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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  • johnspierce - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    I think Kahlman79 is talking about the $250 bump from the 2.2ghz processor to the 2.3ghz. They have the same 1gb graphics chip. The 2.0ghz one has the 256mb chip. So the 2.3ghz really is $250 higher for that .1ghz bump. It has a much larger cache though. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    "It’s worth noting that Apple’s new laptops were apparently not delayed much by the SATA bug discovered in the 6-series chipsets last month – this likely means that Apple is shipping the affected B2 stepping parts but only using the 6Gbps ports."

    First thing is a notebook motherboard is likely soldered with only 2 sata ports and there is no Marvell SATA chip to handle SATA3, unless these MBPs have that designed in. Unlikely!.

    Then, it would be afflicted by the B2 stepping bug. Apple will deny this publicly but will get a lot of flak for it. It might offer to exchange it later for people with Applecare. SO it might not affect so many units but still the low-end unit was a Macbook before and it did not get much respect in most stores.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    Kudos to Apple for the nice CPU upgrade and especially for Thunderbolt, which gives them an interface PCs won't have for another year that is miles ahead.

    I have to agree, the inclusion of 5400rpm drives makes me laugh out loud, literally. Really. In premium laptops like these, can't spend another $2 to make a significant performance increase in your system?

    All you laptop makers out there, one of my "benchmarks" for laptops is whether or not they carry a 5400 or 7200rpm hard drive, at a minimum. It's a pass/fail test. Guess which one fails?

    ;)
    Reply
  • ioannis - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    is it me, or does the bezel look thinner in this picture? have they reduced the bezel on the new line? Reply
  • hlovatt - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Any date for your full review; wondering which one to buy. Reply
  • (ppshopping) - Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - link

    welcome Reply
  • jb510 - Saturday, March 5, 2011 - link

    Any change of benchmarking the Apple OEM SSD soon? Or has anyone seen a benchmarking I've missed? Reply
  • lili53 - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    welcome Reply

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