24 FEBRUARY 2011 - Apple on Thursday released the latest update to its MacBook Pro portable computer line, more than 10 months after the laptops’ last revision. The new versions feature a new series of Intel processors, updated graphics cards, and a new connectivity standard dubbed Thunderbolt.
The new MacBook Pros feature Intel’s latest dual-core and quad-core Intel Core processors from the Core i5 and Core i7 lines, whicih Apple says will make them up to twice as fast at the previous version of MacBook Pros. The low-end 13-inch model has a 2.7GHz Core i5 processor, with the 15-inch and 17-inch sporting Core i7 processors up to 2.3 GHz.
Graphics also got a revamp in this version, with the 13-inch sporting an integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip and the 15-inch and 17-inch versions featuring AMD Radeon HD processors with up to 1GB of memory.
But the newest feature on the MacBook Pros is a new connectivity technology called Thunderbolt. Co-developed with Intel (which calls the technology LightPeak), Thunderbolt has two bi-directional channels that can transfer data at up to 10Gbps each. The port supports a variety of difference protocols, including PCI Express, FireWire, USB, and Gigabit Ethernet, meaning you’ll be able to connect different devices (presumably, along with an adapter). In addition, it carries DisplayPort and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI, and VGA video formats. Apple expects Thunderbolt to adopted widely as a new standard for input and output.
In addition, the MacBook Pros now feature built-in FaceTime HD cameras, which have three times the resolution of previous cameras and allow for better video calls using Apple’s FaceTime software, which is included on all new Macs (it’s available to existing Mac owners for 99 cents on the Mac App Store).
The new model feature the same aluminum unibody enclosures as the older line, with the glass Multi-Touch trackpad, LED-backlit displays, backlit full-size keyboard, and 7-hour battery. The 13-inch model starts at $1,199 with the 15-inch and 17-inch starting at $1799 and $2499 respectively.
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