Aluminum Macbook or Polycarbonate Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by RogueVasion, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. RogueVasion macrumors regular


    Nov 23, 2008

    For 17+ years, I have been surrounded by the world of Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, XP, and Vista. Now that I have for once saved up enough money, I am moving to the world of Mac. I hear so many great things, but the price always threw me away. I have everything I have wanted, electronic wise, besides a Mac computer.

    So, here's the dilemma: I want a Macbook, due to the portability and good price range. The Pro is just too much for me. I will be using it for video editing, audio editing, music storage, document writing, and other basic student stuff. Gaming isn't really a necessity in my opinion, so i really don't want to add that to the mix. Basically, the best bang for the buck laptop.

    Anyway, Bestbuy has 18 months no interest on anything $499 or more and Macs are under this promotion, so it's time to splurge. Should I buy the $999 white plastic 2.1GHz Macbook (link below) or the $1299 aluminum 2.0GHz Macbook?

    EDIT: Since it is now 100 dollars off, the prices are: $899 and $1199.

    Is it worth the extra $300 US dollars, in your opinion? I am relying on my new pals here at MacRumors to help me out.

    Thanks in advance!

    Aluminum Mac:

    Plastic Mac:
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    I'd go for the Late 2008 MacBook personally. It's worth the extra $300.
    Be wary of those no interest deals.
  3. therealdt macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2008
    northeast region
    I've been told the Pro is best suited for editing.

    be very leery of no interest deals w/bb
  4. Malivar macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2008
    If you can afford the aluminum one, go for it.

    Although, (I don't know how much this statement will help, but oh well) I would find out the positives and negatives of one or the other or both before making any buy. It really comes down to which one you want.
  5. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    yeah exactly...go to the store, play with both of the models, and see which one you like better...
  6. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Honestly, you are not going to get a straight answer from this forum. People who bought the Al-MBs will think it's a sure thing. Those that still have the plastic-MBs think the plastic-MBs is the best ever. Your thread, like many others, will likely turn into another endless debates between the two camps. Just read through the forums on the first couple of pages, you'll know what I mean.

    My advice is, Apple knows the market. They don't make a mistake pricing their products. They are worth what they are. Both machines will be more than sufficient for general, everyday tasks, so you can't go wrong with either one.
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    That's the best advice. Get what you like, not what others like.
  8. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    the aluminum has better hardware and faster FSB...
  9. RogueVasion thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 23, 2008
    Quick story on the no interest deals:
    I set out to buy a new 1080p television, but thanks to my prior research on, I found out that Power Price and Outlet Items do not count to the interest free. The employees said they all were. I almost bought a Power Price Samsung, but splurged for the Sony... Would've hated to pay 19% interest on a 1k Samsung on a student salary!

    Anyway, I like your advice there silverback. Since I can work one more week before the sale ends, I think I will pick up the aluminum macbook. The only thing that pushed me away from picking it up was due to the lack of a firewire port, but I completely forgot I just bought a flash based camcorder... I have never had a Mac before, so I want to make it the best possible, because my desktop is on its last leg. I will rarely use it when I get this notebook.

    I kept telling myself, I'm going to wait at Bestbuy for the Toshiba for $450 on Black Friday and I'll be settled with a good computer for all my trips in the next year. But they don't feel the same after a few months of use. I've spent more than $1300 dollars on 3 different laptops, all giving me excessive issues in the past 2 years.

    Thanks everyone for the advice, Aluminum is the way to go.
  10. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5G77 Safari/525.20)

    The new one will do far, far better with games or any 3d. If that's not important to you then the white one will be great too. (and also check out refurbs on the previous generation 2.4 ghz black and white MacBooks)
  11. only1agam macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    not to take this thread off topic, but i'd be curious to see what people think of the new alum macbook vs. this black macbook from amazon

    i'm in the same situation i don't know if I want to deck out the money for the new aluminum macbook or this black macbook and upgrade the hard drive later.. i'd love to see some folks chime in considering that the black macbook is 1088 and free shipping and no tax..:eek:
  12. mknawabi macrumors 6502


    Feb 5, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    Polycarbonate? You can call it that, but it seems like you are using it as a euphemism for 'plastic'. Get the aluminum.
  13. darienphoenix macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Whatever you buy, DON'T purchase hardware upgrades from Apple when you buy it.

