Aluminium vs White Macbook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Erko, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Been wanting to try the OS X ecosystem for a long time, but haven't had enough funds to buy a brand new Macbook. So I recently started to look at used notebooks beacause I could use a portable notebook and came across some pretty reasonable deals. The problem is deciding between them and justifying the price difference, so I thought I could ask some advice here :p
    Deal 1)
    2009 White Macbook poly unibody for 350€
    Pros: Newer, costs less
    Cons: More weight, no kb backlight, slightly less power

    Deal 2)
    2008 Aluminium Unibody 2,4 Ghz Macbook for 480 €
    Pros: Slightly less weight, kb backlight, slightly more powerful, possibly more durable
    Cons: Price, older

    So these are the deals Im looking at right now. I was pretty set on the White one until I came across the Alu one. Granted, it costs a bit too much, but it seems I would get some pretty sweet features as well(mostly the backlit kb) and I would try bringing the price down to at least 450, although 400 would be perfect.
    BTW, I would most likely upgrade the HD in either to a SSD in near future anyways.
    So, opinions?
  2. macrumors 68040


    Get the aluminum one, it's kind of a rare version.
  3. macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    I'm using a 2009 white MacBook, released in early 2009 just before the unibody white MacBook, that same year.

    It's a lovely machine. It does everything I need and tends to do it well. It still has the stock 2 gigs of memory but that hasn't hampered it. I'm not a gamer, nor do I do any graphic- or processor-intensive tasks. I watch the occasional DVD on it, watch live sport streaming occasionally, and the usual e-mail, iTunes and web surfing stuff.

    I have grown fonder of the white MacBook over the years since I bought it (new) and I think it will come to be considered as one of Apple's classic designs. It's very elegant in its looks and very distinctive.

    I'm planning to semi-retire it eventually and go for a Mac Mini, as the laptop tends to sit on my desk most of the time (though I like the fact that it's versatile and I can go and work by the fireside on a particularly cold day). It gets plugged into a 23 inch monitor when I need to get a good, up-close look at the text I'm editing.

    No backlit keyboard, of course, but if it's ultimately down to what your available budget is, and you do choose the lower-priced machine, if it's in good condition I think you'll be happy enough with it.
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Thanks for the reply wordsworth, I guess at the end it will come down to the price and condition of both models. If I cant get the Alu on cheaper and the White is in good condition I'll opt for that. If the white one however is in bad shape(haven't seen the pictures) or I get enough discount with the Alu one, Ill probably opt for that, because according to the pictures it looks pretty good.
  5. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    Pricing seems kind of high on these. You have to figure in potential maintenance costs. I had the dreaded swelling battery on one of the older ones a while ago. It was a fairly old battery at the time, but things like that can offset your total cost of ownership. If battery, drive, charger, etc. are all original, it's something to keep in mind.
  6. macrumors 68040


    For the US, maybe. For Europe, no.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Rochester Hills, MI
    I must point out though that the Aluminum Macbook (aluminum Macbook, not Macbook Pro) has a terrible screen, I owned one a few years ago. You can search on this forum and I'm sure you will find many threads from a few years ago when it was released.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2011
    Prince Edward Island, Canada
    I'd say deal 1 for sure. The white unibody MacBook is pretty iconic, at least in my eyes, and its still a very functional machine. We have an early 08 and it still does everything we need it for.
  9. macrumors member

    Dec 5, 2011
    get the aluminium to avoid hairline cracks.
    put in a ssd harddrive and it screams! :)
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    As of now Im currently set on the white one as the other seller wouldnt lower the price.

    So anyways I was wondering if anyone could tell me what to check when going to buy it. First things that came to mind were:

    1) Battery. Read that coconut battery is good for that, but does it require installing?
    2) Ports, hinges, Superdrive, keyboard+trackpad - quite straightforward.
    3) Body for unusual cracks and such
    4) Screen - dead pixels and uneven backlight(my friend once bought an old Macbook to try OS X and when he sold it the buyer wanted some money back cause allegedly the screen had some backlight bleed or something that came from water damage, rendering the computer unusable for photo editing)
    5) Some kind of hardware stress test
    6) Some indication, that this is the first owner of the product, like the bill, case, manual etc.(can I check the serial somewhere to see if its not blacklisted)?

    So any more advice on what I should be vary of? The seller said that the computer hasn't had much use over the last year as she works on her iMac, could that mean the battery is in bad shape?
  11. macrumors 68040


    A 3rd-party battery for the MacBook costs about $30, so that shouldn't be your main worry.
    Coconut Battery only needs to be dropped in the Applications folder, IIRC.

    Otherwise, check that the screen is good and that the case has no cracks. And maybe the fan is clogged with dust or too noisy, I'd check that, too. After you've bought the MacBook, I'd change the thermal grease on the CPU and GPU and clean the heatsink, to keep it running cool and quiet.

    Also, I'd install at least 4GB of RAM, better yet 8GB, as well as an 120GB SSD.
    After those upgrades, the MacBook will be useful for many years to come. :)
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Good point about the fan, not worried about dust as I think I can take care of that, but if its noisy then swapping it may be a challenge :p
    Good thing is, it comes preloaded with 4 gigs of RAM so no worries there for a while :D
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2011
    So got the white model for 320, cause the charger wire was cut and then repaired. Should have haggled more, but since Im an idiot got it for that.
    So right now the spacebar seems to be lazier than the other keys, is it a hard fix? Also the trackpad either a bit worn or has some dirt between it and the chassis, seems like it has some unwanted friction there should I try to take it apart?
    The battery says it has ca 4000 mAh out of the 6000 and 1100 cycles, should I replace it or let it sit there as it seems to work fine for now?

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