The 'Book Review

Unibody MacBook Video Problems, DisplayPort DRM Loosened a Bit, Mac Netbook Discussion, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.12.05

It's a big news week: Apple is making the Mini DisplayPort available for free, DRM and video issues with the new MacBooks are being addressed, the Mac netbook discussion continues, and Apple has applied to patent a liquid cooling system for notebook computers.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion: General

News & Opinion: Video Issues

News & Opinion: DisplayPort & DRM

News & Opinion: Netbook

News & Opinion: Liquid Cooling

Reviews

Tech Trends

Products

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion: General

Apple Offers Free Licensing for Mini DisplayPort Spec

Ars Technica's Chris Foresman reports:

"When Apple recently introduced its revamped notebook line, it also introduced the world to the Mini DisplayPort. It turns out that the company is offering no-fee licenses to anyone interested in developing products that use the Mini DisplayPort specification....

"Hopefully, the no-fee license for Mini DisplayPort will encourage vendors to create Mini DisplayPort-compatible products...."

Get the Most Out of Your Laptop Battery

Mac OS X Tips says:

"If you know the right tricks, you can maximise the lifespan and battery life of you MacBook or MacBook Pro. The way you charge the battery, the conditions is which you use and store your laptop and the way you have your energy saver preferences set all have an effect on how long your battery will last and how well if performs.

"Over time, your battery holds less and less charge, meaning your laptop doesn't last as long between charges. Apple claims that their batteries are designed to retain 80% of their original capacity after 300 cycles.

"You can check how many cycles your battery has done by looking in System Profiler. You can find this by clicking on the Apple menu in the top left and choosing About This Mac. In the window that appears, click the 'More Info...' button. In the sidebar of System Profiler, click on Power to bring up all the details about your battery. The interesting part is the Health Information...."

Examining the No Battery Performance Drop on MacBooks and MacBook Pros

The Apple Blog's Darrell Etherington reports:

"Back in the dark ages, when I used to have a Toshiba laptop, I would always remove the battery when running off of AC power, out of what may have been misguided superstition. I was told, and I fervently believed, that doing so would extend the life of my battery considerably by reducing the total number of cycles. When I got a MacBook, I just stopped the curious practice cold turkey. I didn't have a reason for it at the time, but it looks like I was right to do so, as users are reporting significant drops in performance on Apple notebooks with the battery removed....

"Apple's official position, according to the support article, is that the processor speed is automatically reduced to prevent the computer from automatically shutting down if it wants more power than the AC adapter provides on its own...."

The Clamshell iBook: The Mac with the Sexy Curves

Mactivist says:

"Nothing else looks like the clamshell iBook, the first of the iBook line. Nothing else in computer form has those thick, sensuous curves that beg to be touched. Hefty but oh-so-sexy, the clamshell iBook is a big-boned Venus. The closest machine in curviness is perhaps the Apple eMate, or a recent knock-off 'concept PC' that had Microsoft salivating....

"Some loved the big rounded form. Some laughed, calling it a Barbie-doll computer. An overgrown makeup compact....

"Love it or leave it, like all of Apple's best work, the clamshell iBook generated tremendous attention and discussion....

Editor's note: Or the $19,800 Bentley Ego PC. cm

Is Light MacBook Air Defect Heavy?

eWeek's Joe Wilcox reports:

"Apple forums are abuzz about display problems affecting MacBook Air.

"I learned of the problem overnight via Twitter. BetaNews founder Nate Mook tweeted about problems with a new MacBook Air. Nate had observed subtle, horizontal lines across the display. He returned the MacBook Air for refund yesterday.

"I've known Nate for nearly a decade. He knows his technology and has long used Mac products. Besides, Nate runs a successful technology news and enthusiast site. The point: Nate knows his stuff. I interviewed him over IM late this morning about the MacBook Air defect, if it can be called one...."

Living with Apple's MacBook Air: Sometimes Molasses Slow

EDN's Brian Dipert reports:

"Now that I've migrated from a first-generation MacBook to a first-generation MacBook Air as my primary day-to-day system....

