Apple updates MacBook Pro: Faster chips, longer battery life

Apple has refreshed its MacBook Pro line with faster processors and clever graphics technology. Will it be enough to win over the gaming crowd?

Apple has refreshed the top-end Pro models in its MacBook range of laptops. A wider range of processor options is now available, as well as battery-saving graphics-switching options and an HDMI-friendly DisplayPort update.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro can now be bought with 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz Intel Core i5 processors for £1,500 or £1,650 respectively. The model with a 2.66GHz Core i7 chip costs £1,800.

The 17-inch model also offers a 2.53GHz Core i5 chip, for £1,900. Models of both sizes now include Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics with 256MB or 512MB of RAM. 

Graphics-intensive programs like Aperture or games will run up to 80 per cent faster, Apple claims. Your battery won't be constantly caned either, thanks to a new automatic graphics-switching technology. This uses multiplexer hardware to turn the discrete graphics chip off when it's not needed. If you're out and about and need to squeeze every drop of juice out of the battery, you can opt to stick with just the integrated Intel graphics processor instead of switching to the power-sucking dedicated chip.

Unlike Nvidia's similar Optimus technology, multiplexer hardware can result in a screen flicker when switching between the integrated and dedicated graphics processors. We'll try out the new models to see if Apple has solved that problem just as soon as we get our hands on them.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has increased its battery life to ten hours and added an Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor, alongside the existing 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo chips. It starts at £1,000 for 250GB of memory, or £1,250 for 320GB.

Trackpads now support inertial scrolling, which allows you to flick the pad to send the page scrolling, as on the iPhone. The mini DisplayPort also supports audio output, meaning you can plug your new MacBook Pro into a high-definition television with just the one HDMI adaptor, instead of needing a separate cable for sound.

Will these updates convince you hardcore gamers to get yourself a Mac? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. If you're planning to splash out, you can earn yourself a 4 per cent discount on anything in the Apple Store by visiting it via cashback site Quidco. Bargain.

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Laptops
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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