The 'Book Review

Recent MacBooks Support 6 GB of RAM, USB 2.0 Faster in Unibody 'Books, Graphics Shootouts, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.11.07

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



Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Unibody MacBook from a Service Technician's Point of View

Small Dog Electronics' Rebecca says:

"By now, there are plenty of articles floating around praising the new Apple portable line for its beauty, speed and innovation. I can certainly agree that the new line is drool-worthy, but as a technician, I'm even more curious about its serviceability. Are the new machines another foray into frustration, à la the 12" PowerBook? Or, are they as they as ego-boostingly-easy as the MacBook Airs? Luckily, I only had to wait a few days to find out!"

Unibody MacBook 'a Stealth Business Notebook'

Computerworld's Scot Finnie says:

"Many observers consider the iPhone, with its Exchange support and fledgling manageability features, to be Apple's Trojan horse for the medium to large enterprise market....

"That's why I paid close attention to the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models released by Apple earlier this month. I admit to being surprised when I got a look at the new MacBook and checked out its specs....

"The previous-generation MacBook was a thick, heavy, toylike, 13.3-inch-display computer whose chief claim to fame was that it was the least expensive notebook Apple sold, and the biggest seller....

"But unlike the old MacBook, the new one looks and feels like a business machine....

"...I'm not predicting wholesale adoption of Macs by larger enterprises anytime soon, but the new MacBook will make the most significant inroads into the enterprise market of any Apple product, probably ever. It comes down to price/performance, price point, design focus, durability, suitability to task and market timing...."

The 13" MacBook Pro That Could Have Been

The Apple Blog's Clayton Lai says:

"Apple had it so close...

"That was the first thought I had when Apple unveiled the new aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro on October 14.

"Many Mac owners out there are still longing for a successor to the PowerBook G4 12". I am one of them. Someone needs the features and performance of Apple's Pro notebooks in a 12" or 13" form factor that, to me, is just right. In the days leading up to the unveiling, I had hoped that the new MacBook, already rumored to sport blazing fast graphics performance, would essentially be a MacBook Pro. As it turns out, the new aluminum MacBook is really The 13" MacBook Pro That Could Have Been...."

Pogue on the MacBook Makeover

The New York Times' David Pogue says:

"Apple's bestselling MacBook laptop just got its 2008 makeover. It's a thing of beauty, clad in aluminum like its more expensive Pro siblings. It's slightly lighter than the previous black or white plastic models (and, at $1,300, more expensive), but feels sturdier and more sculpted, thanks to the tapered edges.

"There are many changes to love - and one that makes me sad . . . the MacBook doesn't have a FireWire jack....

"Last week, on the phone, I got a chance to vent my unhappiness to Steve Jobs himself...."

6 GB of RAM Possible in Recent MacBook, MacBook Pro Revisions

Tidbits' Adam C. Engst says:

"After a few weeks of Internet conversation and testing, it turns out that recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models - both the just-introduced aluminum and glass models and the two previous minor updates - can address not just 4 GB of RAM, as Apple's technical specifications pages state, but 6 GB of RAM.

"(To identify if your MacBook or MacBook Pro is new enough, run System Profiler and in the Hardware Overview screen, check the Model Identifier line. After the model name are two numbers, separate by a comma, as in '3,1'. If the first number is 3, 4, or 5, the Mac should be able to handle 6 GB of RAM.)

"The laptops both have a pair of DIMM slots. The current MacBook and MacBook Pro models require new form of high-speed memory called DDR3, running at 1066 MHz. The previous models use DDR2 RAM running at 667 MHz. Standard configurations have either 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM, achieved by installing a pair of either 1 GB or 2 GB DIMMs."

FireWire-to-USB Transfer Cable: MacBook Redeemer?

The Apple Blog's Darrell Etherington says:

"Apple's decision to axe FireWire from the MacBook line is not sitting well with many users, to say the least....

"So what can be done about, short of severe DIY case-cracking, mother-board soldering changes that could result in death and/or dismemberment? One option shows potential. According to ZD, Pixela offers a FireWire to USB DV transfer cable, designed specifically with digital video transfer in mind.

