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Review Apple MacBook Pro - Core i7 2.2 GHz - 4 GB Ram

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Review Apple MacBook Pro - Core i7 2.2 GHz - 4 GB Ram - After a now-customary period of rumors, leaks, and anecdotal evidence, Apple's new generation of MacBook Pro laptops has arrived. And though these new models may look the same as the ones they replace, the changes under the hood are some of the most far-reaching in the history of the MacBook Pro brand.
Apple MacBook Pro - Core i7 2.2 GHz
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The 15-inch MacBook Pro moves from Intel's original Core i-series CPUs to the latest second-generation chips, formerly codenamed Sandy Bridge. Not only that, you can forget about seeing an Intel Core i5 CPU in your 15-inch (or 17-inch) MacBook Pro--these use high-end quad-core Core i7 chips now. Our step-up S$2,988 review unit had a 2.2GHz quad-core i7, with 4GB of RAM and a huge 750GB hard drive (at only 5,400rpm, however).

The biggest surprise is the 15-inch MacBook Pro's graphics processor. Instead of the Nvidia GeForce 330M graphics card previously found in these systems, the GPUs now come from Nvidia's longtime rival AMD. The base 15-inch model has an AMD Radeon HD 6490M, and our review unit had an even faster 6750M. With Intel's improved integrated graphics in the 13-inch models, that means that Nvidia has been completely ousted from the MacBook Pro line.

The iconic unibody aluminum construction remains, as does the large glass multitouch trackpad. Most of the ports and connections also remain the same, with one very notable new addition. Where the Mini DisplayPort connection used to be, now an identically sized port is marked with a lightning-bolt icon. That's for Thunderbolt, Intel's new high-speed powered-port technology for data transfer and displays. The Thunderbolt tech is envisioned as a sort of future unified successor to USB, FireWire, and DisplayPort, allowing peripherals to carry data and video at 10Gbps.

For now, at least, that promise is hypothetical. We have very little idea of exactly when Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals will be available (although Apple says the first ones should show up in the spring of 2011), how much they'll cost, or if Apple will be adding the technology to future displays or iOS devices. For now, it's a wait-and-see gamble on a future technology.
Apple MacBook Pro - Core i7 2.2 GHz
The lowest-cost 15-inch MacBook Pro is still S$2,499, following the usual Apple trajectory of keeping the price steady but adding faster, more powerful components. While we're still waiting for oft-requested extras such as HDMI, Blu-ray, and 3G, the speed and power of these new quad-core Core i7 CPUs is extremely impressive, and leaves even other recent MacBook Pros in the dust.

Specifications15.4-inch MacBook Pro
Processor2.2GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core
Memory4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive750GB 5,400rpm
ChipsetIntel H67
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6750M / Intel HD 3000
Operating systemOS X 10.6.6 Snow Leopard
Dimensions (W x D)364 x 249mm
Screen size (diagonal)15.4 inches
System weight (with AC adapter)2.54kg (2.81kg)

  • Design
By now, the shape and size of the MacBook Pro should be very familiar. Even more recent Apple designs, such as the second-generation MacBook Air, are basically just variations on it. The core building block remains the same: a solid block of aluminum, which is carved down into a shell with support struts. This unibody chassis has the benefit of being thin (for a 15-inch laptop), but strong and flex-free at the same time.
  • Features
The touch philosophy that informs the iPad/iPhone line of devices can be said to have its roots in the large multitouch clickpad-style trackpad that's been a staple of the MacBook Pro for years. Of the multitouch gestures, our favorite is sweeping up or down with four fingers to show or hide all your active windows. Once you get used to that, going back to a regular touch pad is difficult. A few new gestures are apparently coming to the next version of OS X, but you won't see those until this summer.

Several Windows laptops have added larger clickpads over the past year or so, with similar multitouch gestures, but we can easily say that none can yet compete with the MacBook Pro's implementation.

The 1,440x900-pixel display is still a higher resolution than many 15-inch laptops (many of which are 1,366x768 pixels), and two screen upgrades are available: a 1,680x1,050-pixel-resolution version for an extra $100, or a 1,680x1,050-pixel-resolution "antiglare" version for $150. That's a lot more flexibility than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which still doesn't have a glare-free or higher-resolution screen option (even though the current 13-inch MacBook Air has a stock 1,440x900-pixel resolution).
  • The good: Powerful updates to the CPU and GPU; excellent battery life; still the best touchpad and gesture controls of any laptop.
  • The bad: Upgrades can get expensive; Thunderbolt is an unproven technology with as-yet no compatible products; still no dedicated HDMI, Blu-ray, or other wished-for options.
  • The bottom line: It's a hefty investment, but the combination of new high-end Intel processor options and AMD graphics makes the 15-inch MacBook Pro an all-around powerhouse, with the new Thunderbolt I/O port as an added bonus.
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