PDA

View Full Version : Older MacBook still decent to use in 2012?




dmk1974
Jan 29, 2012, 11:20 AM
I am looking to possibly get a MacBook for my 2nd grade son, and was thinking one of the older pre-unibody 13" MacBooks should do just fine (aside from his video games, but too bad).

Do you guys still think these are a viable option? Some can be had for about $300 used (mid and late 2007 models).



malman89
Jan 29, 2012, 11:24 AM
Yes. My only laptop is my Late 2006 model. The only limitation is the GPU for gaming. It can only run the least graphic intensive new games and then games a few years old. I've got a couple Steam games I can run without worry. Gaming is a bit better in WinXP via Bootcamp, but still not great.

You already said 'too bad' though, so feel free to get a MacBook that works. It's more than adequate for browsing, word processing, videos, etc. I even have CS5.5 installed on mine and it runs fairly well, but obviously can't do "intense" work on it. Just use it for a pdf/doc/pic every now and then.

Probably some things to be weary of is obviously the condition of the shell and the battery health. Also, I went to the Apple store yesterday for an issue I was having and was told my specific laptop is "vintage" in 2 months. I was told there was basically zero Apple support available in-store in 2 months, but think that's just for my specific model (2,1).

dmk1974
Jan 29, 2012, 11:28 AM
Yes. My only laptop is my Late 2006 model. The only limitation is the GPU for gaming. It can only run the least graphic intensive new games and then games a few years old. I've got a couple Steam games I can run without worry. Gaming is a bit better in WinXP via Bootcamp, but still not great.

You already said 'too bad' though, so feel free to get a MacBook that works. It's more than adequate for browsing, word processing, videos, etc. I even have CS5.5 installed on mine and it runs fairly well, but obviously can't do "intense" work on it. Just use it for a pdf/doc/pic every now and then.

Probably some things to be weary of is obviously the condition of the shell and the battery health. Also, I went to the Apple store yesterday for an issue I was having and was told my specific laptop is "vintage" in 2 months. I was told there was basically zero Apple support available in-store in 2 months, but think that's just for my specific model (2,1).

Thanks for the feedback. Wow, even the 2006 version still going strong...that's great! On our PC, he plays Portal 1 on Steam, but I'm not expecting that to work well at all on an older MacBook (which is fine). Glad to hear it sounds like some basic/simple web games may work though.

0dev
Jan 29, 2012, 11:31 AM
I've got a 2007 MacBook, had it since new. The casing is falling apart a bit but other than that it's still a very solid machine. I maxed out the RAM and upgraded the HD and I still use it as my main computer today.

I wouldn't bother using it for gaming, though - the integrated Intel graphics are really quite useless for anything serious in that area.

dmk1974
Jan 29, 2012, 11:32 AM
I've got a 2007 MacBook, had it since new. The casing is falling apart a bit but other than that it's still a very solid machine. I maxed out the RAM and upgraded the HD and I still use it as my main computer today.

I wouldn't bother using it for gaming, though - the integrated Intel graphics are really quite useless for anything serious in that area.

Is Apple still replacing the palm rest and screen bezel chipping for free? I know they had been a little while back.

malman89
Jan 29, 2012, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the feedback. Wow, even the 2006 version still going strong...that's great! On our PC, he plays Portal 1 on Steam, but I'm not expecting that to work well at all on an older MacBook (which is fine). Glad to hear it sounds like some basic/simple web games may work though.

Portal 1 runs, but graphically distorted for me in OSX. It runs fine on low/med in Bootcamp WinXP with my long dead Intel Integrated GMA 950. If you get a 2007 model with an X3100 or better GPU, it might run just fine on low/med actually.

Probably the 'best' games I can run are Minecraft (no problems at all) or LoL OSX port (sometimes sluggish, runs better in Windows).

0dev
Jan 29, 2012, 11:39 AM
Is Apple still replacing the palm rest and screen bezel chipping for free? I know they had been a little while back.

Not sure. TBH I'm not too bothered by it and I'd rather not go a few days without my laptop for the sake of it, but from what I've read they would fix it for free within four years of the laptop's initial purchase.

old-wiz
Jan 29, 2012, 12:34 PM
My wife still uses an iBook G4 from 2005 as her laptop. It is fine for e-mail, surfing the web, watching you tube, writing small reports. She knows if she drops it it will not be repaired, and says that's fine. She takes it when she travels, knowing if it's stolen it is no big deal - there is no personal info on it.

malman89
Jan 29, 2012, 01:50 PM
Is Apple still replacing the palm rest and screen bezel chipping for free? I know they had been a little while back.

I just got mine replaced (for the second time) the week after Thanksgiving. Both times it was the thinnest sliver where the bottom of my right palm/wrist rests on the laptop, but I figured it was free, so why not take them on the offer?

