The 'Book Review

MacBook Goes Core 2, Core vs. Core 2 Benchmarks, MacBook Pro Hard Drive Transplant, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.11.10

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Core 2 vs. Core is at the top of this week's 'Book Review. The consumer MacBook has been upgraded from Core Duo to Core 2 Duo, and the 2 GHz models now have twice as much RAM, bigger hard drives, and 6x dual-layer SuperDrives. That also means better prices on refurbished Core Duo MacBooks (see Bargain 'Books for details).

Benchmarks at Bare Feats and Macworld find the Core 2 Duo averages 10% faster than the Core Duo - and is significantly faster on some tests.

On the other side of the OS divide, style sometimes trumps substance, as in the Lamborghini "golden edition" laptop and a crystal-encrusted Medion laptop "for the ladies" (no, I didn't make that up - I couldn't make that up.)

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review.

News & Opinion

Tech Tips and Info

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Apple Unveils New MacBook with Intel Core 2 Duo

PR: CUPERTINO, California - November 8, 2006 - Apple on Wednesday unveiled its new line of MacBook consumer notebooks that now include Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Just one-inch thin, the new MacBooks are up to 25% faster than the previous generation and feature a built-in iSight video camera for on-the-go video conferencing, Apple's MagSafe Power Adapter that safely disconnects when under strain, and iLife '06, Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications.

"MacBook has helped drive Apple's notebook market share to over 10% in US retail, and the new MacBooks will be among this holiday season's most exciting new products," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With Intel Core 2 Duo processors across the entire line, these new MacBooks are up to 25% faster than their predecessors."

With prices starting at just $1,099, the new MacBook lineup includes three models: sleek white 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz MacBook models, and a stunning black 2.0 GHz MacBook model. With Intel's latest Core 2 Duo processors, the new MacBook is up to 25 percent faster than the previous MacBook and up to six times faster than the iBook, making it even easier for consumers to manage and enjoy their digital content with iLife '06.* Consumers will also benefit from the added power in the new 2.0 GHz models, including double the memory and greater storage capacity than the previous generation, as well as a double-layer SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs.

The new MacBook features a gorgeous 13" glossy widescreen display, ideal for enjoying videos, DVDs and photos with Apple's breakthrough Front Row media experience. The MacBook is just one-inch thin and includes a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go with friends or family using iChat AV, recording a video podcast or iMovie using iLife '06, or taking fun snapshots with Photo Booth.

Designed for the mobile lifestyle, the MacBook includes Apple's MagSafe Power Adapter that magnetically connects the power cord to the MacBook and safely disconnects under strain, preventing the notebook from falling off its work surface. Apple now also offers a new MagSafe Airline Adapter that makes using a MacBook on an airplane even more convenient by connecting to in-seat power ports for continued productivity throughout the duration of a flight. The MacBook also includes Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor, designed to protect the hard drive in case of a fall, and a simple and intuitive Scrolling TrackPad for scrolling through long web pages or panning across large photographs.

The lightweight MacBook design includes built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), making it ideal to take anywhere consumers work and play - from the office, to the classroom and the local WiFi hot spot. With the latest high-performance connectivity options, each MacBook includes built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 400 port, combination analog and optical digital audio input and output ports and a mini-DVI video output to connect up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.

The MacBook comes with iLife '06, the next generation of Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications featuring iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and iWeb, the latest iLife application that makes it super-easy to create amazing websites with photos, blogs and podcasts and publish them on .mac for viewing by anyone on the Internet with just a single click.** The MacBook also comes with the latest release of the world's most advanced operating system, Mac OS X version 10.4.8 Tiger, including Safari, Mail, iCal, iChat AV, Front Row and Photo Booth, running natively on the Intel-based notebook.

Pricing & Availability

The new MacBook is available immediately through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter is available for a suggested retail price of $59 (US).

