Considering purchasing 2008 Unibody MacBook... what to look for?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by davidg4781, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I have a 2006 CD MacBook and I'm thinking of upgrading to the 2008 Unibody Aluminum MacBook. Are there anything I need to watch out for or look for? Any kind of defects or anything to be aware of?

    I'd like the 2.4GHz version with backlit keyboard (I think that's how they come). I'd also like to spend less than $400. It's not a necessity, but just have a desire right now and if I can find a good deal I'll take it. My current MacBook keeps me happy.
  2. mgartner0622 macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2010
    Colorado, USA
    Ive seen them running about $500 or so for the base model, and 600 or so for the 2.4 If you can get a 2.4 by any means, go for it as at least IMO, that's a decent deal.

    I'd just do the common sense things like check it for dents, and make sure it works. There's really nothing that goes seriously wrong with those models, although I'd check the battery, as its nearing 4 years old and probably would warrant a replacement if it hasn't been replaced yet.
  3. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I would be ok maybe replacing the battery, if the price was reduced a bit. I've had my 2006 CD MacBook battery replaced twice.
  4. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002

    I've been extremely impressed with the longevity of the battery in my rev A unibody. Much longer lifespan than my previous laptops, by a long shot, so unless the battery was abused, it may have some useful life left. :)

    As you can see, mine has 92% original capacity after over 500 loadcycles. I replaced my 12" powerbook battery after 2 years as I was getting like half an hour of battery life, and my iBook G4 had such a terrible battery by the time it died that I really couldn't leave it unplugged for more than 10 minutes. With my MBP I can still watch an entire HD netflix movie on wifi without having to plug in. The technology really has come a long way.

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  5. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    Thanks all!

    So would y'all recommend the Aluminum MacBook or a Black MacBook?

    I guess any would be an upgrade from what I have now. I'm trying to keep my costs low since this isn't a necessity but I have that itch.

    I was actually thinking of getting a really inexpensive older Mac to somewhat quench my thirst, something like a PowerMac G5 or iMac G4. It'd be neat to have a bit of history and give me something to do besides sitting here looking for deals on craig's list.
  6. akapaul macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Check the touchpad make sure the click works fine. Sometimes dirt gets stuck under the touchpad and you can only click on one side (example - click only works on bottom right when instead it should work throughout).

    Also buy some extra RAM as it's cheap and it will make a huge difference.

    Good luck :apple:
  7. DukeOliver macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2007
    Battery still works in my 2008 unibody, nearing 1000 charges - image below with coconutbattery. Only issue is that it has been swollen for a long time now, and actually pushes out the removable plate on the underside by a little bit.

    Since 2008 the temperatures have risen a bit while idling, though it's not so bad that I'd want to re-add thermal paste or anything. After many drops, still works like a tank.
  8. ajcannon macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2005
    I just recently picked up a late 2008 aluminum 2.0 MacBook for just less than $500 (&485 I think it was) and I have been very pleased. I upped the ram to 8gb and installed an SSD and while I don't have anything to compare it to I can tell you that it screams compared to other computers that I use (but those other computers are all about the same age without the added ram or SSD).

    I also bought a new battery from amazon ( for less than $40 because when I got the laptop the battery was shot. I've been pleased with this battery so far so I'd recommend it.

    If you have to choose I'd say go with a slightly lower CPU speed and add the ram and SSD. You'll be pleased.

    As far as the aluminum vs white/black models, what made me choose the aluminum was the trackpad. And I'm glad I did choose the aluminum one...I LOVE the trackpad. Feels like a new computer to me.
  9. yanksrock100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2010
    San Diego
    Great product. I would chose the Aluminum one over the black or white, simply because of the style. Its beautiful, looks exactly like the current ones.

    Im saving up for an air, and sold my Aluminum for $650. But granted it had 8 gigs of RAM and Lion.

    I would say that if you want a good one that works as well as any other modern computer, you should shell out the extra hundred or so to get one that has Lion already, or upgraded RAM.
  10. east85 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2010
    Go for the aluminum. I love mine, and upgrading to 8 gigs of ram will make it a usable computer for a long time to come.
  11. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I'm so tempted to do this. I'm guessing if I can find an inexpensive one on eBay and sell my 2006 CD on craig's list, I should be able to help cover all the expenses.

