers with the older removable battery.

Unfortunately, we haven't seen any changes to the basics of Apple's warranty and support plans. New MacBooks still include a standard one-year, parts-and-labor warranty, but only 90 days of toll-free telephone support. This, along with the proprietary nature of Apple's products, makes purchasing an extended Apple Care warranty almost a necessity, but a necessity that will cost $249 for three total years of coverage for 13-inch systems and $349 for 15- and 17-inch models.

Juice box
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch  
Off (watts) 0.5043
Sleep (watts) 0.6349
Idle (watts) 6.5
Load (watts) 40.1
Raw (annual kWh) 35.01
EnergyStar compliant Yes
Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $3.97

Multimedia Multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT)
390 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
396 
Apple MacBook - 2008 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.4GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
431 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
472 
Apple MacBook - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.13GHz
506 
Dell Adamo
1,864 

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT)
116 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
120 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
137 
Apple MacBook - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.13GHz
145 
Apple MacBook - 2008 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.4GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
146 
Dell Adamo
345 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
135 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT)
135 
Apple MacBook - 2008 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.4GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
158 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
165 
Apple MacBook - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.13GHz
178 
Dell Adamo
357 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
342 
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT)
305 
Apple MacBook - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.13GHz
253 
Apple MacBook - 2008 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.4GHz (Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
243 
Dell Adamo
156 

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:
Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
OS X 10.5.7 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Apple MacBook Pro - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 15.4 inch - 2.8GHz
OS X 10.5.7 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M / 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm Apple MacBook - 2008 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.4GHz OS X 10.5.5 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Dell Adamo
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9300; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 779MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 128GB Samsung SSD

Apple MacBook - Summer 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.13GHz
OS X 10.5.7 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13GHz; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun. 10, 2009
  • Installed Size 4096 MB
  • CPU Intel Core 2 Duo 2.53 GHz
  • Weight 5.5 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) - fixed
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce 9400M