MacBook White (Late 2008)

It looked like the end of the line for the plastic bodied MacBook design introduced in May 2006. The October 2008 MacBook White was the first to dip below the $1,000 mark, but that was because there was not much new about it. Apple had pretty much taken the 2.1 GHz Penryn MacBook, replaced the Combo drive with a SuperDrive, and given it a new name.

MacBook White

All of the improvements in the MacBook line are in the Aluminum Unibody MacBook introduced on the same date as the MacBook White. The Aluminum models have a faster system bus and vastly superior graphics, and it is the only Late 208 MacBook model available at 2.4 GHz.

The Penryn Core 2 CPU has an enhanced SSE4 vector engine and a 3 MB L2 cache shared by both cores. The MacBook White uses the same 800 MHz system bus introduced in October 2007 with the first Santa Rosa MacBooks.

The MacBook White includes 1 GB of RAM and supports up to 6 GB. It uses the Intel X3100 graphics processor, which uses 144 MB of system memory for graphics. The MacBook is available only with a glossy display.

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.


  • introduced 2008.10.14 at US$999; replaced by MacBook White (Nvidia) 2009.01.20
  • Part no.: MB402
  • ID: MacBook4,1

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, soldered in place, no upgrade options
  • Level 2 cache: 3 MB shared cache
  • Bus: 800 MHz
  • RAM: 1 GB (using matched modules), expandable to 6 GB using PC2-5300 DDR2 RAM (Apple says 4 GB)
  • Performance
    • Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 2617
    • Speedmark 5: 181
    • Xbench 1.3
      • overall: 79.00
      • CPU: 95.25
      • memory: 115.22
      • Quartz graphics: 113.10
      • OpenGL graphics: 23.12
      • Hard drive: 23.74


  • 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, 160 GB and 250 GB optional
  • 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
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote
  • 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: 5.0 pounds (2.27 kg)
  • battery: 55 Watt-hour
  • AC adapter: 60W MagSafe

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