So my timing was slightly off as far as the update goes (by 2 days), but Apple finally updated its aging MacBook line today. However, the updates didn’t address the biggest problem with the portable unit.
What DID get upgraded:
1. The MacBook now boasts the Santa Rosa platform found in the MacBook Pros; obviously a core 2 duo at speeds of 2.0 or 2.2 GHz
2. The previous GMA 950 integrated graphics was replaced with the GMA X3100, which has 144 Mb shared memory
3. 4 Gb of RAM space are available now, which is a big upgrade
And there you have it, presto chango, new MacBook. Satisfied?
On one hand, those were well-overdue improvements; the older MacBook line couldn’t hold enough RAM, the integrated graphics is, well, still integrated, and a newer platform is always nice.
Personally, I feel like the best part of this upgrade was the addition of larger RAM capacity; there isn’t a huge jump in speed, certainly not enough to justify buying a new MacBook if you have an older one, and who are we kidding…graphics upgrade? Its not a standalone chip yet, and probably never will be in the MacBook, so its dust in the wind.
What really need revision are the displays and the cases. In regards to displays, there is a bit of a problem a lot of users have with flickering displays as well as weird pixelations. My fellow writer Jonathan Schlaffer finally changed to the Mac world with a MacBook purchase, but after experiencing continual display issues, opted for a full refund and ran back to a world of degradation; namely, Windows.
I’ve done a bit of research on the displays, and the flickering or dimly lit displays are a widespread problem; even some users who had their units fixed experienced the issue again. I personally can’t afford to send my lappy away to Apple for a period of time to have it fixed, and certainly not if the problem will arise again.
Secondly, the MacBook casings have a big problem with cracking around the edges; though it results from normal use, that problem doesn’t exist on the MacBook Pros, and Apple would do well to move to the brushed aluminum case now used in the MacBook Pros. By doing so, they’ll stick with their current theme of everything going with the brushed metal look, and undoubtedly the cases will be more sturdy.
I don’t want spend the money to upgrade to a MacBook Pro, and here’s why:
Though at some point, I might develop an affinity for video or photo editing, I really don’t need a separate GPU. Though a 15″ display is nice, I’m really ok with my 13″ (I’d be more ok if it didn’t flicker sporadically. I wanted the option for additional RAM, as my Macbook only has 2 slots, and I have a gig, however today’s update made ways for more RAM; also, I don’t think I need more RAM as Leopard is optimized to utilize both cores, and when I do upgrade to 10.5 (yes, I’m behind the times), I should be just dandy.
Does a flickering display and cracked case justify hundreds of dollars for better quality? I say no; what we buy in the MacBook should be just as dependable as the MacBook Pro.
Hopefully Apple will take these matters into account for its next update; I really feel though it dropped the ball by not refacing and redesigning the case and display of the MacBook in addition to Santa Rosa, updated graphics and more RAM availability.