MacBook Pro Index

15″ MacBook Pro

Apple introduced its 15" notebook form factor with the original titanium PowerBook G4 in January 2001. The 1" thin laptop had an 1152 x 768 display, which was upgraded to 1280 x 854 display in the April 2002 version. Apple redesigned the 15" PowerBook in aluminum, introducing the new model in Sept. 2003, and the final revision, released in Oct. 2005, increased screen resolution to 1440 x 900.

Core Duo

15" MacBook ProThe 15" MacBook Pro (MBP) carried on the designof the aluminum PowerBook, but with a slightly larger display (15.4" vs. 15.2"); it was one of the first Intel-based Macs, announced on January 10, 2006 along with the first Intel Mac mini and the first Intel iMac.

Apple began shipping the MacBook Pro the week of Feb. 14, 2006 - and with faster CPUs than originally announced 1.67 GHz and 1.83 GHz speeds. The base MBP shiped with a 1.83 GHz CPU, and the better MBP had a 2.0 GHz CPU. For those clamoring for even more speed, there was a 2.16 GHz build-to-order option at a $300 premium. This was the first time Apple has offered a faster CPU as a build-to-order option in a notebook computer. 512 MB of RAM was standard, and it supports up to 2 GB.

This was Apple's first notebook with a built-in webcam, and it also introduced the MagSafe power connector. It also has a receiver for Apple's wireless remote and uses an ExpressCard/34 slot instead of the older CardBus slot for adding expansion cards. The original MacBook Pro did not have FireWire 800 and included a 4x single-layer SuperDrive.

The new model had teething problems, and Apple kept updating the firmware until it got things right. The Core Duo MacBook Pro originally shipped with Mac OS X 10.4.4, the first universal binary version of OS X. It also included iLife '06 (also a universal binary). The MBP was speed bumped to 2.0 GHz and 2.16 GHz in May, and a glossy display option was added. Models with the newer logic board require OS X 10.4.6.

Throughout the history of the MBP, Apple has priced the base model at US$1,999 and the more powerful one at US$2,499.

Core 2 Duo

The next improvement was moving to the Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, which took place in Oct. 2006. The Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro used a more efficient CPU, bumped speeds to 2.16 GHz and 2.33 GHz, gained FireWire 800 and doubled base RAM to 1 GB. The Core 2 CPU allows up to 3 GB of RAM (a 1 GB module plus a 2 GB one) and supports 64-bit operation, and a 6x dual-layer SuperDrive was included.

Santa Rosa

In June 2007, the "Santa Rosa" MacBook Pro was introduced using Intel's new Santa Rosa chipset. This included support for an 800 MHz system bus, up from 667 MHz in earlier models. CPU speeds were 2.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz. Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics replace the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 of previous versions, and the SuperDrive was upgraded to 8x.

Perhaps the biggest new was the use of LED backlighting on the display, which was lighter, more energy efficient, and more environmentally friendly that the older technology. On the down side, the new MBP supported full USB power on only one of its two USB 2.0 ports.

When 4 GB memory modules became available, users discovered that the Santa Rosa models support up to 6 GB of total RAM - one 2 GB module with one 4 GB module. Those who attempted to use two 4 GB modules (8 GB total) ran into problems.

Penryn

The Feb. 2008 revision of the MacBook Pro moved to Intel's new Penryn CPU, another improvement to the Core 2 design. CPU speeds were 2.4 GHz and 2.5 GHz, with a 2.6 GHz build-to-order option. Base memory was increased to 2 GB, and video RAM was doubled.

With this model, the Apple Remote became a $20 option. This was the last model to use the original MBP design.

Unibody

Unibody MacBook ProApple introduced a new design in Oct. 2008. Often called the "Unibody" MacBook Pro, the new model's enclosure was carved from a block of solid aluminum, the SuperDrive was moved from the front to the right side, and all of the ports were placed on the left side. The new model was thinner than ever at 0.95" thick, and the backlit keyboard introduced in the original MacBook Air replaced Apple's traditional notebook keyboard.

Visually, the biggest difference was the display, which is surrounded in black and covered by glass. Where glossy had once been an option, it now became the only choice.

The Unibody MacBook Pro also adopted Apple's new "glass" trackpad, which was large, supported multitouch gestures, and had no separate mouse button. The new model alse uses the Mini DisplayPort for connecting an external display and is the first to use a SATA optical drive.

Inside, the MBP has moved to a 1066 MHz system bus, and standard CPU speeds are 2.4 GHz and 2.53 GHz. For power users, there's also a 2.8 GHz build-to-order option.

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