Apple updates MacBook Pro, adds Thunderbolt I/O

Summary:Apple has announced that it has updated the MacBook Pro lineup, adding new processors, updated graphics and a high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology.

Apple has announced that it has updated the MacBook Pro lineup, adding new processors, updated graphics and a high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology.

Gallery: Apple speeds up MacBook Pros

Here's the meat of the changes:

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,199, and comes with dual-core Core i3 and dual-/quad-core i7 processors offering up to 2.7GHz and Intel HD 3000 graphics.
  • 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature quad-core Core i7 processors up to 2.3GHz and AMD Radeon HD GPU with 1GB of video memory.

Overall, the new MacBook Pro models are 2x faster than their predecessors and feature 3x the graphics performance.

What's really new here is Thunderbolt - Thunderbolt I/O technology was developed jointly by Intel in collaboration from Apple, and offers two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps.

Note: Thunderbolt is an Intel trademark term, not Apple.

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.

In what is an interesting twist, Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Apple expects Thunderbolt to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O. Whether thast will happen remains to be seen.

Also new on the MacBook Pro is the built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation for crisp, widescreen video calls. 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 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, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Thunderbolt 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."

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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