"Don't go ordering one just yet, though. Currently, the cable only officially supports Windows XP (no Vista, either). So unless you're running Boot Camp, or virtualization software, you're out of luck....

"When we contacted Pixela, a representative told us that OS X support has been discussed by their planning committee, but no firm decisions to go forward have yet been made."

Unibody MacBooks Incompatible with Kensington Cable Locks

MacNN reports:

"The late 2008 aluminum MacBooks and MacBook Pros are allegedly incompatible with Kensington locks. Apple lists the feature as a 'Kensington lock slot,' but owners have reported that the thickness of the aluminum prevents the standard locks from being used. A response from Kensington's technical support department was claimed to read 'we are sorry to inform you that the security slot of your laptop "late 2008" Aluminum MacBook is not compatible with Kensington locks.'"

A Workaround for MacBook Glossy Displays?

MacInTouch says:

Photodon matte film on MacBook"Before this machine we had no major issue with the glossy screens of the original MacBook, the MacBook Air and the 2007 MacBook Pro with LED backlight. But the mirror-like display is the new MacBook's Achilles' Heel, even more than the missing FireWire port. Not everyone uses FireWire, but everyone uses that screen.

"MacInTouch readers suggested trying out Photodon's anti-glare film ( Photodon supplied us with a test sheet of their film, custom-cut for the new MacBook....

"But to the point - could the Photodon film subdue the MacBook's mighty mirror?...

"We took before-and-after comparison photos of the new MacBook, and include reference photos of a MacBook Air, a 2006 MacBook, and a (dead) 12" PowerBook G4 we had on hand."

Editor's note: $15.50 for the new Unibody MacBook, $17.50 for the 15" Unibody MacBook Pro. Also available for 20" and 24" aluminum iMac and many other notebooks and displays. dk

Users Pour Forth MacBook Trackpad Woes

The Register Hardware's James Sherwood reports:

"An official Apple forum has become a sounding board for numerous complaints that the MacBook's new multi-touch glass-covered trackpad isn't behaving itself.

"Owners of shiny new metal MacBooks grumble that the trackpad freezes after roughly 50 clicks and that it suddenly comes back to life after a further 5-10 unrecognised clicks. The trackpad, unveiled last month, doesn't have the customary mouse buttons because the whole panel is itself a button."

Apple Readying Software Patch for Quirky MacBook Trackpads

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"Trackpad issues experienced by users of Apple's new unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros will be addressed in a forthcoming software update, according to an email response from chief executive Steve Jobs.

"The problem, which was documented in AppleInsider's review of the unibody MacBook Pro and covered from another user's perspective earlier this week, is the new glass trackpad's tendency not to register some physical clicks performed by the user...."

ExpressCard Gadgets for MacBook Pro

The Apple Blog's David Appleyard reports:

"One of the ports included with all the new (and previous generation of) MacBook Pros is an ExpressCard slot. Having never had this type of expansion before, I've decided to have a look around and see what uses it can serve. This article will give a brief overview of some of the most popular ExpressCard gadgets available."

Fans 'Buzzing' on Late 2008 MacBook Pro

Macsimum News's Dave Merten reports:

"A few people are experiencing problems with noisy cooling fans in their new MacBook Pro (Late 2008). The noisy sound emanates from the upper left hand side of the keyboard where the left cooling fan is located. Below are two audio recordings; one with normal sounding fans and one with a noisy fan."

Analyst Forecasts Apple's 'Next Move' Is 3G MacBook

The Register Hardware's Tony Smith says:

"Apple should pull out the stops and release a 3G-enabled laptop for network operators panting to get their mitts on a MacBook with built in mobile broadband connectivity.

"That's what Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston advised the Mac maker today. Why? Because "many operators in the US and Western Europe would jump at the chance to cross-sell a cellular MacBook to their installed base of iPhone users, in order to stimulate ARPU" - average revenue per user.

"'Mobile data and Web-browsing revenues from 3.5G USB dongles are rising fast in Western Europe and North America. They are a high-growth market,' Mawston told Register Hardware.

"'Bigger-screen or smaller-screen laptops with integrated cellular radios are a logical next step for Apple - and others,' he said. 'Such form-factors are within Apple's core competence and they could be quickly developed.'"

