Just like the iMac before it, Apple's MacBook Pro has undergone an upgrade highlighted by a chip swap - the Core Duo processor that used to power Apple's professional laptop has been replaced by the next-generation Core 2 Duo. Unsurprisingly, this decision has led to a modest performance gain.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Courtesy of the Core 2 Duo, the MacBook Pro has received a bump in processor speed. The 15in models now feature processors running at 2.16GHz and 2.33GHz, compared with 2GHz and 2.16GHz in the old Core Duo systems. The 17in MacBook Pro runs at 2.33GHz, up from 2.16GHz. The latest models also pack 4MB of shared Level 2 cache (twice the amount of their predecessors), more RAM and greater hard-drive capacities.

Core 2 Duos offer roughly a 10 percent speed improvement over standard Core Duo models. Since the low-end 15in MacBook Pro comes with 2.33GHz on board, this makes it some 19 percent faster than the older model.

As things stand, the Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro represents a step forward in processor speed - getting 2GB of memory as standard is a bonus. However, one of our main gripes with the original was that it didn't address the issue of design. The standard MacBook has a stylish look that represents the leap forward in design that we were looking for, so why can't the Pro get a similar facelift?

Aside from the processor - which has recently been matched by the MacBook - and memory boost, little has changed in the MacBook Pro. Many of our arguments for and against the system remain the same.

Apple MacBook Pro 2.33GHz 15-inch: Specs

  • 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Mac OS X 10.4.8 Tiger
  • 2GB RAM
  • 15.4in TFT
  • resolution 1,440x900
  • 120GB 5400rpm hard drive
  • 6-speed SuperDrive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB RAM
  • 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Mac OS X 10.4.8 Tiger
  • 2GB RAM
  • 15.4in TFT
  • resolution 1,440x900
  • 120GB 5400rpm hard drive
  • 6-speed SuperDrive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB RAM

OUR VERDICT

The MacBook Pro is a good system that'll satisfy most users. But those who don't need a large screen or strong gameplay will find the standard MacBook offers pretty much identical speed for a fraction of the cost.

Find the best price