My MacBook: A review...a really long one, too.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iHeartTheApple, May 25, 2006.

  1. iHeartTheApple macrumors 6502

    iHeartTheApple

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    After having spent the last few weeks trying to determine whether I should get a 17" MBP or a MB/iMac combo (for approximately the same price), I finally decided to go with the latter. I figured this would give me a great satellite computer (MB) for school and a nice gaming machine (iMac) for home.

    First, I must give credit where credit is due. The nail in the coffin for me was wyrmintheapple's review and his great video documentary of a few games being played on his new MB. Knowing that the MB could do some basic gaming and the iMac would do the rest, I was set. I ran out to my local Apple store and picked up a 2GHz white MB in stock configuration. I'm now typing this review from it...Mmmm hmmm. I'll be ordering the 20" iMac tomorrow since I'd like the 256MB vRAM upgrade and no local stores had any in stock. On to the MacBook...

    I'll start with a few first impressions. My first thought after opening the rather slim box is that Apple has really done a great job packing this thing. I like the weird styrofoam inserts with the odd, heart-valve shaped holes (sorry my wife is in cardiac medicine) and the way that everything fits inside the tiny box. The MacBook itself seems oddly heavy for its small size. I don't consider this a bad thing; however, as it gives the computer a much more robust and sturdy feel than my 17" PB. The first thing that struck me when opening the screen is how glossy it really was...more on that later.

    The Keyboard
    This may be one of the greatest keyboards I've ever typed on. It seems, at first, that the spacing between the keys could make typing awkward, but after a few words, I found that it's very nice. It still has the crisp but soft Apple keyboard feel with which I've fallen in love.

    When you actually measure the size of the keys and their spacings and compare them to (for example) a PowerBook, you find that the keyboards are *exactly* the same in every respect (except that the MB keys are flat and the PB keys are scalloped). The MacBook keys are 5/8" square with 1/8" while the PowerBook keys are 3/4" square with basically no space in between. This all adds up to make both keyboards measure in at 11-3/4" by 4-1/2". In the end, they may be exactly the same, but there's something about the MB keyboard that I really enjoy. It just makes me want to type...:p

    The Case
    Since I chose to go with the white MB, my case is a glossy, hard plastic. I know people have expressed concern with regard to the resilience of the plastic to fingerprints and oils. The white plastic seems to be rather impervious to it, at least after this short period of time. It also, interestingly enough seems not to be too sensitive to scratching. I suppose if it eventually gets scratched up, a bit 'o brasso might do the trick. ;)

    The top, grayish plastic that makes up the handrest and keyboard area seems to be made of something different than the previous iBooks. I can't say for sure (I discussed this briefly in another thread), but it seems to me to be some form of teflon. If this is true, then it should stand up to some serious nastiness. I guess only time will tell... I'm one of the nuts who polishes his lappies every week with iKlear though, so you may not want to wait for my MB to get dirty. :eek:

    The Screen
    Wow...just wow! :eek: I'll be honest...I was afraid of the glossy (it's *very* glossy!) screen, but after playing around with it a bit, I don't know how I ever survived with the matte screen on my PB. I used the computer both in natural light with the screen facing a large picture window in my home and in an office setting with artificial lights and I haven't found a situation yet where the glare is even noticeable. This screen is so bright, crisp, clear, and beautiful. Now that I sit here with the PB on my right and the MB in front of me, the PB screen looks so old and busted and the MB screen looks so "new hotness."

    I liken it to when you get a new pair of glasses with a new prescription...The first time you pop those suckers on, it's like whole new world of crisp, clear beauty. Well, the MB screen is my new pair of glasses. In short, anyone who is worrying about the glossy screen issue, don't bother...this thing is dead sexy. Period. :D

    The Conclusion
    I'm pretty much blown away by the MacBook. I didn't think that the thing looked all that great initially. But I think I've found a great computer that should last me a long time. As for performance, it's just great! Really snappy and swift. I haven't gotten around to running any games or booting Windows, but I will hopefully in the next few days.

    I will definitely be upgrading the hard drive as I don't even have enough space to fully transfer the contents of my PB hard drive to the MB right now. I think I'd like to try out the Hitachi 7200rpm 100GB drive from OWC and also pick up 2GB of RAM just to see how it affects the graphics for gaming.

    Anyway, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope it was helpful. Sorry for the terribly long post, especially since everyone has been posting these reviews...I just figured I'd toss one more out there, as it seems when I'm in the market for a new compy, I can never read too many. :)
     
  2. wyrmintheapple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    Southampton, UK
    #2
    Excellent review! I love the screen-new glasses anology:p

    If you want to link to the video I did, go ahead, my thread kinda got buried anyways!
     
  3. iHeartTheApple thread starter macrumors 6502

    iHeartTheApple

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #3
    A few additions...

    I added those links for you, Wyrm. :D Also, I realized that I didn't mention anything about heat, noises, etc.

    First off, the screen doesn't make that horrible screeching noise when you open and close it...I've experienced that quite a bit playing with countless Apple Store display models.

    There is absolutely no moo, hum, hiss, whine, or any other noise for that matter. In fact, this is just about the quietest computer I've ever used.

    Finally, while the computer can get warm at times, it has yet to get any warmer than my Rev.E PowerBook (which never gets above 41C/105F). It by no means gets *hot*...maybe this means that Apple is easing up on the thermal grease application. :rolleyes:

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask! :)
     
  4. 0s and 1s macrumors 6502a

    0s and 1s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    OK, USA
  5. Abulia macrumors 68000

    Abulia

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kushiel's Scion
    #5
    You can get that Hitachi at Buy.com for $20 less, BTW. I have mine sitting right here next to me...just need a MB to put it in ! :D
     
  6. Foxglove9 macrumors 65816

    Foxglove9

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    #6
    I got the chance to play with the new macbooks late last night at the Apple store in NYC and I was blown away. It's a gorgeous machine and much better than the impressions I was getting from reading about it online.

