The web weighs in on Apple's new MacBook Pros, Thunderbolt technology

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The Independent Tech

On February 24 Apple showed off an updated MacBook Pro family with high-speed Thunderbolt data transfer technology, next generation Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors and FaceTime HD cameras and tech blogs and websites are offering their assessments.

Rumors suggested that Apple's new MacBook Pro line might feature slimmer bodies similar to the recently announced MacBook Air range, but the majority of updates have been made on the inside of the new MacBook Pro line.

"These new models aren't exactly revolutionary with the same basic unibody casing, layout, and batteries," says CrunchGear's Matt Burns. "The updates are evolutionary in nature, just steps towards the next generation of MacBook Pros."

Initial benchmark tests, however, show the new MacBook Pros to be much more powerful than their predecessors.

"Some of the very earliest benchmark tests of Apple's new MacBook Pros have shown them fast enough to outperform some Mac Pro workstations," says electronista. "The new MacBook Pros are some of the first quad-core portables to keep a thin profile and long battery life, and their performance relative to much larger and more expensive workstations may be part of a rare closing of the gap between desktop and mobile."

The MacBook Pro range is the first to integrate Intel's "groundbreaking Thunderbolt I/O technology - "a new wired connection technology that combines data transfer and video output capabilities," explained Gigaom.

The technology touts bi-directional transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, or as TechCrunch calls it, "screaming-fast data transfers" that will "transfer a Blu-ray disk in less than 30 seconds." Thunderbolt aims to one day replace USB and Firewire connectivity.

"The class of Mac owner that stands to gain the most from Thunderbolt in the short term is the media professional," says Gigaom.

In an article titled "Why the new MacBook Pros aren't for most people," Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz says most consumers shouldn't opt for Apple's new MacBook Pros unless they are planning on using the laptop to edit "high definition video in Final Cut Pro, print-resolution images in Photoshop or 3D animation in Maya."

Instead, he advises regular users to invest in "[a] fast-enough machine with the lightest weight possible, ultra-thin, with a ridiculously long battery life," such as the MacBook Air.

Diaz adds that "my biggest disappointment about the 2011 MacBook Pros is that they are not the MacBooks of the future that I imagined."

But as Matt Burns chips in, "[w]ith prices set at the same levels as the previous models, there's no reason to hate on the latest. They're just more computing bang for your credit card buck."

The new range of MacBook Pros are available now starting from $1199 for the base model 13", $1799 for the 15" and $2499 for the 17".

Gizmodo - Why most people shouldn't by the new MacBook Pros
CrunchGear - Apple Updates The MacBook Pro Line With Sandy Bridge Intel CPUs, AMD GPUs, FaceTime HD, and Thunderbolt
electronista - New MacBook Pros outperform some recent Mac Pro Towers
Gigaom - What Thunderbolt Means for End Users
CrunchGear - What Is Thunderbolt And Will It Change Your Life?