Apple refreshes MacBook Pro's CPUs/GPUs, Dell unveils rival

By on October 24, 2011, 5:00 PM

In an unexpected move, Apple has updated its notebook offerings with slightly faster processors and graphics cores. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has received a 100MHz bump with a 2.4GHz Core i5 or 2.8GHz Core i7, while the heftier 15- and 17-inch machines get a 200MHz boost to 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz parts. Meanwhile, the lower-end 15-inch MacBook Pro has dropped the AMD Radeon HD 6490M 256MB in favor of the quicker HD 6750M 512MB. Higher-specced versions of the 15- and 17-inchers get an HD 6770M 1GB.

Apple has also tweaked its storage options on the 13-inch system, which now starts with a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive instead of 320GB and can be equipped with up to 750GB. All of the systems ship with 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM, a backlit keyboard and multitouch trackpad, a Thunderbolt port, a Mini DisplayPort output, and have an estimated seven-hour battery life. Pricing for the 13-inchers is set at $1,199 to $1,499, the 15-inch model goes for $1,799 to $2,199 and the 17-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499.

Coinciding with this refresh, Dell has announced what is perceived as its MacBook Pro competitor, the XPS 14z. It offers a sleek aluminum shell, a backlit keyboard and according Engadget's timely review, solid ergonomics and thermal dissipation. Dell's system weighs slightly less than the smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro (4.36lbs versus 4.5lbs), though Engadget notes that it lacks the classy feel of its rival. This is partly attributed to the lack of a unibody chassis, a plasticky coating on the palm rest and tons of bloatware.

The XPS 14z starts at $999 and has a 14-inch 1366x768 display, a 2.4GHz Core i5-2430M, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive and offers a battery life that's comparable to the MacBook Pro. Configurations scale up to a $1,600 with a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GT 520M 1GB, a 750GB HDD or 256GB SSD, and a slot-loading DVD burner (no Blu-ray). Based on the reviews we've seen, the XPS 14z seems like a reasonable compromise if you're shopping for a "premium" notebook on a budget.

User Comments: 11

Got something to say? Post a comment
humblechap said:

And of course you can always install a Mac OS on the Dell...

Guest said:

Dell and other OEMs really need to stop loading machines full of bloatware. If I was running Microsoft I'd put it in the licensing agreements. It creates a negative impression that Windows itself is bloated and crap right off the bat, when in fact a clean, properly-configured Windows 7 install is competitive with OS X.

humblechap said:

True, but the MAC OS is VERY nice to use. I cant beleive that after all these years I am turning to the dark side....

Guest said:

The crapware allows the price to look competitive to the mac. Take it out and the Dell would probably cost the same or more than the superior quality mac. It is deceptive advertising; computers with subsidyware on them should have to state it on the box (which would mean almost all PC and PC laptops).

soliozuz said:

I'm not sure, for the standard price of the MBP 17", you could get a fully loaded Envy 17" with some cash to spare that you could use to purchase Snow Leopard or Lion, whichever you prefer. I don't like the fact that it's so expensive when the parts are for the most part similar.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Laptops really need higher screen resolutions now, 1366x768 displays were around 5 years ago. You can almost get that on a phone these days.

Guest said:

Apple Sucks ,Period

you can buy much better hardware this days way cheaper then apple sell it and get win 7 installed.

RH00D RH00D said:

Guest said:

Apple Sucks ,Period

you can buy much better hardware this days way cheaper then apple sell it and get win 7 installed.

Really? I'm a PC user but to say "Apple Sucks ,Period" is just being ignorant.

nazartp said:


I no longer believe that installing bloatware has much of an impact on the pricing. Used to be, I agree. I recently bought a Lenovo laptop directly from Lenovo's web-site. Minimal amount of crap, except for some of their own software such as battery and camera management. Otherwise it even had an option to skip any anti-virus installation.

My son's year-and-a-half old HP laptop also came with minimal amount of crap. Just needed to remove Norton Security.

I guess consumers are getting through to some of the OEM's.

Guest said:


Perhaps. But then why would they bother doing it when all it does is p*** off the purchaser??

Sunny87 said:

Slightly annoyed as I only just bought a 13" for my travels beginning of next year but I spent and extra £100 and done upgrades myself so personally I'm running better than the new one and I really doubt that extra 100Mhz is going to help me lol.

MacBook Pro 13"

8GB DDR3 1333 RAM

Kingston SSD

intel i5 2.3Ghz

I was happy I got a discount too because I work in education so the savings went into the upgrades plus I made an external backup HDD from the 320GB drive I took out, the same upgrade from apple was nearly £200 for the RAM and to do it myself was £35 for Corsair RAM, and nearly £300 for the SSD.

So slightly disappointed but not to bothered tbh.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.