Thunderbolt

The new MacBook Pros offer the array of ports we're used to, plus something a bit different.

A new port called Thunderbolt replaces the Mini DisplayPort found in earlier models. Formerly codenamed Light Peak, the new Intel standard promises up to 10 Gbps bi-directional data transfer speeds and connectivity for an array of devices, from displays to hard drives. The standard also supports 8-channel audio, which should make for easy connection to HDMI devices with the right adapter, and up to six different Thunderbolt devices can be daisy chained together according to the Intel specs. 

Most of the given use scenarios for Thunderbolt focus on external hard drives, displays, and HD video hardware, and adapters for existing standards like eSATA and Firewire. If Thunderbolt ports become more widespread, we'll probably see additional applications of the standard.

Finally, it's worth noting that if you've already spent money on Mini DisplayPort adapters, dongles and cables for your existing Mac, those accessories will continue to work with the new Thunderbolt port.

Look for more from us on Thunderbolt shortly.

Conclusions

Thunderbolt aside, there's not much that surprises about the new MacBook Pro lineup - as usual, new, faster hardware is being sold to us in the same attractive unibody case to which we've become accustomed.

Most of the additions are welcome, though the value proposition continues to be a struggle. As usual, to save money, you're better off buying the base model and adding RAM or a new hard drive yourself than paying Apple's price for upgrades.

The move to Sandy Bridge is interesting but the lack of any mention of Quick Sync is a bit bothersome. We’re working on our review of the new platforms, expect to see results in the coming days.

The Facts
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  • PubicTheHare - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Anand,

    In your preview review of the 15" MBP, you said to wait for the next revision of Arrandale with a smaller die size. Would this latest refresh be what you were referring to?

    I want to know a few things:

    1) WHEN can we expect TRIM in OSX and is the OCZ Vertex 3 the drive to get for Mac?
    2) Is there hardware acceleration of Flash in the AMD gfx card drivers for the 15" MBP?
    3) How hot does the chassis get under heavy use?
    4) How easy is it to replace RAM, HDD/SDD?

    You guys always do the best reviews of Mac stuff!

    Thanks, man. Hope the jetlag is gone.

    Regards,

    -O
    Reply
  • PubicTheHare - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Sorry, I meant "previous review" !

    I'm fried from the gym :(
    Reply
  • KPOM - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    I've read that developers who have installed OS X 10.7 report that it includes TRIM support. Reply
  • kevith - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    I find it great, when companies cut the corners in the storage department, i.e. RAM and physical drive, since these are the only parts you can upgrade in a laptop on your own.

    Which is always cheaper, and especially in the case of Apple hardware.

    Take the cheaper 15", put in a decent SDD and another 4 GB of RAM, and you're much better off.
    Reply
  • rachenbrazil - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Will Intel HD 3000 be better than Nvidia 320M ? Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Based on Anand's review of the "new" mobile Sandy bridge:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4084/intels-sandy-br...

    It appears as though the HD 3000 is a little bit faster than the 320m in the MBP 13" Core2Duo P8600 model. At least, when paired with the 2820QM variant. The MBP 13" refresh includes up to a 2620M (dual core) processor, it looks like, which has the same integrated graphics card as the 2820QM chip.

    However, the processor in the 2620M is, I think, substantially faster than the P8600 included in the older MBP 13".

    BTW, I'd LOVE to have a 13 foot MBP! Though I think that "Book" would have to be dropped from the name...
    Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    MacTable Pro! Reply
  • Zensen - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    the worse thing about this upgrade is the blatant arrogance of leaving out USB 3.0. I love the lightpeak technology now known as thunderbolt but with usb 3.0 being backwards compatible its just a bloody shame really.

    Physically this laptop looks exactly the same as the last iteration.
    Reply
  • johnspierce - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    Since Intel is not supporting USB 3.0, I'm betting it will die. If this was just Apple pushing lightpeak I would be in agreement with you, but with Intel pushing it I think we just heard the death nell for USB 3.0.

    I personally cannot wait for a Thunderbolt Compact Flash reader so I can get my 16gb of photos from my D300 to my computer in 20 seconds instead of 5 minutes!
    Reply
  • Penti - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    They is with the 7-series chipset with Ivy Bridge sometime next year or so.

    I don't think all devices will move to a PCIe interface. And your CF card isn't going to pull 820MiB/s :D The fastest ones are specced at 90MB/s. You ~50MB/s card should not have that much of a problem with USB 2.0 =P
    Reply

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