Macbook: 2-year review

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Macnoviz, May 30, 2008.

  1. Macnoviz macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    Exactly two years ago, a box arrived at my doorstep in Belgium, containing something that would change the way I interacted with computers. My very first computer (that I owned myself), and my very first Mac. A brand new Macbook I ordered the day he arrived.

    I would like to give you my thoughts after two years of intense use of it as a student and amateur video maker.

    I'll start with the positive side:

    The thing I love most about having a Mac is the great software. It began that first week after filming for a school trip in London, where we edited the video with three students in the school auditory. I could, after only a few days with my Macbook, hook it up to a Beamer, use iMovie to import and edit the video, and we made a movie that still stands out between the many other videos made from these school trips. If you want to watch it, you can find it on Youtube. (it has a few rather boring parts, I'm afraid)

    And to this very week, I wowed my friends with a DVD made in iDVD, not to mention the creations in between with iMovie, iPhoto, iWeb, and of course Keynote. (not a presentation goes by without comments on how beautiful it was)

    Of course there are many other facets. I would name stability as one, though not without some remarks you will find later in my review.
    Then of course the ease of use. Hot corners, expose, shortcuts and many other features all contribute to the incredible speed you can operate a Mac with.
    The design and beauty of my computer is also mentionable. The smaller form factor than most computers and the splendid white design make it stand out, and it is often mistaken for an expensive computer (Mac are a lot less known in Belgium than in the US)
    The speed of my computer has been good overall (I'm considering a RAM upgrade) but the amazing thing is that it's still as fast now as it was 2 years ago, something very strange for PC's

    But I also want to mention some of the more negative aspects:

    There have been a lot of cases where the legendary stability was lacking in my experience. I have had 1 kernel panic (very early on), several lock-ups (maybe because of the 1 GB RAM having to work overtime), unexplainable crashes (though they are very rare) and of course the awful Keynote reboot-on-play bug (which happens about once every project) which has cost me many hours of work already.
    And the most unfortunate thing is that these things mostly happen while someone (the more people, the more it happens) is watching me at my computer.

    The computer has stood itself quite well during 2 years of thorough use (moving every week between home and school, outdoor use, being deployed at unsuitable places, etc.) but is now showing its age a bit: the A-key is chipped, though not uncomfortable to use, the hand rests are a bit discolored (without the defect) and the exterior shows signs of usage.

    Having a Mac sometimes required a bit more work trying to get certain things working. I still await a good version of MSN Messenger, and there are enough other things that are Windows-only to make this a point to mention.


    I'll probably add or change some of these points afterwards, but for now I think I can conlude the following:
    If I were to be transported two years back, I would definitly buy the Macbook again. It has been a fenomenal help and has made me into the go-to digital-creative guy for my friends and family. It also made my brother switch to Mac when he went to college.
    It has been a very quick transition coming from Windows, and now, I can say I know my way pretty well around the Mac now.
    There were problems along the way, no doubt, but these only occured when I did more than I did on a PC.

    In a way, the Mac platform challenged me to do things better, faster, to try doing new things and making it easier. It doesn't only provide the means, but also the motivation. And that, the fact that it activates me as a user, is the biggest merit I can name of my Macbook.
  2. Mackan macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2007
    What about the screen? The CCFL backlighted screens fade in brightness over time, and become more yellowish, is that something you have noticed? Can you estimate how many hours per day you have used it, and how many days per year?
  3. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    Great post, and a good summary all-round, I think. Glad you're enjoying the Mac experience :D

    For what it's worth, I did it the other way around, starting with the Mac and then moving on to Windows later (bearing in mind that I've been a Mac user since the eighties...). I currently make a good part of my living as a systems admin for a charity running a mixed Windows/Mac network (was all Windows until I joined up, but that's another story).

    Yep - I completely agree, but it's worth making the point that similar problems occur when making the switch the other way (i.e. Mac to Windows). Certain applications I rely upon do not work on Windows - and when I find myself spending a full day on a Windows machine, I have similar problems adapting - for instance, Visio isn't a patch on Omnigraffle, there's no Windows equivalent of RapidWeaver (which I use for throwing together quick and dirty photo galleries for internal office use), irssi is *nix only and Trillian just blows by comparison to Adium etc... etc. :)
  4. pagansoul macrumors 65816


    Aug 10, 2006
    You are right, most of your problems would have been solved with more RAM. I may have over did this on my Blackbook with 4 RAM but I have never seen any of your problems on mine. My machine is also a late 2007 while yours is a good 1.5 older.

    Also, bad things always happen when others are looking, ask Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Nothing is better than showing a few thousand your skills during a presentation when your machine pulls a hussy fit. :p
  5. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    I too am about to hit 2 years. I have a rev 1 MacBook 2.0. I have since upgraded the hdd to 160G and maxed the RAM at 2G. What a little work horse this machine is! I can't believe how much stuff I can do on it. From GarageBand to iMovie to iDVD. It's just amazing! With OS X, I get more done on this little thing than I ever did on my 2.8GHz Dual Xeon PC rig that I used to have.

    I use a PC at work, but I bring my MacBook to listen to music, or tinker during lunch. So it sits there on my desk. I can't believe how many positive comments I get from coworkers that pass my desk and see the Mac sitting there. I always get a "Cool!" or a "Wow!" or a "Very nice!" response. Occasionally some old dog will give me a "Oh, so you're a Mac guy, huh?" response, as if to suggest I'm some sort of hippie. But I just chalk that up to ignorance.

    I love the Mac. I love OS X. Using the Mac has been an incredible experience. I just bought an 8 core Mac Pro too. It's incredible, I can't believe I tortured myself with Windows for all those years. I wish I switched years ago.