3G MacBooks in Development?

MacNN reports:

"Apple's next move in terms of MacBooks will be to add built-in 3G connectivity, says analyst Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics. Mawston contends it is a 'logical next step' for Apple, and that the technology could be added to the Pro, Air, and/or regular notebooks. The incentive would be not so much outstanding demand, as the ability of carriers in the US and Europe to sell Macs to people who have already been lured to a phone network by the iPhone."

Apple Delays Hard Drive MacBook Air Until after Thanksgiving

AppleInsider's Sam Oliver reports:

"Apple is apologizing to customers this week who had placed orders for its new entry-level Nvidia-based MacBook Airs, explaining that due to an unforeseen issue, it's unlikely to deliver those systems until shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

"'Due to an unexpected delay, we are unable to ship your MacBook Air by the date originally quoted to you,' the company said in an email to several online store customers who were previously quoted ship times of November 5th and a delivery estimate of November 10th. 'We now anticipate shipping the item by 11/24/08 and delivering by 11/29/08.'"

"The delay only appears to be affecting the entry-level 1.6 GHz model with a 120 GB SATA hard drive. The company has been actively shipping the 1.86 GHz model with 128 GB solid-state drive since late last month, will several customer orders arriving about a week earlier than anticipate."

Is the MacBook Air Overpriced or Just Expensive?

CrunchGear's Nicholas Deleon asks:

"Is the MacBook Air overpriced at $2,499 fully loaded? Seventy percent of us here at CrunchGear think so - Apple worshiper Biggs calls it a 'great machine,' however - but what do we know? Nothing, apparently, if we're to believe CNet, which comes to the conclusion that the MacBook Air, compared to other ultraportables, isn't overpriced at all.

"The argument goes: ultraportables writ large are expensive, so to single out the MacBook Air is unfair. The similarly spec'd Dell Latitude E4200, for example, costs $2,495. Same thing with the Toshiba Portégé R600, which is even more expensive at $2,999.

"That's pretty much it. Because all these ultraportables, when more or less similarly spec'd, are $2,500 or more, to call the MacBook Air overpriced is dishonest.

"But maybe there's more to it than that...."

How the Netbook Will Convert the Anti-Cloud Computing Crowd's Paul Glazowski says:

"Don't think cloud computing is a wonderful thing? Wait until everyone and their mother has a netbook in hand.

"Yeah, you know, those small Wi-Fi-happy machines sporting 8-13" screens, flash-based storage drives, Intel Atom central processors, etcetera, etcetera.

"For a large portion of the global population, even those in well-developed regions, this might seem like really loose premise. Netbooks for everyone? Why not get an full-on laptop? You can do more with your dollar! And any simple tasks on the Web can be done with some of the smartphones making the rounds on hardware review sites, right? Well, I'm not so sure...."

Changing the LCD Panel of a MacBook (Old School White)'s Vincent Pacis reports (via Wordlingo translation):

"The user of this MacBook dropped an external hard drive between the hinge and bottom of his display, causing the formation of very pretty cracks.

"The goal of this repair, will be to change the display, while keeping the display bezel of origin. The operation will be even more complicated, because I preferred not to remove the display lid assembly from totality of MacBook,, but only to dismount the display screen from the the bezel in situ on the MacBook.

"I thus DISADVISE strongly doing it like this.

"Note also that do-it-yourself display screen replacement is not possible with with the new unibody MacBooks due to the glossy glass plate that is now glued to the LCD panel and its enclosure."

Apple Sued Over Defective PowerBook Memory Slots

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"Apple is facing a new class-action lawsuit that charges the company with failing to fully recognize the scope of a memory slot defect in its PowerBook G4 notebooks, which has left thousands of customers with no choice but to foot hefty repair costs on their own.

"New York resident Giorgio Gomelsky filed the 19-page complaint in a Northern California court last week on behalf of himself and all similarly-situated complainants who purchased an Apple PowerBook manufactured with defective memory slots from January 1, 2003 to the present.

"Specifically, the suit alleges that the earlier generation Mac notebooks contain a defect that manifests itself when an owner tries to add additional memory to the first or second memory slot available in most PowerBooks, namely the PowerBook G4."