The 1.83 GHz MacBook, for a suggested retail price of $1,099, includes:

  • 13.3" glossy widescreen 1280 x 800 display with 250 cd/m2 brightness
  • 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 667 MHz frontside bus
  • 512 MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2 GB
  • 60 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor
  • a slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Mini-DVI out (adapters for DVI, VGA and Composite/S-video sold separately)
  • built-in iSight video camera
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port
  • one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog
  • Scrolling TrackPad
  • the infrared Apple Remote
  • 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter

Differences in the 2.0 GHz white MacBook, for a suggested retail price of $1,299:

  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 1 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2 GB
  • 80 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor
  • a slot-load 6x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive

Differences in the 2.0 GHz, 13-inch black MacBook, for a suggested retail price of $1,499:

  • 120 GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor

Additional build-to-order options for the MacBook include the ability to upgrade to 80 GB, 120 GB or 160 GB (5400 rpm) or a 200 GB (4200 rpm) hard drive, up to 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM, Apple USB Modem, Apple Mini-DVI to DVI adapter, Apple Mini-DVI to VGA adapter, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare Protection Plan. Additional build-to-order options also include: preinstalled copies of iWork '06, Logic Express 7, Final Cut Express HD 3.5 and Aperture 1.5.

*Based on estimated results of industry-standard SPECint and SPECfp rate tests. SPEC is a registered trademark of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC); see www.apple.com/macbook for more information.

**Internet access required, fees may apply. The .mac service is available to persons age 13 and older. Terms and conditions apply.

Apple Updates MacBooks to 'Merom'

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Apple has upgraded its MacBook consumer notebook line, dropping the range's Core Duo processor for a more up-to-date Core 2 Duo chip. Once again three models are on offer: two white ones and a black version.

"This time, the 2 GHz black model has a 120 GB hard drive as standard, so the extra $200 it costs doesn't entirely go on the paint job. The 2 GHz white MacBook has an 80 GB hard drive. Both machines will ship with 1 GB of 667 MHz memory."

MacBook Pro Benchmarks: Core Duo vs. Core 2 Duo

Bare Feats' Rob-ART Morgan reports:

"We have a 15" MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo in the lab. Though we expect a 17" MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo to arrive soon, we went ahead and tested this one against our 17" MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz Core Duo....

"The MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo's advantage over the Core Duo version ranged from 9% to 75% depending on what app we ran. The faster core clock speed should provide an 8% advantage, so everything beyond that is 'gravy.' Most surprising were the significant gains with Aperture 1.5 and Photoshop CS2."

Benchmarks: MacBook Pro Gets Its Core 2 Duo Boost

Macworld's James Galbraith reports:

"Like the iMac before it, Apple's MacBook Pro underwent an upgrade highlighted by a chip swap - the Core Duo processor that used to power Apple's pro laptop is gone, replaced by the next-generation Core 2 Duo. And as with our iMac benchmarks, these updated Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro models show a modest performance gain when compared to older systems running on Core Duo chips with the same clock speeds.

"Besides the switch to Core 2 Duo chips, the updated MacBook Pro models also received a bump in processor speed. The 15-inch models now feature processors running at 2.16 GHz and 2.33 GHz, compared to 2 GHz and 2.16 GHz in the old Core Duo systems. The 17-inch MacBook Pro now runs at 2.33 GHz, up from 2.16 GHz. Along with theboost to processor speed comes a jump in on-chip L2 cache - the latest MacBook Pros come with 4 MB of shared L2 cache, twice the amount of their predecessors. The new laptops also ship with more RAM and higher-capacity hard drives.

"So what does this all mean in terms of performance?"

Editor's note: Macworld reports an average gain of 10% at the same clock speed, based on the Speedmark 4.5 score. dk

Take Your MacBook Pro's Temperature

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"If you've used an Apple notebook for any extended length of time you probably have an opinion on its operating temperature. But how do you quantify the temperature of an Apple's [sic] notebook? Let's take a look at different ways to measure the temperature in the MacBook Pro.

