A Windows guy using a MacBook Pro: six months later

Monday, June 30, 2008 5:20 AM

Last December (12/2007) I ditched my Dell D820 and made the jump over to a MacBook Pro. Its now been just over six months since I made the switch and thought I’d pass a few thoughts off to those who are considering making the switch.

First, I still love this machine. The only regret, and I’m not sure if this is really a regret, is that I went for the 15” over the 17”. I do love the 15” form factor, but after seeing a few friend’s 17” MBP’s at the MVP summit and other events, I’m just blown away by the screen real estate. Just unsure if I’d have enough room on a plane to get some real work done with a 17”. Either you go, the horsepower is impressive… this is still one of the most performant machines I’ve seen that doesn’t ship with a portable chiropractor (only 5.4lbs for the 15” version).

I also love the peripheral story for MBP’s. The power supply is tiny compared to all the other PC based laptops I’ve owned. What’s better is that you have two cables: if you only need a short distance, just use the brick… but you can snap off the plug piece and tag on the longer 3-pronged cable for an additional 5-6 feet. When you travel overseas (which I haven’t done just yet with this machine, but will later this year), you can just swap out the plug without using some massive brick converter. Spare batteries are also much smaller.

Oh… having a FireWire 800 port is great for virtual machines (2x the speed of USB 2), but I’m real tempted to snag a new 16GB SSD ExpressCard34 disk for my VMs (only one I’ve found that uses the PCIe connection on the ExpressCard34 slot is a Delkin at a pricy $400, but that might be worth the perf when doing presentations). Read up on this thread I started for more info on how it works

One small complaint: if Microsoft would just hurry up and release the WHS Power Pack that includes x64 backup support… I haven’t switched to Vista x64 because of this. But it’s so close, I think I’ll go ahead and do the triple boot (Leopard, Vista x64 & Win2k8) that Spence details on his blog when my new MPB comes in. New one? OK… let me explain…

Now for the sad story (here come the “told-ya-so” emails from the Apple haters :))… appears my MBP has been a lemon. It’s been in the local Apple store (or at the repair depot) three times since March. All the sudden, the laptop’s keyboard & trackpad have died… hard. The first time it happened was the day after my last presentation at the SharePoint Conference in March. The second time was the evening of the last day of my class in NYC. Those two times bit me hard because I couldn’t get into my machine after that happened. Both times the top plate was replaced and I was good as new after a few days… but I lost a lot of confidence so I picked up a portable bluetooth keyboard. What a good call… because the trackpad and keyboard died again less than 1.5 hours before my last presentation at TechEd IT Pro. I was pretty pissed… and the local store took me quite seriously. So I dropped it off on a Friday night before I headed out on a week-long vacation with the family. Over the weekend I reconnected with them and they said they can’t be certain what the problem is. So, after the same thing has broken 3 times (granted the fixes were different each time so it isn’t like they kept replacing the same thing over and over… I’m just sparing you some details), they have ordered me a brand new machine to replace my current one. I should have it within the next 10 days. Yes… that’s annoying, but it isn’t like this is some widespread problem.

Even with this lemon experience (hey, everyone has a bad device roll off the floor… it’s how you respond to it) I highly recommend the MBP. At this point, it will definitely be my next laptop as well. I’m just hoping the Q4 / November MBP update includes support for 8GB of RAM!

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