    Besides the fact that it looked great it, the reflective screen wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It did make the screen look better but I can see if you were sitting in the direction of sunlight, say in a coffee shop or park or something like that, it could be annoying. I don't think the screen would be a reason for me to not to buy it though if it was an option I would probably stick with the matte screen.

    It ran pretty fast testing out some of the built in software like pages, safai, ichat with video, etc... No games were installed on it that I could tell.

    I also loved the keyboard. Keyboards are one of the things I hate when I use my friends PC laptops, but this one was different than those I've tried in the past and felt great.

    The heat underneath the machine also wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Yeah it was hot, and probably too hot to want to rest on my bare legs in a park bench in the summer, but my moms Dell is probably just as hot in comparison. I know she's had heat issues with the battery on that thing.

    Internet connection was slow on all machines in the store. Not sure why that was.

    Another side note I tried the new Apple Mouse for the first time and liked it a lot. I thought it would be terrible from what reviews I've been reading. In general all the Apple products were beautiful looking, so I guess I'm a bit of a fanboy with all this.

    The last MacBook I tried was the white 12" iBook from about 2 years ago. And I liked that too, but this one seemed faster in comparison when using the finder, and overall I like the new one a lot more. I really wish I had the money because I would buy one right now.
     
  7. X5-452 macrumors 6502

    X5-452

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #7
    Great review! Thanks a lot. I love reading posivite reviews from people who don't have moo, whine or heat problems. Gives me more confidence that nothing will be wrong with my MacBook.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    iHeartTheApple, thank you for writing up your review...I'm sure it'll help a lot of people. :)

    I just had one quick question (for anyone). So... there was a lot of controversy regarding this with the latest fullsize iPod and the Nano... but I'm going to ask anyway. Does anyone have any strong feelings that case materials of the white MacBook are of any significantly different construction than the plastic of the iBook G4? It looks pretty similar to me... I know it doesn't help new users that much, but I'm presuming that the white plastic MacBook body has all the same durability characteristics of the iBook. Which is to say, excellent, save that one must periodically take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to the handrests....
     
  9. iHeartTheApple thread starter macrumors 6502

    iHeartTheApple

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9
    Mkrishnan, I'm glad that the review helped out. :) Based on Apple's description, both the black and white MB's are made of polycarbonate. It has a lot of the same characteristics as the old iBook outer cases. It *will* scratch, but you actually have to work at scratching it. You won't destroy the surface finish just by touching it wrong.

    If you've purchased glasses in the last 5-10 years, your lenses are polycarbonate (unless you specifically chose glass), so you may have a better feel for the material than you think. The inside, gray part though, is something that I'm unsure of. It seems to me, after having played with enough of them in the store that it can get scuffed pretty easily. :(

    If I may, I will post an excerpt from a plastic manufacturer regarding the properties of polycarbonate:

    Just FYI, San Diego Plastics didn't actually post that... :p, but it's from their website and I couldn't figure out how to change the /quote option so it didn't say "posted by." If I'm breaking the rules by posting the above info, let me know and I'll remove it...or the moderators can get rid of it. Sorry. :eek: Check out the Wikipedia description, too. :)
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    Thanks...I'm familiar with polycarbonate. I didn't get my engineering degree *that* long ago. :p

    But there had been suggestions that the iPod had transitioned to a thinner shell or somehow otherwise changed to become much more scratch prone than it had been. There are variable process characteristics in making polycarbonate, so it's possible in principle... just saying it is made of this material doesn't really address the validity of those claims.

    In any event, AFAIK, the shell of the Macbook again, outside of the matte finish on the black one, is pretty much just like it was before... that was my point.
     
  11. iHeartTheApple thread starter macrumors 6502

    iHeartTheApple

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #11
    Indeed. :) In that case, sorry for the horrifically, unnecessary reply. :eek: It *is* very similar if not the same as the iBook case.
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #12
    No worries! Just another reason for me to envy you for your new toy and try to convince myself that I too need one! :eek: ;) :D
     
  13. iHeartTheApple thread starter macrumors 6502

    iHeartTheApple

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #13
    LOL :D...just close your eyes and imagine a beautiful, shiny MacBook in front of you! You need one...you definitely *need* one. :p No, but seriously, it's a great machine. Even if you don't need one, after a few minutes with your MB, you'll get that warm fuzzy feeling inside like you made the right choice.
     
  14. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #14
    Do you mean the case isn't any warmer than your PB or the CPU is at 41˚C?

    If so, I would be very surprised. I'm not concerned about heat in my wife's MB (similar to your's only with 1GB RAM). The case never gets too hot to hold, but I installed CoreDuoTemp and I see CPU temperature of 45-50˚C (depending on whether I have a window open) when idling, 65˚C playing a DVD and 80+˚C going full blast. The fans come on at 82˚C and the temperature never goes above 84˚C - the Core Duo is rated for up to 120˚C, I believe - correct me if I'm wrong. On the other hand, my Core Duo iMac peaks at 44˚C doing the same task.

    Can you measure the temperature doing this in Terminal?
    Code:
    r=0; while [ $r -le 10 ]; do openssl rand 123456789 -base64 | openssl enc -bf -k guess | openssl sha1 & r=$((r+1)); done;
    This runs 30 openssl threads simultaneously, takes a few minutes, and really pushes the CPU in ways it's not normally used.

    Edit: By the way, both my iMac and my wife's Macbook are the two best computer buys we've ever made. I have absolutely no regrets at all for buying these.
     

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