• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

2011 Macbook Pro Advice. Reliability and 15in or 17in?

Hi guys,

I'm thinking of investing in a new 2011 MacBook Pro. I’m writing this post to see from other designers if they also own a MacBook pro, preferably the 2011 model and why they made the decision on the spec, and how they find it on a day to day basis in different working environments etc. It would be to use as my main system as I don’t have my own laptop already so I’m thinking it would be a good investment in case I do any freelance work in future where I would be expected to bring my own computer, and also if I need to meet with a client and go through a project anywhere etc. Theres been times where I really could have done with a laptop for these very reasons. I have a pretty decent 24in monitor that I can use as a second screen while I am working at home, otherwise when I am out and about I would need to rely solely on the MacBook’s screen. The type of work I do is mainly graphic and web design, so using all of Adobe Creative suite and also potentially some Windows virtualisation such as VM Ware although I don’t know how necessary this would be now. I also use Cinema 4D and occasional do video work, so it would be nice to have the power there if needed.
The spec I am looking at is either:
MacBook Pro 15in
[FONT=&quot]Apple MacBook Pro Hi-Res Antiglare [/FONT][FONT=&quot]15.4[/FONT][FONT=&quot]" Quad Core i7 2.2GHz 8GB 500GB [/FONT]

· Display: 15.4" Widescreen Hi-Res Anti-Glare (1680x1050)
· Memory (RAM): 8GB 2 x 4GB
· Hard Drive: 500GB HDD 7200rpm
· Integrated Graphics: Intel HD 3000
· Dedicated Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB GDDR5
· SD Card Slot: SDXC
· CPU: Quad Core i7 2.2GHz

Approx. £2050

[FONT=&quot]Apple MacBook Pro Hi-Res Antiglare [/FONT][FONT=&quot]17[/FONT][FONT=&quot]" Quad Core i7 2.2GHz 8GB 500GB [/FONT]

· [FONT=&quot]Display: 17" Widescreen Hi-Res Anti-Glare (1920x1200)[/FONT]
· [FONT=&quot]Memory (RAM): 8GB 2 x 4GB[/FONT]
· [FONT=&quot]Hard Drive: 500GB HDD 7200rpm[/FONT]
· [FONT=&quot]Integrated Graphics: Intel HD 3000[/FONT]
· [FONT=&quot]Dedicated Graphics: AMD Radeon 6750M 1GB GDDR5[/FONT]
· [FONT=&quot]SD Card Slot: SDXC[/FONT]
· [FONT=&quot]CPU: Quad Core i7 2.2GHz[/FONT]

Approx. £2220

I am interested in the high resolution antiglare screen as one thing I don’t like about macs is the glossy screens; also the ram upgrade would be done at a store which works out half the cost of Apple ram but with the same spec as Apple. As standard Apple supply the system with 2 x 2gb of ram modules so an upgrade later would mean getting rid of 4gb of perfectly good ram and buying 2 x 4gb modules. Apple don’t let you have 1 x 4gb of ram with a view to adding another 1 x 4gb module later, it would seem.

Does anyone use a 2011 MacBook pro? Are there any problems with the OS and reliability? I have read a few stability issues, but not sure if these are now ironed out with an update, or if they were even that serious?

The other main question I have is, does anyone recommend which size would be best. I am having trouble deciding what would be best. Is it a bit overkill getting a 17in? Obviously the 17in is bigger, has the extra pixels, but do you lose some of the portability? It’s hard to make this decision without having day to day experience using the system. Would a 15in model be a good balance in productivity and portability? The added screen size and resolution of the 17in model looks very tempting, but with the high resolution option on the 15in model, it looks like it could be a good balance even if I needed to work away from home without a second monitor. I have seen both the 15in and 17in MacBook’s in the store, but I haven’t actually seen the 15in high resolution screen in the flesh.
Has anyone worked on the 15in high resolution screen and found it nice enough to use or do they wish they had chosen the bigger 17 in screen?

Any other comments or advice? Should I buy a PC? ;-)

My plan would be to also upgrade to a SSD about a year later or so if the performance and price gets a bit more appealing as I know the hard drive would be the bottle neck until then. Perhaps I would get rid of the DVD drive and put in a SSD to use as my system drive… If this is indeed possible to do with either the 15in or 17in model?

If you have read all this, cheers and I will hopefully get your feedback.
For a laptop Macs are the only way to go. If not for function, then for re-sale. They keep their value pretty well and it's still easy to find a buyer for a G4.
It depends on whether you'll be using it more on the move or at one desk? There is always the option of a second screen for your desk, but if you're on the move a lot, I would always go as big as possible.

