Apple release new MacBook Pro line up, Thunderbolt on-board

Macbook Pro 2011

Overnight Apple have refreshed their MacBook Pro line-up, lets take a look at what’s new:


We have heard of Light peak for a while now, but this morning that became Thunderbolt. The new Macbook Pro’s will be the first consumer device to support the technology. Thunderbolt is based on two technologies, PCI Express and DisplayPort and because of this you can connect monitors and high-speed peripherals on the same port with out hubs. Devices can be daisy-chained together, similar to USB today, but because of increased bandwidth, it can support multiple high-speed peripherals which can range from NAS boxes to monitors. Thunder bolt provides two 10-Gbps channels, an amazing 12x faster than Firewire 800.

“The fastest, most versatile I/O ever in a notebook”

Screen shot 2011-02-25 at 1.15.17 AM

So now the question becomes.. how quickly with Thunderbolt arrive on peripherals and our PCs. Certainly if your choosing a NAS box, you’d want to make sure it was Thunderbolt (terrible name) was supported. That would allow you to work directly from your mass-storage, rather than locally first, then pushing up to the storage when the project is complete.

Intel i7 Quad-Core Processors

Apple are throwing in the brand new quad-core Intel Sandy-bridge chips, running up to 2.3 GHz. This additional speed, combined with up to 8GB of 1333mhz memory allows for HD Video editing – on a Macbook. These Sandy-bridge chips provide up to double the performance as the previous generation of MacBook Pros. Power efficiency in the new processors also means there is good news for battery life.

Screen shot 2011-02-25 at 1.24.04 AM

AMD Radeon HD 6490M

Rumors were that Apple would use new Intel graphics (the 13” does), however instead the ditched Nvidia graphics in higher-end models, in favour of returning to AMD. The new AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 1GB of dedicated video memory, can deliver up to 3x performance over previous generation MacBook Pros

Screen shot 2011-02-25 at 1.25.01 AM

FaceTime HD

FaceTime is reaching maturity with the new Macbooks’ iSight cameras rebranded as Facebook HD. This now allows you to make 720P video calls to other iPhones (and potentially iPad 2). There’s also been some important work done with low-light performance, something most cameras struggle with.

Everything Else

Well everything else is much the same, the design is a little different, incorporating the thunderbolt port. But still sleek as ever.


Once again we see Apple setting the benchmark for laptops and technology standard. There’s likely enough new in these refreshed MacBook Pros to entice existing owners to upgrade. 7-hours and killer performance is certainly enticing me. Just get ready to crack open that piggy bank now.

Prices start for A$1,399 and range up to A$2,899 for the 17” muscle-building model. Then you can get into customisations which would drive the price even harder. As an owner of the first aluminium laptop I can say its easily the best designed hardware I’ve used.


Read more @ Apple

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