Well true to form and extensively rumored Jobs entered the stage on Tuesday to launch the new MacBook line. I think what surprised me the most was that there were no surprises, the rumor sites had absolutely nailed the new Machines, right down to an image being released the day before the launch. You can view the Keynote here.
So was the MacBook Pro worth me waiting? Well Spec wise on the base model there is only minor updates – new CPU, larger Hard Drive and a new GPU. Actually the CPU speed stays the same at 2.4GHz but they have shifted to the newer Penryn chips. From what I have read these are actually a step backward from a performance standpoint but the upside is they run much cooler. The Base model includes a 250GB Hard Drive over the 200GB in the previous model.
The GPU has seen a slight upgrade from the 8600M GT to a 9600M GT. Although shipping with GDDR3 memory which should help lift the performance somewhat this was the biggest let down for me. I was hoping for something a little bit meatier for game playing. I would have been happy even for the 9650M GT. Looks like my MacPro will continue to be my gaming box for now.
The big news on the launch was the new manufacturing process, long rumored as the Brick for months prior to the launch. This is a method of making most of the base of the notebook from a single slab of aluminum. They have a very impressive Video with Jonny Ive’s telling you all about it here.
No surprises when Jobs announced the move away from Intel base design to nVidia also took place , which means that every MacBook Pro also ships with a 2nd GPU, a 9400M. This can be used in what nVidia term as Hybrid SLI, although I am not sure why as it has nothing to do with SLI as far as I can see. Essentially you can choose battery life (9400M) or graphics performance (9600M). However from one video I saw it looks like you need to logout and back in to change profiles, which is annoying.
They have also moved to LED Backlit Displays, but unfortunately they are only shipping the Glossy option now. The other big change was the new Glass trackpad, yes Glass. 39% larger and supporting gestures including 4 figured ones.
The long expected size reduction did not come as far as I can see. Jonny Ive’s talks the new manufacturing process up big-time and discusses how it has helped to make the chassis smaller and lighter but not so for the MacBook Pro. It sees a reduction in thickness of 1.3mm but actually sees a footprint increase of about 6mm all round. It also sees a weight increase of 45g. Hardly a deal breaker but not what was expected. The new MacBook however does see the benefits of the new manufacturing process.
So now I just have to sit tight and wait for my new machine to arrive. I went with the base model, choosing a 250GB 7200rpm drive as the only upgrade. It is expected 04 Nov, 2008. I will get some reviews and pictures up shortly after it arrives.