Apple Laptops: The Hits Keep Coming

BusinessWeek's Stephen H. Wildstrom says:

"Apple is the only company I know that can tell its customers what they want and make them like it. Nobody else has pulled that off since Henry Ford decreed that consumers could get a Model T in any color they liked as long as it was black. The latest MacBook and MacBook Pro computers suggest that Apple has not lost its touch.

"The difference between Apple and the rest of the industry is stark. Dell sells 26 laptop models, each available in many configurations, while Apple offers five, with few hardware options. The average selling price for MacBooks and MacBook Pros in September was $1,483, compared with $689 for Windows notebooks, according to market researcher NPD Group. The point isn't that Macs are overpriced for what they are but that Apple offers only high-end products. Yet despite these seeming disadvantages in variety and price, NPD notes, Macs grabbed nearly 18% of the US retail notebook market in September, a jump of nearly three percentage points since last year....

"The latest notebooks should keep Apple's winning streak going...."

Unibody MacBook Pro 'Built to Last'

InfoWorld's Tom Yager reports:

"Apple has done a complete and meaningful redesign of its top-selling commercial notebook, the MacBook Pro, for durability, serviceability, energy efficiency, and eco-consciousness. A one-piece, rigid, machined aluminum frame ('unibody') forms the MacBook Pro's internal structure, a design feature it shares with the new aluminum MacBook and MacBook Air. As with the MacBook Air, the clamshell laptop that upended the thin-and-light PC notebook market, Apple made some marvelously unorthodox design decisions for the MacBook Pro.

"The MacBook Pro looks grand, no doubt, but I take little notice of eye-catching gimmicks. In this case, all that makes the MacBook Pro prettier than its predecessor has irrefutably rational reasons for inclusion in the design. Mounting the display glass flush with the lid's rounded edges is a nice look, but there's also a larger purpose: A continuous rubber gasket seals the display to the domed aluminum lid and guards against shock and vibration. Unlike with a more rigid seal, the gasket eliminates stress points that would cause the lid to bow from crush pressure."

6 GB of RAM in the 'Late 2008' MacBook Pro: Any Problems or Speed Penalty?

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan reports:

"The 'late 2008' MacBook Pro officially 'supports up to 4 GB' of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM. However, that never stopped us from trying to stuff more in. We were able to expand our MacBook Pro 2.8 to 6 GB by replacing one of the 2 GB SO-DIMMs with a 4 GB module (courtesy of Trans International).

"We ran memory 'hungry' apps like Adobe After Effects CS3 (multiprocessor mode) and Adobe Photoshop CS4 beyond the 4 GB barrier with no ill effects. Activity Monitor shows all 6 GB available and reports correctly how much is in use.

"The only downside is that, with non-matching memory modules, you don't get interleaving. Potentially, there is a performance hit. But is the hit significant, negligible, or non-existent?"

New MacBook Pro: USB 2.0 Almost as Fast as FireWire

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"In order to further illustrate the performance level obtained from USB 2.0, we have run a test with a new MacBook Pro and an external HD featuring a triple interface: USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800, thanks to an Oxford bridge....

"...there are almost no difference in reading and writing speeds between USB 2.0 and FW400. The clear winner is the FW800 offering up to 53 MB/s in writing mode and stable 60 MB/s in reading mode...."

USB 2.0 vs. FW400 vs. FW800 vs. SATA on 'Late 2008' MacBook Pro

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan reports:

"Hardmac broke the story that the 'late 2008' MacBook Pro has improved USB 2.0 speed. We posted their link on our Quick Takes but want to 'second the motion' by posting our own findings....

"Insights - Rob concurs with Hardmac that USB 2.0 on the new MacBooks is truly faster - but still not quite as fast as FireWire 400, noting that up until now, every time Bare Feats tested a USB 2.0 storage device on a Mac, the transfer rate was about half that of FireWire 400 even though it had a higher theoretical speed rating (480 Mbit/s), but observes that in the new MacBooks while it's still not quite as fast as FireWire 400, it's close enough to explain why Apple did away with the FW400 port on all new MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

"That of course doesn't mitigate the loss of easy FireWire bootability and Target Disk Mode on the 13" MacBook.