"A weird system glitch that I periodically encounter involves the Samsung HS081HA 80 GB 1.8" hard drive. It'll randomly emit an odd noise, which I believe occurs when the platter spins down and the head parks, and which another MacBook Air owner captured on video (and audio):

"...One day last week while I was busily cleaning up old emails and RSS feed posts in Outlook 2000 running under VMware Fusion, my Windows XP virtual machine abruptly became molasses-slow. At first I thought I had a Fusion-specific problem, but everything else I had running was crawling, too . . . I launched Activity Monitor and noticed that process kernel_task was consuming more than an entire core's worth of resources (i.e. >100% CPU, since Activity Monitor assumes a single-core CPU).

"A bit more Googling informed me that I was encountering a well-documented CPU overheating issue with this system...."

Error-Ridden MacBook Gets Replaced After Nice Letter to Steve Jobs

The Consumerist's Ben Popken reports:

"After umpteen attempts to have his multiple MacBook Pro problems fixed, only to be told each time the laptop was working perfectly fine, Jordan wrote a polite email to Steve Jobs. He affirmed his Apple loyalty, laid out what happened to him, and asked for help. A couple of emails later and he was able to walk into an Apple store and swap his jalopy for one of the brand new MacBook Pros that just came out. You might analyze how the letter was written for clues to his success but really what it came down to was that he had gone in for repairs of the same problem more than three times, qualifying him for a refund or replacement under what is known as 'lemon law,' and he got his issue under the nose of the guy at the top. Or at least the assistant who opens his email. Same difference. Jordan's success story, inside..."

12" PB Replacement Is Here - No, Wait...

PB Central's Joe Leo says:

"With last month's announcement of new and totally revised MacBooks and MacBook Pros, the lead-up to it came the hope of two things highly desired by most die-hard Mac users. One, a true and fitting replacement to the 12-inch PowerBook G4 - short of a new netbook style Mac notebook - and two, an entry-level Mac notebook priced under $1000....

"Of course, none of that happened and Apple aficionados were once again, disappointed and let down by their favorite Mac maker. Well, they're the only ones that make Macs, so go figure....

"Never mind the $899 price point that never surfaced. More people were disappointed over the fact that there still wasn't a real replacement for the ever popular and smallest-to-date Mac notebook ever created, the 12-inch PowerBook G4....

"Anyone currently looking for a Mac that's small, 'cheap' (in the $499 to $699 range), and still does pretty much what you need and has high-end processing power, need not look anywhere else but eBay or Craigslist, since the 12-inch PowerBook G4 is the king of that hill...."

News & Opinion: Video Issues

MacBook Pro Screens Flicker/Blink

MacFixIt reports:

"Some owners of unibody (Late 2008) MacBook Pros have experienced an issue in which the laptop's screen will suddenly start blinking....

"This problem seems to be relatively random, although, for some users, it seems to have started after a period of heavy workload. It may occur only once or twice, but for some users, the blinking happens rapidly. This is clearly an issue with the MacBook Pro only, and has something to do with the graphics drivers trying to manage the dual GPU setup...."

Apple Investigating Graphics Issues on New MacBook Lines

AppleInsider's Sam Oliver reports:

"Apple is investigating two separate graphics issues with its new line of MacBook and MacBook Pros, and is reported to be preparing a software update to remedy at least one of them.

"The first issue, which some are calling 'the black screen of death,' manifests itself on unibody MacBook Pros during game play. Users report that their screens go black after just a few minutes of gaming, while the system locks up and the audio enters into an infinite loop....

"Separately, owners of both the new unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros are reporting wave-like video distortions while scrolling in web browsers of viewing HD content. They say the problem is common on most systems on display at Apple retail stores, but note the distortions do not appear while running Windows, which may suggest a Mac-specific Nvidia driver issue...."