    They charge about a 500% premium for RAM, and not much less for HDD's. With either the Polycarbonate of Aluminium Macbooks it is trivial to replace RAM and HDD yourself, so you will save hundreds of dollars.
  14. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    well, thats not necessarily true does NOT charge that much more for upgrading when you purchase...its 150 compared to OWC or crucial's ~130. that extra cost probably just amounting to being covered by warranty if something happens thats RAM related.

    however, the "plus" side of buying from somewhere else (newegg, macsales, etc) is that you get to keep the original RAM/HD that came with the notebook, but if that doesnt matter to you, then by all means, get it from apple.
  15. pscraig macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2008
    I actually have to disagree with this statement.

    Video and audio editing are CPU intensive operations, where the Pro has little advantage. The new Macbooks have an even faster FSB, which will help those processor and memory intensive operations more than a fast video card.

    Now having the larger Pro screen is a real benefit...running Final Cut Express on my new Macbook 2.4 is tight at best, but it zips along faster during a render than my old Macbook Pro 2.2.
  16. doug in albq Suspended

    doug in albq

    Oct 12, 2007
    get the blackbook, all the glitches have been worked out.

    1. Better display, yes, better display.
    2. Firewire
    3. Battery fits absolutely perfect
    4. Blacks are black on the screen
    5. Black on black>Black on aluminum
    6. Faster CPU
    7. Straight Keyboard keys
    8. its Black

    This is why I went with what I have. Sold my aluminum imac to get it.
  17. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    This is about the only time I'd disagree with you. If you want 4GB of DDR3 RAM do buy it directly from Apple as a BTO (or go to the Apple store to buy it within 14 days). Third party RAM is finicky with the new MBs.

    Do, however, buy a HDD separately if you want to upgrade.
  18. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    Both the MB and MBP have 1066mhz FSB clocks.
  19. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    oh im not saying that you wont have problems with third party just saying its the best option if youre like me, and didnt have the money to buy the ram upgrade from apple themselves when i purchased the notebook, if i did have the money i would have gone with it.

    but as far as ive read here, the only ram that seems to have "problems" is the OWC ram...unless i missed a thread about another brand doing it.
  20. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Not true.

    My plastic MacBook had an LG display, considered by many to be the best for the plastic MacBooks. The LG display on my aluminum MacBook blows it away in every respect. Colors are better, blacks are deeper, the backlight is significantly brighter.

    I've had Firewire on every single one of my notebook PCs and Macs over the last several years up until this aluminum MacBook. I only ever used it ONCE and that was because the Firewire cable for that external HDD was unwrapped while the USB cable was not.

    In the real world, with quality USB controllers on both ends, USB 2.0 is every bit as fast as Firewire.

    Thats not true of all plastic MacBooks. I've seen plenty with warped batteries.

    Battery case on my aluminum MacBook is sealed tight and even.

    Blacks are deeper on my aluminum MacBook than they were on my white MacBook.

    The new MacBook looks amazing in person. Go to a store and see it for yourself. It looks better than any of the plastic MacBooks, including the black one.

    Not necessarily true. In terms of clock speed, the 2.4GHz CPU in your black MacBook is 20% faster than the 2GHz CPU in the aluminum MacBook. But the aluminum MacBook has a 1066MHz FSB and 1066MHz DDR3 RAM. In comparison, the black MacBook's RAM speed is 667MHz (DDR2 on top of that) while the FSB is 800MHz. In my own testing, comparing a 2GHz Penryn Core 2 Duo on the same Santa Rosa platform as the black MacBook versus the 2GHz Penryn in my aluminum MacBook running on nvidia's platform with DDR3 RAM running at 1066MHz with the 1066MHz FSB, the aluminum MacBook was 30% faster.

    Which puts it at about 10% faster than your black MacBook ;)

    Just in case you don't believe me about the RAM: its there on the right side. Clearly says 800MHz FSB, DDR2 667. and there

    My keys are straight. The keys on my plastic MacBook were not.

    Anodized aluminum thats actually strong not only looks better than the black plastic, you don't have to worry about all of the cracking issues that the plastic MacBooks are known for.

    I've had a plastic MacBooks and now an aluminum. Theres no way I would go back to plastic or recommend anyone buy the plastic model. If someone wants a Mac and can't afford the $1299 model I tell them to save up. The plastic model is just not worth it based on build quality alone. You get the soft plastic/rubber top case that cracks with use, you get the plastic casing that cracks, you get cracks around the vents, you get cracks around the CPU if you run it hot too many times. Plastic is just not worth it.

