Apple's 'Thunderbolt' MacBook Pros

Apple's 'Thunderbolt' MacBook Pros

Summary: Apple's latest MacBook Pros introduce Thunderbolt I/O technology, formerly codenamed Light Peak.


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  • Apple has updated its MacBook Pro family with Intel's Sandy Bridge processors (which include integrated on-die HD Graphics), a new FaceTime HD camera and, most interestingly, the first implementation of an Intel-co-developed I/O technology called Thunderbolt (formerly codenamed Light Peak).

    The entry-level 13in. MacBook Pro comes with a 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, integrated HD Graphics and a 320GB hard drive and costs from £832.50 (ex. VAT). A 2.7GHz Core i5 CPU model with a 500GB of storage starts at £1,082.50 (ex. VAT).

    The mid-range 15in. MacBook Pro with a 2.0GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, discrete AMD Radeon HD 6490M graphics and a 500GB hard drive costs from £1,290.83 (ex. VAT); a 2.2GHz Core i7 model with Radeon HD 6750M graphics and 750GB of storage starts at £1,540.83 (ex. VAT).

    The top-end 17in. MacBook Pro has a 2.2GHz Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics and a 750GB hard drive and costs £1,749.17 (ex. VAT).

  • Thunderbolt technology supports data transfers at up to 10Gbps in each direction at the same time, and carries both PCI Express and DisplayPort traffic. Future implementations that use fibre-optic cables rather than copper will have a theoretical transfer rate of 100Gbps. Thunderbolt products are backwards-compatible with existing Mini-DisplayPort devices as they use the same connector (DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI and VGA displays can be used via existing adapters); up to six Thunderbolt devices can be daisychained.

    Apple and Intel expect the technology to be widely used in professional audio and video applications.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Reviews


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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