Apple MacBook Pro Spring 2010 review: Apple MacBook Pro Spring 2010

The GeForce 330M (available in 256MB and 512MB versions) is not a hard-core gaming powerhouse, but it should be capable of playing just about any current PC game--although you may have to dial down the detail levels or resolution for optimal frame rates. It's the seamless switching between GPUs that interests us more, as it lets you take advantage of the discrete graphics for HD video and gaming, but won't run down the battery when not in use. In the Mac version of Call of Duty 4 we got 34.5 frames per second at 1,440x900-pixel resolution, with 4XAA and other high-end graphics options turned on, and 59 frames per second at the same resolution, but medium in-game graphics settings.

You're likely to get a much bigger performance boost from the 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 CPU (or even the lower-end 2.4GHz Core i5 version). We've generally found these new Intel chips, which started turning up in systems around January, to be faster and provide better battery life than their older Core 2 Duo counterparts. Our Core i7 MacBook Pro blew past previous MacBooks, as well as other Core i5 and Core i7 systems in our multitasking benchmark test. In single-app tests, such as Photoshop and iTunes, Alienware's Core i7 M15x was neck-and-neck.

In anecdotal use, the system certainly felt extremely fast and responsive--although you'd probably need a heavy workload to really feel the difference between last year's version and this one. The Core i5 versions are probably more than adequate for most users.

Juice box
Apple MacBook Pro - Spring 2010 Average watts per hour
Off (60%) 0.43
Sleep (10%) 1.53
Idle (25%) 17.09
Load (05%) 63.39
Raw kWh Number 68.79
Annual power consumption cost $7.81

Annual power consumption cost

The batteries in the entire 13-to-17-inch MacBook laptop lineup are currently nonremovable, but Apple claims the new Intel architecture (and some modest changes to the battery itself) will lead to improved battery life. Last year's 15-inch MacBook Pro ran for 5 hours and 5 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. This time around, we got just shy of 6 hours (5 hours and 56 minutes), which doesn't seem like a lot more, but keep in mind we're running a very powerful processor, and this score draws other high-end 15-inch laptops.

Apple has an above-average reputation for support, thanks in part to its collection of retail stores (as long as you live in a market served by one). MacBooks continue to include a standard, one-year, parts and labor warranty, but come with only 90 days of toll-free telephone support, which always strikes us as odd. This, along with the proprietary nature of Apple's products, makes purchasing an extended Apple Care warranty almost a necessity, at $349 for three total years of coverage.

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)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Apple MacBook Pro - Spring 2010 - Core i7 M620 15.4 inch - 2.66GHz
OS X 10.6.2 Snow Leopard; Intel Core i7 M620 2.66GHz; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce GT 330M + 256MB Intel GMA HD; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Alienware m15x
Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-920XM; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

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

Dell Inspiron 1564
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M520; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330; 320GB Western Digital 5400rpm

Apple MacBook- Fall 2009 - Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
OS X 10.6.1 Snow Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

    • Release date 12 Apr 2010
    • Installed Size 4 GB
    • Weight 5.5 lbs
    • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) - fixed
    • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M / Intel HD Graphics - 512 MB GDDR3 SDRAM
    • CPU Intel Core i7 2.66 GHz
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