My first hours with the new MacBook Pro

Today I moved from my 2.5 y/o 15″ MacBook Pro to a brand new 15″ MacBook Pro that the FedEx guy has delivered three hours ago. The old one works fine and my wife will gladly (I think) pick it up. I had two reasons for this upgrade:

1. The old one didn’t allow more than 4GB of RAM.

2. Sometimes I need to run Windows XP using VMWare Fusion, which seems to have issues in memory management: on a 4Gb machine, if you won’t start it right after reboot, it will run extremely slow. Even if you will, it’ll become slow if you run a couple of programs in MAC OS.

This is the first time when I switch from one Apple notebook to another Apple notebook. In the past, I had only Win-Win experience and hated it. Why? Because I have soooo much software installed and configured that just the thought of doing it again on a new machine would give me goose bumps.

I opened the new MacBook and it asked me if I wanted to transfer the data from Time Machine, which is an external backup created by a utility called Time Machine. I answered, “You bet!”

In an hour, everything I had on my old machine has been transferred to the new one. Some of you may say that disk imaging exists in the Windows world too, but I “d like to remind you that I “m not a sysadmin, and in MAC OS I didn’t need to know anything to have all my software moved to another computer. The transfer didn’t touch the new OS and applications though. For example, my new computer came with the pre-installed MS Office 2011 – it was not replaced with the older one.

The only issue I had was the recovery of a VMware file with the image of Windows XP, which I run once in a while during my presentations or training. I twitted about it, and someone from VMware answered that Time Machine is a good utility for backing up documents, but not OS images. I copied/restored it manually and it worked.

Starting VMware Fusion went fast, and I opened the monitor to view the load on my 4-core 2.2Ghz CPUs. They had plenty of extra power and my Windows XP (btw, is this the last Windows version?) was working pretty fast. The mission accomplished!

It “s obvious that this machine was A LOT faster than my dual core 2.54Ghz/4GB RAM MacBook.

The sound processing is great too. I record audio podcasts and process them with Adobe SoundBooth 5. I always had an impression that this was a poorly written software. Now it’s flying. What took minutes takes seconds.

Some people were suggesting to go with the 512 SSD, but I’d need to shell out extra $1K for it. Nay. Will live with 500Gb 7200 RPM for a while. Of course, the startup time will be a little slower, but programs response time should be about the same.

The battery disappoints so far. Unplugged the power and instead of expected 7 hours the indicator states that I have 3.5 hours to go. Draining the battery to recharge it and repeat the test again. I know that if I turn off the wi-fi and dim the monitor it’ll last longer, but Apple promised up to 7 hours with the Wi-Fi on!The fact that 3.5 falls into this “up-to ” doesn’t help. Next week will test the battery on the flight to Europe.

Update: unplugging my Apple’s Cinema Display increased the juice counter to 4.5 hours.

Another feature I love is my matte monitor. I hated the glass monitor of my old MacBook, but there was no choice. Now I can’t see the reflection of my pretty face there (no kidding).To be honest with you, I was planning to purchase 13″ which is more convenient on the plane, but this model was not powerful enough.

On Monday, I’ll give it a run for its money – I ‘m starting teaching an online Java class (19 people total). The players are: Acrobat Connect for screen sharing, Skype for Audio, VMWare Fusion to demo stuff on Windows, Firefox, Eclipse IDE, and JVM. In the past, I had to run Skype on a separate computer, but 4 cores and 8Gb of RAM should make a difference.

What else can I say? Long live Steve Jobs!


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