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Macbook Pros Upgraded With Optimus & Core i5, i7 CPUs

Gordon Kelly

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Macbook Pros Upgraded With Optimus & Core i5, i7 CPUs

Judging by the current trending on Twitter you'd think we'd seen the second coming, but in fact Apple has simply gotten around to putting those tasty Intel Core i5 and i7 processors into its MacBook Pro ranges - you know, about 2 months behind everyone else.

Completely entitled moaning apart, the spit and polish does bring the 15.4in and 17in lines up to date. Core i5 2.4GHz (520M), Core i5 2.53GHz (540M) and Core i7 2.66GHz (620M) CPUs will be available and Apple has paired them with Nvidia's rather excellent GeForce GT 330M graphics chips and Optimus.

This latter point is possibly the most exciting since the power savings from Nvidia's dynamic GPU switching technology (see our full guide) leads to greatly increased battery life and Apple is boldly proclaiming the new models will last up to ten hours from a single charge. Naturally enough this can be sliced in half depending on the work you're doing, but it's a jolly good start. Also worth a mention is the new option of a 512GB SSD, though at a whopping £1,040 you could buy a second 13in MacBook Pro instead.

Both 15.4in and 17in MacBook Pros have 4GB of RAM by default along with 320GB or 500GB HDDs. Pricing starts from £1,499 (yes those It's-just-an-over-priced-PC accusations aren't going to die down any time soon) and shipping begins immediately.

Less encouraging is the short shrift given to the 13in MacBook Pro, which sticks with Intel Core 2 Duo processors and receives a less powerful GeForce 320M GPU. At least 4GB of RAM is standard now, though with the entry level model (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 250GB HDD) coming in at £999 and the step up a monstrous £1,249 (2.6GHz CPU, 320GB HDD) I don't need to tell you where the better value for money is.

Interestingly, all MacBook Pros (and indeed all Macs) continue to eschew Blu-ray drives for now. Odd since Apple was one of the format's earliest backers way back in March 2005...

Update: Yes, for those who asked: no USB 3.0, integrated 3G option or HDMI either. Apple will soon sell you a mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor though which you can carry around. And yes again, the new models are indeed expensive. Judging by your comments I wonder if this is the first time owners seem genuinely pleased they bought an old model just before new ones replaced it?!

Update 2: According to Apple Insider and a number of your comments, Apple has actually eschewed Optimus in favour of its own proprietary GPU switching tech. Seems like a lot of trouble to go to with an Nvidia chip when Nvidia itself offers a cheap and powerful solution, but that's Apple for you.

As yet we don't have any specifics about how Apple's tech differs from Optimus.

Link:

Apple UK MacBook Pro Product Page

GoldenGuy

April 13, 2010, 7:32 pm

It's not like I needed my 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo, 17" MBP to feel any older, especially where you have to actually log in and out to have the honour of harnessing the mighty graphics power of (drum roll) the 9600M GT. Actually, I'm just moaning - it does me just fine. I still wanted them to usher in Blu-Ray though, so third parties could get on with providing external drives. Raising the price to a grand wasn't very nice either. If they are going to do that you'd think they could give the 13" Pros the distinction between the regular plastic white ones by adding Core i3s.

Steve

April 13, 2010, 7:38 pm

The guys over at macrumors.com are rioting. They are not happy! I'm not sure what they were expecting but the natives over there are very restless.





They didn't take too kindly to my suggestion that they should just buy a brand new VAIO Z like I have done so they can have their "dream spec".

pimlicosound

April 13, 2010, 7:44 pm

I just bought a Macbook Pro 13, about a month ago, so in a way I'm glad that the new MBP13 hasn't undergone a radical upgrade. The price leap reinforces my impression that I got a good deal when I did. I got the base MBP13 new for £780 from Dixons, after discounts, and in my mind the small increase in RAM, HDD, CPU and GPU don't add up to an extra £220 of value.

