Apple MacBook Pro 15 Late 2007

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Apple Macbook Pro 15 Late mid 2007 Overview


  • MacBook Pro 3.1 platform
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz (soldered)
  • 2048MB PC2-5300 DDR2-SDRAM standard, 4096MB max with 2x2048MB modules
  • 15.4" TFT display (1440x900 resolution)
  • Nividia Geforce 8600 M GT Radeon Mobility 9700 video controller with 128MB VRAM
  • Internal, on-board audio codec
  • 120GB 5400rpm SATA HDD
  • Combo DVD Writer/CD writer drive
  • AirPort slot with Apple Airport Extreme 802.11a/b/g/n


  • Stereo speakers (upfiring, near the screen)
  • DVI-I with DVI and VGA output (15 and 17 inch models) or mini-DVI port (12 inch models)
  • 2xUSB 2.0, Firewire 800 port
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Li Ion rechargeable battery
  • 18.5V power supply (separate)
  • Mac OSX 10.4.9 installed, OSX 10.11.1 maximum possible
  • Can run PowerPC applications using Rosetta emulation layer
  • Can run from Windows XP SP2 up to Windows 7 (32 bit) using BootCamp

Apple Macbook Pro 2006 15in 15.4"

Best retro purpose

This laptop is best suited to run a very wide array of OSX versions, perhaps the largest ever, offering a good insight into the evolution of Apple operating systems and its application. The Intel CPU can also run Windows using BootCamp, which brings other interesting comparisons between the classic PC and Mac environments. The platform offers good expansion capabilities as it supports up to 4GB of RAM. The integrated video controller is powerful enough also for 3D gaming although expectations should not go over a typical mid-range laptop of the era. This model is interesting as it was a somewhat classical Apple laptop with very good usability. Unfortunately, it was also the first generation that used a LED backlight LCD screen. Despite the improved energy efficiency and contrast, the screen was seriously lacking in terms of colour gamut, having a noticeable colour shift and poor rendition of reds, no matter what Apple claimed about not being a difference to previous MacBook pro models.


Durability and Repair-ability

Considering that it is a cooler running laptop, survivability prospects are very good as components are less stressed. However, not the same good fortunes may be found on the battery. While bulging batteries were a potential problem on Powerbook laptops, the newer MacBook lineup had a serious design issue that amplified the risk of severe damage. As the battery was placed exactly below the trackpad, any issue that manifested in a deformation of the battery could damage and even break the trackpoint.

The durability of the laptop is very good, mostly due to the resistant aluminum case. Of course, the theoretical durability of the outer chassis and internal frame is slightly hindered by the odd internal design which still does not have structural reinforcements. The harddrive is not accessible from the exterior, despite the PRO designation of the laptop, even if harddrive failures were not uncommon in the past. However, compared with the old PowerBook lineup, only some screws had to be unmounted and the case carefully pried apart, there are no risks for the keyboard. The circuitry survivability was good as the laptop ran significantly cooler than late PowerBook G4 laptops, and the fan was mostly turned off.

Greatest features & flaws

Features Flaws
Great MacOSX 10.6 and 10.7 performance Worn batteries can damage trackpad
Good software compatibility No DDR3 RAM, poor colour reproduction on LCD screen
Durable, comfortable keyboard and trackpad Easy to damage parts during complex disassembly
Cool running laptop No easy access to internal harddrive


A business laptop, released in 2007, but that had only some of the typical business laptop features. The chassis is slightly improved from the previous MacBook models, featuring a larger and better responsive trackpad. This laptop had a very competitive configuration for its time, featuring a dual processor and DDR2 memory. The harddrive is a SATA type, offering improved performance and a rare chance of experiencing very modern performance if replaced with a SSD. The graphic chipset is also an improvement over the previous generation Radeon Mobility chipset. The processor performance improvement was ample over the previous generation Intel Core Duo, and this very good result is why Apple kept it even when transitioning to the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro aluminium models.

