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Will The MacBook Pro Speed Bump Be Worth Buying?

The reported speed bumps for the MacBook Pro line seem minimal. Here's some advice on whether to jump on them.

Apple's line of MacBook Pros, just refreshed in February, is reportedly due for another processor bump to correlate with the 2011 holiday season and maintain relevancy until Intel's releases its next-gen Ivy Bridge processors, according to Apple Insider.

Apple Insider spoke to "people with proven insight into Apple's future product plans" that said the 13-, 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros would receive incremental boosts for its Core i5 and Core i7 Sandy Bridge processors. These revamped laptops could hit shelves as soon as late September.

Details

MacBook Pro, 13-inch

  • Current: 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5
  • Future: 2.5GHz and 2.6GHz dual-core Core i5
  • Current: 2.7GHz dual-core Core i7
  • Future: 2.8GHz dual-core Core i7

MacBook Pro, 15-inch

  • Current: 2.0GHZ or 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7
  • Future: 2.4GHz or 2.5GHz quad-core Core i7

MacBook Pro, 17-inch

  • Current: 2.2GHz or 2.3GHz quad-core Core i7
  • Future 2.7GHz quad-core Core i7

Intel's successors to its Sandy Bridge chips, called Ivy Bridge, aren't due until the second quarter of 2012, but in order for MacBook Pros to stay drool-worthy during the holidays--and compete with powerful and sleek new Ultrabooks from Intel--upgrading them seems like a good idea.

Factoring Speed Into Buying Decisions

But how important is processor speed for the average consumer? PCWorld's tests showed that when it comes to laptop specs that really matter, slight differences in the CPU clock speeds aren't a priority--invest in RAM or SSDs instead. So don't trade in your February 2011 MacBook Pro quite yet.

If you do need a new MacBook Pro and aren't sure whether to buy now, wait until this rumored refresh, or wait even longer for Ivy Bridge chips, the MacRumors' Mac Buyers Guide lists the current MacBook Pro model as "buy only if you need it."

Decide.com--a Web site that monitors the price fluctuations in electronics and parses the online rumor mill to recommend or oppose new purchases--has all MacBook Pro models listed as buy now, given that Apple hasn't started clearing out old inventory and dropping prices on refurbished models.

If you'd like to track prices yourself, there are a few browser extensions and downloads that track changes on Web sites (specifically the price of gadgets) and sends alerts. ReloadIt is a standalone application for Windows' Internet Explorer only that monitors and broadcasts Web site changes.

Similarly, Firefox has an add-on called AlertBox and Chrome has an extension called Page Monitor that do the same, making it easy to see when MacBook Pro prices--or anything, really--plummet on the Web so you can make informed decisions with your money.


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