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Apple announced an upgrade to their low-end MacBook today with Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Apple claims they’re up to 25 percent faster than the previous Core Duo generation (although those figures, like their claims for the Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo, may be a slight exaggeration).

Prices remain the same. The new line includes a 1.83 GHz ($1,099) machine and a 2.0 GHz version ($1,299) in white, and a 2.0GHz model ($1,499) in black. All would include a 13-inch widescreen display, with built-in iSight and integrated iLife ’06 and Front Row software.

The Macbook Pro line moved to Core 2 Duo chips recently. The Macbook Pro features a bigger screen and a dedicated graphics chip among other things.

Since January, Apple has moved its entire computer product line to chips made by Intel. Intel’s new Core 2 Duo chip is said to be faster and more energy-efficient.

Apple Certified Refurbished Products have pre Core 2 machines at a discount.

Apple last month posted a 27 percent increase in its fourth-quarter profit as strong sales of iPods allayed concerns growth was slowing and Mac shipments set a record. Apple said it sold nearly 1 million notebook Macs in the quarter, an increase of 56 percent from a year-ago, boosted by purchases among students at schools and universities.

In other news, Windows Vista went gold today.

That means the code has been frozen and has been sent to manufacturing. “This is a good day,” said Jim Allchin, who ought to know. “It’s rock solid and we’re ready to ship.”

Microsoft’s Vista should be available on November 30th for big businesses customers, and January 30th for consumers. Every Windows Vista PC will be given its own domain name for remote file access. The only catch in using Microsoft’s “Windows Internet Computer Name” functionality is you have to be using IPv6, which isn’t supported by most home routers yet.

Tom’s Hardware overviews Windows Vista on Notebooks. Laptops like the Lenovo 3000 N100 ($1,349 direct) feature Core Duo processors and dedicated graphics chips. Dell’s Inspiron E1505, which starts at $799, might also be a bargain.

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