"Rob also tested two different SATA scenarios - a notebook drive in a SATA enclosure connected to a SATA ExpressCard and a 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda in a SATA enclosure and connected it to the same LaCie SATA II ExpressCard/34.

"What SATA lacks in convenience (not built-in to MBP, no bus power), it makes up for in speed."

'Late 2008' Graphics Shootout: 2.53 GHz vs. 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan says:

"Have you heard of the 'Decoy Effect'?

"It's when a vendor presents you with a low-end product and a mid-range product with more features or better performance. If he sees you are leaning toward the low end, he shows you a third, high-end product. Theory is that once you see the third item, you will buy the mid-range item - which is what you really wanted in the first place. This is called 'asymmetric dominance' by behavioral scientists - or so they say in Episode 504 of the Numb3rs TV series.

"I don't know how you feel about that scenario but I just bet Apple sells more 2.53 GHz MacBook Pros than 2.4 GHz and 2.8 GHz models. So in response to popular demand, I borrowed my good friend's 2.53 GHz MacBook Pro so I can compare its performance with my 2.8 GHz model....

"Does the 2.53 GHz run cooler than the 2.8 GHz unit? In short, 'No.'"

MacBook vs. MacBook Pro Graphics Death Match

Gizmodo reports:

"Here they are, the MacBook and MacBook Pro graphics benchmarks you've been waiting for. Our basic Mac-only benchmarks used in our dual review were great at showing how close the CPU performance was, but not great at illustrating the disparity between chunky-hunky 9600 GT and the comparatively weak integrated 9400M that we saw firsthand while playing Spore. With a little time, we've been able to:

  • Install Windows XP and run 3D Mark
  • Play a little Crysis - yeah, Crysis
  • Get ahold of Adobe CS4 and run some rendering jobs

"The conclusion? If you're a serious gamer or work with graphics of any kind and you need an Apple laptop, you're gonna want the MacBook Pro. Here are the raw numbers to prove it."

Serious Graphics Tests: 'Late 2008' MacBook Pro Runs iMaginator, Motion, and GLview

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan says:

"Tired of 3D game benchmarks?

"Well, we now have a some non-game results for 'serious' MacBook Pro users. We're starting with the 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro in our lab and will add results for other models of MacBook Pro as the days go by.

"We used two Core Image intensive apps and one OpenGL Viewer to compare the GeForce 9400M to the GeForce 9600M GT. The question we have is if the gap in performance we saw with 3D accelerated games translate to graphics intensive productivity apps?...

"If you are getting a Mac laptop to run Pro Apps with graphics intensive functions, you're going to want a high-end MacBook Pro with the GeForce 9600M GT (or a refurbished MacBook Pro with a GeForce 8600M GT). In my opinion, if your Mac laptop only offers a GeForce 9400M (or GMA X3100) GPU, then expect only to use it for light duty (word processing, email, internet browsing)."

MacBook Pro SSD Benchmarked

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"We finally found some time to run a proper test of the Samsung SSD installed as a BTO in the MacBook Pro.

"In reading mode, (108 MB/s), the SSD is faster than any 2.5" HD, and is not that far from the performance level available from 3.5" Velociraptor....

"On a more user-oriented benchmarking, the SSD is much more responsive than a 2.5" HD...."


WD Adds FireWire 800 to MacBook Pro-friendly Hard Drive

The Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"Western Digital has added a FireWire 800 interface to its Mac-oriented My Passport Studio external hard drive line, the better to appeal to buyers of Apple's new MacBook Pro.

"MacBook owners are, of course, stuck with slower USB 2.0 drives thanks to Apple's decision not to equip the consumer-oriented model with a FireWire port. Fortunately, the WD drive has a USB port on the back too."

