updated 02:05 pm EST, Wed February 27, 2008
Less than 24 hours after their introduction, Apple's new MacBook Pros based on Intel's Penryn Core 2 Duo architecture have been benchmarked using the venerable Geekbench utility. PrimateLabs tested the MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 @ 2.50GHz and MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz; comparing them to the MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7800 @ 2.60GHz and MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 @ 2.40GHz. The results show that the old 2.4GHz MacBook Pros are actually faster than the new 2.4GHz models -- a discrepancy explained by the smaller L2 cache on the new models. The 2008 2.5GHz MacBook Pro wasn't able to best the old 2.6GHz T7700-based model.
As noted by Primate Labs "when you consider the new MacBook Pro 2.4GHz is the base model, while the old MacBook Pro 2.4GHz was the mid-range model, the small drop in performance comes with a significant reduction in price. Plus, the new Penryn processor uses less energy than the old Merom processor, which means a cooler laptop with increased battery life."
Apple's new MacBook systems technically list lower battery life than the previous generation, official specifications show. Despite the fact that the computers use Intel's new 45nm Penryn technology, which should be more power-efficient, each of the new machines "loses" an hour or more of operating time. The reduction in battery life is actually an illusion however, as Apple did not previously incorporate wireless functions into its estimates.
The new MacBook Pro models include the multi-touch trackpad from the MacBook Air and also adds the first LED backlighting option for the 17-inch display; choosing the high-resolution, 1920x1200 screen also adds the more color-accurate backlight and potentially extends battery life. Video memory has also been doubled across the line.
MacBook Pro prices start at $1,999 for a 2.4GHz 15-inch system with 2GB of memory, a 200GB hard drive, a dual-layer Superdrive, and a GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of video memory; the $2,499 mid-range model boosts speeds to 2.5GHz, expands storage to 250GB, and introduces a 512MB GeForce 8600M GT chipset. The 17-inch model sells for $2,799 and chiefly adds the extra screen area.