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The MacBook is a line of Macintosh notebook computers developed and marketed by Apple Inc. The MacBook replaced the iBook G4 series as well as the 12" PowerBook G4. The original MacBook was built around the Intel Core Duo chip. On 8 November 2006 Apple refreshed the MacBook line, which is now equipped with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor and an updated AirPort Extreme (with wireless-N capability). It is available in three configurations: 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz with a white polycarbonate enclosure, and a 2.0 GHz model which is black. The 2.0 GHz models feature a slot-loading SuperDrive capable of burning double-layer media.

Every model has a built-in iSight webcam and a magnetic latch mechanism. Further, the MacBook comes pre-loaded with Mac OS X v10.4, iLife, Front Row and Photo Booth. Also bundled with the notebook is an Apple Remote and the MagSafe power connector.


[edit] Overview

All MacBooks come with an integrated iSight, mini-DVI, MagSafe power connector, built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet, AirPort Extreme, two USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 400 port, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, Sudden Motion Sensor and Scrolling TrackPad, as well as an Apple Remote. Graphics are handled by Intel's GMA 950 graphics processor with 64 MiB of DDR2 SDRAM (shared memory) whilst in Mac OS X. However, when running Windows via Boot Camp, the Intel GMA 950 graphics processor can utilize up to 224MB of RAM. The MacBook features a widescreen 13.3" glossy LCD display (1280x800) which is 79% brighter and provides 30% more viewing area than the iBook. Sound capabilities include built-in stereo speakers, built-in omnidirectional microphone, combined optical digital audio input/audio line in, and combined optical digital audio output/headphone out. The MacBook weighs 5.2 lbs (2.36 kg). It also includes a Trusted platform module chip, which may be used for Digital Rights Management.

[edit] Specifications

Early 2006: One 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo (Yonah) T2400 model and two 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo (Yonah) T2500 models. All models have a 2 MiB shared L2 cache. The first two models are white while the highest end model is black. The two higher end models are equipped with an internal slot-loading SuperDrive which reads double-layer discs at 8x speed but does not write double-layer discs. This SuperDrive writes DVD-R and DVD+R discs at up to 4x speed, writes DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs at up to 4x speed, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x speed, and writes CD-RW discs at up to 10x speed. The low end model features a slot-loading Combo Drive (DVD-ROM, CD-RW) which reads DVDs at up to 8x speed, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x speed, writes CD-RW at up to 16x speed. There are two DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz (PC2-5300) user-upgradeable (maximum 2 GiB) slots, with all models stock configured with 512 MiB (2x256) RAM.

Late 2006: The 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo (Merom) T5600 (2 MiB shared L2 cache) and 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (Merom) T7200 (4 MiB shared L2 cache) (retailing at US$1099/£749 and US$1299/£879, respectively) are equipped with a 60 GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive and an 80 GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive, respectively. The 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 premium black model (US$1499/£999) features a 120 GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive. The two higher end models are equipped with an internal slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) which writes DVD+R DL up to 2.4x speed and DVD-R and DVD+R at up to 6x speed. The low end model features a slot-loading Combo Drive (DVD-ROM, CD-RW) which reads DVDs at up to 8x speed, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x speed and writes CD-RW discs at up to 16x speed. There are two DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz (PC2-5300) user-upgradeable (maximum 3 GiB) slots, with the lower-end model shipping with 512 MiB (2x256) RAM, while 1 GiB (2x512) RAM comes standard on the mid-range white and high-end black MacBooks.

[edit] Appearance

The MacBook's appearance is loosely based on that of its predecessor, the iBook G4. In addition to the classic white case, Apple is offering a premium black case option; both cases are made of polycarbonate, the thermoplastic Apple is known for using in many of its products. The two-color decision has received some criticism due to the fact that the base black model had originally cost US$150 more than a white model with the same hardware configuration. With the latest price revision, however, this has been reduced to $50.

The MacBook features a glossy display, a first from Apple, which had used anti-glare displays exclusively in its previous portables. The different reflective properties of glossy displays are said to increase color saturation when compared with anti-glare displays. The display has a narrower viewing angle than the anti-glare displays and may glare in bright or fluorescent lighting. Apple's approach with the new glossy display is similar to that of other PC manufacturers such as Sony with its XBRITE displays, Dell's TrueLife, or Toshiba's TruBrite.

