Apple Refreshes Entire Notebook Line

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Apple has refreshed its entire notebook lineup--including the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air--adding in expanded graphics capabilities, greater storage capacities, and, in some cases, faster CPUs. Al of the new models are available now, except for the MacBook Air, which will ship in November.

MacBook Pro: New Graphics, Faster Processors, Expanded Memory
On the higher end of the notebook spectrum, the new MacBook Pro lineup features models that sport two separate graphics chipsets: an Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics processor, which can be used to conserve battery life and reduce energy consumption, and an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT discrete graphics processor. The integrated 9400M, which is also now standard on the 13-inch MacBooks (see below), offers 16 parallel processing cores. The discrete 9600M GT sports 32 processing cores and offers performance of 120 gigaFLOPS. Depending on configuration, the 9600M GT comes with either 256 MB or 512 MB of GDDR3 video memory.

Specs for the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro base models are as follows.

2.4 GHz MacBook Pro ($1,999 retail):

  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3 MB shared L2 cache and a 1,066 MHz frontside bus;
  • 2 GB, 1,066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM;
  • 250 GB SATA drive;
  • Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card with 256 MB GDDR3 video memory;
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
  • Slot-load 8x optical drive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • One gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port;
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion slot;
  • Combo optical and analog audio I/O ports;
  • Built0-in iSight camera; and
  • A new glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard.

The specs for the base 2.53 GHz MacBook Pro ($2,499 retail) are similar, but have the following differences:

  • 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 6 MB shared L2 cache;
  • 4 GB, 1,066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM;
  • GeForce 9600M GT graphics card with 512 MB GDDR3 video memory; and
  • 320 GB SATA drive.

Neither has a FireWire 400 port.

Apple also notes that the new MacBook Pros, like the new MacBooks, use a new "unibody" design, with the enclosure built from a single piece of aluminum.

With 15.4-inch MacBook Pro models, BTO options include a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 320 GB 7,200 rpm hard drive (the base models being 5,400 RPM), and a 128 GB solid state drive.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro ($2,799 retail) has also received an update. The 17-inch models now come standard with a 1,920 x 1,200 LED-backlit display and a 320 GB hard drive.

13-inch MacBook: New Graphics, New Design
The 13.3-inch entry-level MacBook line also receives an overhaul. The new models have been redesigned with an aluminum enclosure and improved graphics capabilities. The models come standard with the Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics system. As noted previously, the 9400M offers 16 parallel processing cores and, according to Apple, boast 3D performance five times greater than the line's previous (Intel) integrated graphics.

The 13.3-inch MacBooks are available in two base configurations. one using a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3 MB shared L2 cache with a 160 GB internal SATA drive and one using a .4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3 MB shared L2 cache with a 250 GB internal SATA drive. Other features common across the line include:

  • 2 GB, 1,066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM;
  • Slot-load 8x optical drive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • One gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 2.0 ports;
  • Built-in iSight video camera;
  • Combo optical and analog audio I/O ports; and
  • The new glass Multi-Touch trackpad.

Like the MacBook Pro, the MacBook line no longer offers a FireWire 400 port.

The 2.0 GHz model sells for $1,299. The 2.4 GHz model sells for $1,599. A white 13-inch MacBook with a 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor is also available for $999. (The white model does retain the FireWire 400 port.)

MacBook Air: Faster Architecture and Graphics
Like the MacBook and MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air will feature the new Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics system. It will also gain increased base storage capacity and a faster architecture. The two base configurations for the MacBook Air include one with a 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 6 MB shared L2 cache and a 120 GB internal SATA drive and one with a 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 6 MB shared L2 cache and a 128 GB solid state drive. Other features include:

  • A 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1,280 x 800 glossy display;
  • A 1,066 MHz frontside bus;
  • Base 2 GB, 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM;
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Built-in iSight video camera; and
  • One USB 2.0 port.

The 1.6 GHz MacBook Air will sell for $1,799 retail. The 1.86 GHz MacBook Air will sell for $2,499.

Further information about the new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air lines can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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