New MacBook Pros: What You Need To Know

Apple announced a refreshed line of MacBook Pros sporting Intel’s latest Sandybridge CPUs, AMD powered graphics and the highly anticipated high speed Thunderbolt data connector. Here’s everything you need to know about the new MacBook Pro.

The 13″ MacBook Pro – Intel Integrated Graphics Dominate

The 13″ MacBook Pro didn’t receive much attention during the last round of updates. The low end model was still powered by an aging Core 2 Duo processor. Nvidia’s 320M GPU also acted as the MacBook Pro’s chipset but couldn’t support Intel’s newer Core i3, i5 and i7 processors due to a dispute between the two companies. For Apple to use Nvidia’s newer GPUs with Intel’s faster CPUs, another chipset had to be added and the current MacBook Pro design couldn’t accommodate more hardware.

To upgrade the MacBook Pro with Intel’s newest Sandybridge CPUs, Apple opted to use Intel’s integrated graphics the HD 3000. It’s a smart move by Apple but benchmarks point to mixed results when put against to video processors comparable to the Nvidia GeForce320M. Battery life also takes a 2-hour hit because of the new CPU but benchmarks will likely show a speed increase of the last generation 13″ MacBook Pro. All models also support Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.4GHz

Specs

2.3GHz or 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU
4GB 1333MHz
320GB 5400RPM or 500GB 5400 RPM hard Drive
Intel HD Graphics 3000
7 hour battery
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
Audio in/out
SDXC card slot

The 15″ MacBook Pro – Quad Core Comes To Apple’s Laptops

Apple has finally brought a high-powered quad-core CPU to the MacBook line. The new quad-core chips run at speeds of 2.0GHz for the baseline 15″ model and 2.2GHz for the higher end 15″ MacBook Pro. Personally, I find the 15″ MacBook Pro more attractive than any other model. Apple’s first quad-core mobile Mac beats out the lower end dual-core model and is only marginally slower than the more expensive 17″ MacBook Pro. While the chassis is still the same, other notable improvements include a high definition FaceTime camera and Intel’s newest Thunderbolt (formerly Light Peak) connector that combines video output and high-speed data transfer in one convenient cable.

However, other rumored additions such as a small Solid State boot Drive, higher resolution display and larger trackpad turned out to be false.

Specs

2.0GHz or 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU
4GB 1333MHz
500GB or 750GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
Intel HD Graphics 3000
AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB GDDR5 or
AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5
7 hour battery
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
Audio line in
Audio line out
SDXC card slot

The 17″ MacBook Pro – Still A Pro Machine

The high end MacBook Pro is one of the most powerful mobile Macs available now and marks a transition from Nvidia branded video processors to ATI powered chips. Just like the 15″ MacBook Pro, a second less powerful Intel HD 3000 video processor is included to act as a fall back when more graphics horsepower isn’t needed. This allows both MacBook Pro models to conserve battery life for more processor intensive tasks.

Specs

2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU
4GB 1333MHz
750GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
Intel HD Graphics 3000
AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5
7 hour battery
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Three USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
Audio line in
Audio line out
ExpressCard/34 slot

About Tanner Godarzi

Tanner is tech-savvy with an eye for great content who is pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media from the Art Institute of California—Orange County. Tanner has been a freelance Blogger and Social Media consultant for over 4 years and contributed content for O'Reilly's "Big Book Of Apple Hacks." Tanner has blogged for industry notables such as Hadley Stern for Apple Matters, C.K. for Obsessable and gave insight about Social Media for The Blog Herald. Tanner resides in Huntington Beach and is a cycling enthusiast.

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