Monday, January 21, 2008

MacBook Buyers Guide

If you are looking for a laptop, you have several options now. You have the flagship MacBook and the MacBook Pro for power-users looking for the best in performance. In addition, you also have the recently released MacBook Air for those looking for an ultra-thin, lightweight solution.

As I mentioned previously, I purchased a MacBook so I will start my first Buyer's Guide on this particular model class. Lets start with the configurations which are available for this product class. From the table below, you can see the 3 different choices available. The entry level has a 2.0GHz CPU where the mid-level and high-end models have a 2.2GHz CPU. As the CPU is soldered onto the motherboard, you cannot upgrade this at a later stage even if you wanted to. The second difference to focus on is the optical drive. The entry level has a DVD readable & CD read/writable drive whereas the mid-level and high-end models have a SuperDrive which gives you DVD & CD read/writable drives. Again, these MacBooks are not like the PC counterparts where you can easily switch out the components. They are imbedded into the MacBook and will require a professional for exchange or upgrade. Then for each model you also have an increase in hard disk size and price. The last difference which does not sound so significant is the color. You will see that the color does plays an important role in the cost factor. The entry level and mid-level come in white whereas the high-end model comes in black. So to sum up, to go from entry-level to mid-level you pay $200 and get a better CPU, optical drive and larger hard disk (+40GB). To go from mid-level you again pay $200 dollars and you get a bigger hard disk (again +40GB) and a black MacBook. Did everyone get that? You are clearly paying a premium for a black laptop! If you do a simulation on the Apple Store it cost $1374.00 to have the same specs, which calculates to $175 for the color black! Here are the specs so you can see for yourself.

Configurations

2.0GHz MacBook(MB061LL/B)2.2GHz MacBook(MB062LL/B)2.2GHz MacBook(MB063LL/B)
Color
White
White
Black
Price
$1,099
$1,299
$1,499
Processor
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
L2 cache
4MB shared
4MB shared
4MB shared
System bus
800MHz
800MHz
800MHz
Memory
1GB (two 512MB) of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300); supports up to 4GB
Hard drive
80GB Serial ATA; 5400 rpm
120GB Serial ATA; 5400 rpm
160GB Serial ATA; 5400 rpm
Slot-loading optical drive
Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Graphics
Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
Video
Built-in iSight camera; mini-DVI output port with support for DVI, VGA, S-video, and composite video (requires adapters, sold separately)
Display
13.3-inch (diagonal) glossy TFT widescreen display, 1280 by 800 resolution
FireWire
One FireWire 400 port (8 watts)
USB
Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Audio
Built-in stereo speakers, built-in omnidirectional microphone, combined optical digital audio input/audio line in, combined optical digital audio output/headphone out
Networking
Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet
Wireless
Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification); built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module
Hardware accessories
Apple Remote, 60W MagSafe Power Adapter, AC wall plug, power cord, lithium-polymer battery

There are optional upgrades for the memory and hard disk which are available when you purchase your Mac and can be purchased at a later stage.

For the reasons mentioned above, I purchased a mid-level MacBook with a 1GB memory upgrade (2GB total). I do not have the additional 40GB hard disk but I have a more powerful Mac and still paid less than the black one.

For more information, you can refer to the MacBook website here.

1 comment:

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