Taking apart the new MacBook Pro is virtually identical to the old one. 

The motherboard layout hasn't actually changed, the reason we haven't seen the Penryn update until today is because there were some late changes to the voltage specs from Intel. The result was that all of the motherboards had to be slightly reworked resulting in a delayed release of mobile Penryn, despite the CPUs being announced at CES in January.

As always, the MacBook Pro motherboard is quite compact and a custom design. The four major chips can be seen above, from left to right we have the Intel ICH, NVIDIA 8600M GT GPU, Intel Mobile 965 MCH and the mobile Penryn CPU itself. Despite the CPU upgrade this is still considered to be a Santa Rosa based notebook, hence the identical chipset to what was in the old Pros.

The two MacBook Pro motherboards, as we mentioned before, are virtually identical. At the top you have the new board, and at the bottom we've got the old. The only real changes are a few resistors, caps and VRM adjustments. The new Penryn based board does feature more video memory standard, and thus you see a few more memory chips around the NVIDIA GPU.

And now it's time for the star of the show:

Here we're looking at the two MacBook Pro motherboards butted up against one another. In the middle we have the CPUs: 65nm Merom on the left and 45nm Penryn on the right. It's not tough to tell that Penryn is smaller thanks to the 45nm manufacturing process.

The real question is: how much of an improvement in battery life will we see? And that's what we're trying to find out now...

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  • mainchochacho - Saturday, March 1, 2008 - link

    One visible difference not touched upon is the multi-touch technology in the trackpad. You can see a difference from the previous rev. on the bottom side of the topcase (visible when the battery is removed). There are more chips and resistors on the underside of the trackpad.
  • steadicam - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    Using my new Macbook pro got it this morning. Ordered on Tues. Anyway feels like my old Macbook pro 2.0 but works well. But still has the same amount of USB ports 2
  • stringmint - Thursday, February 28, 2008 - link

    This model finally replaces the little-used Enter key given prominence on the right.

    Methods were available for G4 models to map Enter to Option, a heavily used key which is missing on the right side, but on the intel MBP's all the key mapping solutions I have tried fail. They work mapping the Enter to other keys but not to Option - a right Option key is very useful, eg. for switching Firefox tabs, using a Space hotkey, etc one handed.
  • wk127001 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link


    I just bought one of these new MBPs and I desperately want to know how much battery life they save over the Merom based ones. So get that part 2 article out soon!
  • nhshah - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    macbook pro

    i have been waiting for this update for quite some time now....
    but now there already rumors of the next update...

    i do a lot of high end video editing and graphics work
    so i can really use all the power i can get for my buck....


    i am runnin only pcs at home right now but use macs at work...
    i really prefer mac and am just waiting....
    my plan was to wait a couple weeks after this update just
    to read other ppls reviews...but i dont know if it would be worth it now...

    what are your recomendations to me?

  • wk127001 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    If you need one now buy it, otherwise you'll probably be waiting much longer than June. I would guess August maybe longer. I just purchased a new one and I can't wait till it arrives. You'll always be waiting for the new technology anyway if you never buy.
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    "high end video editing and graphics work"

    Don't consider a laptop, unless you have a great need for mobile video editing. Get a desktop Mac Pro, or a high end desktop PC. Macbook Pros are certainly good machines, but you pay a price and performance premium for their mobility.
  • nhshah - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I do have a high need for mobility.
    I travel between multiple school campuses, work, and home.
    I am always working on stuff, and if I had my MBP with me
    anywhere else, I could/would also be more productive.

    Also, I can't afford as great of a Mac Pro as I want,
    but that will most likely be my next purchase after maybe
    an iPhone.
  • potpoi - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    I noticed that apple has added an additional USB port on the new macbook pros, to bring the total up to three, instead of the two shown in the table above.
  • ncbill - Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - link

    Could you list the brand/model of the hard drives and optical drive in the MBP?

    Especially interested to see if Apple has upgraded their Superdrive, since the bargain bin Matshita DVD burner that Apple put in my Macbook is failing along with many others:


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