Den

April 13, 2010, 7:52 pm

I'm glad the 13" model hasn't had too many changes as I recently bought a 2.53Ghz, 4GB RAM and 320GB HD for £1097 using two different comet vouchers. Lol.

rav

April 13, 2010, 8:18 pm

Blu-ray Gordon? Why would you want that bag if hurt? Surely everyone buys their movies from iTunes?





Are they trying to push people toward the iPad by raising MBP prices?

HarryGlass

April 13, 2010, 8:25 pm

The graphics cards & core processors were obviously going to happen (and more than two months behind everyone else), it's good they've added Optimus as well, but surprising they've not tweaked the machines in any other way. I doubt many Mac users are feeling a desperate need to upgrade.





But it seems this update is aimed at positioning Macs as viable gaming machines, their website even has a racing game as one of the main images. iPod/iPad are "gaming devices" now new notebooks with decent graphics cards, they're obviously changing their image.





No procesor upgrage for the 13" models is disappointing and indeed the whole upgrade is lacking. In the last year a lot of PC manufacturers have caught up or eclipsed Apple in design stakes, I felt they had to include something a bit more with this upgrade to justify their premium. But given how Apple has gone from oddity to cool (listening to my friends talking about Apple now is so different to 2 years ago) I think they can afford to be lazy.

Mark Horton

April 13, 2010, 8:30 pm

I too bought a 13" MacBook pro a month ago same spec at Den, I'm please I got one when I did. There's not much difference in spec. Got mine for £1100 to. The i5 15" are silly price, starting at £1499.

garbowza

April 13, 2010, 8:32 pm

It's been a long time coming, and while the new updates aren't quite as exciting as a brand new design, those of us looking for an upgrade will really welcome the improved specs.





As great as today's MacBooks look, it's interesting to remember that they weren't always so sleek. Here's a photo tour of some of today's MacBook predecessors!





http://thebusride.com/ride/mac...

Digital Fury

April 13, 2010, 8:33 pm

16 months for a refresh, yet still not possible to get embedded 3G, USB 3, eSATA or something as simple as Blu-Ray?

Pendejo Sin Nombre

April 13, 2010, 10:43 pm

"Apple has paired them with Nvidia's rather excellent GeForce GT 330M graphics chips and Optimus. This latter point is possibly the most exciting since the power savings from Nvidia's dynamic GPU switching technology (see our full guide) leads to greatly increased battery life and Apple is boldly proclaiming the new models will last up to ten hours from a single charge."





Apparently, according to Nvidia (via Appleinsider), Apple are doing their own switching rather than using Optimus.

stephenallred

April 13, 2010, 10:48 pm

They don't use Optimus, they use Apple's own tech.

Kerwood

April 14, 2010, 1:49 am

My, oh my!


I do not know, and I may never do, why it is that Apple always tempt me immensely and never manage to get me to buy a computer from them.


As it is, I am writing this on a Vaio FZ21 that is 4 years old, and apart from its inability to accomodate Windows 7 because of the proprietary buttons that Sony refuses to provide drivers for, is as serviceable as on its first day, including its full spec Bluray drive.


I like Mac OSX an awful lot and the look and feel of the Macbook pro is beyond anything I could wish.


That said, it seems to me that by pandering to the vociferous self-concious fanatics of its brand, Apple is being unable to open its market to people like me, who appreciate the convenience and intelligence of Mac OSX, but are not fanatic or self-concious enough to spend 50% more than is needed to cover their needs on a windows platform.


The legend may live on for Apple and its mass of fanatics, but I doubt very much Apple will significantly expend its market share with the current strategy.


Come on, Mr. Jobs, forget the sicopahnts that keep you in the niche, however self-righteous it feels in it, and reach out to people like me who are the core of the market.

Mathew White

April 14, 2010, 2:59 am

I'm very disappointed with this new Macbook Pro. I've been sitting on the money for the new 17" for over a month patiently waiting and can't believe the lack of new features.. surely a USB 3 port, SDXC port, blu-ray drive or larger capacity HDD wouldn't have gone a miss?! This is a rotton apple.