The LCD TFT screen build quality was very good, using a modern technology that offers good contrast and response times but the LED lighting quality was very poor. This laptop generation had the firs implementation of this technology and it was noticeable. Of course, lamp durability was improved but end results were not good enough. It can be safely assumed that cost reductions and environment concerns were the reason for the switch. Ultimately, every new generation of Apple laptops had slightly improved screens but the end result remained that the switch never brought only improvements. On the other side, the rest of the platform had very good performance, with CPU and GPU capabilities that were well suited for most applications.

The keyboard is very comfortable to type on, the painted keycaps being more durable than you may expect on other laptops. The keyboard is not as easy to clean as on older Ibook models but it can be vacuumed. This laptop has another distinction for the last true keyboard, with profile caps, long enough travel and pleasant key feedback. Later models had a flat keyboard that is still fine but far from the feel of classic Apple laptops. Of course, Apple is to blame also for starting the unpleasant trend of flashy but less comfortable keyboards. The wireless performance is slightly improved compared with previous PowerBook laptops. On the other side, the included Ethernet port offers very good performance and reliability, being a good networking choice. The laptop also included a slightly better Bluetooth implementation.

The chassis was slim, light, comfortable due to rounded corners and a slight improvement over previous generation PowerBook laptops. The laptop's metal case is highly durable, but must be very carefully disassembled, when required. This is somewhat annoying. Unfortunately, parts of the chassis are especially vulnerable to rough handling and the aluminum frame is not supported by a rigid underframe, meaning that bends and dents are quite common. The lid closing latch is very well designed and durable. The display hinges are very well engineered even if they may not look to be anything special. The integrated speakers are average, having decent performance.

The rechargeable battery can be easily removed or replaced but the timekeeping battery is placed inside the rechargeable battery pack that is almost surely not working after so many years. Luckily, however, Apple systems are very good at keeping good BIOS settings without any battery. The standard HDDs are fast enough for Mac OSX. Replacing the hard-drive is somewhat difficult but the system accepts even last generation SATA 3 drives, including SSDs, for massive speed improvements. Software support is good as the system can run PowerPC applications, albeit at slower performance, in the Rosetta emulation environment.

Historic context

Apple was interested in having much improved PowerPC processors but the alliance with IBM and Motorola did not show great prospects. The pc market was quite small and a more balanced situation against Intel/AMD pcs was never materialized. Having quite low sales and not being attractive enough for professional user needs, especially in the video production environment, meant that Apple was desperate to release much better performing computers. Major efforts were done to release dual PowerPC G5 workstations, but any implementation attempted on laptops was even worse in terms of dissipation and energy consumption and Apple had to accept poorer performing laptops when the laptop market had the most promising sale increase.

As the OSX platform was agnostic to any CPU architecture, attempts to test Intel CPU performance were underway for many years. Recent stagnation in the PowerPC platform pushed Apple to attempt negotiations with Intel but Intel did not seem interested so Apple invested further in the last attempt at releasing faster PowerPC products. However, as soon as an agreement came, Apple switched the entire lineup to Intel in less than 2 years. Despite all previous marketing showdowns, Apple knew very well the strengths and weaknesses of the PowerPC. While PowerPC architecture shined on floating point performance, the Intel one did the same but for multiprocessing, memory access and energy efficiency. Switching to the new platform required emulation and some operating system tweaks but Apple focused mostly on ensuring good enough compatibility. The code emulation for PowerPC was not very fast but ensured a quicker, smoother transition for users.

Core 2 Duo was the second generation Intel Core CPU, with very good improvements over the previous release. Multitasking was improved due to the caching and microarchitecture enhancements, offering very good performance while not increasing power use and heat dissipation. This was also the first Intel architecture to feature support for AMD x86-64 platform, making it possible to run 64-bit operating systems, use larger applications. Of course, code was also larger and typical applications did not show any improvements except on video and photo editing applications. At that time, 64-bit capability was still far from being a requirement, and the transition to 64-bit dragged on for more than 10 years.

In the end, the transition to Intel CPUs offered many performance benefits to users and ensured Apple many years of product upgrade cycles that pleased market expectations. However, just as the near monopoly of PowerPC, Intel din not made enough architectural improvements, forgot about the near-disaster of the Pentium 4 and Itanium CPUs, slowly losing the performance per watt competition that Apple was very keen on keeping. This will lead to Apple's transition to in-house developed CPU and GPU designs, in the late 2010s.