The early 2011 MacBook Pro is Apple's masterpiece, no doubt: besides the overheating problems that many of us reported (but which seem to be solved as of now). Core i7 MPBs are super-fast with a Geekbench score of over 10.000 points for the i7 quad-core version - this was and still is an awesome performance for a notebook.
If you are planning on buying a new MacBook Pro 15", keep in mind that newer does not necessarily mean better: the early 2011 MacBook Pro is currently the best deal you can get ($1,549.99 for a new, $1,499.99 for refurbished MC721LL/A 15.4-Inch quad Core on Amazon) especially since they fixed all the flaws people reported about. I was complaining about issues a lot, but after Apple replaced the two notebooks we had, the run smootly ever since.
So a clear winner for buying a new MacBook Pro in 2011/2012 is the Apple MacBook Pro MC721LL/A 15.4-Inch early 2011 model that performs better in most of the situations compared to the late 2011 version (review and benchmarks by anandtech).
As we already blogged some time ago, we had severe overheating issues and frequent kernel panics with our early 2011 models of the MacBook Pro Core-i7 quad. Still, after the updates there are crashes from time to time - the early 2011 models are far away from being stable machines to use for serious work.
After days of trying to figure out what is really the issue, we found that most of the times device drivers or other third party apps are mostly causing the crashes - but also CPU-intensive apps such as games sometimes bring the system down. Solution? Yes, there is one: change your system to a 32bit Kernel.
1) The bootup way (temporary solution, great for testing)
If you just want to test if changing to 32bit changes anything, you can reboot your mac and hold down the "3" and "2" keys as soon as you hit the power button. This boots up your Apple in 32bit mode temporarily. If the system
2) The Terminal Way (see the Apple Support Document for more information)
sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture i386
if you need to change your system back to normal for any case, you can enter the following command into Terminal.app:
sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture x86_64
Just to make it clear: your applications will still run in 64bit mode, you can make sure this is the case by hitting cmd+i on the application icon and see if "Open in 32-bit mode" is checked. See this article from simplehelp with details and images on 32-bit mode. So why should I care then, you might ask: since drivers and 3rd party apps and extensions that are loaded on startup are most of the time the issue with system freezes and hangs, changing to a 32bit kernel did the trick for us and now we have a stable 2011 MBP quad-core system.
[UPDATE] 10.6.8 seems to work with 64bit kernel much more stable than 10.6.7. Still, to be on the safe side we are using the 32bit kernel and had no freezes yet.
Since we recently purchased two 2011 MacBook Pros (with lots of issues, as previously reported) we were wondering if SATA III 6Gbps drives would be supported. The short answer is YES, the longer answer is: only on the original Hard Drive port. Here are recommendations on which drive setup is best suited for getting the maximum out of the 2011 Apple machines.
Which type are you?
- the collector: two 750GB SATAII Drives
- fast, but not furious: 256GB SSD SATAIII drive + 750GB HDD in the optical drive slot
- the caretaker: 256GB SSD SATAIII drive + 500GB SATAII hybrid drive in the optical drive slot
- speed enthusiast: 256GB SSD SATAIII drive + 256GB SSD SATAII drive in the optical drive slot
- humongous and rich: 512GB SSD SATAIII drive + 512GB SSD SATAII drive in the optical drive slot
The new MCE OptiBay was created for users who want as much hard drive capacity as possible inside their MacBook Pro, MacBook, PowerBook G4, iMac, or Mac mini. Period