Through a combination of Firewire target disc mode, an external hard drive, Dropbox, and a few Internet downloads, I’ve got my new computer up and running for the most part. It is usable (to me). It’s not a proper DAW yet, though, as I still have to install my newly-acquired Logic Studio (10.0?) software and remake all of my symlinks to sound libraries. It is then that I will attempt to finish “Dumeh”. As far as being a good programming environment, there’s a lot to do there, too. Besides installing Textmate, I still need to migrate my old command line prompt environment, configure Apache, and install a bunch of Ruby gems.
In the meantime, I’ve largely had it anchored to the dining table, leveling up a character (or two (or three)) in World of Warcraft. When the game is running, the area of the laptop above the keyboard, right below the screen, gets pretty darn hot. I’ve been told by my wife that this is normal, but it actually makes the keys near the top somewhat unsettling to touch. This is not something I was used to on the MacBook. It got hot on the bottom, just like this one, but I never felt the heat bubble up to the actual keyboard. Hmmm.
As far as performance, it is a breath of a (sometimes disconcertingly hot) fresh air. The 1680 x 1050 screen is beautiful, things load noticeably faster, and I can actually run games at levels above “Low” without massive choppiness. Doubling up the RAM from 2 to 4 GB probably helps just as much as moving from a Core 2 Duo to an i7. Oh, and the inclusion of an actual 3D acceleration graphics card might have improved things, too. Maybe. I even set aside 100 GB for a Boot Camp install of Windows 7 which, despite crashing on shutdown/restart, works well otherwise.
The slick unibody design is nice and even though it’s a 15″ screen (compared to my old 13″) the weight of it hasn’t increased significantly. It was not cheap, but it was worth it. The resale value on my old one is much higher than I’d think, so I’ll hopefully get a not-insignificant amount for it, recouping quite a bit of my investment into the new one.
In the end, it’s still just a Mac. All the things that come with the purchase and use of a Mac continue to be true on this computer, just as they were before. I like the look, feel, and experience I get while using OS X and its associated programs. The specs aren’t state-of-the-art. The performance is not revolutionary. It is a visually pleasing, input responsive, solidly-made, somewhat overpriced laptop computer that is portable, yet powerful. It gets hot, which is a natural byproduct of energy consumption. It gets a bit too hot for my tastes and usage, but I’ll learn to deal with it. Overall, I am happy with my technology purchase and would recommend it to anyone who likes things that are good.