Intel to release three new Arrandale-based mobile chips, just in time for next MacBook Pro refresh

3219For those unfamiliar with the ebb and wane of Apple’s actually pretty dependable product upgrade cycle, MacRumors‘ Apple Buyer’s Guide is a must–check resource for those looking to buy a new Mac, iPod or iPhone. With a glance, you can see how close any Apple product is to being refreshed, and if you check it now, you’ll see see that the MacBook Pro is only about a month away from getting an update.

So what will change in the next MacBook Pro? The new unibodies are only a year old, so it’s probably nothing much more drastic than a processor update, and not so coincidentally, Intel is planning to launch three new Arrandale-based, 32nm Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors on January 3rd… just around the time MacBook Pros are historically refreshed.

The first is the Core i5 520M, featuring two cores and four logical threads. It runs at 2.4GHz with a 3MB cache, but can be pounded into Turbo Mode. The Core i5 540M is similar to its little brother, upping the frequency to 2.53GHz. Finally, the showcase chip of the bunch, the Core i7 620M, which retains the two cores and four threads of the other new Arrandale CPUs, but features a 4MB cache and is clocked at 2.66GHz.

Whether these will be the CPUs of the next MacBook Pros is debatable. The timing’s right, but Fudzilla says that all three mobile Arrandale-based chips are power hogs, which might make them less attractive to Apple.

Either way, a refresh is coming, and whether you want the best of Intel’s mobile chips in your next MacBook Pro or not, take the advice of MacRumors: “Buy only if you need one now.”

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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