Alluminum vs Blackbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GM5, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. GM5 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    Hello everyone. I'm in the market for a new laptop to start college with, and I'm thinking of making the switch over to Mac. My last laptop was plagued with hardware issues, with many parts breaking during casual use, and my friend's Macbooks have amazed me with superb durability and design. However I am having a little trouble deciding what to get. I'm torn between the entry level Alluminum Macbook and a refurbished Blackbook. I've made a little list of things I like about each one, but no one I know has one of the new Macbooks yet so I'm a little unsure on some issues. I was hoping you could all clear some things up and help me with my desision.

    Bigger HD (not really an issue, 120GB has been enough for me after years.)
    Faster processer
    Firewire (I have no use for it so I hesitate mentioning it.)

    Better graphics (I have a desktop PC for games, but then again I won't really be seeing it much when I'm off at college and since I plan on having this laptop a long time I might want it reasonably future-proof.)
    Design (I've been dreaming of an alluminum notebook ever since my plastic one started breaking, the unibody only sweetens the deal.)

    The one issue I'm unsure about, and this could be a deal-breaker, is durability. My friends Polycarbonate Macbooks have amazed me time and time again with how well they stand up to hazards and their MB Pros have amazed me even more. I would have already ordered the Alluminum Macbook for this reason, but I'm worried about the glass screen, which seems like it would be fragile compared to the rest of the computer. I'm worried that the kind of accidental drop that wouldn't scratch a matte MB Pro will cause the glass to crack.

    So if anyone has any info on the durability of the new Macbooks, or would otherwise like to aid me in my decision, please speak up! I would really apprciate it.

    (One more thing, let me say right now that I'm not interested in a refurbished MB Pro. They are too bulky for my needs.)
  2. minijon macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
    The question you need to decide upon is whether you want to play games on it or not. Are you going to take you desktop to college? If so, for the CPU vs the price, I'd go with the Blackbook.

    I think you'll find that should you need to give presentations via a projector, your school/college will most likely have DVI or VGA ports. The adaptors for the Blackbook are cheaper if I'm not mistaken.

    If you are planning to play games on it, get the AluBook. That's what it really boils down to.
  3. mBurns macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2006
    I would say neither are gaming machines and both are about as future proof as the other. For your purposes, I would prob go with the Blackbook. One thing you need to realize about purchasing Rev A products from Apple is that they are either hit or miss. I went through 3 different DOA MacBook Pros at the Apple Store (yes, they couldn't believe it) before I got my Rev A Core Duo MacBook Pro which actually worked! After I got one that worked, it's been a joy.. no issues. So, you need to be ready to deal with minor aches and pains from being an early adopter of a revolutionary product. That being said, the Blackbook has been around for many revisions so the majority of bugs have been ironed out. If you're concerned about reliability and want a lesser chance of making frequent visits to the Apple Store, go with the Blackbook.
  4. budkid macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    There is another thread out there like this. Just search over the past 2 weeks.
  5. 1rottenapple macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2004
    When I had a blackbook, note that a) the body attracts greese and smudges like no other, and build quality wise, the sides creak like a mofo. Not just mine but the regular core 2 duo plastic macbooks in the apple store. I know have the air and the build quality in impeccable. Same thing can probably be said of the new alluminum MacBooks. Also note that iPhone also have the glass screen and i've dropped mine on Concrete and no damage to the glass. Plus just a minor thing, the illuminated keyboard is awesome. Ones you've used a lighted keyboard, you'll miss it when it's not there.
  6. hogfaninga macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2008
    Chestnut Tree Cafe

    The lower end new Macbook he is looking at doesn't have the backlit keyboard. Only the $1599 top end has it. My last gen 2.4 black Macbook doesn't have any of the problems you just mentioned nor did the 2.2 black one I had before that. So not all have that problem. Yes it does get some fingerprints on it (not bad IMO), but the cloth provided will take them off in seconds.

    I would get the black one if I was the OP, but either computer is nice. The others in the thread broke down the differences quite well.
  7. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I also vote for the Blackbook for the reasons mentioned.
  8. rema macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2006
    hi there i was in a similar dilemma and had ruled out the new macbook because of the cost, but having gone to the apple store yesterday and discovering the apple HE (higher education) Discount i have changed my mind completely

    i spent a long time playing with the new macbook and really like it, the multi -touch is amazing and i do prefer the feel of the track pad to the previous model and it does feel solid and looks really nice

    if possible i would try go to an apple store or try see it in the flesh
  9. darcytu macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2008
    I agree with seeing the new one in person before deciding. The pictures do not do it justice, and the new trackpad is great.
  10. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    I have owned a blackbook and have seen the Alu Macbooks in the store. The blackbook's screen is really crappy. The Alu books have noticeably better screens. They are not amazing, but considerably better.
  11. MacLadybug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2008
    Wow... tough call.

    I have both. Just passed the Blackbook on to my husband and it was hard to let it go. However I am in love with the Aluminum MB. Both are configured the same, except my Alum has a slightly larger HDD. I agree with the others, you should go touch the new ones and then decide. If $$ is no concern, I'd vote new technology every time. Plus the Alum is lighter and thinner, so a bit more portable, not to mention the better graphics card. I also love the trackpad. Once you get used to it, it's very intuitive.

    However, if you need to save some coin, then the Blackbook is an awesome choice and will serve you well. I've heard of some of them having trouble with the palm rests cracking or the finish peeling, but mine never had any problems.

    Be sure and tell us what you end up with.
  12. macnvrbck macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2005
    I just upgraded from the 12 inch powerbook to the 13 inch black MacBook because I couldn't wait anymore. The new Aluminim Macbook are great, I'm held one and the build quality is great, but no firewire.. no sale.

