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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New iMacs arrive!


New iMacsAs predicted, Apple has announced a refresh of its iMac range of all-in-one desktop computers. As predicted in my earlier post, Apple has indeed gone with the AMD Radeon 6000 series GPU, only it has gone for a higher spec than I expected; 6750M or AMD Radeon HD 6770M in the entry-level models and HD 6770M or AMD Radeon HD 6970M in the 27″ models.

As expected, they have gone for the new Intel Sandy Bridge Quad Core i5 processors, only this time they have gone for slower clock speeds than I thought; 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 in the entry-level 21.5″ models (I thought they would go for 31.GHz and 3.3GHz respectively). They also went for 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 in the 27″ models, compared to 2.8GHz and 3.4GHz respectively as I suggested.

However, all models come with Thunderbolt as expected (single port in the 21.5″ models and two in the 27″ models), along with HD backlit LED screens (1920×1080 in the 21.5″ models and 2560×1440  in the 27″ models – a 78% more pixels compared to the 21.5″ models).

More detailed specifications:

  • Storage: 500GB or 1TB in 21.5″ models; 1TB in 27″ models. Configurable with 2TB or 256GB SSD in all but entry model.
  • Video & Canera:
    • FaceTime HD camera
    • Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to a 30-inch display (2560×1600 pixels) on an external display
    • Support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes

Audio:

  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Two internal 17-watt high-efficiency amplifiers
  • Headphone / optical digital audio output (mini-jack)
  • Audio line in / optical digital audio input (mini-jack)
  • Built-in microphone
  • Support for Apple iPhone headset with microphone

Expansion ports:

  • One Thunderbolt port on 21.5-inch iMac
  • Two Thunderbolt ports on 27-inch iMac
  • Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, VGA and dual-link DVI (adapters sold separately)
  • One FireWire 800 port; 7 watts
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • SDXC card slot
  • Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • Audio in/out
  • 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
  • IR receiver

Wireless & Networking:

  • 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking;2 IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology
UK Prices:
  • 21.5″ 2.5GHz – £999 inc. VAT & free delivery
  • 21.5″ 2.7GHz – £1249 inc. VAT & free delivery
  • 27″ 2.7GHz – £1,399 inc. VAT & free delivery
  • 27″ 3.1GHz – £1,649 inc. VAT & free delivery