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MacBook Pro rumor roundup: Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt, flash memory & more

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
With the expected release of Apple's new MacBook Pro lineup on Thursday, onlookers have been inundated with rumored hardware specifications and new features. AppleInsider offers a recap of what's expected in the imminent product refresh slated for tomorrow.

Sandy Bridge

Apple's new MacBook Pro models will sport the latest-generation processors from Intel, known as Sandy Bridge. The chipmaker has called Sandy Bridge the "biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any other previous generation."

The new notebooks are expected to feature Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 processors from Intel, with leaked specifications showing that the 13-inch MacBook Pro will sport a 2.3GHz Core i5 with integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000.

The timing of the release of new MacBook Pros came into question earlier this year, when Intel revealed it discovered a design error in its new Sandy Bridge processors. Specifically, the chipsets accompanying the processors, known as Cougar Point, were found to have issues with four serial-ATA ports for connecting devices like hard disk drives.

A source informed AppleInsider that the error did in fact disrupt Apple's plans, but the impact was largely immaterial and caused only minor delays.

A full comparison of Sandy Bridge processors rumored to make their way into the next generation of MacBook Pros is included below:



Integrated, ATI graphics options

Leaked specifications show that Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro will not feature a discrete graphics processor. Instead, it will rely on the integrated GPU found in Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors, which features 384MB of shared memory.

Back in December it was claimed that Apple's larger, high-end MacBook Pro models, with screen sizes of 15 and 17 inches, will rely on graphics processors from AMD. It was said that none of the new MacBook Pros will feature Nvidia graphics.

Thunderbolt, Light Peak

A Thursday debut for hardware is unique for Apple, but it's possible that the date was chosen in part because it's when Intel plans to formally debut its new Light Peak technology for high-speed data connections. Viewed as a successor to USB, the first generation of Light Peak cables and devices are expected to be able to support 10Gbps data transfers over copper wire.



Leaked photos of Apple's next-generation MacBook Pros show that the devices will offer a unique implementation of Light Peak dubbed "Thunderbolt." Apple's Thunderbolt connector is expected to be the same shape as existing Mini DisplayPort devices, but in addition to audio and video, it will also offer high-speed data transfer.



AppleInsider's sources teased earlier this month that Apple's new MacBook Pros would feature additional surprise enhancements, likely referring to Thunderbolt.

Solid-state storage

So far, none of the leaked photos give any indication of a solid-state boot drive, at least in the 13-inch model. But there have been a handful of rumors suggesting that Apple could preinstall Mac OS X on an integrated high-speed 16GB flash memory-based boot disk.

It was also said that Apple will offer customers a build-to-order configuration of the new MacBook Pro models, replacing the SuperDrive with a solid-state drive.

The lack of evidence of a flash boot drive in photos of the 13-inch model also does not align with a separate report, which claimed that the alleged hybrid solid-state configuration would be used for Mac OS X startup even in base models of the Mac lineup.

End of the line for white MacBook?

With the new 11.6-inch MacBook Air priced at $999 and selling strongly, it has been rumored that Apple could discontinue its entry-level polycarbonate MacBook, which carries the same $999 price.

Last fall, Apple redesigned its MacBook Air and added the second screen size of 11.6 inches, in addition to the 13.3-inch model. The diminutive notebook was instantly in demand, and it features only solid-state flash memory for its internal storage.

Trackpad, displays, pricing and more

Reports have also claimed that the new MacBook Pro hardware will feature larger glass trackpads. This change could be made in anticipation of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, scheduled for release this summer.

Apple has revealed its plans to bring iOS features to the Mac with the release of Lion, and among those features are new multi-touch gestures. The expansion of the trackpad area could make invoking those gestures easier for some users.

Retailer Best Buy over the weekend also over the weekend listed five new MacBook Pro models and SKUs. The listings suggest that Apple will continue to offer two configurations of the 13-inch MacBooks, two 15-inch models, and a single 17-inch configuration.



Leaked specifications from the 13-inch MacBook Pro also showed that the notebook will feature a "high-definition camera" for FaceTime video chat, suggesting the forward-facing lens above the computer's display could be upgraded. The 13.3-inch display was also listed as having a resolution of 1,280 by 800 pixels.

