How the MacBook Pro Works

MacBook Pro Specs

Starting at $1,199 for the 13-inch base model, the MacBook Pro's price point can vary quite a bit depending on your needs [source: Apple]. There are three screen sizes available: 13 inches (33 centimeters), 15 inches (38 centimeters), and 17 inches (43 centimeters), and when you upgrade the screen size, Apple upgrades some of the hardware as well. For very basic users, the 13-inch model might be just fine, but power users who want to run bigger programs like Final Cut Pro or Photoshop probably need to upgrade to the 15-inch or even the 17-inch version.

The MacBook Pro uses an Intel-based processor, and it can vary depending on the model that you buy. The 13-inch version comes with the dual-core which can't be upgraded to the quad-core, but the mid-range and high-end versions have the Intel quad-core processor standard. Without getting too in-depth into computer chip technology, speed is the big variable between these two processors. The quad-core has twice as many processors per chip, making it the equivalent of 4 CPUs in one chip and much faster than the dual core. While it seems like twice the CPUs would mean twice the speed, the bump in speed actually quite a bit less than that [source: Apple]. Heavy users, like video editors, would notice the difference much more than someone looking to write e-mails and search the web.


Memory is one of the few features on the MacBook Pro that doesn't vary when you up the screen size. They all come with a base 4GB of memory, upgradable to 8GB.

The MacBook Pro touts seven hours of battery life, but battery life for any machine can vary quite a bit depending on what you're doing. If you're just surfing the web, seven hours might be realistic, but if you're editing music or playing graphics-intensive video games, your battery life is always going to take a hit.

The innovation that many Apple fans are talking about is a new port available on the newest MacBook Pro models: Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is replacing FireWire 800 and can transfer 10GB of data per second [source: Intel]. Speed aside, what makes Thunderbolt even more exciting is that it's compatible with a number of connections, like USB, FireWire and computer monitors.

Now that we know what hardware comes with the MacBook Pro, let's take a look at the software that comes standard with this machine.