Seems they have less inventory or put a lower priority on it. Last time I did it (year and a half ago) they did it right then and took an hour. This time they did it overnight. Not a huge deal.

azentropy
Jan 29, 2012, 02:37 PM
I have the original 2006 MB (Core Duo 2.0ghz) and am still very happy with it for general use (email, web browsing etc.). My palm rest started to discolor, but I put a Moshi Palmguard (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1156127&highlight=moshi) on it and it looks great.

My biggest complaint right now is that it can only be upgraded to 10.6.X, which means no iCloud for syncing calendar, address books and bookmarks with my iPad, iPhone and MBP. I do use Xmarks now to at least keep my bookmarks in sync and manually export/import my address book every couple of weeks.

I did speed it up a bit by putting a SSD in, just a 80gb Intel 320 that I had in my MBP before upgrading it to a larger model. It made quite a difference in boot up and application launch times.

minifridge1138
Jan 29, 2012, 09:07 PM
As others have said, a pre-unibody macbook is still a very capable computer.
It handles basic games ok, but nothing intensive.

My only concern is you mentioned it was for a 2nd grader. You might want to consider a case of some kind to help it stand up to abuse. The plastic macbooks have a tendency to develop chips and cracks at the palm rests and the hinges.

Good luck and let us know what you get!!!

Jesse813
Jan 29, 2012, 09:12 PM
I am looking to possibly get a MacBook for my 2nd grade son, and was thinking one of the older pre-unibody 13" MacBooks should do just fine (aside from his video games, but too bad).

Do you guys still think these are a viable option? Some can be had for about $300 used (mid and late 2007 models).

it should be fine. just go w/ a Core 2 Duo if you plan on running Lion

dmk1974
Jan 31, 2012, 11:09 AM
Well, I wound up winning 2 on ebay. Received the first one yesterday. Real good shape and the battery still has 99% capacity even though over 600 cycles. I'm going to take it to the Apple Store to see if they will replace the chipped palm rest for free. It only has 1GB RAM in it so it this one becomes the keeper, I'll probably need to upgrade it or transplant from the other that is currently in transit. Too bad RAM for these older models is so expensive!


MacBook #1 (received):
$280
MA700LL/A / 2.0 GHz / 1GB RAM / 80GB HDD / 6X SuperDrive


MacBook #2 (in transit):
$321
MB601LL/A / 2.0 GHz / 2GB RAM / 160GB HDD / Combo Drive

malman89
Jan 31, 2012, 11:34 AM
Well, I wound up winning 2 on ebay. Received the first one yesterday. Real good shape and the battery still has 99% capacity even though over 600 cycles. I'm going to take it to the Apple Store to see if they will replace the chipped palm rest for free. It only has 1GB RAM in it so it this one becomes the keeper, I'll probably need to upgrade it or transplant from the other that is currently in transit. Too bad RAM for these older models is so expensive!


MacBook #1 (received):
$280
MA700LL/A / 2.0 GHz / 1GB RAM / 80GB HDD / 6X SuperDrive


MacBook #2 (in transit):
$321
MB601LL/A / 2.0 GHz / 2GB RAM / 160GB HDD / Combo Drive

Congrats on the new machines! A few months ago I bought the 4 GB (2x2 GB) kit from OWC (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/5300DDR2S4GP/). You can return your current RAM and get a few bucks off the purchase too. OWC is really reliable and has decent prices.

dmk1974
Feb 1, 2012, 08:56 PM
Congrats on the new machines! A few months ago I bought the 4 GB (2x2 GB) kit from OWC (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/5300DDR2S4GP/). You can return your current RAM and get a few bucks off the purchase too. OWC is really reliable and has decent prices.

The 2nd one arrived today. Pretty good shape as well. Battery is at 66% though.

I think I'll live with just the 2GB RAM though and whichever of the two I keep, I'll also keep the better battery and the 160GB hard drive. The other laptop I'll sell off or trade.

I'm thinking that the Mid-2007 model will be the one I keep though. Basically the same of course, but slightly newer and the 2006 model has a very very tiny screen blemish. The only negative of the 2007 model is that it has a combo drive instead of a superdrive. Other than that, they are basically the same, right?

Jeepman88
Feb 1, 2012, 11:51 PM
Is Apple still replacing the palm rest and screen bezel chipping for free? I know they had been a little while back.


I took mine in two weeks ago and they did it for free. They also replaced the track pad and mouse at the same time(for free), which I have to get them to look at again because for whatever reason, when the computer starts to get warm(or hot when watching videos) it starts to "ghost click". It's like the heat causes enough expansion to make the mouse work all goofy. Anybody ever had this happen before?

malman89
Feb 2, 2012, 10:20 AM
I think I'll live with just the 2GB RAM though and whichever of the two I keep, I'll also keep the better battery and the 160GB hard drive. The other laptop I'll sell off or trade.

