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.


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.

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  • tipoo - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    I was hoping for liquidmetal and ditching the optical drive, like in this render

    A man can dream, can't he? A man can dream...

    Anyways, I agree that they should have went with 7200RPM drives. In the grand scheme of things they only make a minute or two difference in battery life (pretty much nothing), aren't necessarily hotter running with newer drives, and some are just as quiet as 5200RPM. There was that rumor that the OS would be on a 8 or 16GB SSD like the MBA's SSD form factor, so the hard drives are even more disappointing.
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    If we had 16GB boot SSDs, the drive wouldn't've been a problem. It's a real bummer.

    But I guess if you can afford a MBP, you can afford a nice SSD for it.
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Wish they'd tell us which manufacturer's SSD it is.. Tiz crucial. I'd pay the $250 if the SSD is the OCZ Vertex 3 Anand just reviewed!!
  • tipoo - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah, its moronic to pay Apple for a mystery SSD, they don't name the brand or the series.
  • quiksilvr - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    It's moronic to buy these laptops in the first place. The prices are a complete joke. Why would I even touch a MBP 13" with the vastly superior ENVY 14?
  • zemek1s - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    As a envy 14 owner picking up a MBP 13 tonight, I can help here.
    First, the envy 14 has horrid battery life (about 3 hours, less if I'm running anything harder than chrome).

    Coming from a Santa Rosa generation MBP 15, I took a real hit on resolution and screen nice-ness by going for the envy. As a desktop replacement (I use it at work docked to two monitors) - its very nice, but I'll take the better virtualization (Fusion) in order to ditch this heavy envy and its miles-long power brick thing.
  • halcyon - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    What's with all the hating?

    Some people actually *like* using OS X without hackintosh.

    If you don't like it, move along.

    Live and let live.

    By making hateful comments like that, you only show your own emotional reaction to something that is only a personal preference and not a war of the worlds :)
  • akula2 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    I agree with you. Haters must STFU and cry elsewhere. People who are interested in Apple products will continue to buy them. Period.
  • MrBrownSound - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Our minds wouldn't be able to handle it; it's better that we don't know. Don't you agree. Sure I would drop a tri-deuce grand for a MBP with that luscious vertex 3.
  • TypeS - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    What OEM ever informs of you brand and model of HDD/ODD/Memory and so forth. . .?

    This is nothing new and questioning is just shows your ignorance. If you want to know what part you using, you either 1) buy with base options and upgrade with retail parts or 2) go build your own notebook/macbook.

    Good luck if you go with option 2.

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