    I'm thinking of selling my MacBook first to see what I can get out of it. Maybe I'll wait a month, I should be getting a bonus soon.
  12. east85 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2010
    Well depending on how much money you end up getting you may be better off with a newer model. That's up to you though of course. I would recommend the 2.4ghz model though simply because the backlit keyboard is awesome. :D

    Good luck.
  13. unixperience macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2010
    i would get the aluminum for sure, not because of aesthetics, but because it has a larger charge, and it has the parts of a modern mac.

    they still make loads of display port adapters (not so with the mini dvi port of the blackbooks) and it has the gesture trackpad, which is absolutely amazing by the way (also not something that you get with older macs, and something that is becoming more critical with newer os's) easier to find replacement parts, heaven forbid they break, but if they do many parts (the fan for instance) havent changed since the aluminum days.

    you can also egt 8 gigs ram (i don't think the blackbooks do that, 6 max i believe). the backlit keyboard is very nice (only the 2.4 version, or a few lucky modified 2.0s)

    the battery isn't a deal breaker, who knows it still may work fine, my batt is 94% charge after 850 cycles, and i often take my comp to school and even leave the charger at home, i can get about 4 hours out of it (unless im watching movies). and moreso, i bought mine used a little over two years ago. no major complaints

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  14. sk6045 macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2012
    Best Laptop out there!

    this would be an amazing investment on your part. I've never had any major problems with the computer, especially after I upgraded to 8gb ram. I curious as to which ssd ajcannon used for this?

    my battery life is pretty good if i do say so myself. I did use the thing on the go a lot for 3.5 years (even though it says 90% left it does not last as long as it would if that were the case)

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  15. allapon macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2012
    Bangkok, Thailand
    I still stuck with MacBook 2008 for at least 1-2 years. I claim battery twice after it act strange and it is kinda curve out. Now my battery is only 62 cycles. :D

    I like this model cause it is easy to upgrade (Both Ram and Harddisk), 8 GB RAM Maximum Upgrade with special firmware!!

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  16. EwanMcTeagle macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2012
    Lodz, Poland
    Yep.R I've bought a white early 2008 2,0GHz white Macbook for my girlfriend for around 250$ - it didn't have the charger, had 1GB ram and 80 GB hdd. But it has had everything else - the box, DVD with Leopard and Snow Leopard and a remote. Then when I got home I started doing updates etc. and I've noticed that it has in fact 2GB RAM and a 320 GB hdd! So it seems to me I got the deal of a century - I also felt bad for the lady that sold it to me, so I promised her I'll buy her MBP Pro when she'll be selling it. Oh and the battery life is still incredible - it has over 400 cycles with 98%, 7 hours in it when doing nothing, 4 hours when only using the WiFi and 3 hours if you add Open Office app. So a white Macbook can turn out to be a really great deal. I was considering bulking up and getting my girlfriend a used MBP Pro, but that's at least $800, so I've went for the White MB as it still has enough or even too much power for the things my girlfriend does - web, editing texts, presentations etc. It doesn't have the backlit keyboard, but hey, you can't have it all at once:)
  17. solidsnake32292 macrumors regular

    May 29, 2010
    actually selling mine...

    hey guys, so funny i came across this thread... I am actually in the process of selling my Unibody late 08' 2.4gb upgraded to 8gb of RAM and 500gb HD Macbook... so if anyone is interested shoot me a message and we can talk about and i'll answer and questions you may have.

    It is in excellent condition and it's the one with replaceable battery (Obviously) so that's a huge plus... i'm looking to upgrade to a new Air this summer so if anyone is interested let me know before i start hounding down Craigslist and Ebay haha
  18. MacBiz macrumors newbie


    May 1, 2012
    Thanks for the heads up on the battery info. I'm looking to make a purchase/trade soon.
  19. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2009

    a) the 2008 model did NOT use a single back cover. It's two pieces glued together. They come apart at the bottom, where the tension is from moving back and forth as the hinges pull & push against the back cover. Make sure it is not splitting.

    b) weak closing mechanism. Make sure it closes all the way and stays shut.

    c) dead battery. apple has a long history of ****** batteries in products with a user removable battery and great batteries in products with a non-user removable battery.

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