Apple Acknowledges Video Problems in New MacBooks

Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz reports:

"See, this is what I mean with product beta culture: Apple has acknowledged two video problems in both the new MacBook and MacBook Pros, following past video problems with other MacBook lines. One of them seems pretty obvious. Called 'the black screen of death', it happens when the graphic card goes into overload playing games, turning off video and locking up the system while the audio enters into a loop. Apparently it's a thermal issue, but Apple doesn't know if this is a hardware or software problem yet, according to an Apple Support forums member....

"The catch here is that it may be hardware-based and not software, because the problem happens under both Windows and Mac OS X...."

News & Opinion: DisplayPort & DRM

QuickTime Update Allows New MacBooks to Play Some Videos on External Displays

InformationWeek's Mitch Wagner reports:

"Apple released a QuickTime update that allows standard-definition iTunes movies to play over new MacBooks' DisplayPort to older displays, according to reports on Apple blogs. However, high-def movies are still blocked, which is unfair to owners of MacBooks and other systems by other vendors that use the same technology.

"The update is available on Software Update for unibody MacBook and MacBook Pros as well as the second-generation MacBook Air...."

Apple Issues QuickTime Update for New MacBooks

Cnet's Tom Krazit reports:

"Apple rolled out a QuickTime update Tuesday night that should alleviate some of the concern over the addition of some copy-protection technology to the new MacBooks....

"The QuickTime update should allow standard-definition movies obtained from Apple to play on those older projectors, but HD movies will still need an HDCP-compliant projector to be shown anywhere but the laptop screen...."

Apple's DisplayPort Update

eWeek's Joe Wilcox reports:

"Apple apparently responded to widespread criticism about the notebooks' new DisplayPort, which had only supported output to displays supporting High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). The rights-protection mechanism supposedly prevents copying high-definition content. The update allows standard video output over non-HDCP monitors, but rights restrictions remain for HD content. Apple's update is to QuickTime, not to device firmware, bringing it to version to 7.57.

"Apple stepped into a pile of poop, and I was surprised. Microsoft had been there before with Windows Vista, starting in late 2005, or more than a year before the software's release....

"Steve Jobs and Co. should have learned something from Microsoft's HDCP fiasco, and it's not over. Most monitors in use today and few new ones support HDCP. So most buyers of newer MacBook models are sure to splat against the HDCP brick wall...."

News & Opinion: Netbook

Can Apple Save the Netbook?

PC World's Neil McAllister says:

"I'm a big fan of netbooks - the compact, lightweight, inexpensive laptops pioneered by Asus with its Eee PC line. Small, rugged, and yet full-featured enough for Web browsing and other light computing tasks, my Eee PC 901 has become a treasured companion for business travel. But the cost of newer netbook models has crept up, and many vendors are now offering standard-sized notebooks at rock-bottom prices, making the value of netbooks less clear.

"That's why I was excited to hear the rumors that Apple may be readying a low-cost netbook of its own, to debut in 2009. While other vendors scramble to keep up with the Joneses, Apple is well-known for creating innovative products that shake up staid categories. The prospect of an inexpensive mobile computer that melds the netbook form factor with technologies and concepts from the iPhone is intriguing. Could it really happen?"

3 Reasons Netbooks Just Aren't Good Enough

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington says:

"The debate about Netbooks, which are very small and very cheap laptop devices, is beginning to heat up. The category is only about a year old but sales are expected to top 5 million this year.

"Lots of people think Netbooks are the next big volume market because they allow people who previously couldn't afford computers to own one. People got so bullish on the devices that sales projections reached 50 million units by 2012.

"I've had a chance to test many of the units, though, and I can say that the promise is much bigger than the payoff. Perhaps that's why Intel is rethinking whether the devices are as great as everyone's expectations...."

