MacBook PROS: new features over the MBP

MacBook PROS: new features over the MBP

Summary: Yesterday Apple announced the long-awaited iBook successor, the MacBook and there are a couple of things worth noting between it and the MacBook Pro.

TOPICS: Hardware

macbook-black-keyboard.jpgYesterday Apple announced the long-awaited iBook successor, the MacBook and there are a couple of things worth noting between it and the MacBook Pro.

Video: The MacBook uses Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950 with 64MB of shared video memory versus the MacBook Pro's dedicated ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (running on the PCI Express bus.) The MacBook isn't going to be a screaming game machine, nor will it be chosen by high-end graphic or video professionals. These users will chose the MacBook Pro just for the video processor.

Color: The high-end MacBook is the first Apple notebook available in black since the PowerBook G3 Pismo was released in 2001. Some people will complain about the black case only being available in the high-end model - most likely to eliminate inventory problems, and the fact that it fetches a US$150 premium, but that's just product differentiation. I'm most worried about it scratching, let's hope that Apple learned from the iPod nano fiasco.

Weight: The MacBook weighs in at 5.2 pounds which is almost exactly where it should be. Here's a breakdown of recent Apple notebook weights:

    PowerBook G4 12-inch    4.6 lbs
    MacBook 13.3-inch      5.2
    iBook 12-inch                  4.9
    iBook 14-inch                  5.9
    MacBook Pro 15-inch       5.6
    MacBook Pro 17-inch       6.8
Memory: The MacBook ships with 512MB of RAM in two 256MB SO-DIMMs, which means that if you want to upgrade to 1GB of RAM, you'll need to remove both chips and replace them with two 512MB SO-DIMMs.

Hard drive bay
: The MacBook sports a user-accessible hard drive via the battery bay. The MacBook Pro requires opening the case (a non-trivial task) to access the HDD.

Battery Life: The MacBook's 55 Watt Hour battery is spec'd to run for "up to 6 hours," while the MacBook Pro's 60 Watt Hour battery is spec'd to run "up to 4.5 hours." Four and three hours respectively, is probably a lot closer to reality.

Keyboard: The MacBook sports an entirely new keyboard that is not backlit. It looks pretty futuristic from the pictures.

(Photo Courtesy: Apple Insider)

What do you like/dislike about the new MacBook? 

Topic: Hardware

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  • What I don't like...

    The RAM configuration.

    No backlit keys.

    The Video.
  • 2 x 128 = 512?

    "Memory: The MacBook ships with 512MB of RAM in two 128MB SO-DIMMs"

    Must be a typo. =)
    • Doh! Typo indeed

      What can I say, I can't add!
      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
  • Errors in article

    1. I don't seem to understand the title of the article - "MacBook PROS: new features over the MBP". Shouldn't it be "MacBook: new features over the MBP", considering the acronym MBP stands for MacBook Pro? Unless am reading it wrong and the title is meant to convey something else entirely.

    2. The line where it says "The MacBook ships with 512MB of RAM in two 128MB SO-DIMMs.." I believe is incorrect. It should say "The MacBook ships with 512MB of RAM in two 256MB SO-DIMMs..", considering two 128MB sticks only add up to 256MB.
    • Missed one...

      "What do like/dislike about the new MacBook?"

      I think a subject is required to make a proper question. The word "you" might help this one out.
      • Everyone's a critic!

        Let's keep the comments constructive here people!
        Do you really need to post a comment about a grammatical error?!

        - Geez
        Jason D. O'Grady
        • RE: Everyone's a critic!

          Do you really need to post a comment about a grammatical error?!
          Of course we do! The article was posted for general readership by someone who was trying to be informative. It is not an e-mail from one illiterate to his equally illiterate buddy.
          The author should at least respect his intended audience and be courteous enough to proofread his article before posting. Obvious grammatical and arithmetical errors impugn his credibility.
          Cat Ketch
    • answer to #1

      i was confused by the title too, but i think it means the "PROS" of the MacBook. an attempt at a catchy title that is a little too vague.
    • You're too literal

      I was trying to use a play on words in my headline. It's MacBook PROS, as in PROS and CONS.

      That's why I capitalized it...
      Sorry for the confusion, it' wasn't meant that way.
      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Yet another error....

        I believe the type of font you should have used in your talkback forums is either helvetica or Times New Roman.....

        LOL just joking. They are taking this wayyyy out of context.
        Hard Cider
  • RAM upgrade

    "...which means that if you want to upgrade to 1GB of RAM, you'll need to remove both chips and replace them with two 512MB SO-DIMMs"

    Yes, that is quite true... the computer could run with an empty slot, but Apple recommends the same size chip in each slot. This is not that uncommon in the PC world, that the processor and bus run most efficiently with identical sized chips in all slots.

    However, the great thing about this is that for the first time I can remember, you don't pay a huge premium if you custom order your MacBook from Apple more memory-- with 1GB of RAM - it's only $100 more, and that's about what a good stick of 512MB would cost you these days anyway.

    Also-- your choice of "PROS" (as in the opposite of "CONS") for the headline was most confusing to many...
  • The title is clever, not a blunder

    Well done catching various errors in the article, but the title is not one of them. It seems obvious from the capitalization that the term, "MacBook PROS," is a reference to the concept of pros and cons. The title is an amusing play on words. Criticisms should be more careful.
  • Matte Finish

    The MacBook has a Matte Finish, so I doubt it will have "issues" with scratches like the iPod.

    The iBook, which had a glossy finish, didn't receive many complaints about scratches, anyway.
  • MacBook Gripes

    The MacBook should have had dedicated graphics, a pc card slot, right-hand USB ports, 100gb hard drive standard, and backlit keys. I'll pass.
    • Duhhhhhhhh

      So why don't you just buy a MacBook Pro? With all of those features, the machine would cost $2000. This is a low-end user laptop. I guess people will find anything to complain about.
  • Funky keyboard

    Just saw the new MB at the Soho Apple store. I was immediately
    reminded of the IBM PC Jr. chicklet keyboard (for those old enough
    to remember it). The keyboard is more integrated into the machine
    (i.e., it isn't easily removable like on an iBook) and there is space
    between the keys (i.e., the keys extend above the flat surface of the
    top of the machine --- if that makes sense). I wanted to dislike the
    keyboard immediately but, after trying it, the jury is still out for
    me. I'll go try it again.
    • Totally agree

      When I opened one up at the Mac store, I immediately thought "PC JUNIOR!" Although this keyboard actually feels pretty nice. I think it'll make cleaning the keyboard a lot easier too. I need to use it again, but I think I'm liking it.
    • Most certainly!

      The last time I saw anything like that was in the late 80s on my
      Revox Cassette deck. Very 'Euro', indeed! Perhaps inspired by some
      of that cool early Olivetti office gear. I think Apple has done a bang
      up job on the industrial design while remedying some obvious
      annoyances like hard drive access. Good job! Now I'll have mine in
      white, please ; )
  • iPod Nano Fiasco

    Just another sampling of the internet bullhorn effect. There was no fiasco. Out of hundreds of thousands of units, a few dozen people get theirs scratched, and promptly scream into the internet megaphone, and soon everyone thinks picking the nano up will scratch it.
    • you can't be serious

      (re: black nano fiasco)
      "a few dozen people got theirs scratched?"
      you obviously don't own one, i guess. i am on my third black nano, the first got scratched to high heaven (used in a case exclusively) and the second's screen scrathed (in a case, in my bag).

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady