My Views on the New Late 2008 MacBooks


MacBook Air

MacBook Pro
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR3 Memory
160GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
Super Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR3 Memory
250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
Super Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video
1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR3 Memory
120GB 4200rpm Hard Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card
1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR3 Memory
128GB SSD Hard Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR3 Memory
Super Drive
250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB video card
2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB DDR3 Memory
320GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
Super Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB video card
$10,200.00 $12,500.00 $13,900.00 $19,200.00 $15,400.00 $19,200.00

* All currency in HKD

This new line of Macintosh notebooks cause me to be indecisive about my justification to upgrade my current MacBook Pro (October 2006, Glossy Screen), 2GB of RAM, 2Hz Intel Core Duo, 100GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive. Let me get into the details so you can decide whether you have the same issues.

These new MacBooks have many technical advancement in terms of manufacturing and user interface. There are hardware in the Mac that the upcoming Mac OS X (10.6) will be able to take advantage and make these efficiencies available to all applications running on the new Mac OS X.

Apple has removed the Firewire port on the MacBook, making it the first time since the iBook released in 2001 that a Mac does not have a Firewire port. They also removed the Firewire 400 port from the new MacBook Pro. These decisions are strange to me, as Apple had originally participated in the development of the IEEE 1394 (the IEEE name for this) standard. Unless this is a sign that Apple will drop Firewire for something new in the very near future?

Although the Firewire 800 specifications are backward compatible to the Firewire 400, the plugs for these ports are different. So a bilateral cable will be needed to connect an external devices with Firewire 400 ports to the Firewire 800 ports on the MacBook Pro. Of course this is not the first time Apple included Firewire 800 ports on Macintosh, but this is the first time it is the only Firewire port.

In the past Firewire (aka. iLink or IEEE 1394) ports have been standard on high end video and still digital cameras, but in recent years these ports have given way to mini-USB ports. Is Apple’s recent decision simply a normal transition, as they often lead the industry in adopting technology changes. For example, removing the Floppy Disk Drive from their computers, pushing the adoption of Read-Writable CD and DVD players on consumer level computers. Or may be it is just a cost saving for the lower-end consumer MacBook.

For the new MacBook Pro, it is the same weight as my current MacBook Pro (Glossy), and slightly thinner by 0.05 inches, which is not much. Its case is tapered like the MacBook Air, iPhone 3G and iMac, so it appears to be much thinner.

My current problem with my MacBook Pro is the weight and amount of RAM I can install. My current MacBook Pro max. out at 2GB of RAM, since it is the 32bit version of the Intel CPU even though Mac OS X supports much higher capacity. Therefore, the new MacBook Pro will resolve my RAM capacity issue, but will not resolve my weight issue.

On the other hand, it does have a brand new buttonless TrackPad with a glass surface, which can take advantage of Apple’s new gestures.

The new MacBook Pro has two GPU, one integrated GPU and a discrete GPU, that you can turn on and off as your graphics need changes. To balance between graphic performance and battery life.

Aside from the above, the battery, memory module and hard drive are designed to be easily replaceable by the end-user. Therefore when Solid State Drives improves in speed, increase in capacity and lower its price, one can easily upgrade the internal drive.

In my particular situation I do not think I have enough justifications to upgrade to the new MacBooks. I guess I will just have to wait for the amalgamation of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro before I upgrade. I may have to fork out some dough to renew my AppleCare, so that my MacBook Pro’s resell value does not drop too much.

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