Hey Apple, the Netbook Train Is Leaving the Station

The Digital Lifestyle's ryanrit says:

"On a trip to the local Costco earlier today, I saw quite a clamor. No, it wasn't just the checkout lines stretching back half the store (didn't anyone get the recession memo?) It was people of all ages checking out the HP 1000 Netbook. After waiting a bit to play with it, I've got to say, it's a solid computer - for what it is. I think 75% of the people playing with it may have thought they were using a full-blown laptop miniaturized, and for many of them, it may have been just that. If you intend to simply surf the Internet, check email, and write some word documents, (which is still all many people need to do) then you may never notice the underpowered Atom processor....

"Are you listening, Apple? This is a product, actually a whole category of products, that are starting to gain mainstream traction, and there isn't an Apple-branded option to be found....

"The days of selling an $1100 laptop as an entry level computer are over. Having 80% of the functionality in something at 40% of the cost, and 50% of the weight will appeal to many."

Apple Could Unveil Netbook in 2009

Cult of Mac's Ed Sutherland reports:

"Apple could release an $800 netbook in 2009, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster told investors Tuesday. Munster is just the latest advising the Cupertino, Calif. computer maker to offer an inexpensive laptop.

"Although CEO Steve Jobs has poo-poohed talk of a netbook, dismissing the growing trend as just a "nascent market," Munster believes Apple has the perfect platform: the MacBook Air.

"In a note to clients, the Apple watcher said Apple could release an 11-inch version of its MacBook Air notebook and sell the unit for between $800 to $1,000."

No Netbook for You, Apple

Motley Fool's Tim Beyers says:

"Analysts just won't leave Apple alone. One of them, Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, this week insisted that the iEmpire would have a netbook sometime in 2009.

"'Apple is facing the possibility that as the economic news gets worse . . . they're increasingly pricing themselves out of an important market,' Gottheil wrote in a research report. 'Economic conditions are accelerating this.'

"True. Apple is facing an economic crisis, as is every other PC and device maker. But that doesn't mean the iEmpire needs netbooks to thrive.

"Why Steve should say 'nyet' to netbooks....

"I'm not arguing that Apple should forever forsake the netbook. Rather, I'm saying that Jobs should forgo launching a low-cost product until the design is such that it will seriously disrupt the market, create a competitive sales advantage, and confer above-average margins....

"You have time, Steve. Build a better netbook - one that blows apart the idea of what a netbook is - and the customers will come. They always do."

News & Opinion: Liquid Cooling

Future MacBooks May Have Liquid Cooling

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"The latest Apple patent to surface points out that the upcoming mobile round of Intel's Nehalem chips may require more cooling mojo than the current Penryn line.

"On November 27, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published patent application number 20080291629, originally filed by Apple on May 22 of last year and entitled "Liquid-cooled portable computer."

"The application's abstract describes a 'computer system' that 'includes a power source that is coupled to a heat pipe, where the power source includes an integrated circuit' and in which a 'pump . . . coupled to the heat pipe is configured to circulate the liquid coolant through the heat pipe.'"

Apple Looking into Liquid-Cooled MacBooks

AppleInsider's Slash Lane reports:

"Apple is looking into the use of liquid coolants to transport heat in its notebook computer designs, a controversial technique it employed briefly on its line of dual processor Power Mac G5s several years ago.

"In a 12-page patent request originally filed in May of last year and published for the first time last week, the Mac maker notes that significant increases in the computational performance of electronic devices over the past few years has made it harder to maintain acceptable internal and external operational temperatures in those devices.

"A move towards liquid cooling on its notebook lines wouldn't be Apple's first foray into the liquid cooling Mac business. In the spring of 2004, the company introduced the liquid-cooled dual 2.5 GHz PowerMac G5 . . . they resembled miniature automobile radiators and included a pump, radiator, grills, and a power cable....

"Use of the liquid cooling systems were short lived, however, as they were prone to leaks...."

Apple Moves to Patent Liquid-Cooled Notebooks

Cult of Mac's Ed Sutherland reports:

"Apple has filed two patents bringing liquid-cooling to increasingly powerful (and hot) laptop computers. Once the domain of massive number-crunchers, liquid-cooled notebooks foresee a day when quad-core processors and better video overwhelms current fan-driven cooling....

