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New MacBook Pro Laptops: Prices, Specs, Release Date Revealed

 |  |  |  |  February 24, 2011

Apple today released their new MacBook Pro laptops, and the new models further refine an already great series of personal computers.


Highlights of the new models include an upgrade of the 15-inch and 17-inch models to speedy quad-core Intel Core i7 CPUs. The 13-inch models can be ordered in dual-core i5 or i7 versions, so all the systems got a nice performance boost.


In addition to the CPU speed-up, the Radeon GPUs in the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros have benchmarked at up to 3 times faster than the GPUs in the prior models. To be specific, the 15-inch runs the AMD Radeon HD 6490M with either 256MB or 1GB of GDDR5 memory. The 17-inch has an Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB of memory. However, the 13-inch models run Intel HD 3000 graphics chips with up to 384MB shared SDRAM, so don’t expect the same video performance on these.


MacBook Pro CPU configurations include a dual-core 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz Core i7 on the 13-inch model,  quad-core 2.0 GHz, 2.2 GHz or 2.3 GHz Core i7 on the 15-inch model, and the 17-inch offers the same, minus the 2.0 GHz option. Display resolution on the 13-inch is 1280×800, on the 15-inch 1440×900, and on the 17-inch 1920×1200. All three models have LED-backlit glossy displays, with optional anti-glare versions available.


One letdown – no HDMI port yet. These MacBooks will still need a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, costing about $40 bucks and an annoying converter dongle hanging from your svelte aluminum computer if you want to connect an external display. Same goes for VGA and DVI. Here’s a quick look at the port configuration on each model:


The new models are all about speed, adding the first ever Thunderbolt I/O port, which supports blazing fast data transfer rates up to 10Gbps – an estimated 12 times faster than FireWire 800. The first Thunderbolt external drive, the LaCie Little Big Disk – was also announced today – but doesn’t ship until Summer. All models also incorporate FaceTime HD, a new version which allows widescreen video call in HD resolutions.


All models have backlit keyboards, a multi-touch trackpad, and 8X slot-loading SuperDrive DVD burner, and battery life rated at up to 7 hours. Base prices are $1199 and $1499 for the 13-inch variants, $1799 and $2199 for the 15-inch, and $2499 for the 17-inch. Prices go up if you want more than 4GB RAM, CPU upgrades or other add-ons. All models are available immediately, and can be ordered now over at the Apple Store.