MacBook (Mid 2006)

We’ve been waiting quite a while to see what Apple would replace the iBook with, and the rumored 13.3″ widescreen MacBook is now a reality. The biggest surprise is that Apple is replacing both the iBook line and the 12″ PowerBook with the 13″ MacBook, greatly simplifying their line of notebook computers. Built around Intel’s Core Duo CPU, Apple claims up to 5x the performance of the iBook.

Black MacBookNew to the entry level are built-in iSight, a glossy screen, and support for extended desktop mode, something never officially supported with iBooks. The top-end MacBook comes in a gorgeous black finish.

The MacBook uses the same MagSafe power connector as the MacBook Pro line. MagSafe is designed to detach itself when someone trips over the cord, preventing your MacBook from crashing to the floor.

One unexpected new feature is auto-unmute, for lack of a better name. If your MacBook’s volume is set on mute and you plug in headphones, it immediately turns on the volume – and it mutes as soon as you unplug the headphones. Clever.

From the very beginning, there was some controversy over the MacBook’s glossy, reflective screen and unusual keyboard, which looked like a throwback to the era of “chiclet” keyboards but ended up becoming the norm.

The MacBook is available in three configurations:

  1. 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo, Combo drive, 60 GB 5400 rpm hard drive, 512 MB RAM, Intel 950 graphics, built-in iSight, and a 1280 x 800 display for US$1,099 in white.
  2. 2.0 GHz, SuperDrive, 60 GB hard drive, otherwise identical specs to above, US$1,299 in white
  3. 2.0 GHz, 80 GB hard drive, otherwise identical to 2.0 GHz model, US$1,499 in black

Build-to-order options include 1 GB and 2 GB RAM configurations and larger hard drives.

Just like the other Macintel models, the MacBook comes with Front Row and a remote control.

What You Need to Know

Using the 32-bit only Core Duo CPUs allowed Apple to introduced Intel-based Macs before the Core 2 Duo, which supports both 32-bit and 64-bit operation, came to market. Because OS X 10.7 Lion is a 64-bit only operating system, Core Duo Macs do not support it, making OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard the end of the Mac OS road for the earliest Intel Macs.

With a 2 GB memory ceiling, it wouldn’t run Lion decently anyhow, and the first generation Intel Macs run Snow Leopard very nicely with 2 GB of RAM. If your Mid 2006 MacBook has 512 MB, upgrade immediately. You really need 1 GB to get okay performance from OS X 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard. As of August 2014, you can get 2 GB for $23 from Other World Computing, and with Snow Leopard just $20 from Apple, take the Mid 2006 MacBook as far as it will go with RAM and operating system.

Early MacBooks used decent 5400 rpm hard drives, but newer drives will provide much snappier performance. 7200 rpm notebook drives start at $59 these days (August 2014), and for a serious speed boost, Other World Computing offers a 44 GB solid state drive (SSD) for just $50, although you’ll probably want something with more capacity.

Closed Lid Mode: All Intel ‘Books support “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display. Since all video RAM is now dedicated to the external monitor, you may have more colors available at higher resolutions. The MacBook is designed to run safely in closed lid mode, but if yours runs hot (perhaps due to overclocking or high ambient temperatures), you may want to open the lid when in closed lid mode: The screen will remain off and the computer will more readily vent heat from the CPU.

To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.

Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. Power PC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.


  • introduced 2006.05.16 at US$1,099 (1.83 GHz white 512/60), US$1,299 (2.0 GHz white 512/60) and US$1,499 (2.0 GHz black 512/80). 1 GB/80 white version at US$1,449 added 2006.07, replaced by Core 2 model 2006.10.08.
  • Part no.: MA245 (1.83 GHz), MA255 (2.0 GHz, white), MA472 (black)
  • ID: MacBook1,1

Mac OS

  • requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 Tiger to 10.6 Snow Leopard; not compatible with OS X 10.7 Lion
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
    • Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
    • 64-bit operation is not supported with Core Solo or Core Duo CPUs. Upgrading with a Core 2 Duo CPU will not change that.
    • OpenCL is not supported with the Intel GMA 950 GPU.

Core System

  • CPU: 1.83/2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo (Yonah), soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Level 2 cache: 2 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Bus: 667 MHz
  • RAM: 512 MB (2 x 256 MB), expandable to 2 GB using PC2-5300 DDR2 RAM


  • Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 2411 (2.0 GHz), 2262 (1.83 GHz)
  • Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 2468 (2.0 GHz), 2391 (1.83 GHz)
  • Speedmark 6.5 (Tiger): 160 (2.0 GHz), 154 (1.83 GHz)


  • GPU: Intel GMA 950 with resolution to 1920 x 1200 on external display (mini-DVI port), supports extended desktop.
  • VRAM: 64 MB DDR2 SDRAM (shared with main memory, and according to Apple actually uses 80 MB of system RAM)
  • Video out: DVI standard, VGA and S-video with optional adapter
  • display: 13.3″ glossy 1280 x 800 18-bit 113 ppi color active matrix
  • supports 1280 x 800, 1152 x 720, 1024 x 768, 1024 x 640, 800 x 600, 800 x 500, 720 x 480, and 640 x 480 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and 640 x 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 x 480 at 3:2 aspect ratio
  • allows mirroring to external display and extended desktop mode


  • Hard drive: 60 GB 5400 rpm SATA on 1.83 GHz model, 80 GB 5400 rpm drive on 2.0GHz, 100 GB and 120 GB optional
  • Combo drive: reads DVDs at 8x, writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 16x, reads CDs at 24x
  • SuperDrive: writes DVD±R and DVD±RW at up to 4x, reads DVDs at 8x, writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 10x, reads CDs at 24x


  • USB: 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400: 1 port
  • FireWire 800: none
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11g AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 2.0 built in
  • Modem: optional v.92 56k external USB modem
  • ExpressCard/34 slots: 0


  • size: 8.92 x 12.78 x 1.08″ (227 x 325 x 27.5 mm)
  • Weight: 5.2 pounds (2.36 kg)
  • battery: 55 Watt-hour
  • AC adapter: 60W MagSafe

Online Resources

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