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They're Here

February 24, 2011 - Dave Hecei
As predicted by recent rumors, Apple has updated the MacBook Pro line. The online Apple Store went down this morning as it prepared for the update. It was back online several minutes later with new 13-, 15-, and 17-inch MacBook Pro models.

The 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros now have a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor as a standard. The 13-inch models come with either an Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, or the super-fast Intel Core i7 dual-core processor. These new processors all incorporate Turbo Boost 2.0, Hyper-Threading, and are based on Intel's new Sandy Bridge architecture. Sandy Bridge chips are designed with the processor, cache, memory controller, and graphics engine all on a single chip.

Turbo Boost 2.0 allows the processor to automatically boost the speed of the cores far above their base speed when needed. Hyper-Threading is a technology that Intel has used for quite some time. It allows a single core to process two threads at the same time. To the Mac OS, these new quad-core chips will actually look like there are eight processor.

The 13-inch Pro still has integrated graphics system - the Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor. We'll have to wait a little to get the benchmarks on this one to see how much of an improvement it is over the GeForce 320M in the previous 13-inch Pro model.

The 15- and 17-inch Pros will have both the integrated Intel 3000 plus a discrete AMD (who bought ATI) high-end graphics processor. The upper models have the new Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB of VRAM and the lower models have the new Radeon 6490M with 256MB of VRAM. Like the previous 15- and 17-inch models, the new ones will switch from integrated graphics, which uses less power, to the discrete graphics chips when extra performance is needed.

The new models are as follows:

13-inch 2.3GHz dual-core i5, 4GB RAM, 320GB HD  $1199

13-inch 2.7GHz dual-core i5, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD  $1499

15-inch 2.0GHz quad-core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD, AMD 6490M  $1799

15-inch 2.2GHz quad-core i7, 4GB RAM, 750GB HD, AMD 6750M  $2199

17-inch 2.2GHz quad-core i7, 4GB RAM, 750GB HD, AMD 6750M  $2499


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