I'm thinking that the Mid-2007 model will be the one I keep though. Basically the same of course, but slightly newer and the 2006 model has a very very tiny screen blemish. The only negative of the 2007 model is that it has a combo drive instead of a superdrive. Other than that, they are basically the same, right?

The 2GB is probably fine. I was just using way more than 1 and decided just to 'go big' and get 4GB instead of a possible incremental upgrade.

It looks like they're basically the same, yeah. I haven't really gotten much use out of my SuperDrive. Basically just used it as a regular optical drive, oh well heh.

I took mine in two weeks ago and they did it for free. They also replaced the track pad and mouse at the same time(for free), which I have to get them to look at again because for whatever reason, when the computer starts to get warm(or hot when watching videos) it starts to "ghost click". It's like the heat causes enough expansion to make the mouse work all goofy. Anybody ever had this happen before?

Only sort of related issue I had was my battery swelled (barely, had to take it out and level it basically to see) and was resulting in ghost clicks and sticking. At the time Apple replaced for free out of warranty, but due time and lack of supply, pretty sure they don't anymore. Never know though.

dmk1974
Feb 2, 2012, 12:19 PM
Well, continuing on the good news front, the Genius Bar replaced the palmrest and screen bezels on both for free!

sfphoto
Feb 3, 2012, 06:32 PM
Any 'best model' recommendations?

Am too looking - see lots for $400 or less.

Found this guide:
http://guides.macrumors.com/MacBook

but lots to consider- white, black, Unibody, 2 finger, 4 finger, battery life?

Does it all boil down to condition, what's installed etc.

Just wondered if there is a favorite.

This would replace a 2006 1.5gHz PB 12 inch which is tiny and fast enough for my needs except OS ends with Leopard and am thinking won't be long before software will require Snow Leopard or later.

Would be nice to have a brighter screen - do need Firewire so looks like I need a 2008 or older MacBook.

malman89
Feb 4, 2012, 07:24 AM
Any 'best model' recommendations?

Am too looking - see lots for $400 or less.

Found this guide:
http://guides.macrumors.com/MacBook

but lots to consider- white, black, Unibody, 2 finger, 4 finger, battery life?

Does it all boil down to condition, what's installed etc.

Just wondered if there is a favorite.

This would replace a 2006 1.5gHz PB 12 inch which is tiny and fast enough for my needs except OS ends with Leopard and am thinking won't be long before software will require Snow Leopard or later.

Would be nice to have a brighter screen - do need Firewire so looks like I need a 2008 or older MacBook.

Seems like the MacBook 3,1 and 4,1 are pretty much the same, but the 4,1 is a slight speed upgrade. 5,2 (Rev G-H) looks to be the best 'future-proof' model. It still has a FireWire 400 port, has the NVIDIA 9400m GPU and 'unofficially' supports up to 6GB RAM. This was the model that was essentially almost the same specs as the 13" Aluminum MBP, but with FireWire (aluminum dumped it) and was cheaper :p Probably one of the best/worst examples of the silliness of the 13" "Pro". It seems the 6,1 loses the FireWire, so don't get that.

Do note that FireWire is "up to" those revisions. I have a MacBook 2,1 (Late 2006) with one FireWire 400 port. Maybe the model prior didn't have it, but mine sure does.

I would really just focus on and balance the three: condition, price, battery. In that order, imo. Unless there's some steal of a software suite included that you think is worth it. There's either free alternatives for many things like MS Office (pick your poison of Open/Neo/third version I'm forgetting Office) or always other ways of acquiring them.

2 finger/4 finger meh. Not too important to me. I've just got 2 finger, our work 17" MBP has 4, doesn't wow me that much. I think my 2,1 with upgraded HD (500 GB/7200rpm) and RAM (4GB) is just great for anything but gaming. I think you should look for something in that 4,1-5,2 range, though. Might last you a bit longer... possibly.

wrinkster22
Feb 4, 2012, 07:38 AM
2 finger/4 finger meh. Not too important to me. I've just got 2 finger, our work 17" MBP has 4, doesn't wow me that much. I think my 2,1 with upgraded HD (500 GB/7200rpm) and RAM (4GB) is just great for anything but gaming. I think you should look for something in that 4,1-5,2 range, though. Might last you a bit longer... possibly.

you gave really good advice, and if the OP or his child really want the gestures, down the road he could get the magic trackpad. :)

sfphoto
Feb 4, 2012, 06:16 PM
you should look for something in that 4,1-5,2 range, though.

Thank you, much appreciated!