"You may have noticed that CoreDuoTemp (upper highlight in the screen shot at right), smcFanControl (lower highlight) and Fan Control all report different temperatures on the MacBook Pro. That's because they're measuring different things."

Tech Tips and Info

MacBook Pro Hard Drive TransplantMacBook Pro Hard Drive Transplant

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady has posted a tutorial on swapping the hard drive in the new MacBook Pro:

"I recently purchased a new Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro and wanted to share some of the intricacies of swapping out the hard drive...

"Since I purchased the 120 GB configuration and my previous MacBook Pro has a 160 GB drive (which is 80 percent full, mind you) it wasn't practical to use Apple's handy Migration Assistant to move my data over. Nor was it possible to clone one drive to the other with Mike Bombich's excellent Carbon Copy Cloner software.

"My strategy was to physically swap the larger 160 GB hard drive from the old MBP to the new one but you need to do a few things to make it work properly....

"Swapping hard drives in the MacBook Pro is not a trivial task nor for the weak of heart."

Tech Trends

Lamborghini VX1 Golden EditionLamborghini VX1 Golden Edition Laptop

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Asus has confirmed it is preparing to ship an updated version of its Lamborghini VX1 laptop. Dubbed the 'Golden Edition', the machine boasts an almost top-of-the-range Core 2 Duo mobile processor, 2 GB of 667 MHz DDR 2 memory, a 160 GB hard drive and Nvidia's GeForce Go 7400 VX GPU.

"As before, the Golden Edition VX1 will ship in yellow and black versions. Both models sport a 15in 1,400 x 1,050 display, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.0 and all the usual ports and connectors."

Medion's Showy Crystal Laptop 'for the Ladies'

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

Medion SIM 2060"Diamonds are a girl's best friend, roars Medion's latest announcement, but you won't find any such gemstones on its new notebook, a Chavette-friendly laptop embossed with 300 Swarovski crystals - lead glass, as the material's known in the trade - arranged in Medion's logo and a flower motif.

"Yes, the ostentatious SIM 2060 laptop is aimed specifically at women - footballers' wives, we'd suggest. The machine's plastic casing is of a 'subtle' hue called 'pink chrome' with grey-green hints that looks as bad as it sounds. The Medion logo and flower decal are likewise coloured. The flower motif is repeated on the touchpad."

Bargain 'Books

The release of new Core 2 Duo powered MacBooks this week has precipitated another ratcheting down of prices on refurbished Macintel notebooks at the Apple Store. You can now get a Core Duo MacBook for $899, one with a SuperDrive for under $1,000, and a MacBook Pro for $1,399! If there was any doubt that the switch to Intel chips would result in lower prices, they should now be erased.

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Apple Store

  • refurb 13" 1.83 GHz MacBook Core Duo, 512/60/Combo, $899
  • refurb 13" 2 GHz white MacBook Core Duo, 512/60/SD, $999
  • refurb 13" 2 GHz black MacBook Core Duo, 512/60/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo, 512/80/SuperDrive/, $1,399
  • refurb 15" 2 GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo, 512/80/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo, 512/100/SD, $1,599
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro Core Duo, 1024/120/SD, $2,199

TechRestore

TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/SD, $999.99 - $25 = $974.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/Combo, BT, $1,049.99 - $25 = $1024.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SD, BT, $1,099.99 - $25 = $1,074.99

Baucom Computers

  • PowerBook Pismo G3/400, 256/20/DVD, $305
  • Clamshell iBook G3/366, 256/10/CD, $199
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/CD, $275
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $425
  • Add AirPort for $90

ExperCom

Lots of iBooks under $500....

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $299
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 128/30/Combo, $369
  • 12" iBook G3/900, 256/30/Combo, $449
  • 14" iBook G3/700, 128/30/Combo, Scratched, $299

Wegener Media

  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, $619.99

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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