Some of the rumors came true and I'm not sure how impressed I am with them, at least on paper.

The MacBook Pro uses Intel's Core Duo processor clocked at either 1.66GHz or 1.83GHz, in model number terms that would be the T2300 or the T2400. Apple (thankfully) doesn't use Intel's model numbers and just sticks with the raw clock speeds, but since they don't use the model numbers I can't tell whether or not the 1.66GHz part is an Low Voltage version of the chip or not. I would guess not, but anything is possible.

I am surprised that Apple didn't opt to use any of the higher clocked versions, either the 2.0GHz or 2.16GHz offerings; it may just be that these were fast enough for Apple's needs as they are claiming that the new notebooks are 4x faster than the old PowerBook G4. Next quarter Intel will introduce the 2.33GHz Core Duo which should give Apple even more options. I'm guessing that the 17" version will bring the 2.0GHz+ offerings, while the replacement to the 12" PowerBook will feature the low voltage chips.

I am not surprised that they aren't shipping today, simply because Intel has clearly not been able to deliver enough chips for all of the PC makers either. Dell, Lenovo, Gateway, etc... all are talking about first shipments of their Core Duo notebooks occurring in February, so Apple's timing makes sense as well.

The notebook has PCI Express and features an ATI Mobility X1600 GPU, both of which should be nice in Tiger.

The new iMacs are also interesting, this time using the 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz Core Duo processors. I am surprised that they are shipping immediately, which leads me to believe that the shortage with notebook components may be a chipset rather than a processor thing.

Apple has refrained from calling anything a Centrino or Centrino Duo, which makes sense since arguably the Apple brand has a bit stronger name recognition than the Centrino brand (it has at least been around longer). The other obvious reason behind the lack of Centrino branding is to distance Apple's MacBook Pro line from every other Core Duo based notebook that's already been announced. Apple has lost one element that made them different by moving to Intel, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means that they will have to rely on their styling even more than before.

I am extremely curious to see how every day tasks feel with a Core Duo running OS X 10.4.4, based on some of Apple's overwhelmingly vague benchmarks you can expect some pretty decent speedups in normal application usage. It would be nice to have some scripted application test suites under OS X to actually compare things between the G4/G5 and Core Duo platforms, but it's more likely that I'll have to dust off the old stopwatch for this one.

I will post impressions as soon as I can get my hands on one or both of the new products.
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  • jpmills - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    What do you think of http://www.techreport.com/onearticle.x/9288">this Anand?

    My personal opinion is that it is too soon to say how great the Intel powered Macs are. They are better when compared to the G4/G5 machines, from the benchmarks I have seen, but so what, Apple will be happy with which ever computer you buy from them.

    There is something else for mac zealots to keep in mind: the new Intel Macs are PCs in pretty clothes, that is all. All the new shiny innards weren't developed exclusively for the Mac, they were just the next step in the evolution of Intel products. There is no more we are better than you, you have been adopted by the PC family. Welcome home.

    The way Intel has treated PC OEMs could come back and bite them. If AMD can produce enough processors and the dual-core Turions be as efficient and fast as the Core Duo then Intel could have a fight on their hands. Could you imagine Dell running AMD processors, hopefully the rumblings about Dell being open to using AMD processors are true. Dell was Intel's favorite child until the Apple deal, that has to hurt.

    Just some thoughts
    Reply
  • tjahn79 - Saturday, January 14, 2006 - link

    The new intel Macs supports Target Disk Mode, Netboot, and all of the
    previous features with the exception of booting into open firmware.

    EFI will be implemented in Vista. We've done it in 10.4.4. Apple -- still
    ahead after all these years. :-)
    If you haven't already taken a look, do so at Intel's web site:
    http://www.intel.com/technology/efi/">http://www.intel.com/technology/efi/

    SNAG KEYS
    Booting on an external hard drive only works over FireWire, not USB. You
    will still have boot key functionality similar to an OpenFirmware password
    called password/security mode. These are called SNAG KEYS:
    Snag keys currently implemented in firmware on Intel-based Macs are below.
    "Snag Keys" are keys held down during system startup to affect the system's
    behavior. Some are detected by the firmware, while others are detected by
    the operating system loader.
    1. The "T" Key
    Boot computer into Target Disk Mode. Disabled when password/security mode
    is enabled.
    2. The "C" Key
    Boot from the first optical device found with bootable media. Disabled when
    password/security mode is enabled.
    3. The "D" Key
    Boot from the first optical device found with a valid, bootable diagnostic
    booter on it. (The path to this file is "Blessed
    Folder"/.diagnostic/diag.efi) Disabled when password/security mode is
    enabled.
    4. The "CMD-OPT-P-R" Keys
    Clears all NVRAM variables. Disabled when password/security mode is
    enabled.
    5. The "N" Key
    Pass in model property of machine booting and BSDP net boot from the most
    appropriate BSDP server found. Disabled when password/security mode is
    enabled.
    6. The "OPT-N" Keys
    BSDP net boot using "default" boot image set up on the BSDP server.
    Disabled when password/security mode is enabled.
    7. The "F1" Key
    BSDP net boot using diagnostic boot image set up on the BSDP server.
    8. The "OPTION" Key
    Brings up the Picker interface. If security is enabled, it brings up a
    dialog box to enter the security password before dropping into the Picker.
    Pressing the "N" Key in Picker Searches for available NetBoot servers.
    9. Mouse Button, F12, or Eject Key
    Eject the optical drive media. Not disabled when security is enabled.

