The best computer ever

posted by Jeff | Monday, June 11, 2012, 9:10 PM | comments: 0

About three years and three months ago, I bought a 17" MacBook Pro, and it turned out to be the best computer I've ever owned.

You might think that every computer with better specs is automatically better than the last, but that hasn't been my experience. My first one was a Sony, back in the Pentium III days, and it cost an astonishing $2,500. That was even more ridiculous in 1999 dollars. It had a dial-up modem, and a CD-ROM, built-in! It may have even played DVD's.

A few years later I bought an HP, and it ended up being a pile of shit. The power connector inside came loose from the board, and on occasion would even short. In 2005, I bought a Dell, and it wasn't bad. It had a really high resolution screen (complete with dead pixels, a problem in those days), and it was the first laptop I felt I could do real work on.

When 2006 rolled around, Apple started making computers with Intel CPU's, and I bought the very first one the week it came out. I used Boot Camp to run Windows. I still have it in its box somewhere, and I used it for three years. The current 17" was new in 2009.

The goodness was largely rooted in having a big screen with lots of dots. This computer has been the source of hundreds of blog posts, tens of thousands of lines of code, video and photo editing, and of course, a whole lot of Web surfing. It connected to corpnet at Microsoft, WiFi in Hawaii and has presented many a deck. It has traveled with me tens of thousands of miles.

Last year, I put a solid state drive in it, and it was like getting a new computer. I can boot up a Windows 7 VM in about 19 seconds. Having 8 gigs of RAM has always been fantastic. Everything about it has been fast and fun. When new, the battery (when not using VM's) could get as much as 10 hours. I can still do 7 without much trouble. After 460 charge cycles, the battery health is still between 85 and 90%.

The only real negative has been the size and weight. It's only an inch thick, but naturally it's pretty big with a 17" screen. You don't get battery life like that without a huge battery, either, so it's heavy. It was never a deal breaker, but sometimes a long haul across a large airport, you know you're carrying it.

Today, Apple announced a new, thinner and lighter 15" laptop, with twice the RAM and CPU cores, and four times the screen resolution. It basically handles my size and weight issues while retaining the resolution, and it still costs less than my 17" did. So I ordered one. Three years is an excellent run, but I kind of budgeted for a new workhorse this year anyway.

So if you're interested in a 17" MacBook Pro with a Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 gigs of RAM and a 320 gig hard drive (sorry, I'm keeping the SSD), I have one to sell. They've apparently discontinued the 17", which is going to piss off the video community. It's in excellent condition, with a few minor scratches, but I take care of my stuff.


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