Apple Speeds Up MacBook Pro

Apple's first Intel-based notebook will ship with faster processors than originally specified by the company.

Apple Computer is set to begin shipping its MacBook Pro notebook line with an automatic processor upgrade.

The notebook line, announced last month, is Apples first to incorporate Intel processors. It joins the companys iMac desktop in offering Intels Core Duo, a dual-core processor created mainly for notebooks but also billed as a chip for small desktops.

The computer maker said on Feb. 14 that it will offer MacBook Pro models with processors running at up to 2GHz, a step up from those it originally announced. It will also make a 2.16GHz Core Duo available as an option for customers purchasing their machines through its Apple Online Store.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about the first Intel-based iMacs.

Apple now will offer its $1,999 MacBook Pro, first announced with a 1.67GHz Core Duo, with a 1.83GHz version of the chip. Its $2,499 model, originally paired with a 1.83GHz Core Duo, will come with a 2GHz Core Duo instead. The $2,499 model will begin shipping the week of Feb. 13, followed by the $1,999 model the week of Feb. 20, according to the company. The 2.16GHz processor upgrade can be ordered now.

"We are incredibly excited to start shipping the MacBook Pro, a groundbreaking new notebook with dual-processor desktop performance in a thin, sleek design," Philip Schiller, Apples senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.

Apple, which had been secretly developing a special x86 version of its Mac OS X in parallel with its more well-known Mac OS X for PowerPC chips, surprised many by announcing a plan to switch to Intel chips from PowerPC processors last June.

Thus far, it has announced the iMac and MacBook Pro with Intel chips, leaving its Mac Mini, iBook, Power Mac and xServe lines to make the transition. The company has time, however. It pledged to complete the shift to Intel chips by June 2007.

The MacBook Pro weighs in at 5.6 pounds and comes with a 15.4-inch widescreen display, Apples iSight video camera and the companys Front Row application, which offers an interface for quickly accessing multimedia files.

Apples $1,999 MacBook Pro comes fitted with 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive and a slot-load SuperDrive, which can write data to several different DVD and CD formats. It also incorporates ATI Technologies Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics board with 128MB of video memory.

The $2,499 MacBook Pro model bumps up RAM to 1GB, ups the hard drive to 100GB and doubles video memory to 256MB.

The processors available in the new notebooks match those of Apples iMac.

A 17-inch screen iMac model, priced at $1,299, incorporates a 1.83GHz Core Duo chip, while a 20-inch model, priced at $1,699, offers a 2GHz Core Duo.

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