Apple refreshes MacBook Pro lineup; faster CPUs, improved graphics, better battery life

Summary:Apple on Tuesday refreshed its MacBook Pro line of prosumer laptops with faster processors, more powerful NVIDIA graphics and longer battery life.

Apple on Tuesday refreshed its MacBook Pro line of prosumer laptops with faster processors, more powerful NVIDIA graphics and longer battery life.

All three sizes of MacBook Pro -- 13, 15 and 17 inches -- received an update.

The 13-inch model

Apple's most popular MacBook now features the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor, "for up to 80 percent faster graphics."  It also features a built-in battery that lasts 10 hours.

The 13-inch model now includes a faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB of memory, and is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 250GB hard drive priced at $1,199, and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 320GB hard drive priced at $1,499.

The 15- and 17-inch models

The new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors along with new automatic graphics switching technology that allows you to toggle between graphics from an NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M chip and a more energy-efficient Intel HD Graphics processor.

Apple says the new 15-inch and 17-inch models are "up to 50 percent faster than the previous systems" thanks to those Core i5 and i7 processors.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Using Intel's state-of-the-art 32 nanometer process, Intel Core i5 and i7 processors integrate the memory controller and Level 3 cache for faster access to system memory. Hyper-Threading technology improves data throughput by creating virtual processing cores, while Turbo Boost optimizes performance between the two processor cores, accelerating the system from 2.66 GHz to 3.06 GHz for intensive dual core tasks, and up to 3.33 GHz for single core tasks.

Apple claims The new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro now deliver 8 to 9 hours on a single charge. The 15-inch model offers an optional 1680 x 1050 resolution display.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in three models:

  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 320GB hard drive at $1,799;
  • 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 500GB hard drive at $1,999;
  • 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 500GB hard drive at $2,199.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and 500GB hard drive for $2,299. It has a 1920 x 1200 resolution display.

One more thing...

Apple says the MacBook Pro's glass multitouch trackpad now supports inertial scrolling.

Moreover, customers can choose optional 128GB, 256GB and 512GB solid state drives for their MacBook Pro.

As a reminder, once depleted, the built-in battery can be replaced for $129 or $179, which includes installation and disposal of your old battery.

All of the new MacBook Pro models are preloaded with Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

They're available now from the Apple Store.

Features & specifications

Here's a rundown of each model's specs:

13-inch MacBook Pro, 2.4GHz model

  • 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy display;
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB shared L2 cache;
  • 1066 MHz front-side bus;
  • 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
  • 250GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8X SuperDrivewith double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • iSight video camera;
  • two USB 2.0 ports;
  • one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
  • SD card slot;
  • combined headphone/line in (analog/digital);
  • glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • built-in, 63.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
  • 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.
  • MSRP: $1,199

13-inch MacBook Pro, 2.66 GHz model

  • 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy display;
  • 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB shared L2 cache;
  • 1066 MHz front-side bus;
  • 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
  • 320GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • iSight video camera;
  • two USB 2.0 ports;
  • one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
  • SD card slot;
  • combined headphone/line in (analog/digital);
  • glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • built-in, 63.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
  • 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.
  • MSRP: $1,499

Optional upgrades for the 13-inch MacBook Pro include up to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a 320GB 5400 rpm or a 500GB 5400 rpm hard drive and a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive.

15-inch MacBook Pro, 2.4 GHz model

  • 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
  • 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
  • integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 256MB of VRAM;
  • 320GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • iSight video camera;
  • two USB 2.0 ports;
  • one FireWire 800 port;
  • SD card slot;
  • audio line in (analog/digital);
  • audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
  • glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
  • 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.
  • MSRP: $1,799

15-inch MacBook Pro, 2.53 GHz model

  • 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
  • 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
  • 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
  • integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 256MB of VRAM;
  • 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • iSight video camera;
  • two USB 2.0 ports;
  • one FireWire 800 port;
  • SD card slot;
  • audio line in (analog/digital);
  • audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
  • glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
  • 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.
  • MSRP: $1,999

15-inch MacBook Pro, 2.66 GHz model

  • 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
  • 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache;
  • 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
  • integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 512MB of VRAM;
  • 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • iSight video camera;
  • two USB 2.0 ports;one FireWire 800 port;
  • SD card slot;
  • audio line in (analog/digital);
  • audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
  • glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
  • 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.
  • MSRP: $2,199

Optional upgrades for the 15-inch MacBook Pro include up to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a high resolution 15-inch 1680 x 1050 display in glossy and antiglare, a 500GB 5400 rpm or 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive and a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive.

17-inch MacBook Pro, 2.53 GHz model

  • 17-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1920 x 1200, glossy display;
  • 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
  • 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
  • integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 512MB of VRAM;
  • 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
  • a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
  • Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Gigabit Ethernet port;
  • iSight video camera;
  • three USB 2.0 ports;
  • one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
  • audio line in (analog/digital);
  • audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
  • glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
  • built-in, 95WHr lithium polymer battery; and
  • 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.
  • MSRP: $2,299

Optional upgrades for the 17-inch MacBook Pro include a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive and antiglare display.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Processors

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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