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Tuesday, March 03, 2009, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Apple quietly intros 2.66GHz MacBook Pro, offers larger SSDs

Flying under the radar of Tuesday's broad desktop overhaul were quiet updates to Apple's MacBook Pro notebook line, which now includes a faster 15-inch model, new high-end chip options, and larger solid-state drive (SSD) choices that are also offered alongside the company's 13-inch MacBooks.

Beginning today, the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes standard with a 2.66GHz processor, up from the 2.53GHz. For an extra $300, it can be upgraded to a 2.93GHz chip, which replaces the previous 2.8GHz build-to-order option.

The processor in the base model 15-inch MacBook Pro, 2.4GHz, remains unchanged with no upgrade option, and the new 17" unibody MacBook Pro keeps the same 2.66GHz standard configuration and 2.93GHz upgrade option priced at $300.

Meanwhile, the 15-inch MacBook Pro and both 13-inch unibody MacBook models can now be configured with the same 256GB SSD previously available only to their larger 17-inch companion.

The prices for the 256GB drive upgrades are as follows: 2.0GHz unibody MacBook ($900), 2.4GHz unibody MacBook ($825), 2.4GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro ($825), 2.66GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro ($750), and 17-inch MacBook Pro ($750).