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

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.

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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

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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Talkback

45 comments
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  • Disappointed with 13"

    What no Core i3 or i5 or i7 for the 13"? Been waiting so long for this now. A great disappointment.
    flash777
    • why are you so unreasonable?

      How can you expect a modern current generation processor, if all you're buying is an el cheapo 1,200 to 1,500 dollar 13 inch bargain model. Do you think Apple should loose money every time they sell a 13 inch macbook pro? And just so you you can have a processor that is from this year. they are already being incredibly generous giving 4 gigs of ram at no extra charge. not to mention that massive super fast 5400 rpm 250 gig hard drive.
      j-mccurdy@...
      • I vote for better CPU

        Its not about price j-mccurdy... its about the size of the laptop... I personally dont like large laptops, and find the macbook pro 13 inch the best compromise between size and performance... But for my work I need a high-performing CPU, and I wouldnt mind spending extra for a "this year" CPU on the macbook pro 13"
        needmorecpu
        • Doh

          He was making fun of Apple.
          evilkillerwhale@...
  • RE: Apple refreshes MacBook Pro lineup; faster CPUs, improved graphics, better battery life

    Apple Achieves Parity!

    After months of lagging behind performance wise, Apple updates their hardware to catch up to, if only temporarily, the PC. At nearly 2x the price of a comparable PC. I can" wait to stand in line for that bargain!
    richdave
    • Funny I just configured an HP Envy with

      comparable specs and no added software such as
      Antivirus or Productivity, just a base build, and
      the Apple Mac was a mere $71 more, with a battery
      that last 4 more hours. The Hp Envy did have a
      better graphics card, and I did include recovery
      media as that is standard with a Mac.

      Far from the exaggeration of twice the price.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • NOO!!!!

        NOOO!!! Don't confuse the Apple haters with any facts... they already
        know the truth... its all about feeling, you cannot be objective and keep
        your hate of Apple strong.
        doh123
        • this may surprise you but...

          It's not so much a hatred of Apple as it is of apple lovers. You know the whole were so superior you're so inferior and stupid thing, along with every single PC ever made is solid junk, because I used to have a PC and it broke down twice a day, and it also got viruses every day, and that means it happens to everybody who owns a PC and that's why I Love my Mac, because it's infallible. And so I never have to worry about it breaking down, because it's not possible because it's perfect.
          Now maybe you're not one of those guys, but there are legions of them out there, on every Windows PC site
          j-mccurdy@...
      • RE:Funny I just configured an HP Envy with

        The point is that Mac lags in performance due to its restricted hardware set. Always has, always will. This is not arguable by rational people.
        richdave
      • Let's see.

        The Envy is a gaming machine. Hence the Voodoo
        make. So let's try a "high performance" HP
        instead, shall we?


        NOTE: None of these prices are academic. If
        they were, there would be a bigger disparity.
        Also, Windows 7 pro is used here, because HP
        doesn't have Ultimate for these systems.


        Built an HP dv7t: Every spec is identical,
        except the HP has a 1.73 GHz processor instead
        of a 2.53, and the HP has a faster harddrive.
        The other thing being that the Mac has twice
        the battery life of the HP. The HP is about
        $1300. The Mac is $2300. Not exactly doubled,
        but pretty darn close. Plenty to buy several
        spare batteries for your HP if you think that
        you need more than the 4 hours at a time it
        offers.

        New comparison. The 15" Mac against the 16"
        dv6t.
        All specs the same except for the ones
        mentioned above, and that this HP has blu ray.
        Specifically, a burner. HP: $1635. Mac: $2199.
        Ouch. The mac STILL loses by over $500.




        Now, let's see what happens if you get a
        notebook from the place that the Envy comes
        from: Sager.

        All specs the same as mac except the Sager has
        a faster (2.8GHz) processor, the mac has 8 GB
        vs Sager's 6 GB of RAM (same speed) and it has
        Windows 7 Ultimate.

        Sager: $2429
        Mac: $2949.

        STILL over $500.



        So if the "better battery life" (not if you
        plan on running Windows, or if you plan on
        running any heavy programs) and a unibody are
        worth $500-$1500 extra, have at it. For
        everyone who cares at all about value, there's
        everything else.
        evilkillerwhale@...
  • HP Envy is still a better deal.

    nt
    Tea.Rollins
    • better for who?

      its better for who?

