Common questions about the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by riz78612, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. riz78612 macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2007
    Common questions about the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros

    The new MacBooks have been received warmly by some users and coolly by others. Many potential buyers have flooded Apple's discussion boards and other locations with inquiries about the new systems and what to expect from them. Here are some of the common inquiries that have surfaced about the new laptops.

    Concern #1: FireWire options?

    Many users of the original MacBooks do video and run backups with external FireWire drives. While these tasks can be accomplished via USB, some users have wondered about possibilities for continuing FireWire options with the new MacBooks.


    None, at least directly. Unfortunately there is no way to get the current MacBooks to directly communicate with a FireWire device. The only connectivity options for the MacBook are ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi. For some users with external mass storage drives, devices such as the AirPort Base Station, which contains a FireWire port for network drives will provide one means for using FireWire storage, but there will apparently be no way to use FireWire devices directly with the system.

    Concern #2: Target Disk Mode? Because there is no FireWire port, there is no method for using FireWire target disk mode. Many users troubleshoot hardware problems and transfer data via Target Disk Mode, and have been frustrated about not being able to do this with the new MacBooks.


    Although, without Target Disk Mode, there will be a limit on certain troubleshooting and diagnostic procedures, there are some ways to continue a Target Disk Mode-like setup. The new MacBooks have a very accessible hard drive, which users can install and uninstall by removing one screw after opening the access hatch. With a third-party FireWire hard drive enclosure, users can drop in the hard drive and then plug it into any computer with a FireWire port.

    Concern #3: MagSafe compatible with other models?

    Several users have multiple MagSafe adaptors either from owning multiple computers or from having multiple working locations, and have wondered if they will be able to continue using the current ones or have to purchase new ones to work with the new MacBooks.

    Options: Luckily, the MagSafe adaptors are standardized and there is no difference in the size and shape. Both older MacBooks and the new ones require 60 Watt adaptors, so users should be fine with their current adaptors. Note that this is true for the adaptors of old MacBooks and new MacBooks only. The Pro MacBooks require 85 watt adaptors, so are not (fully) cross-compatible with the non-pro versions. The lower wattage adapters will charge MacBook Pros, but not as quickly, and may not allow instant booting of a dead-battery system.

    Concern #4: Backlight on what models?

    Many users have been confused on what models have backlit keyboards. At the unveiling, Apple announced that both the MacBooks as well as the MacBook Pros have backlights in their keyboards. In addition, for a few hours Apple had information on the Apple Store that all computer models contained backlights.

    Options: While both higher-end aluminum MacBooks as well as the new MacBook Pro models have backlights in the keyboards, the bottom-end aluminum MacBook, as well as the plastic model, does not have a backlit keyboard.

    Concern #5: Removable drive and battery, other components?

    Some users have wondered about the accessibility to the Battery. Most Apple laptops to this point have had a battery that is directly accessible from the side or bottom of the computer. The exception has been the MacBook Air with a fully enclosed battery. Since the new laptops have the "unibody" construction that is used in the Air, battery accessibility concerns have been raised by a few users.


    The new MacBooks have a large hatch at the bottom for accessing both the battery and the hard drive. While users will have to remove one additional screw, the battery is easily accessible by just opening the hatch. The more difficult-to-access components are the RAM and optical drive. Since the new MacBook's optical drives are connected to a SATA bus, some users have expressed interest in replacing them with a hard drive of sorts. To access these components users will have to remove the bottom case, which will require removal of several screws. As such, unless users are comfortable with exposing the computer's interior, it is recommended to have servicing done at an Apple authorized service center.

    Concern #6: DisplayPort adaptors? Several users have wondered about the availability and options for the new mini-Display Port that apple has included in the new laptops. Users have expressed desire for s-video outputs as well as composite video and also HDMI. In addition, while the new MacBooks have a "mini" DisplayPort, some monitors have a "full-sized" DisplayPort which will not fit in the mini slot.


    Currently Apple provides three adaptors for the DisplayPort, which are DVI, Dual-Link DVI, and VGA. These are available online through the Apple store, though should be available at Apple retail stores as well. The DisplayPort can support S-video and component video, but these adaptors currently are not available; however, if they are not made available by Apple then there should be options from third-party vendors such as Belkin.
  2. drlunanerd macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2004
    "...devices such as the AirPort Base Station, which contains a FireWire port for network drives will provide one means for using FireWire storage..."

  3. sennejm macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2008
    air's cd drive?

    With the news that the Macbook's now support SATA optical drives (which means you can install a second HD in the body), has anyone tried the Air's external CD drive to see if it would work with the new MB. I know the Air's USB gives more power (enabling the CD drive to work), but I was just wondering if Apple possibly quietly implemented this into the new MB.

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