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New MacBook November 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 5:01 pm

Original post: Saturday, November 8, 2008

So I broke my own rule and bought a new computer on the first day  the new models came out. I couldn’t help it…it’s so cool!

I got the next generation of Mac laptops: a new MacBook. Here are the details:

When you pick up a new MacBook, you immediately notice the difference. The entire enclosure is thinner and lighter. Here’s why: a precision aluminum unibody enclosure.

Until now, all notebooks were designed the same way – by assembling multiple pieces to create a single enclosure. But once you include all the necessary parts, you add size, weight, complexity, and more opportunities for failure. So my genius pals at Apple devised a way to replace many parts with just one. That one part is called the unibody – a seamless enclosure carved from a single piece of aluminum.  Let me tell you…this is not only lighter, but it feels more sturdy than my 2-year-old MacBook Pro. I would feel more comfortable throwing this laptop in a backpack and  heading on down the road than I would with my MBPro in a padded laptop sleeve. No, really.

The seamless, remarkably thin design of the LED-backlit display is also a fantastic feature. When I life the lid, I am instantly greeted by glorious full screen brightness. The aluminum enclosure is perfectly integrated with a glass overlay that stretches to the edge of the notebook, providing an unobstructed picture. The LED-backlit display is more power efficient; a full charge on this baby lasts 5 hours! And it’s mercury- and arsenic-free, so it’s green, which gives my inner hippie good karma.

Many notebooks skimp on graphics performance in favor of a smaller design, but the new MacBook uses a graphics processor that economizes space. A traditional computer logic board contains multiple components: the CPU, two chips that control communication throughout the computer, and the graphics processor. The logic board in the new MacBook contains only two components: The CPU and a graphics processor with all of the core logic built into a single chip. That graphics processor is the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, and it helps expediently render graphics and produce kick-ass gaming graphics and video without sacrificing battery life.

Here’s something new: a Mini Display Port. The Mini DisplayPort is a brand-new, industry-standard port, or so Apple says. It delivers a digital connection to external displays quickly, and without multiple-pin connectors with unwieldy screws. Also, it supports VGA, DVI, and dual-link DVI connections, too. We’ll see if this is adapted by other manufacturers.

The coolest feature, by far, is the touch pad. The amazing new trackpad doubles as a button – just press down anywhere and consider it clicked. No separate button means there’s 39 percent more room for my fingers to move on the silky glass surface. Yes, I said glass. It has all of the gesturing functionality that is available on the iPhone. Use two fingers to scroll up and down a page. Pinch to zoom in and out. Swipe with three fingers to flip through photo or document  libraries. Rotate to adjust an image with your fingertips. Using the new four-finger swipe gesture, I can swipe up or down to access Exposé modes and left or right to switch between open applications. And the best part: I can right-click with two fingers! No more control+clicking if I don’t have a mouse handy. I love it! I find that I would actually rather use the trackpad than a mouse since it has so much functionality. This thing actually knows what part of my hand is touching it; if I’m typing and the heel of my hand brushes the touch pad, it doesn’t make the mouse jump all over the screen…it just ignores it. Flippin’ sweet!

For my fellow nerds, here are the specs:

Size and weight

Height:
0.95 inch (2.41 cm)
Width:
12.78 inches (32.5 cm)
Depth:
8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
Weight:
4.5 pounds (2.04 kg)1

2.4GHz MacBook

* Built-in full-size illuminated keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys

Processor and memory

* 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache running 1:1 with processor speed
* 1066MHz frontside bus
* 2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 4GB

250GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive

Connections and Expansion

* MagSafe power port
* Gigabit Ethernet port
* Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
* Mini DisplayPort
* Audio line in
* Audio line out
* Kensington lock slot

Communications

* Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking2 (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible
* Bluetooth Built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)
* Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)

Display

* 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors
* Supported resolutions: 1280 by 800 (native), 1152 by 720, 1024 by 640, and 800 by 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 by 768, 800 by 600, and 640 by 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 by 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio

Graphics and video support

* NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory3
* Extended desktop and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors
* iSight Built-in iSight camera
* Mini DisplayPort

Optical drive

*8x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

Maximum write: 8x DVD-R, DVD+R; 4x DVD-R DL (double layer), DVD+R DL (double layer), DVD-RW, DVD+RW; 24x CD-R; 10x CD-RW

Maximum read: 8x DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-ROM; 6x DVD-ROM (double layer DVD-9), DVD-R DL (double layer), DVD+R DL (double layer), DVD-RW, and DVD+RW; 24x CD

So Apple delivers a perfect blend of form and function, as usual.

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