New MacBook Pro 2011

New MacBook Pro 2011

Notice: Updated February 24, 2011

The Apple site now has specifics on the new (2011) MacBook Pro. A number of changes have been made to this venerable workhorse not the least of which is the new body.

In fact the list of changes is so substantial that Apple is calling the MacBook Pro 2011 "ReEverythinged."

There are also updates to the processor with the MacBook Pro 2011 running the Intel i5 and i7 Core processors.

Then there's the display. It extends almost to the very edge of the case. Meaning that the thirteen inch model is more like fifteen inches, the fifteen inch more like seventeen and the seventeen inch model more like nineteen; this according to Apple anyway.

MacBook Pro Battery
MacBook Pro Battery | Source

Extended Battery Life?

Not really!

The new MacBook Pro 2011 now brags seven hours of battery life; at least according to Apple. With the advanced GPU by Intel and the fifty percent increase in processing power in the CPU this really is quite a feat.

But the mid year 2010 MacBook Pro bragged a near ten hour battery life.

Here's the truth. This is the exact same battery offered in the mid-2010 MacBook Pro. No different. The new processor and graphic processing unit are likely responsible for this three hour reduction.

According to Apple they are using new testing parameters to determine battery life. I don't think this is quite accurate. I'd be surprised if the same battery could possibly last longer with a more powerful central processing unit and graphic processing unit. Then there's the fact that there's yet another processor on board; the Thunderbolt signal processor.

Thunderbolt Logo
Thunderbolt Logo | Source

ThunderBolt

The long rumored serial interface by Intel called "Light Peak" is now included in the MacBook pro under the name Thunderbolt. This interface promises data transfer speeds up to ten Gigabits per second.

The Thunderbolt I/O is bidirectional with two channels. As stated above it can support speeds up to ten gigabits per second which, Apple claims, makes it twelve times faster than firewire and twenty times faster than USB 2.0. The Thunderbolt interface will support the Displayport with DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA adapters.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
MacBook Pro 2011Billet AluminumMachined Case
MacBook Pro 2011
MacBook Pro 2011 | Source
Billet Aluminum
Billet Aluminum | Source
Machined Case
Machined Case | Source

The Unibody Case

The new MacBook Pro 2011 case is machined from a solid block of aluminum making it both strong and light. Creating the case takes multiple passes in a CNC machine, but the end results is a very light yet very strong single piece of material from which the body of the MacBook Pro 2011 is made. This machines aluminum is used for both the body base and clam-shell display enclosure.

See images at right.

Core i7
Core i7 | Source

Intel Processors

The new processor lineup for the MacBook Pro 2011 include the Intel i5 and i7 processors. Apple claims a fifty percent improvement in processor power with these dual core central processing units (CPUs).

These new processor run at much higher clock speeds. Including 2.4GHz for the Intel Core i5 processor. The i5 has a 3MB shared L3 cache and the i7 processor with has a 4MB shared L3 cache. The Intel Core i7 (offered on all but the most basic machine) is clocked at 2.0 through 2.7GHz. The processors have varying sizes of cache memory depending on the MacBook Pro selected.

Random Access Memory (RAM) is 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) on all models.

MacBook Pro 2011 display
MacBook Pro 2011 display | Source

Graphics and Display

The Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 384MB of on board memory provides the graphics punch with the Intel i5 and i7 processors. The two top-end MacBook Pros can also run the optional AMD Radeon GPU with 256MB of on-board memory.

Dual display and video mirroring are possible and the GPUs will simultaneously support full native resolution on the built-in display with external resolutions up to 2560 by 1600 pixels. Both resolutions support millions of colors.

The Display
Apple has made the display itself even thinner by avoiding cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) and using white LED back-lighting instead. This means that unlike the CCFL there is no "warm-up" time, less power is used, and the display is bright and clear the moment it comes on.

It is also lighter and thinner than the earlier MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro Specifics

The MacBook Pro 2011 measures point nine five inches thick, by fourteen point three inches wide by nine point eight inches deep (0.95 x 14.3 x 9.8"). In metric this is two point four centimeters by thirty-six point four centimeters by twenty-five centimeters (2.4 x 36.4 x 24cm).

