The New Sandy Bridge MacBook Pros Are Here, Starting At $1199

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Screen shot 2011-02-24 at 9.01.22 AM

Along with announcing Thunderbolt, Apple has also officially outed the new MacBook Pros

Starting at prices of just $1199, these new MacBook Pros make the leap to Intel’s new architecture, Sandy Bridge, starting with the 13-incher’s 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU and stretching all the way up to the $2499 17-incher’s 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor.

Overall, the bumps are pretty modest. Apple has shifted away from NVIDIA GPUs this generation and embraced AMD’s RadeonHD graphics in the 15- and 17-inchers, with the low-end 15-inch Pro boasting an AMD RadeonHD 6490M GPU with 256MB of GDDR5 memory, while the high-end 15-and-17-inchers pack in an AMD Radeon HD6750M GPU with 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

4GB of RAM is ubiquitous across all models. While an option, SSDs are not ubiquitous, and storage ranges between 320GB and 750GB stock.

Contrary to rumor, the displays also did not get a resolution bump, which is just weird: the 13-inch MacBook Pro has a lower-resolution display now than the entry-level MacBook Air that costs $200 less.

All models of MacBook Pro pack an advertised “up to” 7 hours of battery life.

Not bad, but nothing groundbreaking… except for Thunderbolt, which — when all is said and done — I’m guessing will end up being the most important product Apple ships this year.