Those same specs also show the notebook with an SDXC port for the latest Secure Digital cards. SDXC supports cards with storage up to 2TB of data.

For more, see AppleInsider's comprehensive coverage of the MacBook Pro.
post #2 of 68
It's interesting to note that the displayport 1.2 standard actually supports data bit rate of 20Gbps according to wikipedia (if I understand the article correctly). So, thunderbolt may turn out to be a 20Gbps, not a 10Gbps one. That's lotsa data!!
post #3 of 68
Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

(Why are they giving high resolution screens with no source to provide media to play on them?)
post #4 of 68
If the leaks today are true, then a very disappointing update. Thunderbolt is the runaway highlight, but the rest of the machine is disappointing. The optical drive should NOT be there.
post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

(Why are they giving high resolution screens with no source to provide media to play on them?)

wtf are you talking about? 21st century? Most of us laugh at bluray laptops as the gimmick they are, and are waiting for optical drives to disappear entirely for the sake of size, weight, and/or SSDs.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

Wake ME up when you get out of 20th century futurism thinking that there's any need for the bottleneck that is optical media in the age of 10Gbps ports.

Quote:
Why are they giving high resolution screens with no source to provide media to play on them?

Make your own or rip your Blu-rays.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #7 of 68
Quote:
Why are they giving high resolution screens with no source to provide media to play on them?

The internet?
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

The irony of this comment is just too rich. Blue-Ray is a joke of a format that has no future. Streaming is where the future is and Apple is wise not to invest in transitional tech such as Blue-Ray.
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

How's about we lock the door to your room instead?
post #10 of 68
I think I am going to be a little disappointed tomorrow when I go pick up my new MBP 17". Timing worked out perfectly that I just switched jobs and am now finally able to buy what ever I want for work so the new MBP 17" is going to be it.

Wish List..
1) new thin Liquid Metal Case ---- chance of happening close to none.
2) All SSD drives - It will be nice if the OS is but would also like my applications to be as well, sounds like a $500 extra.
3) I see the 13" still has a HDD at 5400 RMP, if the MBP has the same thing I will be very disappointed 7200 should be standard.
4) Thunderbolt is nice but will not see much use for some time as everything else will now need to catch up. If I can add it to my Mac Pro via PCI card + external drives then it will make sense for me. I am aware of the other uses but again that will be some time before we see them.
5) DVD player - I think the time has come to remove it, if still required for some people buy the external one. Give more battery and thinner case.

I will be one of the first inline tomorrow morning hoping to get a new MBP 17". May need to order it online depending on what the Apple Store has in stock. Can't wait for midnight to see the official specs on the apple site.
post #11 of 68
Bummer. No mention of liquid metal. I see it as unlikely at this point.

I suspect high end models WILL feature SSDs, but not liquid metal enclosure. It is possible that the super high up models will feature this liquid metal, but I doubt it.

I told myself: If they integrate liquid metal AND solid state drives. I'm sold.
Unfortunately, I think they will only implement the SSD.

Now should I buy one? My macbook pro is a little older than 2 years. I purchased the first line of unibody macbooks. But I settle for nothing but the best :P
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wilkie View Post

The irony of this comment is just too rich. Blue-Ray is a joke of a format that has no future. Streaming is where the future is and Apple is wise not to invest in transitional tech such as Blue-Ray.


Agreed, but they had better start rolling out 1080p-video with good bitrates in the iTunes-store then. Also, the iTunes-store in my country currently offers very few films, and what's worse, they're all dubbed. That's insulting, frankly, we're not idiots, we want to see films in their original language. So yeah, streaming is the future, but right now I have no legal way of obtaining a high-quality digital copy of a film I want to watch.
post #13 of 68
One last thing I forgot I was hoping for in the 17" model: Quad Core
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by vjo,npd View Post

One last thing I forgot I was hoping for in the 17" model: Quad Core

Prepare to be disappointed. From what I've read, Intel does not make any Core series quad cores in the power consumption levels needed for notebooks.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

If the leaks today are true, then a very disappointing update. Thunderbolt is the runaway highlight, but the rest of the machine is disappointing. The optical drive should NOT be there.

