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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  • softdrinkviking - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    i think they were using the samsung stuff with the toshiba controllers if my memory serves.
    they're okay, but i also seem to remember that there was some performance degradation issues with those drives.

    here's the 2009 macbook pro review where anand talks about the ssd. (remove the space between the www and the .anandtechect, ect.

    http://www .anandtech.com/show/2783/apple-s-2009-macbook-pro-battery-life-to-die-for/6

    it'd be interesting to know if they stopped using the samsung ssd's, but i think it'll get mentioned in a full review if they do one.
    Reply
  • Wizzdo - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    This is a non-issue. Check the Apple site and you'll see that you can choose 7200rpm drives(albeit not as big) for no price increase. I think they listed the 5400 option first because of the larger sizes available. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Where do you see them for no price increase? Reply
  • secretanchitman - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    if you configure the high end 15" mbp and 17" mbp! :) Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Ah, I see it now. Its not there for the 13 inch, and you have to pay extra for the base 15. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Mr. Cunningham, I am seeing a blank second page with an equally blank title. Either I am missing some interesting commentary or we have one too many pages.

    Aside from that, good to see Anandtech's perspective on the refresh. For next year, we'll probably get a MBA-esque redesign. That liquid metal stuff has to pay off eventually, right?
    Reply
  • zorxd - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    What is even worse than the 5400 rpm drive on such expensive hardware is the 4GB RAM. If I paid $2500 for a laptop, I would expect to have at least 8GB.

    Oh yes and lightpeak is a joke. I guess less than 0,1% of Mac users will use this feature before buying a new laptop.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Point taken, however it is also the display port for this generation of MBP. So, a lot more people will use it than .1%.. Just not it's potential. Remember AMD64? Wonder how many people actually ran a functional OS in 64-bit on those original Athlon 64's. Reply
  • Sttm - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Even more silly is moving from 4gb to 8gb of ram costs $200. While retail that ram should only cost around $100.

    Though the store page only shows a $100 cost for moving to the 128 gb SSD. While retail that drive should be around $220.

    So I guess they have at least one decent deal.
    Reply
  • dagamer34 - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Yep, it's the only reason I got it. Even if you considered the default hard drive to be worth $100, it's well worth the upgrade. Reply

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