Inside the New Line of MacBook Pros


Earlier, we covered the announcement that Apple had refreshed its lineup of notebooks and revamped the entire MacBook Pro offering.  Many of us already have MacBook Pros, or at least older MacBooks, and were very interested to hear that the new line uses i5 and i7 Intel processors that are renown for their mobile performance.  Many IT professionals were waiting for this jump in MacBook Pro technology to upgrade, so Apple should see a decent spike in sales.

The new line of processors from Intel is perfectly tailored for notebook computers.  The Core i7 offers a faster, more intelligent experience that applies processing power wherever it’s needed.  You can multitask applications faster and experience maximum performance in everything you do.  Intel created the Turbo Boost technology that works with the Intel Hyper-Threading technology, which maximizes the workload.  It dynamically assigns cores to tasks and distributes them to maximize performance, while at the same time over-clocking itself towards one intensive task if the need arises.

In layman’s terms, the new processor has four brains.  The chip, on its own, will decide whether to distribute those brains toward different tasks.  You can also combine all four brains into one “super brain” if you are doing something intensive, like rendering video or playing games.  When you aren’t doing anything big at all, like reading e-mail, the i7 will simply turn off Brains 2, 3, and 4 and just have Brain 1 active at a low speed.  Less power consumption means that your battery will last a lot longer than it did before.

One of the other tweaks of purely geeky interest is that Apple tweaked the serial number format of the new MacBook Pro.  The old format looked like this:

Manufacturing Location / Year of Manufacture / Week of Manufacture / Unique ID / Model Number
PP / Y / WW / SSS / CCC

Now, it looks like this:

PPP / Y / W / SSS / CCC

The new format utilizes one of 27 alphanumeric characters to denote the week of manufacture, beginning with one to nine and then moving on to letters.  Understanding the code is important because if you know where and when your system was made, you’ll know whether your machine will suffer from a given issue.

A website called iFixit put up an article where the authors bought a new MacBook Pro and then tore it down.  What they found out is that there were significant changes to Apple’s notebooks.  Some of the changes include a redesign and repositioning of the AirPort/Bluetooth card.  There is also a slight redesign to the speaker casing and no heat sink contact for the chipset hub.

Apple’s line of notebooks has always been seen as a luxury line of computers.  The new notebooks start off at $1,119 for the 13-inch, $1,799 for the 15-inch, and $2,299 for the 17-inch.  We decided to price out a mid-range 15-inch system to see where the middle of the road would be.  There are three different 15-inch models to choose from, so we picked the 15-inch 2.53 GHz model, which bumped the price to $1,999.

The system comes with 4 GB of RAM and you can upgrade to 8 GB for $400 more.  Many people use name-brand third party RAM to upgrade their MacBook Pros at 25% of the cost and you should too, so we’re not picking that upgrade.  The hard drive is a 500 GB 5400 RPM drive, which won’t do.  We’re going with the $50 upgrade to turn it into a faster 7200 RPM drive.  The display is a glossy wide-screen, but we want the Hi-Res Glossy, so that’s another $100.  We’re going to skip all of the other options except for the AppleCare Protection Plan to make sure our Mac will be up and running perfectly for the next three years for another $349.

Our middle-of-the-road laptop with much-needed feature enhancements came in at $2,498.  Remember, these new MacBook Pro notebooks are an amazingly powerful group of computers and if you are in line to upgrade, this is the generation to jump on.


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