MacBook Pro update sneaks in under radar


MacBook Pro at the desktop.

Apple has quietly sneaked in some updates to its MacBook range of laptops. Processors were update by miniscule amounts; just 0.1 and 0.2 GHz (yes, I’m afraid its not 1 and 2 GHz!). Hard drives were updated by 180GB and 250GB and the graphic cards have also been given a boost.

Here are the details:

  • 13″ MacBook Pro base model has a 2.4 GHz processor and 500 GB hard drive, boosted from 2.3 GHz and 320 GB.
  • 13″ MacBook Pro model has a 2.8 GHz processor and 750 GB hard drive, boosted from 2.7 GHz and 500 GB.
  • 15″ MacBook Pro base model has a 2.2 GHz processor, up from 2.0 GHz. The 500 GB hard drive remains unchanged. The AMD GPU is now a 6750M with 512MB VRAM (up from a 6490M/256).
  • 15″ MacBook Pro high-end model has a 2.4 GHz processor, up from 2.2 2.3 GHz. The 750 GB hard drive remains unchanged. The AMD GPU is now a 6770M with 1GB of VRAM.
  • 17″ MacBook Pro model has a 2.4 GHz processor, up from 2.2 GHz. The 750 GB hard drive has not changed. Its AMD GPU is also a 6770M with 1 GB VRAM (up from the 6750M).

Prices remain unchanged s although this isn’t a major update its nevertheless a welcome one.

Macbook Air – Intel’s new ULV chipset rumoured as CPU choice

Intel Core i7 logo as of 2009

Image via Wikipedia

As rumours hot up about the next refresh to the Macbook Air range, the question on everyone’s lips is which CPU will Apple go with; will it be Intel’s new ULV chipset?  Intel recently announced the specification and price fo the new ultra low voltage (hence the ULV moniker):

  • Core i7-2677M: 2 cores, 1.8 GHz (turbo boost to 2.9 GHz), 4 MB cache, 17 watts, $317
  • Core i7-2637M: 2 cores, 1.7 GHz (turbos to 2.8 GHz), 4 MB cache, 17 watts, $289
  • Core i5-2557M: 2 cores, 1.7 GHz (turbos to 2.7 GHz), 3 MB cache, 17 watts, $250

Certainly, with the Macbook Air, the ULV chipset would seem to be the way to go. There has been talk in the past of Apple choosing AMD over Intel. Whilst ARM processors have traditionally ran circles around Intel’s designs in power consumption, dominating the small mobile device market, it’s hard to see Apple jumping ship when its just refreshed other parts of its hardware portfolio with the latest Sandy Bridge processors. Certainly, AMD’s new Fusion processors are looking pretty good themselves, with strong integrated graphics than current Sandy Bridge offerings, equivalent power consumption, and a lower price tag. Could be a close call. DailyTech even mentions the possibility of an ARM-powered Mac notebook. Another possibility is that we could see a black anodized aluminum case version.

Whichever choice Apple makes (and for now I am going with Intel’s ULV chipset), the future of the Mac notebook market certainly looks brighter than ever.

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Mac Pro 16-cores rumoured to be immnent

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Rumours are that the next refresh for the Mac Pro will include 16-core models. 9to5 site claims that official Apple papers reveal that there will be 4 models, ranging from a single 6-core CPU model to one with dual 8-core CPUs. As none of the current Xeon 5000-series processor family used by Apple can go to eight cores this would indicate a yet to be revealed Intel processor is in the works.

It will a year next month since the last refresh of the Mac Pro range and the rumoured updates will mean that the Mac Pro will be a powerful platform for professionals using it for video and graphics applications.

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Upgrade your new iMac!

The Power Macintosh 6100/60, the first Macinto...

Image via Wikipedia

Seems from iFixit’s latest dismantling of the new range of iMacs released just yesterday that both the CPU and GPU are removable. This opens up the possibility of upgrading your iMac if either should fail in the future, or simply replacing either with faster version at a future date. This is great news for those of us who hate having to get a new Mac just to ‘keep up to speed’. Most Apple hardware last for years, certainly longer than most PC stuff (in my experience you are lucky to get 2-3 years out of a PC whilst I have a PowerMac that still works 16 years after I bought it!).

How soon we will see actual upgrades being available is anyone’s guess but expect some to appear in the next year or so from the likes of  Newer Technology. Let’s hope Apple continue this practice with future Macs, especially portables. how cool to be able to upgrade not only the RAM and HD in your Mac but the CPU and GPU as well!