    So I just got the last rev 2.4 Black Macbook. From the Powerbook that I just had to this there is no comparsion! I paid $900 for a 2.4, 4GB Blackbook.

    As for build quality.... people are right... there is some 'creaking' on the left side and the mini-dvi port doesn't seem as tight as it was before. I also have a small creak on the backside of the trackpad button rubbing on the outer casing. I'm going to have a genius look at it soon.

    Other than these small problems, I'm LOVING it. But I guess I'm a peion now... I don't own a 'professional machine' anymore. Selling my Powerbook for $565 is pretty professional if you ask me!
  13. macnvrbck macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2005
    I know the new MB's have a dedicated GPU, but the processors are nearly the same too. (Sorry, I'm still jaded over firewire.):mad:
  14. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    If you need to save some money, consider the $999 White MacBook. I think the 2.0 Al MacBook is a great value and will hold up better in
  15. hogfaninga macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2008
    Chestnut Tree Cafe
    The new Macbook's do NOT have dedicated graphics.
  16. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    plastic mb will eventually crack on you. i have replace the top cover twice since feb. everyone i know has replaced that part.
  17. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    peformance-wise the new macbooks smoke!!!

  18. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    that blog is misleading it does not test the 2.4 blackbook against the new ones.
    the old 2.4 is faster than the new 2.0 but slightly slower than the new 2.4. due to ddr3
    looking at it closely they test the new ones against a 2 generations old one across the board.
  19. Cosmo1444 macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Same Dillema

    I've also been considering either the 2.4 Blackbook or a new 2.0 Macbook. The Primate Labs performance tests that were posted on Macrumors made them look very comparable (sorry, don't have the link handy). But, it doesn't take into account the faster graphics card. My main question is, will faster graphics make a big difference with regard to what I use the laptop for? I'd basically be using it for web surfing, word processing, iTunes (music, music vids, & maybe movies), occasional DVD ripping, Garageband, and some Photoshop. I'd be using Photoshop Elements, but if I went for CS3 or something similar, would I be very hindered on a Blackbook? I also do a bit of video editing, but it's pretty much just stuff that comes off my digi-cam. I wouldn't use it for gaming. I would probably also upgrade to 4GB ram myself sometime soon after purchasing.

    I went to BB today to look at the Alu Macbooks, and while I wasn't blown away by them I wonder if it's better to have the newer technology to "future-proof" myself. Though, if a Blackbook would perform about the same, and be cheaper, I'd be happy with that. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.:)
  20. mward333 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2004
    I bought the Blackbook a few months ago, fully aware that aluminum Macbooks were probably on the way. The plastic Mac laptops have never disappointed me (we've owned many of the generations of iBooks including the original clamshell and several white models over the years too). Sure, you can jump on a new aluminum Macbook, but you will not be disappointed with the Blackbook. The Blackbook case does tend to show smudge marks, but hey, it's a computer, and in my experience it is pretty durable, which is what matters most to me. We've never had a plastic Mac laptop crack. Best of all, plastic doesn't dent. I don't know if the new aluminum Macbooks are subject to dents. It might be something to check on.
  21. deadkenny macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2006
    Same Dilemma cont.

    I have an offer of 1149€ for a black MacBook with 2.4/2/250 Specs compared to 1409€ for the Aluminium MacBook 13" with Edu-Discount (1499€ regular) and the same Specs.
    Thats 250€ difference with drawbacks: x3100 vs. 9400M and Touchpad vs. MultiTouch Touchpad. Another 30€ for the Mini DP -> DVI Adaptor so I can use it with my external LCD.
    So 280€ difference between the old MacBook in top configuration and the new MacBook in the same configuration.
    I would call it a draw, especially if you have in mind, that the white MacBook with 2.1/2/250 is 1154€ in the Apple Store (1085€ with Edu-Discount).

    I decided to wait until the aluminium ones hit the stores in germany. The MacBook Air is lightyears ahead in terms of stiffness / warp resistancy. If the aluminium MacBook is that much ahead, then this alone is worth the extra money.
    Remaining disadvantage: Silver looks like crappy cheap Fujitsu Siemens Laptop or NoName DVD Player. I wish the would have brought colours to the MacBook like they did on the iPods. A black aluminium MacBook, that would really be awesome.
  22. andyjam macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    You cannot go past the new Alu MacBook. You will never regret buying one. But then you'll never regret buying a BlackBook either. Although I have never owned one myself, my daughter has owned one for about 18 months now. Aside from the slightly cracking plastic (has only started in the last month), this laptop has been fantastic.

    But I personally love the new ones. You don't need to worry about the glass, it seems extremely durable (and really thick). The build quality is (and I never thought I'd say this) way better than ANY Apple laptop I have used over the years. And it's thinner, lighter etc. Only downfall is the processor speed and the lack of firewire (but you said this doesn't matter)...

    I would recommend either laptop - they are both great machines, but would buy an alu MacBook over the old plastic ones.
  23. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I had the same dillema and ended up buying the White Macbook 2,4Ghz from Amazon for 1100€. I will also get a Hitachi 320GB Hard Drive for 48€ and I have already paid 40 Euro for 4GB RAM. The same configuration costs 1639 Euro for the Aluminum Macbook...I don't think that the 450 Euro difference is worth paying for the new model..
  24. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    Quite frankly the difference between the intel graphics and the new nvidia chips is huge enough that there no point debating whether to get the black book or the new alumn.
  25. deadkenny macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2006

    If you buy the add on parts for the Alu MacBook in the aftermarket, they are cheaper as well, but yes I agree to your point.

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