15″ MacBook Pro (Mid 2010)

The 15″ and 17″ Mid 2010 MacBook Pro models have lower clock speeds than the models they replace. However, because they use mobile Intel i5 and i7 CPUs instead of the older, less efficient Core 2 Duo chips, they are more powerful despite lower clock speeds. These CPUs brings something new to Apple’s portable line, hyperthreading, which lets the dual-core CPU appear to the operating system as four cores.

15" Unibody MacBook ProA further advantage of Intel’s “i” family of CPUs is that they can overclock themselves by 25% or more depending on the number of cores and processes in use. For instance, a 2.4 GHz i5 may outperform a 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo. You can’t compare the new i5 and i7 models with previous ones by looking at clock speed, as they are not single clock speed chips.

The other big change comes in the graphics department: These are the first Macs to use Intel HD Graphics – and the first to use Nvidia’s automatic switching GeForce GT 330M GPU. The Intel GPU uses 256 MB of system memory, while the Nvidia GPU has 256 MB of dedicated video memory (512 MB in i7 models).

The entry-level 15″ MacBook Pro costs $100 more than the previous entry-level model, which was the only 15″ MacBook Pro with Nvidia 9400M graphics but not with 9600GT graphics. Since all three configurations of the Spring 2010 15-incher have GeForce 330M graphics, the new 2.4 GHz model should be a better overall performer than last year’s 2.53 GHz model – and quite possibly in the same league as the 2.66 GHz one.

For those who need more pixels than the standard 1440 x 900 display provides, Apple has a $100 build-to-order option for a 1680 x 1050 screen. You can get that in an antiglare finish for an additional $50. (Apple does not have an antiglare option for the standard display.)

Apple has also improved overall field time – the 77.5 Watt-hour battery is rated at 8-9 hours of wireless productivity, a big improvement from 8 hours in the 2009 model. Only the new 13″ MacBook Pro beats it.

The 15″ MBP design puts all the ports (and a battery indicator) on the left side, leaving the right side for the SATA SuperDrive.

The glass trackpad is the same one found in the previous generation of MacBook Pro models. It supports 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-finger gestures. The entire trackpad functions as the mouse button.

The new MBP uses the same keyboard as before, complete with backlighting. The black keys look sharp with the aluminum enclosure.

The new model comes in 2.4, 2.53, and 2.6 GHz versions. 320 and 500 GB hard drives are standard, with 128, 256, and 512 GB solid state drive (SSD) options. 4 GB of RAM is standard, and 8 GB is the maximum.

This is the oldest MacBook Pro to officially support macOS Sierra.

Editor’s note: The next two paragraphs are from the profile of the previous version of the MacBook Pro. At this time we do not know if they apply to the new model.

Note that the built-in display is only capable of 18-bit color, not the full 24-bit color you might expect.

Unlike early MacBooks, where every USB port could provide 500 mA of power, only one USB port provides full power – the port closer to the front.

The Apple Remote is a US$20 option.

Closed Lid Mode: All Intel ‘Books support “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display. Since all video RAM is now dedicated to the external monitor, you may have more colors available at higher resolutions.

To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.

Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. Power PC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.

Details

  • introduced 2010.04.13 at US$1,799 (2.4 GHz i5, 320 GB hard drive), US$1,999 (2.53 GHz i5, 500 GB hard drive), and US$2,199 (2.66 GHz i7, 500 GB hard drive); add $100 for hi-res 1680 x 1050 display, $150 for antiglare hi-res display; replaced by Thunderbolt model 2011.02.24.
  • Part no.: MC371 (2.4 GHz), MC372 (2.53 GHz), MC373 (2.66 GHz)

Mac OS

  • requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 Snow Leopard or later
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
    • Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
    • 64-bit operation is supported.
    • OpenCL is supported.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is not supported.
    • AirDrop is supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported.

Core System

  • CPU: 2.4/2.53 Intel i5 or 2.66 GHz Intel i7, soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Level 2 cache: 3 MB shared cache on i5, 4 MB on i7
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • RAM: 4 GB, expandable to 8 GB using DDR3 SO-DIMMs
  • Performance (2.4/2.53/2.66/2.8 GHz)
    • 64-bit Geekbench: 4858/4968/4434/5535/5842
    • Speedmark 6.5: 132/ /151/

Video

  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics and Nvidia GeForce GT 330M with automatic graphics switching
    • VRAM, Intel HD: uses 256 MB of system memory
    • VRAM, i5 models: 256 MB
    • VRAM, i7 models: 512 MB
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort (VGA and DVI video supported with optional adapters)
  • display: 15.4″ (38 cm) 16-bit 1440 x 900 110 ppi color active matrix; 1680 x 1050 build-to-order option
  • supports 1440 x 900, 1280 x 800, 1152 x 720, 1024 x 640, 800 x 600, 720 x 480, and 640 x 480 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 x 480 at 3:2 aspect ratio
  • allows mirroring to external display or extended desktop mode

Drives

  • Hard drive: 320/500 GB 5400 rpm Serial ATA standard, 7200 rpm and solid state drives (SSD) optional (128, 256, or 512 GB) on 3 Gbps SATA bus
  • optical drive: 8x dual-layer SuperDrive writes DVD±R and DVD+R at up to 8x, DVD-RW at up to 4x; dual-layer DVD±RW at up to 4x; reads DVDs at 8x (double-layer at 6x), dual-layer and DVD-ROM at 6x; writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 16x, reads CDs at 24x on 3 Gbps SATA bus
  • expansion bays: none

Expansion

  • USB: 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400: none
  • FireWire 800: 1 port, backward compatible with FireWire 400
  • drive bus: SATA 1 (1.5 Mbps)
  • IR port: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • Modem: No longer offered by Apple
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 2.1 built in
  • ExpressCard/34: none
  • SD Card Slot: 1

Power

  • battery: 77.5 Watt-hours, 8-9 hours of wireless productivity
  • AC adapter: 85W MagSafe

Physical

  • size: 9.82 x 14.35 x 0.95″ (249 x 364 x 24.1 mm)
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds (2.54 kg)

Online Resources

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