      "better" is a purely subjective term.
      doh123
    • Not even

      The Envy is a cheap imatation with crap battery life.
      tech_walker
  • Power supply is insufficient for the hardware

    You need at least a 130 watt for i7 + 330. Go apple throttling.
    Tea.Rollins
  • RE: Apple refreshes MacBook Pro lineup; faster CPUs, improved graphics, better battery life

    I 'was' a strong candidate to move from PC to Mac this year. Whether it is mobile (personal or business) use....or stationary home use, the fact that they have built in batteries is a non-starter for me. Who cares if the battery last up to 8-9 hours. When the life on the battery gets a little older and shorter, but long before you would normally replace a battery, WHO in their right mind...while on a trip...wants to 'trust' a laptop with an inferior battery performance. We have all been there before. One of the beauties of owning a laptop is its mobility of course...but also having a backup battery for insurance. Picture the Michelin Tire ads with the baby in the center of the tire...that message is also rings three times at this 'door'...do you want to put at 'risk' any possible business because you are not in control of something that you should be in control of...and are perceived by others as someone who should be in control of? Ingenious marketing Apple. Someone's marketing research team has some unique 3D glasses on. Yeh...I know the point about our environment and there is usually an AC plug somewhere...but a built in battery takes away full mobile and independent component of owning a laptop....IMeverHO.
    Red Doggie
    • the...

      the rare time that a replaceable battery would be nice to have as a "just
      in case" like on a trip, you can easily have an external battery.
      doh123
    • the battery TOP!!

      I'm a heavy user (professional) 15 months and already 275 full cycles
      on my battery

      Most batteries start dying on you at 250 cycles and would need
      replacing mine usually lasted a little over a year and a half. At
      (normal users would use 250 cycles in 2+ years)

      I still get up to 7 hours of battery life on my Mac after 15 months.
      BTW Apple guarantees the battery will be at 80% or more up to a 1000
      cycles. That should still give me 4-5 hrs of productivity after 4 years....

      Why would you carry a spare battery?
      |-Jabba-|
    • Battery Boy

      It seems to me that if you're business is so important and cannot handle any critical issues you would be smart in using a computer that won't crash on you or corrupt your data. Are you really working on this thing or playing Warcraft??? 8-9 Hours can basically get you anywhere in the United States on any flight and can charge up on layovers. For your car...use a cigarette lighter adapter. BTW I'm sure you will eventually drop your blackberry and go with an iphone as soon as Verizon starts selling them. Then you will have a seamless backup for all of your business needs. PC's are truly pathetic...they need tons of RAM just to operate bulky applications and operating systems. Play a video, use skype, ms outlook, internet explorer and watch your pc choke and hiccup and begin shutting down your ie pages and other applications one by one...oh ya whatever you do don't dare to try that while your pc is running it's morning ritual of virus scanning.....I hope you are not scared of the blue screen of death. Bye Bye Big Powerful PC and it's easy to access spare battery which you will definitely need. BTW have you ever tried to sell a 7 year old pc or do you give them to your sister's kids to play with like I do??? I can sell my 7 year old iBook G4 on ebay for $250-300 with like 25 people bidding on it any day of the week??? Ever thought of that ??? Doubt it...pc's have 0 resale value kinda like an american car vs. a japanese car. Now you can take that resale money and apply it to a new apple whenever you want. You seem like a smart business savvy guy who probably has lots of smart friends who use Macs what are you waiting for??? I know a smart guy like you could figure a strategy on how to best utilize 8-9 hours of battery life to run your business with a Mac. The day you come over and start using a Mac you will understand why we support Apple. We are sick and tired and frustrated with all of the B.S. associated with Windows OS. Come on buddy the water's fine just dive in...it's invigorating and hey you can write off your new Mac as a business/office expense. Take care.
      corbettaa
      • Your analogy...

        ...has problems with the accelerator gets stuck
        on your Japanese car.

        Or when your Macbook was causing 2nd degree
        burns a few years ago.
        Or when they have to throttle your processor
        because you don't have a powerful enough power
        supply.
        Or when they charge you more for the identical
        parts.


        Resale? Why ever resale? I have a 20 year old
        Acer that still works fine. I could put new
        parts in it and it continue running with the
        big boys. What's it like when your Mac gets
        outdated? Oh right, you just sell it to another
        Mac user who's willing to pay hundreds for
        decade old tech.

        Oh, your Mac doesn't run AutoCAD? Or Inventor?
        Or Office 2010? Or any 3D application? Well,
        can I relax and play games with it? No? Can I
        surf the web? Okay, it has the fastest
        Javascript and HTML browsing, how about flash?
        Oh, you stopped Adobe from allowing hardware
        acceleration, so all Mac browsers are slower on
        any flash based page?

        Well golly, why would I ever pay more for less?
        evilkillerwhale@...
    • No big deal. Just buy 2 or 3 or 4 of them...

      You're worth it.
      Feldwebel Wolfenstool