CW: MacBook Technology Goodies & Takeaways

Computerworldis Seth Weintraub summarized the MacBook announcement and focused on the technical implications and goodies under the hood in Appleis new notebooks.

Mr. Weintraub, who has been in close contact with NVIDIA, reported that the new MacBook Pros are capable of 8 GB RAM, at least from a hardware standpoint. That much (very special) RAM will cost over US$1,000, and itis not clear if there are other OS limitations that might make that much memory unusable. TMO has asked Apple for clarification.

MacBook Pro - Late 2008, Unibody

The CW blogger was appalled that that Apple has not released a notebook with 3G wireless built-in, like some PCs, but reader comments pointed out that 3G wireless in a notebook computer can be iffy in terms of a reliable data connection.

Intriguingly, the author pointed out the possibility of a DisplayPort to HDMI connector. This is presumably why Apple bypassed HDMI ports directly -- HDMI canit drive Appleis own 30-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, so jumping to DisplayPort future-proofed the Macs, yet will still allow HDMI for those who want it.

When Apple releases Snow Leopard, the Graphics Processing Units (GPU) in the Macbooks will add a third virtual core, and, in combination with Grand Central technology, could dramatically speed up these computers. However, there are unconfirmed reports that only one of the GPUs will be available at a time, depending on which energy setting the user has selected. So the hope of four available cores appears, for now, to be distant.

Finally, and notably, Mr. Weintraub pointed out: "You could swap out your optical drive for another HDD, a SSD or possibly, at some future point a Blu-Ray drive. Look for aftermarket vendors to offer some exciting go with that SATA connection. Even an SD card reader would be more valuable to some than a DVD."

While the new MacBooks look great, their first blush benchmarks donit blow away the previous Penryn-based models. However, itis now clear that there are some exciting new features under the hood that will provide for more sheer speed down the road and a lot of technology expansion for some time to come.