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Macbook Pro refresh gets Thunderbolt, not much else

2011 Macbook Pro

2011 Macbook Pro

The official iPad 2 announcement is still a week away, but Apple released a Macbook Pro refresh Thursday that will interest fans of Apple’s professional products.

The biggest addition to the new Macbook Pros is the inclusion of Intel’s Thunderbolt port, which has the ability to transfer data at 10 gigabytes. That’s 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and 12 times faster than Firewire 800.

The single Thunderbolt port also has the ability to connect different types of devices like external DVI, HDMI, or VGA displays.

Just like the previous generation Macbook Pros, three models will be available, including a 13, 15, and 17 inch, all running on slightly upgraded processors.

The 13-inch model will cost $1,199 with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320 gigabyte hard drive or $1,499 for a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 500 gigabyte hard drive.

The 15-inch model is package with 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6490M and 500GB hard drive for $1,799. For an upgrade, a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, with an AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive for $2,199 is also available.

For the video professional, the 17 inch has a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750 gigabyte hard drive that will run at about $2,499.

All versions come standard with 4gigabytes of RAM.

Another first for this year, the MacBook Pro includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation for crisp, widescreen video calls.

Nothing else has changed. This year’s Macbook Pro’s still holds the same cosmetic design, dimensions and weight. The display hasn’t been touched and Apple says the battery life will remain at about 7 hours.

The Macbook Pro is available now in the Apple store.

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