After too much time and money spent trying to keep my iBook G3 cranking out bits to meet my high demands I sadly realized my usage is beyond it's capabilities.
This iBook was my first Apple computer (I "switched" back in 2004) and I've grown pretty fond of it but it was time to retire it. I tried hard to keep it limping along but issue after issue has plagued it in the last year. I've upgraded the RAM, replaced the logic board and replaced the hard drive. Now I suspect the logic board may be going again. I won't sink anymore money in it. Especially since it's dog slow and I'm pushing it past it's capabilities. It served me well as an experiment of the Apple world.
To replace my iBook I decided to buy a new MacBook. I need portability and in my opinion there was no sense buying anything other than a new Intel based Mac since eventually Apple will stop supporting the PowerPC architecture. Plus the Intel based Macs are blazingly fast and fairly well priced.
I've had my MacBook for about a month now - sorry no gratuitous shots of me opening the MacBook packaging - search Flickr if you want that - and it's easily the best computer I've ever owned. It does have it's issues but it's fast, light, has a great form factor and is loaded with features:
- Intel Duo Core
- Blue Tooth 2.0
- USB 2.0
- Firewire 400
- mini-DVI output
- optical digital/audio in/out
- gigibit ethernet
- built-in 802.11g (54mbps wifi)
- magsafe power adapter
- built-in iSight webcam
- glossy wide screen (1280 x 800 native resolution).
As I said there are some issues with it and there has been much talk on the internet about the problems that plague it. I'll address them below...
My take on the common MacBook complaints
Mooing Fan - Apple likes quiet computers (who doesn't) and hates loud fans so the fan in the MacBook only comes on at high temperatures for short bursts to cool the machine. The ramping up and down of the fan produces a very quiet but distinctive "Moo" sound. It's very faint but if you don't have any background noise it's very noticeable. I only have this issue when I'm really stressing the machine. But lately it seems to be less frequent (or maybe I'm just getting used to it). Maybe the latest OS X update fixed this? I found this apparent fix to the Mooing issue. If my mooing comes back I'll give it a shot. In short it's not really a big issue. I rarely notice it but for the noise sensitive it may drive you crazy..as it apparently has to some.
Blazing Heat - Some say the MacBook is hot because of the horrid application of the thermal paste or is it because of Apple's desire for a quiet machine and limiting the usage of the fan? Most likely it's a combination and a host of other factors. Honestly the machine is hot but not as hot as my Dell Inspiron 8500 or a handful of other machines I've worked with. I can keep this thing on my lap. Sterility be damned! (Actually it's not terribly hot. Not a good idea to keep it on your lap for hours on end but a couple hours doesn't hurt - I hope. Also not a good idea to keep it on bare skin. It does get too warm for that.). Here's a heat shootout between the Dell Latitude and the MacBook. Contrary to some, the heat is not due to a plastic strip...
Odd ball Keyboard - The keyboard is one of the most integrated keyboards I've ever seen in a laptop. It has a very distinct feel. I actually like it. Too bad it doesn't have the illuminated keyboard. Ah well. The thing I like most is that the keys don't touch the screen when the lid is closed!
Squishy Touch Pad button - It is a bit squishy but I do get a "click" feedback most of the time. Here is a hack to give it more response if it drives you crazy. I haven't done this as I use a mouse most of the time.
Glossy Wide Screen - I was really worried about this one. I've never owned a glossy screen and didn't know if the glare would be a bitch. Turns out it is awesome. I'm really impressed by the difference. Wide screen of course rocks!
Lame (err.. I mean Intel) Integrated Graphics Card - This isn't a game machine. I didn't buy it for that. However it will run World of Warcraft and many other titles but forget about running the latest and greatest. I'm curious if Half Life 2 will run well.
Stain Book - Some owners have complained that the white finish of their MacBook is discolouring on the palm rests. Ouch. It looks nasty. Apple has acknowledged the problem and should support it under AppleCare. It appears to be a manufacturing defect that only affects particular MacBooks. I haven't noticed any problems on mine.
Sizzly MagSafe Power Adapter - There are stories of the MagSafe power adapter burning up due to a short. It sounds like an isolated case and not a wide spread problem. By the way the MagSafe adapter is pretty cool. It's a magnetized socket and is meant to prevent accidentally tripping on your power cord and send your machine tumbling to the floor. It detaches from the machine if a certain amount of force is exerted on it.
Random Reboot - This is a new one I've recently heard of. I haven't had these issues. Please don't be a logic board issue...we've all suffered enough.
If you want a comprehensive review of the MacBook check out the great review on ArsTechnica.