New MacBook Pros might look the same, but they represent ?three very big leaps forward.?

Apple refreshes MacBook Pro line-up, Thunderbolt added

Those big leaps are the Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with 1GB of memory and Apple’s proprietary I/O ‘Thunderbolt’.

With a 10Gbps transfer speed, Thunderbolt is double the speed of the latest industry standard I/O, USB3. External displays will connect via Thunderbolt, eliminating the need for a DVI port. The new tech does not make Firewire obsolete, however; the old port still present.

The new AMD graphics chips provide 1GB GDDR5 of video memory in the top models. Apple says the extra juice will help the laptops cope with “high performance gaming, pro video editing and graphics intensive applications.”

As always the MacBook Pro is fully customisable using Apple’s ‘configure-to-order’ system. For example, the popular 13” model starts at £999 for a 2.3 dual-core i5, however you can get 2.7 dual-core and an extra 180GB for the princely sum of £1,299.

“The new MacBook Pro brings next generation dual and quad Core processors, high performance graphics, Thunderbolt technology and FaceTime HD to the great design loved by our pro customers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

The front facing camera has been upgraded to HD to complement today’s commercial release of Apple’s FaceTime app for £0.59.

For full specs and pricing, visit the Apple store.

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