My new Macbook Pro, Optibay and Carbon Computing

 I recently picked up my second 15″ Macbook Pro in as many years. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with it but the now 4 year old Macbook is old and has missing keys and thought it was time for an upgrade there. My old Macbook Pro came with an i5 2.3 GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM and I upgraded the drive from a 500GB HDD to a 120 GB SSD. The laptop worked really well. The one thing I did regret though was not getting the higher resolution screen.

So this time around, I took the new 15″ Macbook Pro with the middle of the line processor – so an i7 2.3 GHz processor, 750 GB HDD, 4 GB HDD but upgraded the screen to the 1680 x 1050 glossy screen. The plan was then to transplant the SSD and RAM to the new machine. One thing I have to say about Apple products is that when they enable you to do your own upgrades, they make it really easy to do so. Swapping out my HDD and RAM took me less that 10 minutes to do both.

Another upgrade that I opted for was to purchase an OptiBay. The OptiBay is a third-party solution that replaces your light drive with a casing to house another HDD in your Macbook Pro. A must if you plan to have a small SSD as your primary drive. While you could install it yourself, I actually opted to buy it from Carbon Computing, a local Apple retailer, in Toronto. More on that later. The concept and implementation works seamlessly and I haven’t noticed any issues yet. I like the fact that I can now fearlessly install crucial apps like… uh… Starcraft 2 and Duke Nuke’em on my Macbook without the fear of losing space.

My experience with purchasing the Macbook Pro was a bit mixed. On one hand, I think the people who work at Carbon Computing are genuinely nice. However, there was a whole slew of miscommunications that would make me hesistant to go back there. First off, when I discussed purchasing the Macbook, I realized it was a Custom-To-Order but didn’t realize it wouldn’t be in stock. My bad on that one. After placing the order, I was informed that it would take about 10 days for the order to arrive. On day 8, after not hearing anything, I decided to check in. I was quickly informed that the order was not in yet and they had no indication as to when it would arrive. After the email though, Quentin, the sales person responsible for the order did a fantastic job keeping me informed. I was informed that the device was finally in Toronto after almost 15 days. Frankly, not a big deal. I can accept that transporting something anywhere run into hiccups. When I picked up the Macbook, the drive was not installed. The good thing is that they did install the drive for me the same day. What frustrated me, however, is that I had to wait approximately 3 hours for it. Not a problem if I lived or worked nearby but I don’t. I ended up going to the office to work and I had to call after 3 hours to check to see if they were done. Finally, as I was on my way home, I got a call from Carbon Computing telling me that there was a bit of a mix up with my bill and they didn’t charge me the full amount for my purchase. Fortunately, I was able to complete the purchase over the phone although I don’t love giving my credit card on the phone. So my personal experience is mixed. Again, good guys and hopefully it was just something off.

All in all, I LOVE my Macbook Pro. I didn’t expect the i7 to make a difference given that I already had an i5 but somehow it does. I definitely the 1680 x 1050 screen. If you’re using it as your primary work computer at home like I do, it makes a difference. It is definitely worth the investment. One of the things that I’m interested to see is if there will be more docks built leveraging the thunderbolt port. If not, I see a BookEndz port replicator in my future.