The MacBook also features a new sunken keyboard design. Unlike the iBook, Powerbook G3, and Titanium PowerBook's keyboards, it is not removable; instead, each key is individually integrated into the casing with about 3 mm between neighboring keys. This is ostensibly intended to give the keyboard a sturdier feel and to avoid keyboard contact with the screen when closed. The color scheme for keys and labels is white and grey for the white model and black and white for the black model.

[edit] Integrated graphics

The MacBook, unlike recent portable Macintosh computers, has an integrated GPU. It uses an Intel GMA 950 graphics processor instead of an ATI Radeon series GPU as featured in the iBook it replaces and in Apple's consumer line of notebooks. Apple has also chosen not to include a graphics section in its MacBook product website, downplaying the significance of the MacBook's graphical capabilities. Intel's integrated graphics chipsets have been criticized in the past for being unable to handle graphically-intensive tasks such as complex 3D gaming and other heavily GPU-dependent processes.

Apple has most likely used integrated Intel graphics as a cost-cutting measure, as the Intel GMA chipset is cheaper than most discrete GPU solutions from ATI and nVidia. Other possible reasons for not making use of a discrete graphics solution is the amount of space available on the inside of the MacBook. There is simply not as much room on the PCB or in the unit itself for a 1.25 square inch chip, which would require additional cooling, as there is in the MacBook Pro. Alternatively, it's possible that a dedicated video option would have placed the performance of the "consumer" oriented line on par with that of the more expensive "professional" line.

The MacBook is the second of Apple's computers to use integrated graphics, after the Mac mini, a desktop model that, like the MacBook, is aimed specifically at typical consumers, which is one new way that Apple is differentiating between its consumer and professional product lines.

[edit] User serviceability

The MacBook is different from its iBook predecessor in terms of user serviceability. It is much easier to disassemble compared to the old iBook, which required removing many components such as the EM shields to get to anything, whereas the MacBook requires simply the removal of the outer shell to access almost any interior component. However, the redesigned keyboard is integrated into the main body of the laptop and is thus no longer easily removable or replaceable. In contrast, the MacBook's internal hard drive and RAM are now easily accessible via the underside of the unit. Replacement of the bigger MacBook Pro's internal hard drive is more difficult, requiring disassembly by an authorized service provider to prevent risk of voiding the warranty. This also applies to the older iBook.

[edit] MacBook vs. MacBook Pro

While both machines run identical software out of the box and at similar speeds due to the identical underlying Core 2 Duo architecture, there are many distinguishing features between the two lines. The MacBook Pro features an ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 graphics card using 128 or 256 MB GDDR3. The MacBook uses an integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics solution.

Due to its aluminum enclosure, the MacBook Pro is relatively low weight when one considers its size. Since the Pro models have bigger screens, they have larger display resolutions (1440×900 for the 15.4" and 1680×1050 for the 17"); the MacBook is 1280x800. The Pro models can output to the Apple 30" (2560×1600 resolution) display, while the MacBook can only drive a 1920×1200 display as it lacks a dual-link DVI port.

Other notable differences include the illuminated keyboard, a FireWire 800 port and an ExpressCard/34 slot included with the MacBook Pro. The 17-inch MacBook Pro also features an extra USB 2.0 port (three instead of two) and an 8x dual-layer SuperDrive.

The basic MacBook Pro is priced at US$1999, which is US$500 more than the most expensive (black) MacBook.

[edit] Issues

  • Some MacBook owners complained of discoloration that appeared on the palm rests of their MacBooks, which Apple has acknowledged as a manufacturing problem after a few weeks, offering to replace that part of the casing. This issue is unique to the white MacBooks.
  • Some MacBook owners complain of uneven illumination of the MacBook's glossy display. In reviews by computer magazines and websites, the display was sometimes criticized as having too narrow a viewing angle (particularly in the vertical direction), unsatisfying color saturation and below-average color contrast, compared to other glossy laptop displays.
  • When the MacBook was first released, some owners complained of a "mooing" sound coming from the cooling fan. This issue was resolved with a firmware update released by Apple.
  • Apple's MagSafe power adaptor can be troublesome, i.e. the cord breaks away from and frays at the magnetic tip.
  • The magnetic closing mechanism, combined with the ledges at the top of the screen can lead to pieces of the case chipping off.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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