MacBook 2.4GHz [Aluminium] 2008 full review


Gauging the environmental impact of the MacBook
Apple (and other technology companies) have received a lot of bad press over the last few years regarding environmental factors. Steve Jobs was quick to point out, at the launch event for the new laptops, that Apple had put a lot of effort into making its products safer. The aluminum and glass shell is highly recyclable, there’s no mercury in the display or arsenic in the glass, the packaging is smaller, and so on. So your conscience needn’t be the deciding factor in whether or not purchase a MacBook.

Even with a slower processor than previous MacBooks, the new 2.0GHz model beat the older 2.1GHz model by 14 points on our Speedmark test suite, and even the older 2.4GHz model by five points. The new 2.4GHz model fared even better-perhaps most significantly, it scored only three fewer points (a difference of less than two percent) than the 2.4GHz MacBook Pro, which costs $400 more.

Most gains over previous models were minor, and in some cases non-existent. The new 2.4GHz MacBook was 13 percent faster than the previous 2.4GHz model in our Photoshop CS3 suite, but only two seconds faster at MP3 encoding, and a second slower in Cinema 4D rendering and our iMovie HD test. In our iPhoto test, the new 2.4GHz MacBook beat the old 2.4GHz model by 19 percent, and even the new 2.4GHz MacBook Pro by 10 percent. Yet the 2.0GHz MacBook was slower than either of the last MacBooks in the same test (with a similar pattern in our Compressor testing as well). The biggest improvements were in our game tests.

Speedmark 5 Adobe Photoshop CS3 Cinema 4D XL 10.5 Compressor iMovie HD iTunes 7.7 Quake 4 Finder Finder
OVERALL SCORE SUITE RENDER MPEG ENCODE AGED EFFECT MP3 ENCODE FRAME RATE ZIP ARCHIVE UNZIP ARCHIVE
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.4GHz (Aluminum) 212 01:05 00:54 01:52 00:49 01:03 39.4 04:59 01:32
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2GHz (Aluminum) 195 01:08 01:07 02:10 00:55 01:11 38.7 05:34 01:24
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.1GHz (White, Current) 181 01:17 00:53 02:07 00:55 01:10 7.6 05:25 01:41
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.4GHz (White, Feb 2008) 190 01:15 00:53 01:57 00:48 01:05 7.6 05:03 01:38
MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.4GHz (15-inch, Unibody)* 215 01:07 00:54 01:53 00:49 01:04 58.9 05:05 01:18
PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz 91 03:02 03:57 07:47 01:59 02:26 19.9 07:14 02:21

* denotes testing was conducted using the MacBook Pro’s Nvidia 9600M GT graphics.
Speedmark 5 scores are relative to those of a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mac mini, which is assigned a score of 100. Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D XL, iMovie, iTunes, and Finder scores are in minutes:seconds. All systems were running Mac OS X 10.5.5 with 2GB of RAM. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. We recorded how long it took to render a scene in Cinema 4D XL. We used Compressor to encode a 6-minute:26-second DV file using the DVD: Fastest Encode 120 minutes - 4:3 setting. In iMovie, we applied the Aged Film Effect from the Video FX menu to a one minute movie. We converted 45 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We used Quake’s average-frames-per-second score; we tested at a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels at the Maximum setting with both audio and graphics enabled. We duplicated a 1GB folder, created a Zip archive in the Finder from the two 1GB files and then Unzipped it.—MACWORLD LAB TESTING BY JAMES GALBRAITH, CHRIS HOLT, AND JERRY JUNG.

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