Having just stunned the world with the release of the Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, Apple unleashes the same technology in the more affordable MacBook range. Let me tell you - these MacBooks, whether they bear the Pro in their name or not, are absolutely sensational editing and encoding machines.

In my opinion what makes a system worthwhile and desirable can be summed up in one word. Reliability. Speed comes second to reliability. Can you depend on the machine to get you through the moments of crisis, pressure and depend on the machine to help you attain all the fruits of success and help to avoid the garbage and hassle thrown at us in the mayhem of the post-production world.

So far I've used the Black MacBook (not the new one) on two relatively complex jobs, DV and DVCPro HD have been the formats. It works as it should, and while the Pro machines would undoubtably be quicker the MacBook certainly is a good workhorse.

There was some talk about the Graphics VRAM being shared with system memory but I’ve not noticed any problems. In fact an H.264 file which my 12-inch Powerbook, which does not have graphics shared with system memory, struggled to play - this played back perfectly on the Black MacBook.

Obviously this machine isn’t for everyone. If you want to hook up a SATA RAID or any slot-based peripheral or use FireWire 800 then you are going to need one of the Pro machines. Furthermore, the Pro machines offer bigger screens, faster processing, better graphics performance, shorter battery life and could be described as being potentially less tough to physical knocks than the plastic MacBook range.

I can see every reason for owning a 15 inch or 17 inch MacBook Pro. But one should not ignore the lower-end models because they do not bear the word “Pro” in their name. Let me assure you, these machines are up to professional work.