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Apple updates MacBook Pro line with next-gen CPU, GPU & Thunderbolt I/O

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
As expected, Apple on Thursday updated its MacBook Pro family with next generation processors and graphics, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime HD camera.

Overview

Starting at $1,199 and featuring the very latest dual-core processors, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro line is up to twice as fast as the previous generation. In addition to the new 13-inch model, Apple also updated its larger, faster 15- and 17-inch configurations.

ÂThe new MacBook Pro brings next generation dual and quad Core processors, high performance graphics, Thunderbolt technology and FaceTime HD to the great design loved by our pro customers, said Philip Schiller, AppleÂs senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. ÂThunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro.Â

Sandy Bridge architecture with integrated Intel HD Graphics

The new Core i5 and Core i7 chips found inside the 13-inch MacBook Pros are part of Intel's new Sandy Bridge architecture and also include integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3SDRAM shared with the main memory.

The entry level 13-inch model offers a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with a 3MB shared L3 cache for $1,999 while a $1,499 configuration includes a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4MB of shared L3 cache.

Thunderbolt

The new MacBook Pros are the first computers on the market to include the unique Thunderbolt I/O technology. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on a notebook computer.

Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters.



Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

FaceTime HD

The MacBook Pro now includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation for crisp, widescreen video calls. With AppleÂs FaceTime video calling software, the new camera allows high definition video calls between all new MacBook Pro models and supports standard resolution calls with other Intel-based Macs, iPhone 4 and the current generation iPod touch.



FaceTime is included with all new MacBook Pro models and is available for other Intel-based Macs from the Mac App Store for 99 cents. The MacBook Pro lineup continues to feature its aluminum unibody enclosure, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, LED-backlit widescreen display, illuminated full-size keyboard and 7-hour battery.

Unibody enclosures

The MacBook Pro lineup continues to feature its same aluminum unibody enclosure, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, LED-backlit widescreen display, illuminated full-size keyboard and 7-hour battery.

EPEAT Gold status

Every Mac notebook achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed with recyclable materials.

In addition, each new MacBook Pro comes with Mac OS X Snow Leopard and iLife, AppleÂs suite of applications for creating and sharing photos, movies and music.

Features included with new Core i5 and i7 chips
New Intel Core i5 and i7 chips up to 2x faster at the core

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro models feature the new dual-core Intel Core i5 processor or the fastest dual-core processor available  the Intel Core i7, and they use IntelÂs recently refined chipsets. This makes the new MacBook Pros perform up to twice as fast as the previous generation, capable of handling demanding tasks like editing HD video, compiling audio, or rendering a multilayered image file. And ac OS X Snow Leopard is designed to take advantage of every processor core, maximizing performance.


Faster single-chip microarchitecture

The latest Intel Core architecture puts the processor, cache, memory controller, and graphics engine on a single chip. Data travels a shorter distance, allowing for greater efficiency.

Turbo Boost 2.0

Turbo Boost is a dynamic performance technology that automatically increases the speed of the active cores  up to 3.4GHz. Turbo Boost 2.0 is even more dynamic and efficient. By shifting core frequency in smaller increments than before, it allows the processor to manage performance without sacrificing efficiency.

Hyper-Threading

Hyper-Threading is now standard on every MacBookÂ*Pro. This technology allows two threads to run simultaneously on each core, so MacÂ*OSÂ*X recognizes eight virtual cores on a quad-core processor and four on a dual-core processor. When youÂre running multiple applications at once, the processor spreads tasks more evenly across a greater number of cores.

Integrated memory controller

With faster access to memory, each core can get right to work on your data, rather than waiting for it to arrive. ThatÂs why the new Intel Core architecture uses an integrated memory controller to connect fast 1333MHz memory directly to the processor. Together with up to 8MB of shared L3 cache, the integrated memory controller helps your applications run at peak performance.

