Apple today updated its homepage with the refreshed MacBook Pro lineup that includes the latest Sandy Bridge processors, an upgraded FaceTime camera with three times higher resolution and a brand new Thunderbolt connection developed in partnership with Intel and debuting on the new MacBook Pro.

The move to the latest Sandy Bridge processors has yielded a significant performance increase, the Cupertino firm claims. In addition, the Mac maker has switched the notebook family from Nvidia to AMD graphics chips. 

As BSN explained, high-speed Thunderbolt connection aims to replace the existing plethora of incompatible interfaces like SATA, eSATA, USB, FireWire, PCI Express and others. A new Thunderbolt port on all MacBook Pro models, shown below, features two bi-directional channels each with transfer speeds up to 10 gigabits per second.

The port is compatible with all DisplayPort devices and you can use your existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Thunderbolt also delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support your FireWire and USB gear and Gigabit Ethernet networks via what are likely going to be pricey adapters.

The new MacBook Pro family includes five different configurations across three screen sizes: 13-inch, 15-inch and 17-inch. All models feature a sturdy aluminum unibody enclosure, glass multitouch trackpad, LED-backlit widescreen display, backlit keyboard, seven-hour battery, 128/256/512GB solid-state drive options, four gigabytes of 1333MHz DDR3 memory (provided in two 2GB SO-DIMM slots and expandable to up to eight gigabytes) and  Intel integrated HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory.

The 15-inch and 17-inch models also have AMD’s discrete Radeon HD 6000 series graphics. Another important upgrade on all models is the addition of a 1280 by 1024 pixel FaceTime HD camera that enables widescreen video chats in 720p with other new MacBook Pros, in addition to standard-definition calls with Intel-based Macs, iPhone 4 and the current-generation iPod touch.

The entry-level 13-incher still costs the same $1,200 and comes with a 320GB hard drive and dual-core 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor with 3MB shared Level-3 cache – a significant jump in performance over the Core 2 Duo chips from the previous generation. Both models have the same 13-inch display with a 1280 by 800 pixel resolution. On the $1,800 and $2,200 15.4-inch notebooks, however, Apple engineers upgraded the display to 1440 by 900 pixels while offering a build-to-order 1680 by 1050 glossy or antiglare option.

The cheaper of the two is fitted with a 2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with 6MB L3 cache plus half a terabyte hard drive while the pricier packs in fifty percent more storage, a juicer Radeon 6750M graphics chip with one gigabyte of dedicated video memory and a speedier 2.2GHz processor upgradeable to an optional 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 with 8MB L3 cache (a $250 value).

The flagship $2,500 model comes with a full HD (1920 by 1200 pixels) 17-inch display with an optional antiglare coating, 750GB hard drive and 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with 6MB L3 cache, with an optional upgrade to a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 with 8MB L3 cache (a $250 value). Computers are available today from the online Apple Store.

Source: Apple