Vivid

April 14, 2010, 4:19 am

So, a 15" MBP with a Core i7 CPU is exactly £1000 more expensive than a Dell Studio 15 with effectively the same configuration (CPU, HDD, RAM, powerful GPU).





Is the weather nice on Planet Mac and do the nurses treat you well?

Dogers

April 14, 2010, 11:46 am

It's not £1000 more, it's £700 more..

Mike B

April 14, 2010, 12:57 pm

The price of admission has certainly been raised with the release of these new Macbook Pros. Still we don't want to many people to join the club!





Apple needs to watch it's pricing as I agree the price differential between a similar specified PC has now increased beyond an acceptable level, even taking the aluminium body, total cost of ownership and bundled software into account.





We will see in six months time if they priced them too high by the discount given in the next 'Black Friday' sale.

Pendejo Sin Nombre

April 14, 2010, 1:22 pm

I just tried speccing a Studio 15 out of curiosity and ignoring the time-limited discount, which expires end of today, got a difference of £619 when making the configs as close as possible. There's no denying it's a pretty hefty premium, but it's not £1K.





The most frustrating thing about the 15" is the lack of an ExpressCard slot. You shouldn't have to move up to the 17" to get one. I'd be more than happy with USB3 as an alternative but the lack of it at the moment is down to Intel rather than Apple I would have thought.

Vivid

April 14, 2010, 1:41 pm

@Dogers.


Core i7 MBP = £1799 Core i7 Dell Studio 15 = £749

Kenny ll

April 14, 2010, 2:04 pm

According to the US Computer Shopper review the difference between Optimus and the Apple GPU switching is that Optimus switches the discrete GPU on in addition to the integrated graphics, the Apple solution selects one or the other. The review states big battery performance increases over the previous model even with an i7 processor (6 hours plus of video!)

Kenny ll

April 14, 2010, 2:14 pm

In fact there's more info on the GPU switching on Gizmodo





http://gizmodo.com/5516517/the...

GherkingTR

April 14, 2010, 2:32 pm

I edit and composite HD video/animation, as well as a little web design. My Mac Mini gets pushed hard, but I get my work done.





After going from home-built PCs with better connectivity to a machine with less connectivity, I realised that I didn't 'need' a lot of features, despite being a power user. I just 'want' these features in a just-in-case scenario.





Big video projects were kept on an external FW800 drive, and for faster access, current projects would be moved to the machine's main hard drive. It still works fine for me, and I don't think Apple are so daft for not implementing cutting-edge tech in their laptops.





By keeping their Macbook Pros below a cutting-edge level, Apple are looking after their Mac Pro line. Serious users will get a hunk of a stationary workstation with a colour accurate monitor and all the connectivity they need. Mobile users sacrifice these speed/connectivity perks, or buy Apple's desktop machines.

Pendejo Sin Nombre

April 14, 2010, 3:23 pm

"Seems like a lot of trouble to go to with an Nvidia chip when Nvidia itself offers a cheap and powerful solution, but that's Apple for you.


As yet we don't have any specifics about how Apple's tech differs from Optimus."





If I'm reading the reports correctly it switches the IGP off when not in use whereas Optimus keeps it powered and switching is determined by the OS rather than an Nvidia supplied app. whitelist.

Dogers

April 15, 2010, 11:29 am

@Vivid - I'm not trying to defend the Apples :)





The £749 Studio 15 doesn't have the same specs as the MBP. Bump it up to similar (the screen res can't be matched for one) and the price is about £920 for the i7. I was looking at the base i5 last time though..

OpenSauce

April 15, 2010, 7:06 pm

Now the challenge is to find which of the dell,asus,sony laptops have a similar spec to apple and get to hackintoshing it. Typing this from a humble Toshintosh that does Ubuntu,Mac and WindowsXP/7, it does give me the best of all.

Digital Fury

April 19, 2010, 1:37 pm

"Seems like a lot of trouble to go to with an Nvidia chip when Nvidia itself offers a cheap and powerful solution, but that's Apple for you."





Actually it's a pretty good idea, if you want to avoid tying yourself to a vendor with proprietary schemes.

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