Energy-efficient graphics

Thanks to the new microarchitecture, the graphics processor is on the same chip as the central processor and has direct access to L3 cache. That proximity translates into performance. The graphics processor also automatically increases clock speeds for higher workloads. An integrated video encoder enables HD video calls with FaceTime, while an efficient decoder gives you long battery life when youÂre watching DVDs or iTunes movies.
Technical Specifications
Size and weight:
Height: 0.95 inch (2.41 cm)
Width: 12.78 inches (32.5 cm)
Depth: 8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
Weight: 4.5 pounds (2.04 kg)
Connections and expansion:
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
Kensington lock slot
post #2 of 104
I'm sure many will be thrilled by the speed, but I'm majorly disappointed.... My hopes for a MacBook Pro Air have been dashed.... Maybe next year...
post #3 of 104
Hmmm.... no SSD or instant boot-up.... yet.

But it will happen next year, I am sure, which will coincide with my upgrade cycle!
post #4 of 104
.....
post #5 of 104
AMD? Gross.
post #6 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

AMD? Gross.

Pack that attitude up and take it home, AMD graphics are nothing to sneeze at mate.
post #7 of 104
Bleh!! All I wanted was higher res for the 13" MBP like the Air...

I guess I'll stick with my 2008 Aluminum Macbook (fitted with SSD) for now ti'll next year.
post #8 of 104
Please give me a speed comparison between my Imac 3.06ghz Intel core duo 2 vs the new Macbook Pro 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with the same amount of ram. I have no idea if a 2.0 core i7 matches up favorably with a 3.06 core duo 2. If I does I want the Macbook instead.
post #9 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffw View Post

Bleh!! All I wanted was higher res for the 13" MBP like the Air...

I guess I'll stick with my 2008 Aluminum Macbook (fitted with SSD) for now ti'll next year.

Yup
post #10 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

AMD? Gross.

AMD purchased ATI a while ago. This is just the first set of Macs with the rebranded video.
post #11 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by grilla View Post

Please give me a speed comparison between my Imac 3.06ghz Intel core duo 2 vs the new Macbook Pro 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with the same amount of ram. I have no idea if a 2.0 core i7 matches up favorably with a 3.06 core duo 2. If I does I want the Macbook instead.

It could be at least as fast as your iMac. At least in terms of raw CPU power. But... Wait for the benchmarks. And what quad core apps will you be using? Sigh anyway all this stuff is getting too bloody confusing for me.
post #12 of 104
I have to say it looks like they just wanted to get this out of the way and move on to the actual main event, the iPad 2. iPad is the future.
post #13 of 104
.....
post #14 of 104
Such crap old graphics cards

Yeah lets benchmark them against a 3 year old game and a 6 year old game
post #15 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by OmicronTurtle View Post

Such crap old graphics cards

Yeah lets benchmark them against a 3 year old game and a 6 year old game

Man you would bitch if they hung you with a new rope eh......
post #16 of 104
I like the introduction of the light peak...er, thunderbolt. I am also happy with the fancy speed bumps. I guess we will see a real redesign later on down the road. The battery life of 7 hours worries me, but supposedly this is based on "real" usage. The benchmarks will let us know.

Only one thing disturbs me, and this seems indicative of Apple's recent money-grubbing. WTF is Apple doing charging for FaceTime? This is just nickle-and-diming the customers. I am sorry, but this should be included with MacOS and iOS. To charge for this after previously providing (similar) iChat with MacOS strikes me as a very Microsoft thing to do. Tacky Apple, tacky.
post #17 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Market_Player View Post

Man you would bitch if they hung you with a new rope eh......

No, everything else about the specs I like, but Apple continues to put poor graphics cards in their consumer and even "pro" products.

Dont bother with the get a PC for gaming argument. If Apple gave decent graphics cards in their products more and more new games would come to Mac
post #18 of 104
How are the graphics chips "old"? I understand that Intel's graphics chips are less capable than AMD or nVidia's, but the HD 3000 chipset is specific to the Sandy Bridge platform, which has been out for about seven weeks now.
post #19 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Only one thing disturbs me, and this seems indicative of Apple's recenty money-grubbing. WTF is Apple doing charging for FaceTime?

Wait until you see the prices for all the thunderbolt adapters you will need to carry around with your portable computer.

Also, FaceTime is an open standard so anyone can write a free FaceTime app for OSX...oh wait they lied about that too!
post #20 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

I like the introduction of the light peak...er, thunderbolt. I am also happy with the sped fancy speed bumps. I guess we will see a real redesign later on down the road. The battery life of 7 hours worries me, but supposedly this is based on "real" usage. The benchmarks will let us know.