"The active liquid-cooling process involves bathing circuits, the heat relieved via fins. A more inexpensive passive liquid-cooling procedure would include a heat sink located behind the laptop's display. Moving the heat away from the computer's body could solve the dilemma of an overheated lap....

"In 2007, HP unveiled a line of Voodoo laptops which used water instead of fans to cool the gaming machines."

Reviews

17" MacBook Pro 'Still a Very Good Performer'

Macworld's James Galbraith reports:

"Following the top-to-bottom refresh of Apple's laptop line announced in October, people paid plenty of attention to the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro models. Little to no attention was given to either the top or the bottom of the line.

"Now that we've reviewed the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models, we can turn our attention to those two extremes. We rated the low-end of Apple's laptop offerings - the 2.1 GHz MacBook in the white plastic enclosure - when that system first debuted in March. As for the top of the line, we've now gotten our hands on Apple's 17-inch MacBook Pro - the largest laptop in the company's product line....

"Macworld Lab's tests indicate that despite the lack of any great leap forward in the 17-inch model's under-the-hood specs, this laptop is still a very good performer."

"Unlike most of the systems we test which are standard configurations, the 17-inch MacBook Pro we got our hands on is a loaner from Apple that came equipped with an optional 7,200-rpm hard drive."

MacBook Air, Now with Extra SSD Goodness

Computerworld's Ken Mingis reports:

"I really like Apple Inc.'s newly revamped MacBook Air, which got extensive under-the-hood updates last month. And I really, really like the apparent speed boost offered by the larger solid-state drive (SSD) in the Air I've been testing for the past week.

"I'll have more to say about that SSD in a bit, but suffice it to say that the drive makes a noticeable difference in how fast the Air boots up, how fast programs launch and how fast this slimmest of Apple laptops feels - especially in comparison to the stock 4,200-rpm hard drive included in my first-generation Air.

"For those who may have missed the changes in the Air's specs unveiled by Apple on Oct. 14, here are the basics. The 3 lb. MacBook Air still comes in two models, both of which now use stock Intel Core 2 Duo processors instead of the custom jobs that powered the first generation announced last January.

"The base model has a 1.6-GHz processor, the same speed as before. The top model, the one Apple sent over for review, has a 1.86-GHz chip - 60 MHz faster than the 1.8-GHz processor that debuted on the top-end model at the start of the year. Both processors now feature 6 MB of Level 2 cache RAM, 50% more than the older models.

"More important, there's increased room for your files. The base model now comes with a 120 GB hard drive, 50% more than the first version did; the pricier, 1.86-GHz iteration sports a 128 GB MLC (multilevel cell) SSD, double the amount of space offered originally."

Apple 24" LED Cinema Display

T3.com has posted an exclusive look at the first display screen designed for MacBook:

"We had an exclusive first hands-on with the Apple LED Cinema Display, which measures up at 24-inches with a screen resolution of 1900 x 1200 pretty pixels.

"Its sleek design mimics the new MacBooks with one piece of glass reaching to the furthest corners of the screen, and an aluminium unibody casing for synchronised sex-appeal."

Tech Trends

Good OS Announces Cloud - A New Operating System for 2009

PR: Good OS, most known for its gOS Linux that debuted in Wal-Mart computers, has announced "Cloud," a new operating system that boots into a browser with Google, Yahoo! and Live in seconds, and optionally boots into Windows. Good OS will preview Cloud on a Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook at the Netbook World Summit and online at http://www.thinkgos.com. Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbooks will be preloaded with Cloud and Windows XP together early next year.

Cloud OS"We are excited to preview the Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook with Cloud and Windows together, said a Good OS spokesperson. "With Cloud, Gigabyte Netbooks will power on to the Internet in seconds, while still supporting killer applications together with Windows XP."

Cloud uniquely integrates a web browser with a compressed Linux operating system kernel for immediate access to Internet, integration of browser and rich client applications, and full control of the computer from inside the browser.

