Apple introduced new MacBook Pros this morning, making me among the happier people on the planet. Although I flirted briefly with the idea of grabbing the upper end machine, ultimately I couldn’t justify the $425 price difference for just .2 GHz of speed and an extra 128 MB of VRAM. They’d be nice, but not at that price.

So the specs on my new machine read versus Mystic, my trusty long-in-the-tooth PowerBook G4:

2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo versus PowerBook G4 1.5-GHz

That 700-MHz jump in speed is swell, but what’s especially spiffy is the dual core nature of the Intel chips. In essence, it’s like getting a 700-MHz speed increase + another 2.2-GHz chip. The sum is an order of magnitude speed difference, and as I’ve long said, that’s the time to buy.

15.4″ widescreen LED display v. 15.2″ TFT

The new MacBook Pro is the first of Apple’s Macs to use the new LED backlighting technology which is both brighter and less power hungry. Additionally, the screen resolution of the new machines is 1440 x 900 versus 1280 x 854 on Mystic.

2 GB of RAM is standard, 4 GB is possible. The PowerBook maxes out at 2 GB. In terms of VRAM—and this is where I skimped by choosing the lower-end MacBook Pro—it comes with an nVidia 8600M GT with a 128 MB of GDDR3 memory. The upper end model has 256 MB of RAM. The PowerBook as a comparatively slow ATI Mobility RAdeon 9700 with 128 MB RAM. How powerful is the new video card? It will drive a 30″ Apple Cinema Display, something the PowerBook can only dream about.

Additional items
The MacBook Pro stacks up well against Mystic in other points of comparison. It has the new 802.11n wireless card, it runs FrontRow and has an infrared remote, it supports optical digital audio in/out, it has a built-in iSight camera, its hard drive is larger (plus I ordered the 160 GB version) with a sudden motion sensor that will park the drive heads for safety if the machine is dropped, and it has six hours of battery life (versus 4.5 for the PowerBook).

Today is one happy day!