Only one thing disturbs me, and this seems indicative of Apple's recent money-grubbing. WTF is Apple doing charging for FaceTime? This is just Nickle-and-diming the customers. I am sorry, but this should be included with MacOS and iOS. To charge for this after previously providing iChat with MacOS strikes me as a very Microsoft thing to do. Tacky Apple, tacky.

Since when has Apple given away new software for older Macs? Every time there is a new iLife suite released, it is only free and included with new Mac purchases. It's not like we can go online and download the updates for free.
post #21 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireball1244 View Post

How are the graphics chips "old"? I understand that Intel's graphics chips are less capable than AMD or nVidia's, but the HD 3000 chipset is specific to the Sandy Bridge platform, which has been out for about seven weeks now.

It doesn't matter when it came out or when it was designed, it's rubbish. Upon reflection, it is old in the sense that Intel's GPUs have lagged years behind Nvidia and AMD GPU technology.
post #22 of 104
I'm out... Too speechless.
post #23 of 104
Quad core CPUs with low MHz? That sucks. Also, Intel 3000 integrated - that sucks. I'll skip this iteration. And ThunderBolt? Any devices out there that support it? Apple just lost the game.
post #24 of 104
At least the 6750 is a DX11 card heh. Notebookcheck.net considers both GPUs to be midrange cards.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Quad core CPUs with low MHz? That sucks. Also, Intel 3000 integrated - that sucks. I'll skip this iteration. And ThunderBolt? Any devices out there that support it? Apple just lost the game.

You have it backwards. Everything doesn't have to support Thunderbolt, its upports everything. No need to gripe that you can't plug an esata device into your 15" MBP, just pick up an adapter and plug it into your Thunderbolt port. Voila. Also you do realize that the fastest quad (non-extreme) Sandy Bridge processor is only 2.3GHz right? The 2.3 is available as a BTO option. Read a bit before you bitch about the chips.
post #25 of 104
So here's a question. Thunderbolt is currently carrying PCI Express and DisplayPort. Would it be possible to put an external GPU on it? Is the bandwidth & speed high enough to support that? Imagine a 13" MBP with an external PCI Express rack with a fast graphics card. Or am I deluded?

- Jasen.
post #26 of 104
So, I'll strech my MacBook upgrade cycle for another year. Hope that they'll drop the DVD drive by then and slim the devices down. And 1280x800 pixel on a premium 13" in 2011? Come on...
post #27 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireball1244 View Post

How are the graphics chips "old"? I understand that Intel's graphics chips are less capable than AMD or nVidia's, but the HD 3000 chipset is specific to the Sandy Bridge platform, which has been out for about seven weeks now.

I think it's because of the Intel graphics heritage (crap, behind the times) and feature set support (no OpenCL, etc) - which is old.

ThunderBolt looks good - it's tunnelled PCIe. To make a Thunderbolt I/O device you add a Thunderport demux chip from Intel, and a Thunderbolt port (== Mini Displayport). The demux chip provides you with a standard PCIe connection (probably PCIe x4?) for standard PCIe peripherals - no new silicon design needed. This means products on the market very soon.
post #28 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by grilla View Post

Please give me a speed comparison between my Imac 3.06ghz Intel core duo 2 vs the new Macbook Pro 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with the same amount of ram. I have no idea if a 2.0 core i7 matches up favorably with a 3.06 core duo 2. If I does I want the Macbook instead.

Core 2 Duo - Two threads - 2 x 3.06GHz

Core i7 - Eight threads, Four cores - 4 x 2.0GHz

Core i7 also is around 20-30% faster per clock (haven't got the exact figures).

Core i7 can also Turbo for non-threaded workloads, I think up to 2.9GHz for a single core, but possibly up to 3.4GHz in that situation.

I would say in most scenarios the MacBook is faster than the Core 2 Duo, possibly scarily faster.
post #29 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Quad core CPUs with low MHz? That sucks. Also, Intel 3000 integrated - that sucks. I'll skip this iteration. And ThunderBolt? Any devices out there that support it? Apple just lost the game.

Troll go home.

If not troll, then read about Turbo and how it works with Intel's Sandy Bridge chips.