The MacBook Pro 2011 weighs five point six pounds (5.6lb) or two hundred fifty-four grams (254g).

Connections
The MacBook Pro 2011 supports the following connection types:

  • MagSafe power
  • Gigabyte Ethernet port (RJ45)
  • Firewire 800 port (1)
  • Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
  • MiniDisplay port (1)
  • USB 2.0 port (2)
  • SD card slot (1)
  • Audio line in (1)
  • Audio line out (1)
  • Kensington lock slot (1)

Communications
The MacBook Pro 2011 supports the following communications:

  • Airport Extreme Wi-Fi 802.11 n
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g
  • Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR
  • 10/100/1000 Base-T

Audio Out
Audio is handled by stereo speakers with sub-woofer, an omnidirectional microphone, audio line in, audio line out and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It will also work with an iPhone headset. Of course Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR also supports stereo sound.

Video In
The MacBook Pro now features the 720p (High Definition) face-time camera.

Video Out
The MacBook Pro 2011 supports the following video standards:

  • DVI Out
  • VGA Out
  • Dual Link DVI out (for thirty inch Apple Cinema HD [optional])
  • HDMI audio/video out

Inputs
The MacBook Pro 2011 comes with a seventy-nine key keyboard (with ambient light detector for backlighting) and a trackpad.

The trackpad no longer has buttons as the trackpad serves as both pointer and button.

Storage
The MacBook Pro 2011 offers a number of ways to save your files. Storage options include:

  • 320GB 5,400 RPM Serial ATA drive
  • 500GB 5,400 RPM Serial ATA drive
  • 500GB 7,200 RPM hard drive (optional)
  • 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • 256GB SSD
  • 512GB SSD
  • 8x slot-loading SuperDrive for DVD±R DL/DVD±RW and CD-RW

Included Software
The MacBook Pro will come installed with the Snow Leopard OS, iTunes, TimeMachine, Quick Look, Spaces, Spotlight, Dashboard, Mail, iChat, Safari, Address Book, QuickTime, iCal, DVD player, PhotoBooth, Front Row and XCode.

iLife comes with iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, and GarageBand.

Battery
The MacBook Pro (77.5 Watt-hour) battery is the same unit shipped with the mid-2010 MacBook Pros. Because of the processor and Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) changes power demands are higher. The direct result is reduced battery life from nine to ten hours for the 2010 models, to seven hours for the 2011 model. Though Apple claims that the battery is not user replaceable, there's not that much to taking it out and replacing it. As with earlier MacBook Pros this model is designed to be opened so the user can upgrade memory.

Antenna
There are now four antenna instead of three. The mobile wireless processor is the Broadcom BCM4331. This processor supports three simultaneous data streams coming and going. There is also a Broadcom BCM2070 for Bluetooth 3.0 support. This explains all four antenna.

Cooling
There is now an additional cooling fan bringing the total up to two. Forced air is ported over the CPU, GPU, Thunderbolt signal processor and battery. There are also three heat-sinks that the air flows over. One for the processor, another for the GPU and one directly over the Thunderbolt signal processor. Air that is ported over these heat-sinks eventually flows over the battery before exhausting out of the unit.

Apple has places heat sensors nearly everywhere including the battery, trackpad, and the CPU and GPU.

MacBook Pro Sizes

The MacBook Pro 2011 will come in three sizes. The eleven inch, fifteen inch, and seventeen inch. Of course, each size has its own pricing structure with the larger units using the more advanced Intel processors. The eleven inch is still using the older Intel Core Duo processor.

See the table below for all the specifics of each size.

13-inch MacBook Pro
 
15-inch MacBook Pro
 
17-inch MacBook Pro
$1,199
$1,499
$1,799
$2,199
$2,499
2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor
2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
320GB 5400-rpm hard drive
500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
750GB 5400-rpm hard drive
750GB 5400-rpm hard drive
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM
 
 
AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB
AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB
AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB
2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
3MB L3 cache
4MB L3 cache
6MB L3 cache
Optional 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 8MB cache
Optional 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with 8MB cache
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB
 
