Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro models for 2011 were revealed today, with upgraded processors, new ports and, well, downgraded graphics…
Apple has decided to drop NVIDIA graphics from its MacBook Pro laptop computers altogether, instead moving to AMD graphics in the 15 and 17-inch models. The 13-inch model, however, seems to have lost its NVIDIA GPU and traded it in for an Intel one, which is sure to annoy Steam loving Mac gamers around the world.
The good news is that the processor inside the 13-inch model has been upgraded to a dual core Intel i5 chip as standard. In the £999 model, the i5 processor is clocked at 2.3GHz. The more expensive £1299 model has gained an i7 chip, also dual core, which is clocked at a whopping 2.7GHz.
The hard drive inside the standard model has a capacity of 320GB, and the £1299 model gets a larger, 500GB, hard drive. There’s no mention of a solid state drive anywhere in the specs sheet, though – it seems as though we will have to wait for the 2012 refresh before more features make their way over from the new MacBook Air.
Both models share the same Intel HD Graphics 3000 chip, with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory. This may seem to be disappointing when compared to the dedicated graphics chips found in the other upgraded models, but it will be enough for some light gaming from the Mac App Store. Just don’t hold your breath for a decent frame rate on Crysis when you’re pottering around in Windows 7 land.
Again, both models share the same 4GB of DDR3 RAM as standard, which is great to see. With the graphics card sharing memory with the RAM, 4GB is good to have, especially when playing games and using other GPU intensive applications.
To my surprise, the screens on the 13-inch model haven’t seen any changes. Both computers still ship with the same 1280 x 800 display that can be found on the original unibody MacBook. Considering that the 13-inch MacBook Air ships with a display that has a resolution of 1440 x 900, the same resolution as the 15-inch MacBook Pro, many potential buyers may be disappointed in this area.
Also included on both of the updated 13-inch models is a Thunderbolt I/O port, which offers 10Gbps input and output for all of your peripherals, including storage drives, monitors, and anything else you interact with on a regular basis. Its ability to input and output to and from multiple devices will make it a real space saver, especially on the smaller models and even future models of the MacBook Air. I just have one thing to say: goodbye, USB 2.0, it’s been good knowin’ you!
All new models also come with a FaceTime HD camera to accompany the new FaceTime application which is now available on the App Store for 59p. It’s capable of capturing content in 720p, so you don’t have to deal with blurriness when making FaceTime video calls from your computer anymore. This is definitely a big improvement over previous iSight cameras, so it will be interesting to see just how good the quality is on these models.
You can purchase the new 13-inch MacBook Pro models from Apple for £999 or £1299.