HD3000 graphics might suck ... but they also overclock so for most uses they will be adequate. Gaming will still be poor, you'll want the HD6750M based MacBook for that.
post #30 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

So here's a question. Thunderbolt is currently carrying PCI Express and DisplayPort. Would it be possible to put an external GPU on it? Is the bandwidth & speed high enough to support that? Imagine a 13" MBP with an external PCI Express rack with a fast graphics card. Or am I deluded?

- Jasen.

Technically - yes.

However 10Gbps is great for a cable, but PCIe-2 x16 internally does 80Gbps. And fast graphics cards do make use of it.

But you could connect a HD6490M via ThunderBolt, give it enough RAM and it should perform okay. Might be a little market in such adaptors for people with 13" MacBooks!
post #31 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

Since when has Apple given away new software for older Macs? Every time there is a new iLife suite released, it is only free and included with new Mac purchases. It's not like we can go online and download the updates for free.

This is NOT productivity software equivalent to iLife. This software is the equivalent to iChat - MINUS features...and iChat is free with OSX. I guess you did not read my entire post.
post #32 of 104
Really? Integrated Intel graphic chips in a MacBook Pro? Can you really classify this as a Pro product? Go Thunderbolt!
post #33 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Quad core CPUs with low MHz? That sucks. Also, Intel 3000 integrated - that sucks. I'll skip this iteration. And ThunderBolt? Any devices out there that support it? Apple just lost the game.

I agree EXCEPT for the light peak comment. When Apple introduced USB there wasn't anything that used it for a while. This isn't just an Apple creation...it is also an Intel standard. Give it time.
post #34 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanger View Post

Really? Integrated Intel graphic chips in a MacBook Pro? Can you really classify this as a Pro product? Go Thunderbolt!

Don't you get tired from saying that for four years straight? I certainly did. But then again, if you need professional graphics, you're not buying a laptop, anyway.

Yes. Go Thunderbolt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Malcolm in 1995 on Isla Sorna

Jobs creates personal computer. Jobs reinvents personal computer. Jobs spearheads USB. Jobs destroys ADB. Jobs reinvents tablet computer. Jobs destroys personal computer. Jobs spearheads Thunderbolt. Jobs destroys USB.

That quote might be a little off; it's been a while since 1995.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #35 of 104
I'm surprised that battery life went down, across the board. Faster processors, and some new goodies like Thunderbolt, but largely unremarkable. But the 13" used to boast 10 hours, and the 15-17" boasted 8-9 hours, and now battery life is just 7 hours.

This steers me much more towards a Macbook Air. I was hoping that, based on Jobs' comments that the new Air represented 'the future of the Macbook line', that it was immenent in this refresh. Even the Air webpage says "the next generation of Macbooks." Yet what we get in this refresh is mostly just faster old-skool technology. If the MBP had longer battery life and solid-state storage, I would have gone with a MBP. A 13" MBP configured with a 256GB SSD is $2550, compared to $1800 for a maxed-out Air. You end up trading a slower processor for lighter weight, but both have the same battery life.
post #36 of 104
No 13 matte option. Suck for few that werent going to buy a new Mac unless it was an option across the board.


Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

I'm surprised that battery life went down, across the board. Faster processors, and some new goodies like Thunderbolt, but largely unremarkable. But the 13" used to boast 10 hours, and the 15-17" boasted 8-9 hours, and now battery life is just 7 hours.

The battery life hasnt gone done. Theyve merely changed the way they measure usage. Jobs stated they were going to do this last year and their MBP pages explain this change in how the measure real world usage.
post #37 of 104
I loved that movie!
post #38 of 104
This was no re-design for sure, it is a Intel update (processor and Thunderbolt).... what has Apple been doing for the last two years? working on the air?

Because I need a laptop I will still be buying one today or ordering depending one what they have in stock.

Quad core makes me happy...
Thunderbolt... time will tell (if I can add it to my mac pro then it is worth something)

The USB ports should be USB3 in the corporate world people will not be running around with Thunderbolt drives so the extra speed over USB2 would have been nice.
post #39 of 104
May I now laugh at all those Photoshop "experts" who were screaming "fake!!!" and argued about "faulty angles" and whatnot in those Thunderbolt port pics yesterday. BWAHAHAHAA.
post #40 of 104
Not much of an update at all. I'm disappointed. At a minimum, I expected something considerably lighter and what's with the same crappy, slow hard-drive?
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