Cloud features a beautifully designed browser with an icon dock for shortcuts to favorite apps, tabs for multitasking between web and rich client apps, and icons to switch to Windows, power off, and perform other necessary system functions. Users power on their computers, quickly boot into Cloud for Internet and basic applications, and then just power off or boot into Windows for more powerful desktop applications.

"Cloud is my favorite gOS product yet," said David Liu, Founder and CEO of Good OS. "Just seconds after I power on, I'm Googling, Yahooing, and truly Living. I am very excited about the upcoming Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbooks with Cloud and Windows. I think the Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook's forward thinking hardware and software will make it the best Netbook to hit the market!"

Feature List

  • Web browser with Icon Dock Inside
  • Network Manager
  • Power Button
  • Boot to Window XP/Vista or Linux OS
  • Battery Life Indicator
  • Volume Controls
  • My Files & Viewers

Specifications & Requirements

  • Standard x86 Processor
  • 128 MB Ram
  • 35 MB Storage (Can be smaller or larger)
    • Preloaded in HDD/SSD of PC
    • Preloaded in on board flash storage of MB
    • Preloaded in CD as Windows Installer
  • Cloud does not require additional hardware and is compatible with any operating system.

More details about Cloud and Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbooks will be released on January 8, 2009 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Good OS is an operating system software company based in the Silicon Valley and Taipei. Since its launch, the company has been recognized in technology press and industry for strengths in cloud computing operating systems and interfaces for consumers. gOS debuted on computers at Wal-Mart Stores last year, and since then have shipped with PC OEMs on Netbooks, Net-tops, and consumer PCs.

Products

Sonnet FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 Port Adapter

PR: Which cable should I get? What length? Why bother? Use your existing FireWire 400 cables with this FireWire adapter from Sonnet to connect FireWire 400 devices to a FireWire 800 port, without going through the trouble of purchasing yet another cable. Just plug it in between a FireWire 800 port and a standard FireWire 400 cable's 6-pin male connector (the other end of the FW400 cable plugs into your FireWire device). It can't get any simpler.

Sonnet FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 Port AdapterSonnet's FireWire 400-to-800 adapter makes it easy to connect your existing FireWire 400 peripherals to the latest computers with only FireWire 800 ports, such as the MacBook Pro (late 2008). The adapter features a 9-pin male connector that plugs into your FireWire 800 port. The other end of the adapter features a 6-pin female FireWire connector that any standard 6-pin male FireWire 400 cable can plug into. Fully IEEE 1394 compliant, Sonnet's 400-to-800 adapter allows you to avoid the hassles of new cables and computer upgrades

  • 9-pin male (FW800) to 6-pin female (FW400) connector adapter
  • Works with standard 6-pin male FW400 cables
  • Connect legacy FireWire 400 devices to FireWire 800 ports used on the Allegro FW800, as well as the latest computers that feature FireWire 800 such as the MacBook Pro (late 2008)
  • IEEE 1394 compliant

1-year limited warranty

The adapter sells for about $14.25.

8x Dual-layer SuperDrive Upgrade for Pre-Unibody MacBook & 15" MacBook Pro

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) announced today two new OWC "Mercury" SuperDrive Internal Upgrade Kits for MacBook 13" and MacBook Pro 15" pre-Unibody notebook computers. The new OWC Mercury SuperDrive Internal Upgrades offer faster read/write for DVD±RW, Dual-Layer DVD, DVD-RAM, and CD-RW; with burn speeds of up to 8X for DVDs and 24x for CDs. OWC Mercury SuperDrive Upgrade Kits provide low-cost options for adding the latest optical drive performance and features to existing MacBook and MacBook Pro computers.