Why not? It's a Macbook PRO it should have an optical drive. If you don't want the optical drive then get an Air.
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Originally Posted by addabox

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Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox

Being an Apple basher means you never, ever have to acknowledge success.
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post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Wake ME up when you get out of 20th century futurism thinking that there's any need for the bottleneck that is optical media in the age of 10Gbps ports.

Great, where do I sign up for 10Gbps broadband?

Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Great arguement if Apple could actually roll out 1080p via iTunes.

And it would still look like shit against blu-ray.

I don't understand why people keep coming back to this 1080p bullshit.

I can take any picture and make it 1920x1080 pixels.

1080p alone MEANS NOTHING.

Until broadband can deliver acceptable bitrates to stream real HD content with HD audio, there is no replacement for blu-ray.

Then again, I could just let myself believe all of the marketing BS, and lower my standards to a lower quality media for the sake of some on this message board.


There is ZERO competition that comes close to the quality of blu-ray and there wont be for the foreseeable future.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wilkie View Post

Prepare to be disappointed. From what I've read, Intel does not make any Core series quad cores in the power consumption levels needed for notebooks.

I think what you meant to say is "Apples" power consumption levels, there are plenty of laptops that have quad cores with dual threads from Intel. Now they do only get a few hours on a battery but I would take a quad core and 8 hours vs. 10 which is what we are hearing they will be.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

(Why are they giving high resolution screens with no source to provide media to play on them?)

Yeah.. because all of us want a high resolution screens to watch movies on our laptops
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Great, where do I sign up for 10Gbps broadband?



And it would still look like shit against blu-ray.

I don't understand why people keep coming back to this 1080p bullshit.

I can take any picture and make it 1920x1080 pixels.

1080p alone MEANS NOTHING.

Until broadband can deliver acceptable bitrates to stream real HD content with HD audio, there is no replacement for blu-ray.

Then again, I could just let myself believe all of the marketing BS, and lower my standards to a lower quality media for the sake of some on this message board.


There is ZERO competition that comes close to the quality of blu-ray and there wont be for the foreseeable future.

As an amateur connoisseur of movies I can say that I notice no real enjoyable difference between Netflix and blu-ray. I guess if I wanted to stand 2 feet away and use 7.1 surround ...
post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorlsciact View Post

Why not? It's a Macbook PRO it should have an optical drive. If you don't want the optical drive then get an Air.

I'm so damn sick of this argument. I'm a pro. I run an ad agency. I work with clients, vendors, producers, printers, etc. all the time. None of them – none – are using optical discs to move files around. Printers all have web portals where you can upload your press-ready files directly to their production department. Video production houses all email me links to H264 video I can preview online. Audio production houses have been using aiff and MP3 for years. Magazines all use web-based ad-send applications.

What's the attachment, seriously? Because I'll tell you one thing: my clients sure as hell aren't asking for CDs. As a pro, I would take a second SSD or more battery life over an optical drive any day of the week.

Now here's the real rub: the slot-loading superdrive sucks. It's slow as dirt. If you're a one of these weird video pros in an Amish community that still uses tons of DVDs then you wouldn't be happy with the performance of the superdrive and you'd buy a speedy 3rd party external anyway.
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

As an amateur connoisseur of movies I can say that I notice no real enjoyable difference between Netflix and blu-ray. I guess if I wanted to stand 2 feet away and use 7.1 surround ...

I found out recently that only 6% of the movies that Netflix streams is in HD (720p). 1080p
streaming will not be available for a year.
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post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Yeah.. because all of us want a high resolution screens to watch movies on our laptops

Apple will not make a video iPod. Nobody wants to watch video on an iPod.
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Apple will not make a video iPod. Nobody wants to watch video on an iPod.

What this has to do with what I wrote?!
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorlsciact View Post

why should it? It's a macbook pro it should have dedicated graphics for all models. If you want the optical drive then get an external.

t,fify.

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post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

As far as I can see, Apple is not going to add DRM on OS level any time soon.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

What this has to do with what I wrote?!

I'm wondering the same thing.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avonord View Post

It's interesting to note that the displayport 1.2 standard actually supports data bit rate of 20Gbps according to wikipedia (if I understand the article correctly). So, thunderbolt may turn out to be a 20Gbps, not a 10Gbps one. That's lotsa data!!

