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New MacBooks add metal cases, power to burn but no FireWire

You heard the rumors, now get the details. Apple has just released a major update to the MacBook line, leaving the original white plastic model in the mix but lowering the price to $999; the two new models are priced at $1299 and $1599. You can see a video overview of the new beasties at Apple's site.

The new models feature the same unibody aluminum construction process as the MacBook Pro; video chores are handled by the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M display subsystem with 256 MB of shared video RAM, a dramatic performance boost from the older Intel integrated graphics -- Apple claims 2.5x-6x better 3D performance on gaming tests.

Both new models support up to 2560x1600 pixels on an external display (via the new Mini DisplayPort connector) and sport a native 1280x800 13.3" glossy LED screen. The design of these laptops is so radical, Apple has two full pages of sweet geeky detail posted on apple.com.

Both models include the new all-glass trackpad, built-in iSight, 8x Superdrive and 2 GB of RAM. They are under one inch high (2.41 cm), 12.78 inches (32.5 cm) wide, and they both weigh 4.5 lbs (2.04 kg). Neither MacBook model includes a FireWire port (unlike the big boys, which have a single FireWire 800 port) -- this is a definite drawback for anyone thinking of one as a mobile video workstation. Note that, contrary to some of the comments below, I see no evidence that the USB ports on the new MacBook will support target disk mode.

Lower-end model:

  • Price: $1299
  • Main Specs: 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3MB L2 cache, 2GB of RAM expandable to 4 GB, 160GB HD
  • Display & Other: 13.3" screen, 8x Superdrive, 2 USB
  • BTO: Add RAM (up to 4 GB), up to 320 GB HD or 128 GB SSD

High-end model:

  • Price: $1599
  • Main Specs: 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3MB L2 cache, 2GB of RAM expandable to 4 GB, 250GB HD
  • Display & Other: 13.3" screen, 8x Superdrive, 2 USB
  • BTO: Add RAM (up to 4 GB), up to 320 GB HD or 128 GB SSD

More details on features, graphics, tech specs and environmental compliance are up at Apple's site.

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