Unibody Plastic or Unibody Aluminum

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nathanielonfire, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. nathanielonfire macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning to upgrade my aging (64 month old!) 12" PowerBook G4 to a MacBook or 13" MacBook Pro as soon as Apple updates them to something other than the Core 2 Duo. I'm not a high-end user at all, (the most CPU intensive thing I do is watch online video) so I know even the lowest end MacBook would be just fine for me.

    However, I'm hesitant to use a plastic laptop. I have friends who have the old-style MacBooks...complete with cracked plastic and creaky display hinges. I know that both the plastic MacBooks and metal MacBook Pros have unibody constructions now and I'm just curious to see which people think is stronger. Which would hold up the longest (4-5 years)? Is the unibody plastic prone to cracking, scratches, fingerprints, creaking, etc? Does the unibody metal bend or dent like the PowerBooks and old-style MacBook Pros do?

    I'm leaning toward the MacBook Pro just because I'm used to an aluminum case now and I'm kind of hesitant to switch to plastic. I'm not too interested in the Airs because I prefer to have an internal optical drive.

    Thanks for your help! :)
  2. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Go for the pro. You won't regret it! (unless the extra $ would be a problem). I have the original aluminum MacBook (before they rebranded it a Pro) and love it. My wife has one of the older non unibody plastic ones and I am so glad I didn't get that. I'm sure the newer unibodies are better, but when it comes time for me to upgrade, the Aluminum body alone is worth the extra cash for the pro for me.

    As far as denting the aluminum goes, it should be a minor concern. I've had mine since launch in October 2008 and have just now found the first tiny dent and it is barely visible. No scratches thus far. I do try to baby it though, but if you still are using a PowerBook, it seems like you must take care of your stuff as well.
  3. Long macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2006
    I've been using the unibody plastic Macbook for work for a year, 8+ hours per day, 5-6 days per week, and I transport it between work and home almost every day. It is very sensitive to fingerprints, superficial scratches and scrapes, but I see no signs of cracking, misalignment, creaking, etc. The fingerprints wipe off and you have to be looking for the scratches. However, my co-worker has the same computer and somehow the lid is about an 1/8 inch out of alignment with the body when it's closed, and some deeper scratches, but judging by the dents in his car his Macbook probably leads a tougher life than most.

    I suspect if you care enough to be concerned about scratches, you'll treat it in such a way that prevents most of them. I don't handle my computer with kid gloves, but I do always transport it in the Incase bag specifically designed for it, and transit is probably where any scratches would occur.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have bought the 15" Pro just for the bigger screen, but I wouldn't have spent the money to upgrade to the 13" Pro over the 13" Macbook.
  4. nathanielonfire thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    Thank you for the quick replies!

    I wouldn't say that I "baby" my laptop, but like anything that I spend $1,000+ on, I'm going to take care of it best I can. I try to keep it on a lap board or tabletop and it has a separate compartment in my bag from the rest of my books, etc.

    Sure, it has its fare share of dents and scratches, but I'm not really concerned about the appearance. I'm more concerned that if I sell it or pass it on to someone, it doesn't look like it took a few trips down the stairs. :p

    It seems like the aluminum is worth it, if not for durability, but it also seems that it's not available with an SSD option on Apple's site? I was really hoping to upgrade to an SSD with the new one. Is the plastic MacBook not user-upgradable? I'm not really comfortable doing computer repairs myself, so I was going to go for the Apple SSD. Hmm...

    Thanks for the tips for when I'm ready to make the Intel jump (I know I'm like five years behind the curve...)
  5. Evmanw macrumors regular


    Aug 4, 2010
    I made the same decision

    I made the same decision a little over a year ago. I went with the MacBook Pro and I am very happy with my choice. It looks great, the finger prints are not a problem at all (except of course the screen) and personally I love the SD card slot. Even the backlit keyboard can sometimes be nice.

    I think you should go with the pro

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