The chips inside Apple's new MacBook Pros that were unveiled Tuesday are very different than their predecessors. Here's why.
32-nanometer process technology: MacBook Pros use, for the first time, Intel's Core i5 and Core i7 processors. These chips are built on Intel's latest 32-nanometer manufacturing process technology, while the older Core 2 Duo technology uses a 45-nanometer process. Generally, the smaller the geometries, the faster and/or more power efficient the processor is.
Hyper-Threading: Hyper-Threading can double the number of tasks--or threads--a processor can execute. So, a two-core processor can handle four threads. This technology is not offered on prior-generation Core 2 chips. Apple describes it as follows: "Built-in Hyper-Threading allows two threads to run simultaneously on each core, so Mac OS X recognizes four virtual cores instead of just two. When you're running multiple applications at once, the Core i5 and Core i7 processors spread tasks more evenly across a greater number of cores."
Turbo Boost: The Core i series of chips use Turbo Boost, which speeds up or slows down individual cores to meet processing or power efficiency needs. This, like Hyper-Threading, is not available on older Core 2 Duo chips. Apple describes it as follows: "If you're using processor-intensive applications like Aperture 3 or Final Cut Pro that would benefit from an extra performance kick, Turbo Boost dynamically increases the speed of one or both cores, taking a 2.66GHz MacBook Pro all the way up to 3.33GHz." In other words, processors get automatically "overclocked"--previously the exclusive domain of high-end gamers--when necessary.
Updated Nvidia graphics silicon: And where would updated MacBook Pros be without new and improved Nvidia graphics processors. Inside the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models is the Nvidia GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics processor, what Apple calls "the fastest graphics ever in a Mac notebook." The GT 330M increases the number of processing cores to 48, compared to 32 in the previous-generation GeForce 9600M. And the new GeForce GT 330M is up to 30 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor, according to Apple.
Surprise, surprise: Intel integrated graphics: At one time thought to be the bane of Apple's existence… Read more