Product Notes: Apple MacBook
October 21, 2008
On October 14, 2008, Apple announced significant updates to its MacBook 13-inch widescreen notebook line. Specific changes to the MacBook include Intel's Montevina/Centrino2 notebook platform, NVIDIA integrated graphics, and a completely revised case design.
The new MacBook design inherits much of its aluminum and glass appearance from current iMacs. Along with the change in visuals comes a half pound weight reduction (from 5.0 to 4.5 pounds). Most of this reduction comes from manufacturing process (generally not used with computers) that allows Apple to construct the MacBook case from a single block of aluminum.
Apple completely removed FireWire support from the MacBook, and replaced the previous Mini-DVI video port with a Mini DisplayPort. Apple also transitioned from Intel to NVIDIA integrated graphics, promising to increase graphics performance substantially. Finally, Apple eliminated the need for a mouse button by completely redesigning the trackpad: the trackpad may be pressed as if a mouse button was there.
The MacBook has received a Gold rating from EPEAT and is Energy Star 4.0-certified.
Configuration & Ordering Notes
Several notes when ordering a MacBook:
See ISC's Notebook Computer Purchasing Guide for more configuration hints. As of October 2008, configuring a MacBook to the Lightweight Notebook and Value Notebook specifications can be done for approximately $1,450.
The new MacBook slides subtly up-market in an overall notebook market that is trending in the other direction. Prices are up, but to be fair this reflects more expensive components. The previous generation MacBook, now called the MacBook White, soldiers on and can be appropriately configured for approximately $1,200.
ISC sees the MacBook as being a solid choice among value notebooks available in late 2008, though its price is higher than much of the competition and the lack of FireWire may be painful to some users. MacBooks also remain Apple's only relatively lightweight choice for Mac OS users who want an onboard optical drive. ISC will follow up with a full review of this product as soon as it has completed testing.
MacBook graphic courtesy of Apple
--John Mulhern III, Senior Project Leader, ISC Technology Support Services (October 21, 2008)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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