Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro - InformationWeek

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Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro

Faster Intel Core 2 Duo processors and an LED-backlit display help usher in next week's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple on Tuesday upgraded its MacBook Pro product line with faster Intel Core 2 Duo processors and an LED-backlit display on the smaller model.

The 15- and 17-inch notebooks are powered by Intel's latest Core 2 mobile processors, code-named Santa Rosa, which started shipping last month. With speeds up to 2.4 GHz, the new processor has a Turbo Memory feature that boosts hard-drive performance with a flash-based cache. It also supports the faster 802.11n wireless technology that offers a throughput of up to 74 Mbps.

To improve graphics rendering, the machines include the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics controller. The 15-inch model has a mercury-free, light-emitting diode display, which is more durable and lighter than liquid-crystal displays found on most notebooks. Apple isn't the only computer maker that offers LED displays. Hewlett-Packard is adding the same screen to an ultralight notebook set to ship in the third quarter.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro has an optional 1920-by-1200 pixel display for people who need a higher-resolution screen. Other optimal features in both models include up to 4 Gbytes of 667-MHz DDR memory, and hard drives with capacity up to 250 Gbytes. The smaller model weighs 5.4 pounds, and the larger one 6.8 pounds.

Three models are available now. The 15-inch with a base configuration of a 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 Gbytes of memory, and a 120-Gbyte hard drive sells for $1,999. The 17-inch model starts at $2,799 with a 2.4-GHz processor, 2 Gbytes of memory, and a 160-Gbyte hard drive.

The laptop refresh comes a week before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple is expected to demonstrate a full-feature version of Leopard, the next version of the Mac operating system. The demo is expected to include integrated Windows interoperability. Apple said it plans to hand out beta copies of the OS at the event, which runs from June 11-15.

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