 
AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB (optional)
AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB (optional)
AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB (optional)
4GB memory
4GB memory
4GB memory
4GB memory
4GB memory
320GB 5400-rpm hard drive
500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
750GB 5400-rpm hard drive
750GB 5400-rpm hard drive
13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy or optional antiglare widescreen display
15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy or optional antiglare widescreen display
17-inch high-resolution LED-backlit glossy or optional antiglare widescreen display
1280 by 800 pixels
1280 by 800 pixels
1440 by 900 pixels
1440 by 900 pixels
1920 by 1200 pixels
Up to 7 hours
Up to 7 hours
Up to 7 hours
Up to 7 hours
Up to 7 hours
Built-in lithium-polymer 63.5 watt-hour
Built-in lithium-polymer 63.5 watt-hour
Built-in lithium-polymer 77.5 watt-hour
Built-in lithium-polymer 77.5 watt-hour
Built-in lithium-polymer 95 watt-hour
Two USB 2.0 ports
Two USB 2.0 ports
Two USB 2.0 ports
Two USB 2.0 ports
Three USB 2.0 ports
SDXC card slot
SDXC card slot
SDXC card slot
SDXC card slot
-
-
-
-
-
ExpressCard/34 slot

Features Standard on All Models

All MacBook Pro 2011 machines will come with the following:

  • Precision unibody
  • MagSafe Power Port
  • Mini Display port
  • Two USB ports
  • One Thuderbolt 10Gbp/s data port
  • One FireWire 800 port
  • Facetime Camera
  • Multi-touch trackpad
  • Full size seventy-nine key (backlit) keyboard
  • 8X superdrive

What's Missing

The Display
Despite all the speculation the MacBook Pro does not have a "retina display." The display has been improved somewhat with better back-lighting and it's thinner too.

Goodbye PCMCIA
That card slot is now gone and the Express Card slot is not compatible with this older format.

Coda

We all knew this was coming, but the best features are reserved for the larger, more expensive models. Though prices have remained flat for all models (save one) the top of the line MacBook Pro seventeen inch is two hundred dollars more than last year's top of the line.

Apple has introduced Intel's Light Peak technology. "Light Peak" was Intel's code name for the technology, but they (Intel) have since renamed it Thunderbolt.

The new data interface promises data transfer speeds up to ten gigabits per second with a possible future peak of one hundred (100Gbp/s) gigabits per second. As of now Thunderbolt only supports up to six (6) daisy-chained devices.

The prices seem good, about what they were not quite a year ago, but happily Apple seems to be offering more choices this time around. The only odd thing is that the very top-of-the line MacBook Pro, the seventeen inch model is two hundred dollars more this year. All the other models have last year's prices.

The MacBook Pro has long been a "workhorse" machine and it's clear to me that this attitude continues. The case is very robust and the better processors, thinner and more efficient display and wide range of storage choices prove once more that Apple Incorporated is no poser in the computer hardware arena.

Oddly, the higher-end thirteen inch unit is advertized with a clock speed of 2.7GHz. Where the other units run 2.2GHz or 2.4GHz max. I don't know if this is a typo or the actual clock speed.

Rather than post the prices here look in the table above.

Note: iFixIt, a do it yourself computer repair site, has already released a step-by-step tear down of the MacBook Pro 2011. See the link above for the expertly rendered dis-assembly guide and excellent photographs.

Disclaimer

The author was not compensated in any way, monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.

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Comments 23 comments

macbookpro15deals profile image

macbookpro15deals 4 years ago

Very comprehensive review. I just discovered that Apple will roll out the new MacBook Pro display with a resolution double that of the existing ones.

If the rumor is true, I think it's the efforts of the iGiant to strengthen its graphics positioning and leadership in the notebook (computing) industry.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

crystolite: I don't disagree. The only model that is significantly higher in price is the top of the line 17 inch with the most memory and fastest processor. The difference from last year is $200 more. The other models are the same price as last year.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Very educating but i think that the new macbook are been overpriced.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

smanty: Thanks for reading.


smanty profile image

smanty 5 years ago

Very informative, the new computer looks interesting. I think I am going to wait a little bit before spending the money for one, but I am excited for that day. Great Hub!


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

MikeNV. Thanks for the comment. You make a razor sharp observation...as usual.


MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 5 years ago from Henderson, NV

It's very frustrating they will not offer a solid state drive option as standard. It's so much faster and with the economies of scale available to the manufacturer vs the individual upgrading later it just makes sense. 5400rpm doesn't make sense. SSD Drives are smaller and quieter and use less power. Apple knows this. And while the glossy screen is okay, it would be nice to have a matte finish anti glare option in the 13". I don't need a huge laptop to carry around and when I'm home I just plug it into the 24" screen anyway. And is typical of Apple no discrete video option on the 13". Since the beginning they have always under spec'd the entry level options and left out an upgrade path. Too bad.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

Good to know Emkei. Thanks for letting us know.


Emkei 5 years ago

Re: 7hr battery Life.

If using Photoshop + Web Browsing you should estimate around 4-5hrs battery life on the newest one.

The previous 10 hour seems much better. I get around 7 hours using both web + photoshop. Saved my day when I've once accidentally forgot to take my charger with me during photo shoot session with intensive editing in photoshop later as well as creating art work and burning DVD with finalised work.


kksonakiya profile image

kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior

sure thing.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

kksonakiya: I can't say that I disagree with you, but Apple has always charged a premium price for their products. The upper end of that list is $2,499. Last year it was $2,299. That's only two hundred dollars difference.

Apple has created a mystique for itself. It routinely cashes in on that mystique.

Actually "Light Peak" was Intel's code name for the technology. Apple didn't rename it; Intel did.

Oh, I see the problem. I imply that Apple renamed it. I'll correct that paragraph and thanks for pointing that out.


kksonakiya profile image

kksonakiya 5 years ago from Gwalior

I think that new MacBook pro are overpriced. For $2499, I can get a killer gaming machine from Alienware, which would be a better investment.

Steve Jobs is getting over his head for this one. MacBook doesn't sport those configurations to be priced at such high level.

Also, that ThunderBolt port, which is Intel's Light Peak and Apple renamed it. I can bet that soon we will be hearing news about Intel suing Apple for renaming their product when they had no connection while manufacturing it.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

Paul: I'll be real honest here. These are "weasel words." No computer manufacturer can state with ambiguity the most battery life you can expect.

Apple is no different.

The phrase "wireless web browsing" is just marketing. Apple is well aware that most of their user base spends a substantial amount of time surfing the Internet.

Can I explain it? Of course not. I don't work for Apple and I'm not in marketing either.

As to the reduced battery life there are two really good reasons. The new Intel i5 and i7 are four processors (quad-core) on a chip, not two like the Core duo. Then the graphics processor is also souped up. Intel is notorious for creating processors that run hot and waste power; for a good reason.

Between them they reduce battery life substantially.


Paul 5 years ago

What does it mean?: "Up to 7 hours (wireless web browsing)"

Does it mean that my battery lasts much longer if I don't browse in the web? What if I work with Photoshop on huge images without using the web?

Or is "Up to 7 hours (wireless web browsing)" an indication of the general autonomy?

The former Mac lasted 10 hours. - Not browsing the web?

I don't understand this, please explain.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Nice Information.


Julz09 profile image

Julz09 5 years ago

no worries Liam :)


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

Ted: I just report em.

Julz09: I dashed this off. Thanks for catching the error. Corrected.


Julz09 profile image

Julz09 5 years ago

Quote "Read only Memory (ROM) is 4GB" um should be Random Access Memory, but overall a good post thanks. Macs tend to have a very good battery life.


Ted 5 years ago

Over priced kidologiy, at a fair competative price it would be worth considering because there is very little mechanicaly superior about it, just jargon.


LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 5 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia Author

The new MacBook Pro should be good for about a year. It takes even Apple time to negotiate the best price on the latest technology, plus the time to actually build it.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

I want a new one so badly, but I'm afraid as soon as I buy one they'll come out with an ever greater laptop...t happens everytime. :)

voted up and useful


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 5 years ago from hub

The advancement of technology is so amazing! Thanks for sharing:)


LuisGabriel2 profile image

LuisGabriel2 5 years ago

I want one so badd.. The laptop I have now is so slow that it can really get on my nerves sometimes. lol. But then again it has helped me out a lot.

But I think it's time for me to move on to a Macbook.

God Bless

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