MBP Unibody vs. Classic: Long term observations needed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DoNoHarm, May 15, 2009.

  1. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    Hey Everyone,

    I'm helping my girlfriend pick out a new computer. I have a 2.4Ghz MBP Classic that is amazing and we're debating between a used MBP Classic identical to mine and a new MBP unibody. We've gone to the store to check out the new ones, and noticed the obvious cosmetic differences. However, there's something to be said for someone who has used the MBP Classic and gone on to the new MBP unibody.

    Are there any of you out there who used the new MBP unibody designs who also used a fairly recent MBP Classic for a few months? Are there any differences you've experienced between the machines that can't readily be seen at the store when we take 5 minutes to look at the new machines? Things that you'd notice only after owning the machines for a month or so? Stuff like temperature, vibration, noise, or more general computer use due to the glass trackpad and keys. Thanks.
  2. ziggyonice macrumors 68020


    Mar 12, 2006
    Rural America
    One of the downsides in terms of the construction of the classic MBP is the bending, denting, and bowing of the casing. I'm not sure why it is so badly formed, but the unibody trumps it easily. That could be a selling point right there.
  3. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    Having owned and used both as everyday work/play machines, you can be happy with either.

    That being said you can identify things that you like or dislike. The major issues that I have with my late 08 UMBP is the loss of the full size and full functionality DVI port that is standard on the classic. You need to purchase mini DVI to VGA and mini DVI to DVI to cover the basic external feeds and you still come up short of the video output functionality found on the classic.

    However, I have found USB to DVI adapters that do 1600x1200x32@60 that got me back to running two external Dell LCDs along with the open UMBP.

  4. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    id have to disagree, looks to me like the new ones bend easier. and if you drop a classic you dont break the screen and or trackpad. Classics are way more resilient than the unis
  5. u49aa2 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 3, 2008
    Between Heaven and Hell
    You mean minidispaly to VGA and mindisplay to DVI ;)
  6. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    Dude there is no comparison, get the unibody one, much more solid.
  7. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    You are correct. Sorry for the slip.
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    To OP: If you're planning on standing on your girlfriend's MBP :cool:, get the unibody one. If you're planning to drop your girlfriend's MBP, get the classic - it will absorb the shock of the impact more gracefully, and be cheaper to replace chassis parts and probably protect the innards a bit better. The unibody is more solid, but that doesn't make it more durable. Some flexibility actually can make something more likely to survive impact and still work.

    As far as other attributes, I haven't used a unibody for more than a half-hour at a time, but I really do like my 'classic.' The keyboard is something I'd probably have to spend time with on the new one to know if it would be an issue long-term or not. Maybe get her the new one, and you'll have one of each to compare with for issues, reliability, durability, ergonomics, style, overall satisfaction. Good luck whichever way you go.
  9. Bronzit macrumors newbie


    Mar 23, 2009
    Escondido, CA, USA
    Late-08 UMBP 15.4" vs. 06/04 PowerBook G4...

    I have both of these. I ordered the UMBP 2.8GHz 4GB on the day it was announced & got it within 2 weeks. I used to connect my PB G4 15" directly to our Mitsubishi Diamond Vision 40" tube TV via the built-in S-VHS port on the PB. I ported the stereo sound out of the headphone port & there we have a BIG screen PB G4. The only other port available on the TV is the composite video (yellow RCA jack) one. It doesn't have component video.
    Now with the UMBP 15.4", Apple has decided to NOT support the older TV interfaces. This is fine IF you can afford to go out & buy a newer TV w/HDMI 1.3a inputs, a DVI-D input, or a VGA (yuk!) jack (I have the adapters). I searched & searched, bought & returned many adapters which would not work, even after Apple issued the Mini DisplayPort driver update. And it doesn't make any difference WHICH video board is selected in the UMBP Energy Saver Preference, nothing will get my screen onto the Mitsu.!

    So when we want to watch a movie or TV episode from Hulu or a network station in HD on the Mitsu. we cannot. I have a Viewsonic 19" flat panel which has a DVI-D connector on it & that will work (@ a measly 1280x1024), but is a very poor substitute for the 40" screen in HD! The HD looks GREAT on the UMBP (not possible on the PB G4) but I cannot find a way to get it up on the TV. The local Apple Store & Apple's Help line are no help @ all.

