Macworld, naturally, spends a lot of time focused intently on Apple hardware while I get distracted by beatboxing parrots and modular synthesizers built out of yarn and rubber bands. They have an excellent write-up of the significance of the MacBook Pro Santa Rosa upgrades, with comments on their benchmarks of the equivalent refreshed MacBooks:

MacBook Pro knows the way to Santa Rosa

One thing I was a little unclear on in my previous story is what matters in Santa Rosa, Intel’s latest architecture platform. (They didn’t call it Core 3 Duo, but then, consistent branding and Intel don’t generally go together.) As with Core 2 Duo over Core Duo, we’re getting incremental performance enhancements relative to the previous generation. Each step is relatively small, but they start to add up — hence, Apple quotes 50% gains over the original Core Duo. (And that’s why they dumped PowerPC, which in the mobile space was starting to practically paddle backwards.)

The key differences as far as raw performance: faster front-side bus (800MHz instead of 667), which for audio is a big deal, faster clock speeds on the models themselves at the same price, and fast RAM, plus a faster GPU for GPU-related tasks. (And, um, any day now we’ll start to see audio on the GPU — it’s tough to program, and GPUs are only now becoming the norm, and CPU cycles are getting cheaper, but it will happen.)

Also, none of this was meant to say “eBay your MacBook Pro.” PowerBook G4, maybe, but the first-gen MacBook Pro is still a terrific audio machine, with a GPU that’s no slouch. My main laptop right now is a first-gen MacBook (no Pro), and it blazes through everything I throw at it.