MacBook (Early 2008)

Just four months after moving the MacBook to Intel’s Santa Rosa chipset, Apple has refreshed the line. The entry-level MacBook now runs at 2.1 GHz (yeah, it’s only 5% faster), while the faster models now clock at 2.4 GHz (almost 10% faster). The updated Core 2 CPU (known as Penryn) has an enhanced SSE4 vector engine and a smaller (3 MB vs. 4 MB) shared L2 cache. The new MacBooks use the same 800 MHz system bus introduced in October 2007, and the Penryn models get bigger hard drives. The top-end MacBook comes with a whopping 250 GB hard drive, and the entry-level model still ships with a Combo drive rather than a SuperDrive.


This MacBook uses the Intel X3100 graphics processor, which ties up 144 MB of system memory for graphics.

The entry-level MacBook includes 1 GB of RAM, while the faster models ship with 2 GB. They all support up to 6 GB.

The MacBook is available only with a glossy display and includes an unusual keyboard, which has received mixed reviews. Try it before you decide you want a MacBook.

The new MacBook is available in three configurations:

  1. 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo, Combo drive, 120 GB 5400 rpm hard drive, 1 GB RAM, built-in iSight, and a 1280 x 800 display for US$1,099 in white.
  2. 2.4 GHz, dual-layer 8x SuperDrive, 160 GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM, otherwise identical specs to above, US$1,299 in white
  3. 2.4 GHz, 250 GB hard drive, otherwise identical to 2.1 GHz model, US$1,499 in black

Build-to-order options include more RAM and larger hard drives.

Unlike early MacBooks, where every USB port could provide 500 mA of power, only one USB port provides full power – the port closer to the front.

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.

  • Got a MacBook? Join our MacBook Group.
  • Our Leopard Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6.
  • Our Lion and Mountain Lion Forum is for those using OS X 10.7 and 10.8.


  • introduced 2008.02.26 at US$1,099 (2.1 GHz white), US$1,299 (2.4 GHz white), and US$1,499 (2.4 GHz black); discontinued 2008.10.14; replaced by 2.1 GHz MacBook White and Aluminum Unibody MacBook
  • Part no.: MB402 (2.1 GHz), MB403 (2.4 GHz, white), MB404 (black)
  • ID: MacBook4,1

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.1/2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn), soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Level 2 cache: 3 MB shared cache
  • Bus: 800 MHz
  • RAM: 1 GB or 2 GB (using matched modules), expandable to 6 GB using PC2-5300 DDR2 RAM
  • Performance
    • Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 3135 (2.4 GHz), 2617 (2.1 GHz)
    • Speedmark 5 (Leopard): 190 (2.4 GHz), 2617 (2.1 GHz)


  • GPU: Intel X3100 with resolution to 1920 x 1200 on external display (mini-DVI port), supports extended desktop.
  • VRAM: 144 MB DDR2 SDRAM (shared with main memory)
  • 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: 120 GB 5400 rpm SATA on 2.1 GHz model, 250 GB 5400 rpm drive on 2.4 GHz models
  • Combo drive: reads DVDs at 8x, writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 16x, reads CDs at 24x
  • SuperDrive: writes DVD±R at up to 8x, DVD±RW and DVD+R DL at 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, only 1 high-powered device device allowed
  • FireWire 400: 1 port
  • FireWire 800: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in
  • Bluetooth: BT 2.0 built in
  • Modem: optional v.92 56k external USB modem
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote
  • ExpressCard/34 slots: 0


  • size: 8.92 x 12.78 x 1.08″ (227 x 325 x 27.5 mm)
  • Weight: 5.0 pounds (2.27 kg)
  • battery: 55 Watt-hour
  • AC adapter: 60W MagSafe

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