    I am open to anything that works which I may have overlooked...???

    BTW, watch out: DVI-D out via the adapter from the Mini DisplayPort is NOT compatible with DVI-A, which has 4 more pins, missing from the DVI-D. I had to point this out to Apple Store employees, who were not aware, and tried to sell me the DVI-A adapter to S-VHS, which is NOT plug-compatible.
  10. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    Well I have no experience with the classic, but I absolutely LOVE the multi-touch trackpad on the unibody. If I were to put a price on it, I'd say its a $100 upgrade. Also, the unibody with a 9400m in OS X only gets warm, and not real hot, if you were only doing basic tasks like word processor and web browsing (sans flash). The screen is also much nicer unless you absolutely hate gloss.
  11. Nitro1 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2009
    Mono Price

    I am not to sure what you are looking for but monoprice.com has a new adapter that goes from Mini DP to HDMI and others. here is the link to the MDP to HDMI.
  12. Nitro1 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2009

    As for your question. I was in the exact same boat you are in now my friend. I was a huge fan of the older version mac and could not decide if i wanted a MBP or a new uMBP and i went with the uMBP. Let me tell you why.

    I really liked the old keys on the former MBP and the lack of gap in between them, due to my abnormal typing style. But after using the new keys they are extrmely comfortable and i absolutly love the feel and the easy cleaning involed.
    2. I did not like that the old MBP was kind of larger and had no major advantages due to the size. I have the 15" 2.4GHz uMBP and i must say it is amazingly light. i mean wow. This is the smallest and lightest computeri have ever owned and i have owned my share.
    3. The screen, holy cow, the graphics on any of the mac are amzing and they always have a HD resolution but with the uMBP and the instant on LCD it is just so much better. The colors are brighter and whiter, the light is brighter and can still be very light if in low light.
    4. The Mini Displayport. Yes it kind of sucks that they went away from the former DVI. It is more of a hassle, but how often will you use it. I personally will not be using it to often and that was not a huge deal to me. But as of late they have been coming out with alot more adapter to go from the MDP to anything you want. The only down side. I am not sure but from what i have read there is no sound out of the MDP. So you will need a cable to connect you audio out into your tv, display or whatever.
    5. The larger no button trackpad. At first i was really put off by this and was unsure if it would work or if i could get used to it. But after about 7 months of use i have to say i will never go back to a button again. I love the fact the whole track pad is the button. it is amazing and so easy to use once you get used to it. One quick thing, the top of the trackpad is not able to click not a big deal but do not be alarmed if you go to clikc at the top and it does not work due to the fact that the whole pad hinges from the top and thus can not click. But still amazing and it feels great.

    In the end it is a personal decision. But if you want a travel computer for a college student. I would for sure go with the Unibody MBP much lighter and the longer warranty and new overall tech is amazing.

    Quick note, the dual graphics cards and the option for either lower quality and the super high quality is great. And even the lower graphics card is still better personally than anything i have seen on a standard PC. Not to start that debate.

    Good Luck. Be sure to let me know where she goes.
  13. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    Bronzit, short of buying a digital to analogue converter, no "adapter" is going to help you. You will need to chain two or more adapters and somewhere in between, you will need to convert the signal to analogue composite.

    The other options includer either a USB video solution or a Matrox multihead solution. Either way, you get a DVI-I signal, from which you can use an adapter to give you S-Video.
  14. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    Ive grabbed the new ones at the store and twisted them in my hands, easily, i cant do that with mine. One piece=more flexible, one piece does not = stronger.
  15. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    and even if you stand on ur gfs new uni, ur still Fd b/c youll crack the screen. Im not saying i dont like the new unis, id like one, i just dont think their as durable as the classic, or even PB
  16. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...if you drop a UMB/UMBP that means a total case replacement instead of replacing just parts...:apple: didn't do this to make it stronger, they did it to get out of paying for repairs as accidental damage voids the apple care...

