Tech News on G4

MacBook & MacBook Pro Get Performance Boost

February 28, 2008

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gaziní - G4 Canada

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Faster processors and larger hard drives are just 2 of the enhancements found on Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro series models. Prices on selected models have also been lightened $100 on most 13”-15” to $150 on 17” offerings dollars bring them to within $50-$150 closer, but not quite on par with pricing found on equivalent models in the US.

 

MacBookMacBook

The entry level MacBook now ships with a 2.1Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (with 3MB on chip shared L2 cache) 1GB RAM and a 120Mb Hard Drive. While 1 GB is pretty minimal these days, it’s easily sufficient for the casual surfer or first time Mac User  - (like my good close friend Albert, who used to make fun of me using a Mac, but now enjoys his new MacBook)  - and of course RAM is easily upgradeable, up to 4GB.

Less to my enthusiasm and much to my amazement is that Apple is still shipping the  24X Combo Drive DVD-Rom/CD-RW.  Let’s get real, why bother having iMovie if you don’t have a DVD burner. For that you need to spend $200 more. But for that, not only will you get an 8x Dual Layer Super Drive you also get 2GB Ram, a 160GB hard drive and a 2.4Ghz processor.  Wait, there’s more, For another $200, $1549, if you’re tallying, you can move up to a 250GB hard drive get any colour you want - as long as it’s black.

 

 

MacBook ProMacBook Pro

All MacBook Pro models now ship standard with 2GB RAM expandable to 4GB. The entry-level unit has dropped to $2099 and ships with a 2.4Ghz processor, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB and a 200GB (5400 RPM) hard drive. (I would liked to have seem this one drop below the $2K threshold)

It’s finally nice to see a hard drive size that makes sense, especially units designed for the mobile professional (or file packrat). These days 200GB is not a lot, but it’s respectable.   One reason I have yet to install Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) on my MacBook Pro, (I'm sure many of you can relate to this), is that I don't have enough drive space available. As an early adopter of the first Intel Mac units, my 1.83Ghz unit shipped with an 80GB hard drive and for an extra $100 I bumped it up to 100GB. Now, for a mere $50 more you can move to a 250GB model or for $100 you can get a 200GB but at 7200RPM so it runs a little faster.

If you need a little more byte, taking the next step up will cost you $2599 ($500 more). But for that investment ladies and gents, you get a 2.5GHZ processor, 250GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT video graphics card with 512M. This will make your on screen graphics just buzz. That same configuration in 17” (with 6 MB on chip shared L2 cache) will run you $2899.  The last 2 models also feature an optional 2.6 GHz upgrade

 

Anti-glare, Glossy or LED Display?

With the 15” widescreen models (15.4” viewable to be exact) you can choose between a standard anti-glare and glossy display. For the 17” models, you now have 4 choices, Anti-glare, Glossy, Hi resolution LED backlit (standard or glossy), The 2 backlit will set you back another c-note ($100)

Multi-touch

For those who felt the 3-finger envy with the new multi-touch trackpad found on the MacBook Air (and yes, similarly on the iPhone). All MacBook Pro models now incorporate that same technology to give you incredible flexibility and control of your applications.  Apple’s patented multi-touch trackpad that has 10 incredible features including two-finger scrolling, pinch and expand to zoom in, rotate, swipe, tap, double-tap, click and drag capabilities and more. The only downside for me is that when working at home, I attach a Microsoft Wireless Keyboard and Optical Laser Mouse. Oh Well!

 

Bottom Line

If you are already a MacBook/Pro owner but felt you needed a little more horsepower and larger drive space – that alone may justify the putting your current model up for sale on eBay and investing in one of the latest models.

One final note. If you’re rummaging through the box to find your Apple Remote, you won’t find it – unless you opted for one for a mere $19.00

For complete specs, options and prices, visit the Apple Canada store at www.apple.ca/store.


 

Greg Gazin can be reached at gadgetguy “at” telus “dot” net.

About G4 in Canada
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