    Not only is plastic not worth it because of that, but theres other things.

    I mean the plastic Macs will give you a bigger HDD. But you'll get a slower all around system, a vastly inferior case and screen, and a MUCH slower chipset and a GPU thats more of a snail than a graphics processor. The $1299 aluminum MacBook is better in every way except the HDD size. But when 500GB HDDs are going for just over $100 (yes notebook drives), who cares?

    Have you ever upgraded RAM in a Mac? It's not like they use some sort of special Apple manufactured brand. My last MacBook had Samsung RAM in it. Most RAM is manufactured by just a few companies. Others buy it and put their stickers or have their names stamped in the chips. It doesn't matter who you buy RAM from, it all comes from the same plants.
  21. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    I do agree with this. By the time you probably want/need 4GB the prices will be much lower and the issues will probably be fixed by then. So if you don't need it now then save your money.

    Take a guess. I'm speaking from experience with my Alum MB. I have never had a problem with any RAM I have purchased from third party companies. There is something about these Macbooks or something about DDR3 RAM in general and these Macbooks. Apple was kind enough to trade my computer to do research on it with the third-party RAM because it would work in a 2GB third party and 1GB original configuration, the original 2X1GB config, and not the 2X2 third party config. Apple RAM is relatively cheap right now (even better as a student) so if there is a problem it is easily solved.

    I did have OWC, but it isn't the only "brand" (yes I know it isn't a brand) that has had issues with the MBs. Who knows if these issues will be ironed out, but as it stands the prices are high everywhere and the Samsung/Hynix RAM Apple is selling seems to be much more stable. So until that happens, now is a good time to play it safe and go with Apple if you absolutely need 4GB right now. If Apple didn't want to trade my computer and RAM then I would have probably been on a perpetual return cycle with OWC. 2 replacements didn't work either.
  22. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Well, honestly, why would you buy RAM from OWC? I see a lot of people around here buying RAM from OWC and I always wonder why. Why would you buy memory from them when you don't even know what RAM they're rebranding as their own? They could be taking the worst of the bunch and putting their name on it.

    Why not go to newegg and get memory that you know is directly from the manufacturer? Crucial, Mushkin, even Transcend all sell top quality memory. Kingston and Patriot sell good memory also.

    Why would any sensible person by some no name memory from a company that just makes its name catering to Mac users when theres much higher quality RAM out there at similar prices? Makes a lot more sense to spend the extra $15 and get yourself some Mushkin RAM or the extra $20 for Crucial. That way you know you're getting memory thats built by companies that have built their reputation upon a product that has stood up to gamers needs and the way they push it with overclocking, stress, heat, etc.

    I mean, you're paying considerably extra for a Mac. Why go cheap on RAM? Why not spend the extra $15 or $20 and get RAM from a company thats built its reputation upon a product thats known for stability, reliability, and the ability to stand up to additional heat and stress? With OWC, you have no idea who manufactures their RAM. At least with Crucial or Mushkin you know what you're getting, you know who manufactures it, and you know that their memory is built to stand up to everything.
  23. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    If I was considering a whitebook or blackbook, I'd be seriously considering craigslist as well as the refurb page. On mine, I found people almost dumping their macbooks and some macbook pros to get the newer models. One gal was selling her three month old 2.5 MBP for $1400!

    There's been some people on these boards raising hell about minor quality control issues on the uni macbooks; I've been one. The complaints have quieted down, either people are used to the build quality, or apple's chinese suppliers have gotten their $%!^ together.

    If I were walking into an apple store or best buy and choosing between the uni and plastic, I'd choose the aluminum for the reasons stated previously on this thread.
  24. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    I have Mushkin RAM on my Alum iMac and Crucial on my other iMac. I got what was a good deal at time time. I didn't buy from Newegg because it wasn't for sale yet when I was buying it and they don't guarantee compatibility (though I did buy my Mushkin RAM from them and it was perfect and they always have good customer service). I bought from OWC because I was buying a hard drive from there and I was able to get $30 for my old Apple RAM when Apple let me keep it. OWC absolutely guarantees compatibility. It doesn't matter anymore though as my issues were sorted.
  25. illidian macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    As an owner of a 2.4GHz white MacBook, I'd trade for a 2.0 Aluminum in a second.

    If I were making the decision today, the Aluminum would be a no-brainer.

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