Editor's note: As discovered by Hardmac and verified by Bare Feats (links above), USB 2.0 on the Unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro is faster than on earlier Macs - and nearly as fast as FireWire 400. dk

Tom Bihn Laptop Bags for New 15.4" MacBook Pro and 13" MacBook

PR: Tom Bihn, a designer, manufacturer, and retailer of laptop bags, backpacks, travel bags, and briefcases, has introduced sizes of their Checkpoint Flyer "checkpoint friendly" laptop briefcase and Brain Cell laptop case specifically for the new 15.4" MacBook Pro. The Brain Cell is designed to clip securely inside a variety of Tom Bihn messenger bags, briefcases, and backpacks - including the Empire Builder, Super Ego, Brain Bag, and Western Flyer

The Checkpoint Flyer

Checkpoint FlyerThe Checkpoint Flyer Briefcase is the first airport security "checkpoint friendly" bag designed specifically for Mac laptops. Available in custom sizes for all Mac laptops, the Checkpoint Flyer's laptop insert is removable and interchangeable with other sizes. When one buys a new laptop, they won't need to buy an entirely new Checkpoint Flyer: just a new laptop insert sized to fit their new laptop.

The Checkpoint Flyer is made out of the high-quality materials Tom Bihn is known for: US made 1050 denier ballistic nylon, Japanese Dyneema rip-stop fabric, YKK splash-proof zippers, and Poron foam-padded handles. The laptop insert of the Checkpoint Flyer protects the laptop from all sides with thermo-molded foam.

The Checkpoint Flyer is $220 (including laptop insert). Available for pre-order from the Tom Bihn website; ships by late November. Made in Seattle.

The Brain Cell

Brain CellTom Bihn customers have been using the Brain Cell laptop case to protect their Mac laptops everywhere from Iraq to Antarctica for over 10 years, giving the Brain Cell its word-of-mouth reputation as providing some of the best protection one can get for their laptop. Now the Brain Cell is available in a size specifically designed to carry the New 15.4" MacBook Pro: Size 4Z. MacBook users will want Size 6 for all versions of the 13" MacBook.

The Brain Cell is designed to clip securely inside a variety of Tom Bihn messenger bags, briefcases, and backpacks - including the Empire Builder, Super Ego, Brain Bag, and Western Flyer.

Among the protective materials that make the Brain Cell are 8mm thick soft foam padding, 4mm hard corrugated plastic, crosslinked closed-cell polyethylene foam, and 12mm thick premium memory foam.

The Brain Cell Size 4Z is $60. Available for pre-order from the Tom Bihn website; ships by late November. Available in two formats: Horizontal for use in messenger bags or briefcases and Vertical for use in backpacks. Made in Seattle.

Bags for the New Aluminum 13" MacBook

Tom Bihn has over 14 different laptop cases, messenger bags, briefcases and backpacks available for the new aluminum 13" MacBook.

Belkin FlyThru, a Checkpoint-Friendly Laptop Case, Saves You Time in Airport Security Lines

Belkin FlyThruPR: With the new Belkin FlyThru laptop case, you no longer need to remove your laptop from the bag in the airport security line, making it a painless, stress-free experience. FlyThru isolates your laptop on one side, allowing TSA agents to easily identify it through a clear window. Accessories are kept organized and secure on the other side of the bag, sending you through security faster.

Belkin developed this checkpoint-friendly bag, which meets the guidelines set forth by TSA, with the business traveler in mind. Just unzip the case and lay it flat on the screening belt. Thoughtful design elements like the zipper position lets you grab your bag right off the belt and head off to your gate, without anything falling out.

  • Smart design isolates laptop for easy screening
  • Secure compartments organize accessories
  • Designed with minimal metal zippers and hardware for screening clarity
  • Durable with ample storage, ideal for busy professionals on the go
  • Fits most standard and widescreen laptops up to 15.4"

Now available in the US.

FlyThru Laptop Case (F8N094) - US: $59.99

Available through a network of major distributors, resellers, and superstores.

Upgrading MacBook and MacBook Pro Hard Drive and Memory a 15 Minute Process with Free Online Installation Videos

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) has added two new free, step-by-step installation videos to its comprehensive library of step-by-step guides to assist owners of new Apple MacBook 13" and MacBook Pro 15" models with hard drive and memory upgrades for greater performance over factory configurations.

The free online installation videos for both hard drive and OWC memory upgrades for the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro models are rated at an "Easy" level, and can be performed at home with an estimated 15-minute installation time. These new installation videos, as well as installation videos for existing MacBook and MacBook Pro models, are available via OWC's MacBook/MacBook Pro upgrade page.