OWC Mercury SuperDrive upgradeAvailable immediately, new OWC Mercury SuperDrive Internal Upgrade Kits for MacBook and MacBook Pro pre-Unibody computers include two models:

  • OWC Mercury MacBook 13"/MacBook Pro 15" SuperDrive Dual-Layer Internal Drive Kit. Features up to 8x DVD-R burn, 2x DVD-DL burn, 3x DVD-RAM, 24x CD burn, and 1 year OWC warranty. Priced at $159.99.
  • OWC Mercury MacBook 13"/MacBook Pro 15" SuperDrive Dual-Layer Internal Drive Kit (with software and media). Features up to 8X DVD-R burn, 2x DVD-DL burn, 3x DVD-RAM, 24x CD burn. Includes 10 pieces of 8x DVD-R media in jewel case, EMC Retrospect backup software, NTI DragonBurn CD/DVD authoring software, and 1 year OWC warranty. Priced at $174.99.

"These new drives continue one of our founding missions - to provide high quality, affordable products that make existing Macs operate like new," said Larry O'Connor, President, Other World Computing. "Especially with today's financial concerns, it can be more cost effective to upgrade your existing Mac with the fastest and latest read/write technologies available today."

This is the exact same type of SuperDrive that Apple uses. You can install it into your MacBook/15" MacBook Pro yourself - this drive includes detailed step by step instructions for you to accomplish the task without having to pay a dealer to install it.

Optical Drive Upgrades for Almost Every Mac Introduced Over the Last Decade - Priced Starting at $29.99

OWC has internal and external SuperDrive upgrades for nearly every desktop/tower and notebook Mac computer introduced over the last decade, including Mac Pro, PowerMac G3/G4/G5, G4 Cube, iMac G4/G5, Mac mini, eMac, PowerBook G4 Titanium 15", PowerBook G4 12/15/17" Aluminum, and iBook G4. If you'd like to upgrade from a factory-installed DVD read-only drive; replace a slower or inoperative SuperDrive; or expand drive capabilities, OWC has the best solutions, with prices starting at $29.99 for Internal SuperDrives and from $71.99 for External FireWire+USB 2.0 SuperDrives. OWC SuperDrive upgrades feature faster read/write DVD, Dual-Layer DVD, and CD burn speeds up to 20X for DVDs and 48X for CDs. In addition to standard support for DVD±RW, CD-RW, DVD-DL formats, OWC SuperDrives are also available with features, including Blu-ray, LightScribe laser labeling, and DVD-RAM support.

The new OWC Mercury SuperDrive Dual-Layer Internal Drive Kits have been fully tested for compatibility with Apple and Windows built-in and third party DVD/CD tools and players, including Apple iTunes, Apple Disc Burner, Apple iDVD, Apple DVD Studio Pro, EMC Retrospect Express, NTI DragonBurn, Roxio Toast, Roxio Easy Media Creator, and Nero Burning. Printed instructions and online installation videos show how easy it is to install and use these internal optical drives.

Rebates up to $25 for Old Optical Drives

OWC offers rebates of up to $25 to users who send in any older working optical drive to upgrade to a new, faster SuperDrive purchased from OWC. Complete rebate details are available here.

Bargain 'Books

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

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

Apple Store

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,199
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,399
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,699
  • refurb 2.1 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook, black, 2 GB/160/SD, $949
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,049
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,349
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,099
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,199
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,299

Previous Generation - New

  • new 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,149
  • new 15" 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,599
  • new 15" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,799

ExperCom

  • 2 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 2 GB/500/SD, $999

Wegener Media - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook - 15" MacBook Pro

  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $594.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $659.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $719.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $769.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD $799.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, 90 day warranty, $899.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD 90 day warranty, $979.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD 90 day warranty, $1099.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, 90 day warranty, $1179.99

MacMall

  • 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,229.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,299.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,443.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,798.97
  • 15'' 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/250/SD, $1,598.99
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,287.97

Mac Connection

  • 2 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160//SD, $1,149 after mail-in rebate
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1.749.00 after mail-in rebate
  • 17" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, matte, $1,849.95 less $150 mail-in rebate = $1,699.95

TechRestore

  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,299.99

Baucom Computers

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $640
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $715
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB/100/SD, $805

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, $499.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, AppleCare, $549.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $799.95
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, APX, $1,499.95

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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