    I'm now starting to get into the Pro Apps. I'm buying Logic Studio next week. Maybe when the next MacBook Pro revision comes out, I'll upgrade from my MacBook to that. We'll see.
  6. Macnoviz thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    Well, perhaps I would notice the difference when shown side-by-side, but I never noticed any change in the screen (perhaps now I will start seeing it)

    So, in short, it could be the screen is a bit dimmer or yellowish, but it's hardly noticable and still very nice to look at.

    And I have been using my Mac almost daily (there were a few periods where I didn't use it, but very rarely) and I use it about 4-5 hours a day (sometimes a lot more, sometimes less) plus a lot of overnight jobs (rendering for DVD's takes a LOT of time)

    Yep, I did upgrade to 160 GB hard drive (forgot to mention that) to avoid having to edit video directly from an external hard drive. And I do intend getting 2 GB quite soon.

    Have you already had problems using Keynote?
  7. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Very nice review. I guess I would end up with a review like this in a year or two...;)
  8. tbear1 macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2007
    Excellent review. I am just past the 1 year point. I am still very happy with my purchase. Stability is better than any windows machine I have had. I just got Applecare before my 1-year expired.

    I did upgrade my ram to 2 gigs. I didn't see a big improvement, but I have only recently started using iMovie. The rest of my time is mostly word processing, email or web. I will need to upgrade my hard drive because of my use of iMovie.

    My complements on your grammar. I couldn't compose a post like that in French or Dutch...

    Good Luck,
  9. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    I just want to say that modern screens won't turn yellow with age. The backlight will fade, but it's not going to turn yellow.

    But the whole fading process is very slow too. It seems most LCD screens are rated for about 50,000 hours of life. What that means is that it will take 50,000 hours for it to fade to 50% brightness. Basically be half as bright as when you bought it. To put that in perspective, it would take 25,000 hours of use for it to be 25% less bright. Thats basically over 2,000 days of 12 hour a day use.

    So, unless the backlight dies for some random reason, you're most likely never going to notice the screen fading. The only reason newer screens will look brighter is probably because they are actually using a brighter light.

    So don't worry about that.
  10. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    excellent summary. in a few weeks I will hit the 2 year mark on my macbook pro, and it has been an excellent investment. like you said, runs as fast as the day it was first booted up. here's to many more years of fine, enjoyable computing
  11. maverickem09 macrumors member

    May 3, 2008

    Excellent review. It has further confirmed my decision to buy a Macbook; it's not often that you'll run across a critical, but yet glowing, review and it's even rarer to find an actual owner, especially one backed by 2 years of experience that's written (well, by the way) by a 'average joe'. Thank you for taking the time to write it.
  12. Macnoviz thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    Thanks for that clarification. I really hope to be able to use my Macbook for some more years (though perhaps I will also buy an iMac in the future for more heavier tasks and keep the Macbook for mobility).

    Does any one know how many years a Macbook would last? Taken in account I buy a new hard drive when the previous one fails.
  13. ki2594 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2008
    Carmel, IN.
    my sisters iBook is now on its 4th year so i would expect the macbooks to go 4-5 years. I have only had mine for almost 3 months and i really want it to last a long time. BTW great review of the macbook.
  14. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Had my Macbook rolling on 6 months now :)

    I had to get the white because I couldn't afford it and 4gb RAM, however had I waited a few months I could of got the Penryn Black, with 2gb RAM, and 2gb Would have sufficed for a while. So if I went back in time I would have probably bought the black, but oh well.
  15. khunsanook macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2006
    East Asia
    Had my MB for 2 years as well. Overall it's been great...BUT

    Logic board replacement
    super drive replacement (new drive still reads far worse than any other I've owned)
    power adapter replacement

    I'll always prefer the Mac OS to anything else, but the hardware and design?...fantastic when working, but (my) MB hasn't been too impressive as I've had more physical probs than any other computer. I'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt though and claim that I was an early Intel adopter.

    Hopefully this MB will be problem-free for at lest another year though.

    and yes I'd still buy another :)
  16. Macnoviz thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    I also had to replace the power adaptor, though I think that was just the wear-and-tear from abusing it that much. I really dragged that thing to a lot of places...
  17. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    Yeah, the ibooks are tanks. Sold my old G4 ibook to my girlfriend, but
    its still going strong at nearly 5 years old. Its been used 6-8 hours a day.

    I can hope my new MB lasts that long.
  18. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    Hey, you stole my thread idea! :p Just kidding.

    This is pretty much how it's been for me the past six months. The machine is far from perfect, but it just works so well and I just feel so much more productive with it. Glad to hear your experience has been basically the same :)
  19. Macnoviz thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    yeah, sorry for that, I hadn't seen your thread

    But 2 years seemed like a nice milestone, since that's about the time a PC would be already ready for a replacement (at least when it's your main machine) or begin showing quirks. But my Macbook still functions well even in a very stressed situation (I like to multitask)
  20. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    I know, I was just kidding with you. :)
  21. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    I've had mine for 15 months, but it is a Late 2006 MB C2D, so I guess that counts. I bought it for myself as a college graduation present (yeah, I guess that's a bit backwards?) and couldn't be happier. I've upgraded to 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD and am now using it more as a clamshell than a laptop (I like having it connected to my HDTV and using the BT keyboard and Mighty Mouse).

    My only negative would be that it has gotten me addicted to Apple! I probably never would have bought an iPhone or changed my wireless router for an Extreme or even thought of using an Express as a wireless extender + AirTunes. Now I am so tempted to get an iMac it's ridiculous!

    All in all, my MB has held up quite well and has been great on airplanes, long nights at work, and everything in between.

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