During Apple's fall event on Tuesday (CNET live blog, ZDNET Apple coverage) the company announced a pair of zippy new MacBook Pros with Intel's fourth-generation processors (Haswell and Crystal Well) inside. While the new Intel silicon (combined with Mavericks) are destined to increase battery life, it's not Haswell that's got me excited. It's the new 1TB PCIe-based, flash storage.
Apple was the first OEM to ship PCIe flash drives in the Mid-2013 MacBook Air this June and the new drives are 45 percent faster than the previous SATA III flash-based models, and nine times faster than a hard drive. Apple claims that the PCIe-based flash drives in the new MacBook Pro are 60 percent faster than previous generation MBPs.
In June AnandTech benchmarked the new MacBook Air SSD with peak sequential read/write performance of nearly 800MB/s, so it's reasonable to expect that the new MacBook Pros will benchmark in the same ballpark - or better.
But for me, the best part is the brand-new 1TB SSD option:
Sure, it'll set you back another $500 (over the stock 512GB variety) but for me that's huge. It means that, for the first time, I'll be able to store my massive iTunes and Aperture libraries on my internal drive and not have to constantly connect external drives every time I want to work with my music or photos.
In the previous (Early 2013) MacBook Pro the largest SSD option available from Apple was a 768GB model, so the extra space will be a welcome addition to pros that work with a lot of media files.
Another welcome addition is the optional 16GB of RAM in the 13-inch model:
The February 2013 MacBook Pro 13-inch maxed out at 8GB of RAM, and you could only Configure To Order (CTO) the 15-inch model 16GB. Now both the 13 and 15-inch models are able to be equipped with 16GB of RAM for an additional $200. Since the RAM on Apple notebooks is soldered onto the motherboard and not able to be upgraded, you need to order it with 16GB of RAM at purchase time.
With a 1TB PCIe-based SSD and 16GB of RAM the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a creative force to be reckoned with and sets the bar even higher for professional-grade notebooks. Once I added AppleCare (another requirement in my book) and sales tax, my 13-inch rMBP set me back $2,940.36. It would have crossed the $3k barrier if I would have upgraded to the 2.6GHz core i7, but the large SSD and extra RAM are much better value propositions for me.
After you get over the sticker shock, the other downside is that the 1TB MacBook Pros aren't being stocked at Apple retail stores and must be special ordered (either online or through your business representative) and that will add an extra "1-3 business days" longer to your ship time.
What's your ideal MacBook setup? Did you order one?