New to the forums, looking to buy an Alu MacBook.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by NewEyesOpen, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. NewEyesOpen macrumors regular

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    West Virginia
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    As the topic states, I'm new the forums. For a long time I've admired and wanted a MacBook but could never justify it as I either never had the funds or was in between getting a laptop to go to college with a couple years ago.

    Well, the time has come and I'm finally financially able to start considering a MacBook. I definitely want the new aluminum uni-body one. However, I do have a few concerns , so I'm turning to you guys for advice and or help.

    First off, a close friend of mine has a 2.16GHZ white MB from late 2007, several months ago his HD crashed and only recently was able to afford to replace it and got it working again. From my understanding, this is a potentially common problem as Mac's have less than impressive Hard Drives. What I am considering is ordering a "better" HD and installing it myself as soon as I get the MacBook, thus adding more space and having a faster RPM as well.

    I would like to do the same with the RAM and upgrade it to 4g, but do it myself as I would the HD.

    My main question is this, would you guys recommend doing this? And if so is fairly fool proof? I understand nothing is fail safe, but more or less would this be?

    I want to use the MB mainly for music recording and occasional leisure use as I'll still have my Dell with Vista for school work and research.
     
  2. xpovos macrumors 6502a

    xpovos

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    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Tennessee
    #2
    Those are both extremely easy upgrades with the MacBook. Just be sure to have a Torx T6 screwdriver to remove the mounting screws for the hard drive. Otherwise you'll strip the screws. Don't try it with anything but a Torx T6. The user manual does not state this.
     
  3. NewEyesOpen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks a lot. Is this a common thing that Mac owners do?
     
  4. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #4
    Who on earth told you Macs have less impressive hard drives? That's a lie.. Hard drive failures do happen, and after 3-4 years of constant use, you'd expect something to happen. That's why Time Machine is a life saver. But if you want to upgrade the hard drive yourself (larger capacity, 7200RPM etc) then it is really straightforward to do.

    You mention you do music recording - what is your current setup? Any equipment use FireWire?

    Not really - it is only the new Unibodies that allow easy user access to change the hard drive. Previous case designs (PowerBook design), it was a pain to get in to change the hard drive.
     
  5. acurafan macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #5
    hint: if you don't have torx bits, use a needle nose plier with some tape covering it, and you can remove the drive screws easily with a firm grip. :cool:
     
  6. NewEyesOpen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6

    I didn't hear directly that Mac's have less impressive hard drives, that is what i heard second hand. Again, I'm still new to this. I probably won't buy until the end of the summer/early fall so I can get the back to school promotion.

    I am still VERY much up in the air over whether or not to change out the RAM and Hard Drive, I feel like I want to, but a part of me feels its unnecessary. But, the other part of me does want bigger space and a faster working computer for slightly less than what i could get outright from Apple.
     
  7. Beerfloat macrumors regular

    Beerfloat

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    Feb 21, 2009
    #7
    What do I do if I don't have a needle nose plier? :confused:
     
  8. acurafan macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    then you're F****D! game over, the world ends. seriously, think outside the box. :D
     
  9. skorpien macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #9
    If you're going to be waiting for the back to school promotion, chances are RAM and HDD prices are going to fall from now till then anyway, so you might be able to upgrade for cheaper than you'd think.

    I think it's definitely a worthwhile upgrade, especially the RAM. And if you're buying the 2.0 stock model, the hard drive upgrade is a no brainer.

    I myself went with a 320GB 7200 rpm drive for my MB, and I got Apple to do the RAM upgrade for me (though I would have done the RAM myself if the cost had been cheaper at the time).

    The Unibody MBs are relatively easy to upgrade, and if you look up the Alu MB manual on Apple's support page, it will show you how to do the install and what tools you'll need.
     
  10. apeacock macrumors member

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    Dec 9, 2008
    #10
    FYI - it's a Torx T8 bit, not a T6. I got a precision screwdriver kit from Home Depot with all the smaller sizes of Torx, hex, straight and phillips bits for about $10 - comes in very handy when working on laptops.
     
  11. skorpien macrumors 68020

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    #11
    For the Aluminum MacBook, it's a Torx-6. For the older, polycarbonate models, it's a T8.

    The OP showed interest in purchasing the aluminum version, so the T8 wouldn't apply to him/her.

    Edit: Also, the T6 is only required to remove the mounting screws on the hard drive, and the other screws holding the bracket/back of the MacBook are actually phillips screws.
     
  12. NewEyesOpen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Thanks for all the advice, guys. I really appreciate it.

    I will definitely do the ram and hard drive upgrades immediately and on my own when I get the MacBook.

    Do the Uni body's have any problems with cracking anywhere at all like the white books?

    Also, do they have any major problems with the headphone jack? aside from the minimal white noise?
     
  13. skorpien macrumors 68020

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    #13
    The white macbooks cracked because of the polycarbonate material they are made of. The unibody MBs are made from aluminum, which does not crack. And since the top case is made from one block of aluminum rather than multiple parts like the polycarbonate ones, it's a much sturdier build than the previous models. Granted you'll have to watch for dents and scratches, but if you're careful enough and with a decent sleeve, you shouldn't have issues with that.

    As for the headphone jack, there have been reports of the red light staying on and the speakers not working, but that can be fixed by inserting a headphone jack and removing it. It's an issue with a little switch that gets stuck inside the jack or something along those lines. You can do a forum search if you want more information, but honestly I haven't seen too many threads on the topic so I wouldn't say it's a common problem.

    Also, the screws are actually a Phillips #00 I think. I'll provide a link to the manual which details RAM and HDD installation:
    http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/MacBook_13inch_Aluminum_Late2008.pdf
    Check out Section 3 (page 33)
     
  14. xpovos macrumors 6502a

    xpovos

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    Location:
    Tennessee
    #14
    Absolutely right. Phillips #00 for the body screws and Torx T6 for the hard drive mounting screws. With those two bits, it's literally a 5-minute job to do both upgrades simultaneously.
     
  15. james-thescalie macrumors member

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    Dec 12, 2008
    #15
    I exchanged my MBA for a MB-Alu with audio in mind. Now i regret it as I am missing firewire.
    So now I'm waiting to get enough cash so I can get a white MB with firewire and use that for audio and just use the MB-Alu for mucking around...just something to consider
     
  16. raremage macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Um...I didn't think the MBA had firewire either...
     
  17. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

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    Denver
    #17
    Apple is very good at designing terrific machines that are usually more than the sum of their good-very good quality parts. There is nothing wrong with the HD or memory you will find in your Macbook but should you wish for more memory or a bigger or faster hard drive, its usually much less expensive to do yourself than ordering from Apple and all of Apple's Macbooks (not PRO' or AIR's or Powerbook etc) are easily user upgradable.

    These days Apple is putting 2gb of RAM in most of their baseline Macbooks and OS X performs well in 2gb and its sufficient for most people doing routine tasks. If you tend to run a lot of applications at once or do video editing or run Virtual machines you might want to consider looking at ActivityMonitor and seeing if you are maxing out your ram and swapping to disk. If you are a RAM upgrade will give you the most bang for the buck. If you arn't more RAM won't usually do much for you.

    Apple puts 5400rpm drives in its current Macbooks. They are a good compromise between power consumption and speed. A 7200rom drive will use a bit more power and give you a noticeable but not dramatic speed increase. If you are going to put a bigger HD in, you might consider a faster one if available in the size you are looking for.

    I usually go to macsales.com (OWC) for my upgrades. They offer good pricing and service, have toolkits, external drive enclosures for your old drive, and take HD/RAM tradeins. They have instructional online videos on doing the upgrades too.
     

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