I like to go fast. I like fast cars and fast computers. When Apple announced that the new MacBook Pro would be available with the new Intel i7 chip, I decided it was time to upgrade.

I bought my last MacBook Pro about 13 months ago. At the time, it was the fastest Mac laptop money could buy. But things change and if you want the best, you have to be willing to step up and open your wallet. So that’s what I did. I bought a fully-loaded 17″ MacBook Pro with eight gigs of Apple’s own DDR3 SDRAM, and the 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7. And in a first for me, I finally bit the bullet and picked up the first computer I’ve ever owned with a solid state drive. I added the 512GB SSD instead of a traditional hard drive.

With AppleCare, the final price came to $4,598 plus tax. That’s a bunch for a laptop, but so far, I’m happy with the results.

I also opted for the anti-glare screen. Up until now, I haven’t minded the glossy screens Apple uses in its newer computers. I don’t do any heavy editing on my laptop. But this time, I just ordered the anti-glare screen for the heck of it. It only added $50 to the price. The results are quite good. The anti-glare screen (more traditionally called a matte screen) really does look good and I don’t miss anything from the glossy model.

While I don’t have any fancy testing equipment, I still have my old 17″ MacBook Pro and sitting the two side-by-side I can see noticeable speed increases in the newer machine. The i7 chip works well. The hyper-threading helps photographers get more done, faster.

The included NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPU really makes a difference when you’re running Aperture or Photoshop. GPU-dependent programs like Aperture love the new speed. Scrolling is amazingly fast and smooth. It’s almost science fiction-like it’s so fast and smooth.

In my initial tests, I get six hours on a single charge from the battery. This is significantly less than Apple promises, but then again I am not running on the battery in any sort of optimized way. This is real-world use. This performance is significantly improved over my old MacBook Pro.

In general, the new MacBook Pro seems faster in every way. The SSD drive is a stellar performer. I assume that it’s a factor in the extended battery life. I also believe it’s noticeably faster. Whether or not it will have the same MTBF as a standard drive remains to be seen. But so far, I am glad I bought it, even if it was crazy expensive.

I have used the computer for just a few days but feel certain that it’s a great choice for those who want to use it as the anchor of a photo-based system. Connected to one of Apple’s 24-inch LED Cinema Display and some big back up drives, it’s all the computer any photographer should need. It’s fast enough to edit large images and video. The drives are bigger than ever and can hold lots of data. The eight gigs of memory make it a pleasure to use alongside the super fast SSD drive. From the standpoint of a photographer – Highly recommended.

This post sponsored by X-Rite Color and the ColorChecker Passport