Save Money, Get Better Performance Over Factory Options

OWC offers new and existing model MacBook and MacBook Pro owners a full selection of cost-effective 2.5" SATA internal hard drive and OWC Memory Upgrade Kits to increase performance over the factory stock configuration. Prices start at $57.99 for a 200 GB 5400 RPM drive, with the most popular upgrades including a 320 GB 7200 RPM drive priced at $114.99 and a 500 GB 5400 RPM drive priced at $179.99. OWC hard drive upgrades often cost far less than similar options installed at the factory, as well as offering a longer warranty.

In addition, MacBook and MacBook Pro owners that purchase a new drive from OWC also enjoy the benefit of keeping their existing drive, which can be used as a temporary backup drive, converted into an external storage solution, or sent to OWC for a cash back trade-in.

"At OWC, we want to provide customers with all the tools they need to make the most out of the Macs they have - including high quality, value priced upgrade kits and toolkits; free step-by-step installation videos; free US-based technical support; rebate programs; and enclosures that give a second life to upgraded parts," said Larry O'Connor, President, OWC. "Our mission is to enhance the performance of the newest Macs, as well as breathe new life into legacy Macs to maximize their value."

OWC Memory Upgrade Kits are available up to 4 GB for the latest as well as existing MacBook and MacBook Pro models and are backed with a Money Back Guarantee and OWC's Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty. Additional money savings are also available through OWC's trade-in program, which provides $15.00 Cash Back per 1 GB Apple Factory Standard memory module. For information on memory rebates on MacBook and MacBook Pros, see:

OWC DDR3 Memory Upgrades for Late 2008 Unibody MacBook 13" and MacBook Pro 15" models:

  • 2 GB DDR3 Memory Upgrade - $ 65.99 (single 2 GB memory module)
  • 4 GB DDR3 Memory Upgrade Kit - $129.99 (matched pair of 2 GB memory modules)

OWC DDR2 Memory Upgrade Kits For MacBook 13", MacBook Pro 15", and MacBook Pro 17" models:

  • 2 GB Upgrade Kit - $33.99
  • 3 GB Upgrade Kit - $50.99
  • 4 GB Upgrade Kit - $67.99
  • 4 GB Upgrade Kit CAS 4 high-performance - $72.99

Ramjet 4 GB DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM for MacBook

PR: Specifications 4 GB DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM for MacBook:

DDR3-1066, 1066 MHz, PC3-8500, CAS Latency 7, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, 1.5V, 204-pin SO-DIMMs

This module is specifically designed and SPD configured for the MacBook Aluminum.

This module is compatible with the latest Apple Firmware

This is a sale item, no promotions or discounts apply.

Price: $599

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

Apple has reorganized the Apple Certified Refurbished site, arranged hierarchically by price rather than separated into categories. I don't necessarily agree that this is an improvement, and we'll continue our policy of sorting by screen size, then CPU speed, then price. Another change is that refurbished and new "previous generation" models are listed separately.

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,349
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,499
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,799
  • refurb 2.1 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $849
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook, white, 1 GB/160/SD, $999
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,049
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,499
  • 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" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,099
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,399

Previous Generation - New

  • new 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,599
  • new 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,249
  • new 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,299
  • 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
  • new 15" 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,099
  • new 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,499
  • new 17" 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,499
  • new 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200 @ 7200 rpm/SD, $2,899

Wegener Media - 12" PowerBook - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook

  • 12" PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/40/Combo, $489.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $659.99
  • 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" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,299.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,349.99
  • 15'' 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/250/SD, $1,549.99

Mac Connection

  • 17" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, matte, $1,849.95 less $150 mail-in rebate = $1,699.95


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

We Love Macs

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $699.95
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/DVD, $849.95
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 256 RAM, 60/Combo, $849.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/60/SD, $949.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, 1 year warranty, $894.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $929.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $1,199.95
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $1,109.95
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/120/Combo, 1 year warranty, $1,089.95

Baucom Computers

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $645
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $719
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $749
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB/100/SD, $805
  • 15" 2.1 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,109

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, AppleCare, $549.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 MHz DVI, 256/30/Combo, $479.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $849.95
  • 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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