    Snag keys implemented in the OS loader as of Tiger:
    Command-S: boot to single user mode.
    Command-V: boot in verbose mode with a text console log.
    Reply
  • monsoon - Friday, January 13, 2006 - link

    apart from the dual boot thingy ( i'm really waiting for a VPC, DARWINE / VINE, VMware solution instead ), which i would love to know more about as well...

    ...what really would make me happy is a direct comparison to same spec'd hardware sold under a different brand ( ok, i guess you'll have to install XP to test the same programs face to face ), and how it would compare to itself ( tests under OSX compared to same tests under XP ).

    Also, since did not release the Mac Mini, i'm refreshing your home web page to find a review of the AOpen Yonah when it's done.

    Obviously, a comparison of the AOpen to the Macbook would add awesome value to the diagram the likes of me...

    ...so, in the end, i'd love to see your review of the MacBook Pro complete with benchmarks of :

    MacBook Pro under OSX
    MacBook Pro under XP
    PC laptop with same innards
    AOpen PC mini ( with same innards or else )

    heh, i guess that would be a lot of work, but you must be excited as we all are from Yonah and your new toys, right ?

    GO ANAND GO !=)
    Reply
  • srawal - Thursday, January 12, 2006 - link

    It would not be wise for Apple to switch the desktop chips to Pentium D's. The performance of the Quad G5's is out of this world in workstation and creative applications. Heck similarly spec'd-out machines from IBM using the PowerPC processor cost in excess of $17,000.

    I'm sure gaming would be faster on the Intel, but no one is going to drop the dough needed for a Quad G5 only for gaming; heck if that was the case then Apple would have been better off with AMD. AMD could surely produce enough chips for a small company like Apple.

    As for switching to the Core Duo on the MacBook, that was a great move. On the other hand, I feel that the G5 in the iMac was doing fine.
    Reply
  • srawal - Thursday, January 12, 2006 - link

    Oh and as for the Dell, apply a 20-30% off coupon; it makes 'em a lot cheaper! ;) Reply
  • GoatHerderEd - Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - link

    I bought one, I told my self I would buy a Apple laptop as soon as they went x86. Maybe I should cancel my order. These are not 64 bit? I thought they are. It is funny there is no mention of the battery life on apple.com. Reply
  • ninjit - Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - link

    No they aren't 64-bit.

    But unless you're working with ridiculously large datasets that need huge memory spaces (which wouldn't be doing on a laptop anyways), you won't miss 64-bit on your laptop.

    Also, Apple has said they aren't locking the hardware so that you can only use Mac OSX on them.
    Which means you can take your new MacBook Pro laptop and install windows onto it.

    And considering the announced specs, this maybe be the best Core Duo laptop you can buy even compared to the currently expected PC versions.

    HAHA, I just speced out the equivalent dell E1750 to match a loaded Mac Book Pro.
    the MacBook came out to $3248
    the Dell came out to $3629 - $300 current instant rebate promotion = $3329

    Almost exactly the same components, even including 3 year warranty and a media remote.
    The only differences are The Dell has a 17" screen (Mac is 15.4"), Dell has a 256MB Nvidia 7800 GO (mac has 256MB ATI Mobility X1600), and the Dell DVD burner is Dual-layer (the Mac is only single-layer which I'm curious as to why they didn't go with a dual-layer).

    yes you could argue that those pros for the dell make it a better value, but then you also have to consider the macs magnesium casing vs Dell's crappy plastic, etc.

    heck I'd still go with the mac for the possibility of having a dual boot system - mac OS X for the most part, and Win Xp (or vista later) for those times when you need windows (i.e. many games).

    oooh, man this sounds better and better the more I think about it... Now all I need is $3000 to blow - how much is a kidney going for these days on the black market??
    ;)
    Reply
  • SLCentral - Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - link

    Apple never said they would lock OS X on it. Steve Jobs has said (and said yesterday) that he will not block the attempts to install Windows on the new Intel systems. Driver support is another story. Reply
  • Eug - Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - link

    The grapevine states that so far the WInXP install discs are not working, which would make sense because of the EFI-ness of the new Macs. Reply
  • gnumantsc - Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - link

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Mac OS X X86 running on any piece of hardware. I find it a bit strange that Apple did not cut the strings on its hardware selling and just focus on OS X as a third OS in the competition.

    And might I still say Apple is stupid for going with Intel over AMD. Ok, I'll give Intel the one up on the Intel dual core for now, but AMD overall for their desktop performance will beat Intel at anything.

    Funny how Apple used part of AMD's Dresden plants to manufacture G4/G5 and decided to go to Intel for their products, then again Apple is 32 bit not 64 bit so people with 8GB of memory will not exist anymore since 4GB is the limit with 32 bit OS.
    Reply

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