Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pros are seriously powerful. They’ve been given a huge CPU upgrade to Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors, come with larger hard drives than the previous MacBook Pro generations and pack some incredible graphics power in there too.
The new Sandy Bridge processors in the two 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro are of the Core i7 variety, with the £1549 model receiving a 2.0GHz quad-core (yes, quad-core) Intel Core i7 processor and the more expensive £1849 model featuring the same processor, but it is clocked at 2.2GHz rather than 2.0.
If you opt to buy the cheaper model, you will get a 500GB hard drive as standard. The more expensive model of the 15-inchers comes with a 750GB hard drive, which provides ample storage capacity for all your music and photos. Each model also comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM as standard.
So far, the specs between the two machines haven’t warranted a £300 price difference, but when you look at graphics card in both machines, things start to get much more interesting. Both machines come with the same built-in Intel HD Graphics 3000, with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory, as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but they also offer discrete graphics cards as well.
The £1549 model comes with the AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB GDDR5 memory, a very respectable graphics card for a notebook computer. The £1849 model, however, blows this out of the water and puts itself in another league entirely with the AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5 memory. As far as portable gaming power is concerned, the 15-inch MacBook Pro just placed itself nicely near the very top of the league. With a quad-core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and a graphic card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, you really can’t go wrong. Whether you’re gaming in Mac OS X with Steam or on Windows 7 via Boot Camp, you won’t have an issue playing any game of your choice.
The display on the new 15-inch models remains the same as the previous generation, with a 1440 x 900 resolution as standard. This surprises me; considering it’s the same resolution as the new 13-inch MacBook Air, I expected to see a significant increase in the resolution of the new MacBook Pro line-up.
If you don’t like the glossy display on the MacBook Pro, you can go for the optional matte finish on the display, and if you’re in a spending mood you can also upgrade the resolution of the display to 1680 x 1050, an option which was also available on the previous generation.
You will find a new Thunderbolt port on the new 15-inch model, like the 13 and 17-inch models, which offers transfer speeds of 10Gbps in both directions. There is also a Firewire 800 port as well as two USB 2.0 ports on the side of the notebook. The SD card slot has also been upgraded to an SDXC slot which allows for up to 2GB of storage on a single SD card.
Again, you can pick up the new 15-inch MacBook Pro models from Apple, for £1549 or £1849.