The Apple MacBook Pro: Intel Core i7 Unleashed


An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day

Every year, almost like clockwork, some things for Apple happen. A new iPhone is announced (or leaked really early by accident), a new iPod is released, and usually, some changes to its iMac and MacBook Pro line-up occur. In 2008, we saw the introduction of the aluminum unibody MacBook Pros while in 2009, we saw the MacBook Pros switch over to a non-removable battery format. Now in 2010, Apple has finally upgraded their offerings to embrace the newer Intel Core i5 and i7 processors for the 15-inch and 17-inch form factors.

The 13-inch gets a slight hardware bump but will still use the older Intel Core 2 Duo instead of the Intel Core i3 processors. It's probably due to the fact that NVIDIA doesn't have a license to interface with the newer Intel processors and Apple does want to offer a better graphics experience via NVIDIA's integrated chipsets as opposed to relying on Intel's own integrated HD graphics on the new processors. By doing so, Apple doesn't have to use discrete graphics for the 13-inch models and keep the cost and thermal design power of the entire platform low. Else both costs and cooling requirements will go up and would be tough to juggle in that form factor. Stepping up from the GeForce 9400M chipset previously, NVIDIA updated the GPU portion to incorporate the GeForce 320M (based on the same GT216 core as the desktop GeForce GT 220) so it should be a lot faster than the older 13-inch MacBook Pro notebooks.

We've previously reviewed a 13-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro, so our review of a 15-inch MacBook Pro seems quite apt. Instead of going for an entry-level SKU, we've requested for the top of the line model, and our review unit is as decked out as it can be - Intel Core i7 (2.66GHz), 4GB DDR3 memory and NVIDIA graphics in the form of a NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPU and augmented by the processor's own Intel HD Graphics engine. We'll be running the notebook in our benchmarking session to see how it holds up, but let's first focus on aesthetics of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which looks pretty similar to its predecessor without notable changes.

9.0
Design
9
Features
9
Performance
9.5
Value
8.5
Mobility
9
The Good
Extremely long battery life
Good performance
The Bad
Expensive