I say this having just bought a 27" iMac for my home office and using a 21.5" at work. For me, the bigger the better, if the cost justifies itself to you
Like I said though, it is really subject to your requirements and budget. If you can justify the extra 2" cost wise, then go for it, it gives you a little bit more working space...
Cheers for the responses everyone

Although I carry a 15in laptop to work every day, work gave be a laptop bag for a 17in laptop so it seems i may as well carry a 17in laptop as the bag would not need to be any bigger. I think I still might go for the 15in though as it would just feel more portable than the 17in which is ultimately what I will want from it.

I do have a decent 24in monitor at home so I could use that as my primary monitor


Active Member
I'd go as small as you can possibly work on - the main idea of a laptop is to be portable - I have a 13 inch MBP - I take it to London most days for work and connect to a 20 inch monitor, when working at home use a 20inch monitor also - sometimes work on the train, sometimes work elsewhere on my laptop with no additional screen.

Whilst its not an ideal size to work on its fine for the odd occasion you have no 'proper' screen and is small and light. (or was before the MBAir got good).

If you'll have another screen most the time don't waste your money on the desktop wannabes
Fair comment. I like the term desktop wannabe :p
I think the 13in doesn’t quite have the power / screen space I would like and the 17in is probably too big to be as portable as I'd like, so it’s got to be the 15in. I was actually surprised how big the 15in MBP was when I saw one of the new ones, I thought it was a 17in at first, but I think it would have the best balance for me in terms of power / screen and portability. I think I will leave it a few weeks to make my mind up hopefully by which time OSX Lion should be released!
Typo said:
Where are you planning on buying your new Mac?
Either the online mac store if I get 4gb ram, or from my local macstore in leeds, well its not an official mac store so they will fit it with 8gb non apple ram for about half the cost of apple. Why do you have a suggestion?

aibrean said:
I've got a BenQ at home and I love it.
Would definitely recommend my BenQ as it has the 1920x1200 resolution rather than 1920x1080 like a lot of the newer screens. I think the main thing is if it has a IPS display as some cheaper BenQ's have the inferior TN panel technology.
I'm actually going to hold off the purchase of a MBP now until the new year. Perhaps there will be a new model MBPwith upgraded hardware out by then also there might be more things taking advantage of thunerbolt as at the moment it seems I would be just paying for a port and nothing else. I have put in a new SSD in my PC which runs pretty quick now so should manage for the time being.


Senior Member
best thing to do with ram is buy from crucial. apple do a RAM buy back scheme when you upgrade in store, but it's still not as cheap as fitting it yourself.

with regards to screen size, there's no massive benefit in specification between the two, and when you jump to the 17" you not only spend more but you get a lot less portability.

i previously owned a 15", and loved it, but even 15" is a bit difficult to lug around if required.

can i ask why you want such high spec machines? bear in mind with grand central dispatch on 10.6 and above, each 'i' grade processor can duplicate. so when you such quad-core, you're getting a virtual eight-core machine.

(btw as of yesterday i no longer work for apple, but i thought this would be an easy way to get back into DF, so hello again)
I gave a bit of a description on the first post regarding what I would be using the machine for which I think justifies its spec. Basically it will be adobe creative suite, 3D and potentially video. It would be an investment purchase to last a few years and still be powerful, rather than buying something entry level that never really had the power on day 1.

Anyway I have decided to hold off buying a MBP until next year now when thunderbolt might actually have some compatible devices and when SSDs might be more cost effective to have a higher capacity primary drive. There is also the rumour of a redesigned MBP released also. In the meantime I have installed a new SSD in my PC so everything runs pretty quick now - so I will be able to manage without a mac for the time being.


Senior Member
I didn't take the time to read through all the replies, but here's my 2 cents.

I have the 15" with high-resolution (1680x1050) glossy screen, the 2010 model. All the other settings are just default. The extra resolution is really worth it and I think it's a great bridge between the 15" and 17". Also you indicated that you're considering the anti-glare but I wouldn't go for that. A few of my fellow students went for it, but it noticeably sucks out the color of your screen. Unless there's direct (sun)light behind you, you should be fine, all other reflections can usually be blocked by tilting your screen an inch or so.

Performance-wise it does fairly well; I haven't used it for 3D, but Photoshop and After Effects (including rendering) both run smoothly, as far as Adobe software runs smoothly *cough*. However, every now and then the fans will spin up and I find it to be somewhat loud.

Portability wise I think it's fine but I hear from other people that they find it to be a little oversized. I take it to school everyday, along with the charging cable, without any complaints. But then again, I don't have to lug around anything else (books etc).