What to buy? Polycarbonate or Unibody???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bobriot, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. bobriot macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #1
    OK I had a Unibody that arrived with a dent to it's been sent back to Apple UK. It was a refurb anyway so they've refunded £799 to my card. Now I could buy another for the same money or get the poly new for £676 (using Apple Edu Discount). I really liked macbook unibody with the exception of the aluminum battery compartment cover. With the poly the lesser Hard Disk and Non LED backlit don't really bother me, but as I've not owned a poly macbook before two things are bothering me...

    No 1 - Does the white plastic discolour and can it be cleaned?

    No 2 - The 9400M is a cool bit of kit but what bottleneck is created by using DDR2 SDRAM instead of DDR3 when playing 3D games?

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated before I split with my money again.
     
  2. therealdt macrumors regular

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    Oct 4, 2008
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    northeast region
    #2
    if you plan to play games, i would go for the unibody
     
  3. Patriks7 macrumors 65816

    Patriks7

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #3
    I would go for the Unibody. From other cards I have seen that both come in DDR2 and DDR3, there is always a bit of performance loss with the DDR2 version compared to the DDR3. Plus, the Unibody is just sexy :p
     
  4. marbles macrumors 68000

    marbles

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    Apr 30, 2008
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    EU mostly
    #4
    The white plastic has a known fault and cracks , Apple replace the case apparently. not sure about the bottle neck, will be a bit slower but not much , but like the other guys say here if your playing games it has to be the unibody.
    Then again it really all depends on what you intend to do with the machine .


    personally I'd need the fire wire so....., but am keeping hold of my coins till the unibody gets a refresh which I reckon will be soon(march end )either that or a new macmini comes out
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #5
    Call me a pessimist, or spoiled since I have GPU's coming out of my ears, but I kind of feel the same way about the 9400M as I felt about the 8400M, if not more so. The 9600M is an actually meaningfully low/low-mid-level gameable GPU but the 9400 in typical (including the unibody) configuration? It's an 'almost' - so much so with newer (i.e. < 2Years) titles. It's almost unplayable or playable, depending on how you consider it at meaningful resolutions IMO. It's better than an IGP, but not, I feel, enough to actually make it truly worthwhile as a 'power IGP' for gaming. I ended up finding the Dell XPS M1330 (8400M) - which I ordered as a mobile entertainment machine - stunted in the same respect, and the last M1330's I had were ordered with the X3100 instead for the runtime.

    Personally, I find a 9400M-level GPU as an acceptable compromise for visualisation applications on a machine that is genuinely portable, but it would frustrate me immensely as a gaming machine. Personally I'd go with the longer runtime of an Intel IGP along with a bigger battery and look at building a gaming desktop in stages if you're on a budget, but the poly Macbook is a tad overweight for me - it's a unibody with a whole extra battery. I guess that's a factor as well if you're going to lug it around with you all the time. Just some random musings...
     
  6. bobriot thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #6
    Thanks, it wouldn't be a main gaming machine as I have my iMac for that. The portability is an issue I didn't really consider and it is something that the macbook would be used for (holidays and trips away). Playing a casual game that I otherwise couldn't run is a nice feature but I just love OS X. I think that waiting for a possible March refresh as is the Alu Unibody.


    Thanks again MacRumour Forum people, such good advice.
     
  7. MeatPie macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    #7
    Well the white macbook is only .5lb heavier, not really all that noticeable and it's the same dimensions except it's .95" thick whereas the white is 1.08" thick. Size isn't really that much different. I'd recommend the unibody though, the plastic is pretty cheap and gimmicky compared to it.
     
  8. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #8
    The white macbook has a firewire port and a less glare-prone screen. I'd rather have these plus some extra cash in my pocket than the aluminum chassis or glass-covered screen. YMMV.
     
  9. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #9
    why? they have the same gpu
     
  10. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    Love the polycarbonate MacBook; I see no reason to pay $300 for just the unibody and 40GB of space. For that money, I can get discounted AppleCare, 500GB HDD, and 4GB of RAM.
     
  11. petermcphee macrumors 6502a

    petermcphee

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    Aug 20, 2008
    #11
    Unibody has a better screen.*

    *The above comment is based solely on my biased comparison of my MacBook to my wife's. Mine is mine is better, hence the above.

    :D
     
  12. marbles macrumors 68000

    marbles

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    #12
    I do too, just that screen is awful ( in my experience) though the unibodys is not much of an improvement imo
     
  13. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #13
    ...don't get a rev A anything... (Is the white book considered a rev A product now?)...
     
  14. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #14
    After buying and suffering from a few crappy plastic MacBooks, I take back what I said; the unibody is the superior choice. It's worth it.
     
  15. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #15
    The "Rev. X" term means redesigns not hardware. It still has the exact same dimensions and materials used to manufacture it. Only difference is the logic board.

    OP: Go for the unibody. Buy the latest and best you can afford. I'm not saying the polycarbonates are crap, but the unibody is newer and thus, a better investment. I have the polycarbonate and have seen the unibody models. Night and day difference.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #16
    If you're planning on being mobile, get the white MacBook. You won't regret that. I have the last rev BlackBook- it travels well and takes the bumps and bruises. I'd tell you to get one of those, but they make them anymore. :(

    Oh- and yes, if you take care of your MacBook and clean it once a week, it'll look nice for as long as you own it. My black one is almost a year old and looks like it did when it came out of the box.
     
  17. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #17
    The unibody is lighter and has a brighter screen. Much better for portability imho. It's also metal and not plastic, which cracks easily compared to metal.
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    Polycarbonate can crack, while aluminium can dent. However, polycarbonate does not crack EASILY, while aluminium dents easily. Aluminium is one of the softest metals on Earth.

    I really don't get this change in attitude towards polycarbonate. iBooks were also made from polycarbonate, and when compared to the old Al PowerBook's, the iBooks had the tough image, while the PowerBooks were flimsier, but pretty. PowerBooks always required a sleeve, while MR members here and at Apple's own discussion forums would actually say that iBooks didn't even require a sleeve unless they wanted to be super careful. "Just put the iBook between 2 textbooks in your backpack and you'll be fine. If you want, buy a sleeve just in case." There weren't a lot of laptop sleeves back then, and even fewer 12" sized sleeves. Those laptops survived. ;)

    This was before all the "new" Mac users declared that all the polycarbonate laptops must be less durable because they're more prone to hairline scratches. I'm not sending my future children to their school.


    Ever own an old Nalgene water bottle? Yes, made from polycarbonate, and tough as anything. New aluminium water bottles are far more frail. Coincidence? ;)
     
  19. Wilson1984 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    #19
    unibody.
    DDR3 Ram, Better screen, more multi-touch features. I think its worth it.
     
  20. Pika macrumors 68000

    Pika

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #20
    If you like the plastic feel and want the metal beauty & durability, get the unibody with a Polycarbonate hard shell case.

    Best of both worlds.
     
  21. jovanboi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    #21
    That's interesting, as I previously had an Ibook G4 for 4 1/2 years. I must have banged that thing, dropped it, tons of times in that period and the only blemishes/scratches were on the bottom casing. No cracks though. However, I cleaned the top of it with a damp cloth maybe every two weeks. I also tried to keep the keys fairly clean, somewhat unsuccessfully since towards the end they didn't seem to be completely *white.* In any case, with the exception of the bottom casing and some discolored keys, it looked like a fairly new machine otherwise. I personally found it, surprisingly, very durable. So I would go either poly or unibody, but the latter probably more for aesthetic reasons ;)
     

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