View Full Version : Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro

11-04-2006, 10:05 PM
My brand new MacBook Pro (2.33Ghz 15" model) arrived Friday and I wasted no time getting it up and running and getting Lightwave on it.

Some general stuff about it: I looks pretty much exactly like the older Core Duo MacBook Pro. The little light next to the built-in camera is now covered with silver so you only see it when it's on. The screen might be just a tad brighter. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same. (I suspect the major difference between this and the prior MBP model is probably just the CPU and a different cooling mechanism.) On the other hand, compared to my aging G4 Powerbook, it's thinner by about the thickness of the display and the screen is MUCH brighter. And of course everything is considerably snappier than I'm used to. Almost all of my regular-use apps are available in Universal Binary, which is a relief, with the exceptions of Adobe and Lightwave obviously.

People have been complaining about some of the issues with the original run of MacBook Pros like CPU whine and heat. Well, this unit is almost completely silent, even when the fan runs to cool it off. And when it hits anywhere from 140F to 160F the fan will come on. I've seen it quickly reach 170F when rendering before the fan could kick on, but it mostly idles around 110F and it stays around 155F on both cores when it's doing heavy CPU work and the fan running. It's about 10 degrees hotter than my Powerbook at idle, and I've never seen my Powerbook get above 145F, but it's considerably cooler than the ~200F I've seen some reports on the Core Duo MBP reaching. (I suspect that anyone who has a MBP that reaches 200F should probably take it in and insist that it be fixed.)

Now speed wise. Yes, I feel ashamed to admit I installed windows on it using Boot Camp. It went pretty smoothly all things considered. I picked just a random scene that wouldn't take too long from the LW9 sample content: "Lighting/Speaker 1", and I enabled radiosity just to give it a little extra work to do.

Windows rendered the scene in about 10m with 4 rendering threads. The OS X version running under Rosetta fared much worse, clocking in at 25m with 4 threads. However, it took 47m on the Powerbook G4 1.66Ghz with two threads.

Even having to deal with Rosetta, this is a substantial increase in performance over my existing Powerbook, fairly close in terms of just plain clock speed ... if you discount the existence of the second core... Which was something of a surprise. Now that I think about it, it's probably easier to translate the G4 RISC instruction set on the CISC Intel architecture than it is the other way around. I should have expected more from Rosetta rather than letting my awful experiences with Virtual PC taint my expectations.

Next I want to see if the trial version of Parallels offers enough functionality to get Lightwave to run under it at least enough to do a test render. (Assuming LW will even run on Parallels.)

And just a bit of orthogonal information, the trial version of Modo 202 renders the "test tubes" (a lot of refraction and transparency) scene in 3m40s, and "purple thing" (a lot of radosity) in 1m36s with three threads on the Core 2 Duo, and 23m52s and 12m53s respectively on the G4 Powerbook with two threads.

Overall I have to say that I'm very happy with this new MacBook Pro. It's been over two years since I've had a new computer, that being the Powerbook, so I was about due for some sort of upgrade. I was somewhat hesitant to dive in so soon after the release of the C2D model, but it turns out that all of the little bugs that the original MBP seem to have been dealt with, as I hoped. That it is so much faster is delightful. And I can only wait for Leopard to come out next year and take advantage of the full 64-bit functionality this chip offers.

But in the meantime, the UB version of Lightwave would be great too. :)

John the Geek
11-05-2006, 06:28 AM
That's awesome!

I've been wondering how Lightwave 9 plays in Parallels myself. No 3D support from the video card seems like a deal-breaker, but I've yet to actually try it to verify that hypothesis. Post your findings if you do try it.


11-07-2006, 04:43 PM
I fixed the cooling on my mbp core duo and its around your temps, 55-60 C under load with normal fans and 45-50 ish with the smc fan control application, setting it to the full 6000. In windows I can render at 36-37 C with the smc fan control (that "carries over" into XP with hot boot) and something called Cpu rightmark that can adjust down the voltage a little, down to around 80%. This means lower heat and better battery, and can be done harmlessly with windows software (it doesn't fiddle with anything bios or smc related, og it wouldn't work both on mac an pc).

The cooling on the mbp's are actually very efficient if you have properly applied thermal paste and use the fans -- but obviously at the price of some noise. My impression is, Apple and likely also a lot of its customers prefer quiet machines that are hot over loud ones thats uncool at a library or a party. Then, it'd be cool if we got the choice from the start...