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Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 09:50 am PT (12:50 pm ET)

Intel promo confirms Apple's plans for Core i5 MacBook Pros [u]

An e-mail sent to members of Intel's Retail Edge promotional program highlight a forthcoming MacBook Pro from Apple sporting a new Core i5 processor, AppleInsider can confirm.

The promotion was included in an e-mail sent out to members of the Intel Retail Edge Program. It reads: "January Prize Draw: Win a MacBook Pro. Pass this month's trainings for 2 chances to win one of 2 MacBook Pro laptops with the accelerated response of an Intel Core i5 processor."

Currently, the top MacBook Pro has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

The Intel Retail Edge Program allows retail employees who sell Intel products to access technical knowledge and sales tips, which allows them to earn "chips" which can be exchanged for products. The program also offers occasional contests and giveaways. It was also sent to Spanish members of the retail program.

Last week at CES, Intel formally introduced its new line of processors, which included the new Core i3, i5 and i7 chips. The mobile Core i5 is considered to be a likely candidate for a coming MacBook Pro refresh.

The new processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, which have been utilized in versions of Apple's new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses the mobile variants of Intel's desktop chips for those systems, meaning machines with chips based on the Arrandale architecture could arrive soon.

Apple is expected to host an event Jan. 27 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to introduce new products. While most speculation has centered around a tablet being unveiled at the event, Apple could also use it as an opportunity to refresh its MacBook Pro line.

Core i5


Currently, Apple uses Nvidia chipsets with its Mac lineup. But the architectural changes through Arrandale — along with an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets — could make it difficult for Apple to continue with Nvidia.

Intel Core i5


Earlier this month, the next-gen MacBook Pro chip candidates were benchmarked and found to have better performance than their Core 2 Duo predecessors without a negative impact on battery life. The Arrandale mobile processors employ a 32nm Westmere core paired with a 45nm chipset. The new 35nm chips offer improved speed, better graphics, lower power consumption, and allow motherboards to become smaller.

Core i5 2