    If they wanted to make a strong laptop, it would have a Ti inner frame and a carbonfiber case - that I would buy:D
  17. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    Yah, its a shame that mbps arnt made like thinkpads, but then they wouldnt get all that money for replacing the countless broke alum macs
  18. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    Aren't the new Ubody MBPs heavier and larger than the classic ones?

    Anyways as an owner of the classic MBP, and having played with the ubody one from time to time, I much prefer my classic. I do prefer the ubody construction, though the difference isnt too big for me. The looks however I like the classic more. It's got a thinner LCD bezel, it's lighter, and it still looks like a unique but beautiful apple computer, while the new ubodys look a lot more like PC notebooks. If you can get a refurbished classic then get it, you'll save the cash but still get a great notebook.
  19. tozfeekum macrumors member

    May 25, 2007
    I had a 2.4 MBP classic for around a year before i got my new UMBP. If for nothing else the glass trackpad was worth the upgrade. It honestly is leaps and bounds ahead of the old one. Other than that there isn't much of a difference!
  20. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Judging by the amount of "I dropped my MBP!!!" threads that appear on this forum every week, I'd say that the unibodies are no more resistant to denting than any other aluminum enclosure.
  21. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    No one has mentioned the 8600m GT issue. The MBP Classics have faulty Nvidia 8600m GT cards that will fail sooner or later
  22. capriseyhaze macrumors regular


    Mar 3, 2009
    like a few people already said, the trackpad alone is worth the upgrade. I have big hands and since using the glass trkpad i cant even use 3 finger gesters on the original its just not enough space, it feels akward. And after using a unibody for the last month or so the classic fells like plastic to be honest with you. It fells sooo flimsey and creekey. Unibodys make the classic seem so outdated. I cant even use my classic anymore. Ohh yea one more thing the keyboard. On the classic all the keys are together and when i was using it i thought it was great. But after the uni and the spaced out keys i have way less typing errors and fatigue while typing. And just one more thing is since its mad out of one peice of metal it actually feels lighter then the old ones. An example of what im saying is like picking up a sleeping child that weighs 50 pounds with body parts dangeling everywere will feel alot heavier then picking up a 50 pound weight because all the weight is in one spot.
  23. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I had a 2007 MBP and now a unibody MBP.

    The older MBP was a core2duo 2.4 with 4gig of ram and a smallish HD (I forget the size but it was under 250 because I was running of out of space.

    All in all, I found the 2007MBP to be a very capable machine and was relatively pleased with the performance. going to a 2.53 unibody MBP, I gained about 15% more speed, larger HD (even bigger since I just upgraded to a 500gig), dual GPU and quite a beautiful design.

    I love the screen, its beautiful, and I don't mind the glossy screen (I had matte on the older model)
    The keyboard is definitely an improvement
    The ports on one side, and the optical disk on the other is a nice touch
    The magnetic closure of the lid is a huge improvement. My lid on the older MBP never closed evenly and sometimes popped open a bit, causing the machine to wake up (this is real bad when its in a case traveling)
    the reduction in ports is a bit of a hassle in the unibody MBP, but not a huge obstacle for me.
    The multi-touch glass touchpad is something that I think is better then the older touchpad but it did require some getting use too.

    Did I have to upgrade to the new model, nah, I think the 2007 could have easily lasted a few more years easily. I am a sucker for new designs and macs. I have no regrets with the unibody MBP but given that Clarksfield is coming out, probably early 2010, if you have a prior model MBP, I'd recommend waiting for that if possible. You'll get a big speed boost over the current chipset.
  24. Nitro1 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2009
  25. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    They're roughly the same weight (I could have sworn I read the new ones were a bit heavier at launch), here are the specs:

    0.95 inch (2.41 cm)
    14.35 inches (36.4 cm)
    9.82 inches (24.9 cm)
    5.5 pounds (2.49 kg)1

    Height: 1.0 inch (2.59 cm)
    Width: 14.1 inches (35.7 cm)
    Depth: 9.6 inches (24.3 cm)
    Weight: 5.6 pounds (2.54 kg) with battery and optical drive installed (4)

    The Unibody is a bit wider and deeper however.

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