New Shiny! Welcome, Hermione!

This is is somewhat of a follow-on to my previous post about the farewell of my old MacBook. Read that too, if you want.

Yeah, that Hermione. As in Hermione Granger? As in Hermoine Jean Granger, one of the very best witches in the Harry Potter series? Who is played by the stunning Emma Watson in real life? Yeah, the one and the same.

I’ve blogged about this before, but any geek worth their salt has changed the hostname for the computers. Those geeks that really know what they’re doing even have themes for their names, and it just so happens that I have Harry Potter-related names for all my computers (I don’t think you can change the hostname on an Xbox 360, otherwise I totally would). Say what you want about the Harry Potter theme, just don’t go downplaying the impact it has had on my generation; so much so that (my potentially very naive self thinks) it’s really quite comparable to even Pokemon in terms of global impact and how much money has been spent on associated merchandise…

Anyway, sectumsempra was the old name of my old white MacBook, named after the seemingly-harmless spell in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that turned out to be not-so-harmless. In the most tangential of ways the real sectumsempra has a similar story to my old white MacBook, but that’s for another time. Severus (yes, that Severus, as in Severus Snape) is the name of my ultra-powerful gaming rig. i7 930, EVGA X58, GTX 480, Vertex 2 SSD, 6TB of internal storage. Like I said, pretty powerful stuff. It’s hooked up to a Dell U2711 for the most part, except when it needs to pull LAN duty when it gets the pixels of a tiny 20″ to push.

Previous computers me or my family have owned have taken on such names as Fawkes (after the phoenix), Protego (the spell), and Sonorous (also the spell). They all have stories behind their names, but that’s definitely for another time.

Which brings us to Hermione.

Officially, it’s a 2011 MacBook Pro. For the spec nerds, it comes with an Intel i7 2720M (2.2GHz, turbo up to 3.0GHz with all four cores), AMD 6750M w/ 1GB graphics RAM, oh, and Sandy Bridge too for some serious SATA III action. Things I’ve already customised about the machine include a higher-than-normal res (antiglare!) display (1680×1050 at 15.4 inches works out to be roughly 132ppi), a 750GB 7200rpm drive, and 8GB RAM. Officially, it’s also one of the first laptops to come out with Thunderbolt, Intel’s implementation of the next-gen data connectivity standard. I have a feeling that it will soon fall into the same relative obscurity along the likes of FireWire, but only time will tell.

Unofficially, it is, hands down, the best computer I have ever owned. The experience of going from a four year old MacBook to a brand new MacBook Pro is best likened to the experience of going from an iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4, and that’s probably truer than I actually think it is. It’s still the same great operating systems; all my friends like the Dock and iTunes, iChat, even the hallowed menu bar, they’re all there. Its everything that I know and love about Mac OS X, just insanely more responsive than what I’m used to, more fluid. It doesn’t matter that everything software-wise is still the same, because everything runs faster. Smoother.

Remember how I said going from an old MacBook to a MacBook Pro was like going from an iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4? With that particular upgrade you get the benefit of new hardware features, such as video recording, a magometer, and heaps more RAM. It’s basically the same thing going from a MacBook to a MacBook Pro; there are a whole heap of cool new hardware features that I didn’t have before, such as the multi-touch trackpad, backlit keyboard (worth it for this alone), FireWire 800, support for displays higher than 1920×1200 in res (which means it can finally power my 27″ without looking blurry), and of course, the graphics grunt to smash through games like L4D2 with ease (not that I’ve tried gaming on it just yet, still deciding whether I want to install Windows on it or not). I also get small things like an HD video camera and an SD card slot, but those are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

If information flows like water, then the new MacBook Pro is to the old MacBook like Niagara Falls is to the little stream of water that you make when you pee. Well, probably not exactly like that, but you get the picture — it’s fast. So fast.

I have this idea that I’ll eventually put a SATA III SSD in it, probably some 240GB version of the OCZ Vertex 3 when it hits sufficient market penetration so the price doesn’t hurt too much. I’ll rip out my optical drive, replace it with the hard drive that’s currently in it for an epic amount of storage, and then, then, the MacBook Pro will be damn near perfect. Scratch that, it will be perfect. Then Mac OS X Lion will come along, and then, well, I will be a happy man.

At least until the next big thing comes along, anyway.


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  • Anonymous

    That looks awesome! Can’t wait to get mine, but I gotta say stay away from the OCZ Vertex 3 till Lion officially supports TRIM. Else, you are going to have a mess on your hands every 2-3 months. For now, only Apple SSDs are officially supported in 10.6.6+ & the dev build of 10.7. Check out my review at http://bit.ly/fp35F7

  • Your statement about TRIM being essential to SSD performance over time isn’t strictly true. Check out the story on TUAW for more.

    Plus, there’s ways to enable TRIM (or at least have it report as enabled on OSX), check out the story on HardMac for more.

  • Anonymous

    Hey
    Oh wow, that’s news to me! Looking into that now.