New MacBook Pro speed tests

I had been looking forward to this past week for months. I imagined immersing myself in session after session at Apple's annual , getting an under-the-hood look at where the Mac platform is headed. Alas, just a few minutes into the , the reality became clear that I would instead spend a week in the Macworld Lab testing new Macs. Why? Because early in the WWDC keynote, Apple executive Phil Schiller announced the company's . After a mad scramble, we got our hands on the six new MacBook Pros and ran them through our tests. (In this article, I'll look mostly at speed. Full reviews with mouse ratings that also consider the laptops' design and features are in the works.)

In case you forgot about the MacBook Pro announcement as soon as the , the biggest change to the MacBook Pro line was the addition of . Essentially, Apple took the unibody MacBook and added a FireWire 800 port to the laptop and the word "Pro" to the name. The new 13-inch models feature a 2.26GHz or 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo Intel processor, a boost over the 2GHz and 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processors found in the unibody MacBooks. The ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ) is currently the only laptop in the MacBook line.

The $1,199 13-inch 2.26GHz MacBook Pro ships with 2GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM and a 160GB hard drive. The $1,499 13-inch 2.53GHz MacBook Pro ships with 4GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM and a 250GB hard drive. Both models ship with the Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics subsystem.

We tested the two new 13-inch MacBook Pros using 's overall system performance test tool, . The new 13-inch 2.53GHz MacBook Pro was a little more than 12 percent faster overall than the new 13-inch 2.26GHz MacBook Pro. The 2.53GHz laptop was about 21 percent faster at Photoshop and Cinema 4D.

Of course, some of this performance difference is due to the 2.53GHz system's additional RAM, so we also tested the 2.26GHz model with 4GB of RAM. Most of our tests (which are run one at a time) don't benefit much from additional RAM, and the two-point improvement in the Speedmark score bears that out. The biggest performance difference with the additional RAM was in our Photoshop suite times, which improved the new 2.26GHz MacBook Pro's score by about 10 percent.