Fri, 24 Oct 2008 MacBook 2.0GHz review
Apple's latest laptop sports an overhauled 'unibody' design and new component features
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Pros: Sleek new design; greatly improved graphics power; Multi-Touch glass trackpad; bright LED display.
- Cons: Entry price higher than before; no FireWire port; battery life shorter than previous MacBook model; no video adapters or Apple Remote in the box.
- Min specs: Height: 2.41cm, width 32.5cm, depth 22.7cm; weight 2.04kg; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with 3MB of L2 cache; NVIDIA GeForce 9400m; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM; 13.3in LED backlit glossy display; MagSafe power port; Gigabit ethernet; two USB 2.0 ports; Mini Display Port; Audio line in; Audio line out; Kensington lock slot; built in iSight camera; Airport Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking (802.11n specification); multi-touch trackpad
- Price: £949 (2.0GHz)
- Star rating:
Inside the MacBook 2.0GHz
The latest MacBooks use the same Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn) processors with 3MB of shared L2 cache as the previous MacBooks. Whereas the last MacBooks came with either a 2.1GHz or 2.4GHz processor, the new models offer 2.0GHz or 2.4GHz options. At the same time, there are other architectural advances that make up for the small different in processor speed, including a frontside bus that increases from 800MHz to 1,066MHz, and RAM that increases from 667MHz DDR2 to 1,066MHz DDR3.
The MacBooks include the same 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless networking as before. The 2.0GHz model has a 160GB, 5400-rpm SATA hard drive, while the 2.4GHz model includes a 250GB drive at the same speed. For the first time with a MacBook, however, you can opt for a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD) for £490 extra on the 2.0GHz model, or £420.01 extra on the 2.4GHz model. Both models come with an 8x slot-loading SuperDrive.
Another important advancement with the latest MacBooks is the new Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor (Apple is the first company to ship a computer using the 9400M). Unlike the integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics in the previous MacBooks, the 9400M has its own graphics processing unit (GPU), giving it a lot more power than the Intel chip.
Like the X3100, the 9400M doesn’t have its own memory, and instead borrows main system RAM—but the MacBook now uses fast DDR3 SDRAM and the GPU gets 256MB of RAM, a boost from the 144MB that the X3100 used. With more RAM going to graphics, it’s even more important to max out the MacBook’s RAM than before.
Apple currently charges £100 to double the RAM to the 4GB maximum although you can buy a 4GB kit from Crucial for £95.16. If you get it from Crucial you get get to keep the two 1GB modules that ship in the MacBook normally to use elsewhere.
Next: Gaming on the new MacBook