LightPeak optical is 10Gbps in each direction.
post #28 of 68
There has to be something wrong with the screen resolution data. Using a lower res screen than the Air doesn't make any sense. It should be exactly the same panel.

While a DisplayPort implementation of LightPeak sounds interesting I almost always work with an external display so I'll have to buy some sort of LightPeak hub to avoid blocking the port with my display cable. The USB shaped port I'd seen pictured seemed like a better idea having instant backward compatibility and ease of training newbies that they should use this port for "stuff".

I think the optical drive will survive 2011 and vanish in 2012 (perhaps living on for one revision of the 17" MBP like the ExpressCard slot did when most Macs moved to SD slots.

It's extremely disappointing to see Best Buy predicting a major price increase for the 17" MBP. Some of us just want a bigger screen.

BlueRay has a place in home theatres where screens are enormous, audio frequently 5.1 or better and lighting carefully controlled. Anyone who builds such a room isn't going to stand for compression artifacts, jaggies or flat sound.

In my mind, when the screen is only a foot wide, as in a notebook computer, the need for BlueRay just isn't there.
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post


It's extremely disappointing to see Best Buy predicting a major price increase for the 17" MBP. Some of us just want a bigger screen.

The price increase is relative... the base model will probably start with i7 and 8gigs of ram. So if that is what you mean by a price increase then you are correct. I would assume that configuration will be slightly less than it is today.
post #30 of 68
I don't get it. There's all this talk about these MBP's supporting Sandy Bridge -- yet there's no support for Sandy Bridge in 10.6.6, nor, it seems, in any of the betas of 10.6.7.

So .. either 10.6.7 actually does include support for Sandy Bridge, or these MBP's won't be coming out for a while (10.6.8).
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wilkie View Post

I'm so damn sick of this argument. I'm a pro. I run an ad agency. I work with clients, vendors, producers, printers, etc. all the time. None of them none are using optical discs to move files around. Printers all have web portals where you can upload your press-ready files directly to their production department. Video production houses all email me links to H264 video I can preview online. Audio production houses have been using aiff and MP3 for years. Magazines all use web-based ad-send applications.

What's the attachment, seriously? Because I'll tell you one thing: my clients sure as hell aren't asking for CDs. As a pro, I would take a second SSD or more battery life over an optical drive any day of the week.

Now here's the real rub: the slot-loading superdrive sucks. It's slow as dirt. If you're a one of these weird video pros in an Amish community that still uses tons of DVDs then you wouldn't be happy with the performance of the superdrive and you'd buy a speedy 3rd party external anyway.

I can understand your sentiment regarding the optical drive, but optical drives are STILL relevant in 2011. I would gladly have them be obsolete in 2-3 years' time, but I do not see it happening.

I often purchase video media from foreign countries on DVD (I have a regionless player and use VLC), and that media is NOT available digitally for US consumers to purchase. In the cases of some UK television shows like Doctor Who, which are wildly popular outside of the UK, you can purchase them digitally from Amazon.com because they are re-broadcasted/produced through BBC America. There are dozens of shows I cannot purchase from UK or Japan when they are released for streaming on the each respective nation's streaming websites for sale in the same way that I can popular shows. Should only popular shows that are picked up by American networks be accessible?

I also have found that professional educational media has not gone digital.
I have purchased translation certification training books which come with audio CDs (A FEW have digital files online to enhance the physical book in the absence of a CD), and almost none of them offer online options.

I think if media and content providers globally allowed us to easily purchase from each other, I might do away with optical drives so easily. However, video content providers are not likely to do so due to the profits they earn in the DVD mark-up sales and each country's particular licensing fees.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

wtf are you talking about? 21st century? Most of us laugh at bluray laptops as the gimmick they are, and are waiting for optical drives to disappear entirely for the sake of size, weight, and/or SSDs.

PCs already have SSD drives. Did Apple fix its OS to handle the speeds or do they still have a limit?

This laptop seems to be doing great running Intel's example of Intel's ( NOT APPLE'S) light peak - last year.
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/gallery/news/...ht-peak-laptop
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by qoogirl View Post

I can understand your sentiment regarding the optical drive, but optical drives are STILL relevant in 2011. I would gladly have them be obsolete in 2-3 years' time, but I do not see it happening.

I often purchase video media from foreign countries on DVD (I have a regionless player and use VLC), and that media is NOT available digitally for US consumers to purchase. In the cases of some UK television shows like Doctor Who, which are wildly popular outside of the UK, you can purchase them digitally from Amazon.com because they are re-broadcasted/produced through BBC America. There are dozens of shows I cannot purchase from UK or Japan when they are released for streaming on the each respective nation's streaming websites for sale in the same way that I can popular shows. Should only popular shows that are picked up by American networks be accessible?

I also have found that professional educational media has not gone digital.
I have purchased translation certification training books which come with audio CDs (A FEW have digital files online to enhance the physical book in the absence of a CD), and almost none of them offer online options.

I think if media and content providers globally allowed us to easily purchase from each other, I might do away with optical drives so easily. However, video content providers are not likely to do so due to the profits they earn in the DVD mark-up sales and each country's particular licensing fees.

You can buy an external DVD drive
You can't buy thinness or and external GPU.

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Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

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post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Wake me up when Apple enters the 21st century and adds the option for a blu-ray drive.

(Why are they giving high resolution screens with no source to provide media to play on them?)

Have you been sleeping? Blue-ray is dead. Optical discs are dead...it's STREAMING baby!
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabberwolf View Post

PCs already have SSD drives. Did Apple fix its OS to handle the speeds or do they still have a limit?

This laptop seems to be doing great running Intel's example of Intel's ( NOT APPLE'S) light peak - last year.
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/gallery/news/...ht-peak-laptop

More sleeping whiners...

Apple is the largest consumer of flash memory (IN THE WORLD) and ships laptops and imacs with ssd pre-installed. More shipments than any other pc vendor.
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by qoogirl View Post

I can understand your sentiment regarding the optical drive, but optical drives are STILL relevant in 2011. I would gladly have them be obsolete in 2-3 years' time, but I do not see it happening.

I often purchase video media from foreign countries on DVD (I have a regionless player and use VLC), and that media is NOT available digitally for US consumers to purchase. In the cases of some UK television shows like Doctor Who, which are wildly popular outside of the UK, you can purchase them digitally from Amazon.com because they are re-broadcasted/produced through BBC America. There are dozens of shows I cannot purchase from UK or Japan when they are released for streaming on the each respective nation's streaming websites for sale in the same way that I can popular shows. Should only popular shows that are picked up by American networks be accessible?

I also have found that professional educational media has not gone digital.
I have purchased translation certification training books which come with audio CDs (A FEW have digital files online to enhance the physical book in the absence of a CD), and almost none of them offer online options.

I think if media and content providers globally allowed us to easily purchase from each other, I might do away with optical drives so easily. However, video content providers are not likely to do so due to the profits they earn in the DVD mark-up sales and each country's particular licensing fees.

Most people are not watching foreign DVDs. Most people are not watching training DVDs. Most people are not using optical discs anymore. I'm sorry that you seem to be stuck using them, but you can't expect Apple to hold back innovation in the name of supporting legacy formats. It's contrary to everything the Mac platform is about.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by webfrasse View Post

Have you been sleeping? Blue-ray is dead. Optical discs are dead...it's STREAMING baby!

Where can I stream something the quality of blu-ray?
post #38 of 68
Apple, here is what I want: a gaming laptop. I spent nearly $3K on my 2009 17" MacBook Pro and I have to play it on medium settings at a low resolution. Please offer us a gaming video chipset this year!

Yes, I know, such performance cuts into battery life. That is why we can toggle between performance and energy saver in the power options on the Mac.

It would be nice to do CPU intensive tasks on my MacBook Pro while on the road for work related stuff, and gaming at home.
post #39 of 68
'This is like listening to Siskel and Ebert and instead of reviewing the movie they tell you how it ends. Can't anybody just wait for the announcement from Apple. Patience is a lost virtue.
post #40 of 68
so when are they being announced? Randomly taking down apple store sometime in the AM?
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