Shortly after my last post where I was having trouble selling my Macbook Pro I actually managed to find a sane buyer. I had to deliver it which required driving half an hour there and back but I didn’t mind as it gave me the cash needed to put towards the 2011 Macbook. As I’m lucky enough to qualify for higher education discount it only required me put £75 towards the new laptop. Seeing as it’s going to take me around five years to finish this Open University course, I can’t see why I can’t just upgrade each year and have the latest and greatest for next to nothing.

Overall it’s pretty similar to last year’s model. The only cosmetic difference is the Thunderbolt logo taking the place of the display icon next to the mini DisplayPort. (edit. I’ve just realised that it would make sense to mention that Thunderbolt is a new interface with a transfer speed to 10 Gbps.)

 

The real changes are internal. Apple have finally dumped the ageing and positively (by computer standards) ancient Core 2 Duo in favour of Core i5s and i7s. I only picked up the low end 13″ Macbook Pro which is powered by an i5. Accordingly to early benchmarks the low end 13″ is as fast as last year’s top end 17″ in terms of processing. This is all thanks to Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors that were only released a week or so ago.

As with last year my main complaint is with the GPU. Last year Apple used an Nvidia integrated graphics chip that wasn’t spectacular but it got the job done. Due to the increasingly annoying licensing issues between Nvidia and Intel, this year we don’t even get an Nvidia GPU. We’re stuck with the GPU integrated into the processor. I need to fire up Portal and see how things run but I’m not really expecting much and I wouldn’t even be surprised if graphics performance was worse than last year.

Really that’s all there is to say. Everything from last year’s post still stands as overall the laptop hasn’t really changed very much. The design is still great and the build quality is superb. The multitouch trackpad is still a joy to use and made even better with BetterTouchTool. £75 well spent I’d say!