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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  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    There is only $100 difference between the twoparts, yet crApple is charging an extra $300 for the upgrade. Oh, yeah it does include a hard drive upgrade also, but what's that worth, $10? Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    less vibration, less noise than 7200rpms IME ...But really I'd get an SSD for none of either.

    I'd like to see a review from anand
    Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    In my experience the 7200RPM's of today can be as quiet, cool, and vibration free as the 5200's. This isn't 2005 where 7200RPM means a constant clacking machine. Reply
  • johnspierce - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    Agreed. Apple must have bought a warehouse full of 5400 rpm drives. Reply
  • vision33r - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    I've owned maybe 20-30 PC notebooks in the past, very few hold resale value over time.

    Take a Dell XPS 16 that cost $1200 optioned out. Over a year, you have to put a ton of upgrades such as memory and SSD just to get rid of it for $700.

    My old Macbook Pro 15, over 3 years old bought for $1200 used, I've sold it recently for $1400. The only upgrade was a 500GB ($60) upgrade from 160GB.

    Not to mention the LED-backlit 1440x990 display was crisp and was one of the 1st notebooks at the time to have LED back-lit and back-lit keyboard and multi-touch touchpad.

    Not a single PC or laptop today can hold value this good.
    Reply
  • seapeople - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    You sold a 3-year-old MBP for $1400? Was it purchased by a blind boy in Rhode Island, by any chance? Reply
  • dav1dz - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Umm.. I thought they upped the memory reader to SDXC? Reply
  • jcompagner - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Apple is the only one (until now and maybe it stays the only one??) to have 16:10 screens!!

    17" with 1920x1200, why oh why can't i choose any where else that same screen... :(

    I want the same screen but not a apple.. But i think my 4 year old Dell Vostro 17" will still not really be replaced any time soon, and i really want to spend money on a new system, but i can't stand it to loose 10% of my vertical pixels! Vertical pixels are the most important pixels!
    Reply
  • Kahlman79 - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    I saw that on the 15" that I want there is a cpu upgrade for $250. This would boost the clock speed from 2.2 ghz. to 2.3 ghz. I was wondering if this is at all worth it or if I should just stay with the factory specs. Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    The higher end model also has a much faster graphics chip (3x the shader cores) and 1GB video memory (4x the base) in addition to the processor bump. Reply

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