CNET Editor’s Choice: Apple MacBook Core 2 Duo

“Now that the high-end MacBook Pro has Intel’s Core 2 Duo CPU, it’s high time the latest processor technology filtered down to Apple’s more consumer-friendly MacBook line. There are three MacBook models, one with a 1.83GHz CPU and two with 2.0GHz CPUs. The MacBook starts at a mere $1,099, but our review unit is the most tricked-out of the three, offering the faster CPU and a larger hard drive for a still palatable $1,499. These 13.3-inch notebooks, available in the standard Apple colors of black and white, are nearly as powerful as their 15- and 17-inch Pro cousins, and they include a lot of the same features, such as the built-in iSight camera and Front Row remote. If the handful of compromises vs. the Pro model, such as the screen size and the lack of discrete graphics, isn’t a deal breaker, the MacBook is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to step up to an Apple laptop or upgrade their older MacBook,” Dan Ackerman reports for CNET Reviews.

MacDailyNews Note: Step up to an Apple laptop…” Good answer. Good answer. We like the way you think. We’re gonna be watching you.

Ackerman reports, “In CNET Labs’ Photoshop CS2 and iTunes encoding tests, we found that the new MacBook, with a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM, performed admirably, coming in behind the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro model, but not by huge margins. That’s even more impressive when you consider the MacBook Pro we tested had a whopping 3GB of RAM. As expected, both Core 2 Duo systems easily outclassed an older Core Duo MacBook Pro from earlier this year. We have updated our benchmarks recently, so we can’t compare these scores directly against the last round of Core Duo MacBooks, but the new Core 2 Duo MacBook did show a 26 percent boost over the older Core Duo MacBook Pro, well in line with Apple’s claims.”

Ackerman reports, “In many areas, the new MacBook Pro and MacBook systems are very similar, with design, price, and screen size as the major points of differentiation. One important difference to note is in the graphics subsystem. The MacBook Pro has an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600, while the MacBooks are stuck with Intel GMA 950 graphics. So if gaming is important to you, either Windows gaming through Boot Camp or Mac native gaming, you’ll want to step up to the Pro model.”

Ackerman reports, “Many people prefer Apple systems specifically for the bundled suite of proprietary software, iLife ’06, which includes intuitive tools for building Web sites, creating DVDs, composing music, and working with photos.”

Full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: We love Apple Macs as much as the next guy. Okay, we love them more. Let’s just say that you don’t want to get stuck between us and an Apple Store. But, even to us, the MacBook is really a standout product. It’s almost perfect for what it is meant to be. We’d probably be using them on the road, too, if only they had a ExpressCard/34 slot for our EVDO cards. That said, Apple did an especially fine job designing the MacBook and, of course, if you need to step up even further to the MacBook Pro, they’re right there waiting for you. No wonder Apple’s portables are selling so well.


  1. I love the MacBooks too… but I think they should have one model of MacBook with discrete graphics. I hate practically everything about the MacBook Pros besides the backlit keyboard (the latch and ‘lower-quality feel’ being the most repugnant), but I can’t buy a computer without a dedicated graphics card. So I’m left intending to keep my iBook G4 with 32 MB VRAM in an ATI Radeon 9550 and hoping that Apple will add real graphics to at least one of the MacBook models in the future. Grrrrhh!

  2. On second thought, I should probably qualify my statement about the MBP having a ‘lower-quality feel’ so I don’t get flamed to death. I mean relative to the MacBook. I’ve used both, and the MacBook just feels so much more sturdy and solid. The MacBook Pro is sorta… flimsy. Which, I might add, is quite ironic.

    I think most of that perception is due to the difference in latches. When there’s that big open gap between the computer and the screen when closed, it causes the screen to flex when the notebook is picked up… very disturbing. Even my iBook G4 feels a little better than the MBP, IMHO. So… here’s my Apple wishlist:

    2. ibid.
    3. ibid.
    4. ibid.
    5. Put a ‘chiclet’ keyboard on the MacBook Pro.

    One final little question… does Halo (with Universal patch) run at all on the MacBook (not Pro)? Any of you have experience? I’ve heard it won’t run at all on the MacBook’s GMA (stands for ‘Graphics are Majorly Atrocious’, BTW) 950 graphics?

  3. NeoVoyager,

    Worry not, sir or madam. Nobody’s going to “flame” you, for your opinion is clearly worthless. Evidence: “I hate practically everything about the MacBook Pros . . . .”

    Perhaps you should build your own machine?! An engineering genius like you should become wealthy overnight!

  4. OK, Damacles… misunderstanding due to my ineptitude at getting my meaning across.

    What I meant is I hate practically everything in the MacBook Pro that differs from the design of the MacBook… such as the latch, the metal, the worse battery life, the relative importability due to its size, the dent-prone finish, the keyboard style, the CD/DVD drive in the front (what were they thinking?), etc. etc.

  5. I have a MacBook Pro and a MacBook (replacement after 3 strikes on iBook repair) and for typing I like the Pro’s keyboard better. Might not be a MacBook dealbreaker for some, but I’m just saying… No one mentions the keyboards in these comparisons.

  6. I like my MacBook fine, but I have to say I miss the smaller size of my 12″ powerbook: the MacBook is both larger and heavier! When is Apple going to make an ultraportable laptop for frequent travelers like me? I’d be fine with a 10″ screen (like on my old, beloved Vaio).

    Maybe once they migrate to flash storage from hard drives they’ll be able to do this. In the meantime the damn MB in its case is killing my shoulder.

  7. NeoVoyager.

    The drive slot in front still applies so well for the same reason as when it was introduced 5? years ago. The Pro books are larger and if the cd or dvd was to come out the side it would bump into things when Pro/Business users fly anywhere.

    Not sure how I feel about the chicklet keyboard myself, not having used one much.

  8. My wish for the MacBook is that it offers video extension as well as video mirroring. If I were to add a separate monitor to it I want to increase my working room, not replicate the contents of the MacBook’s screen. I seem to recall that there is a way to alter the system so it will do this. Does anyone recall where I can get this information?

  9. Beryllium:

    The MacBook allows you to do this out of the box.

    In addition to reading it myself, my friend has also showed me how it works with his setup (23″ cinema display with his Aperture main window, and the MacBook screen for photo editing).

  10. On the way to work I turned on the radio this morning and the station just happened to be one that carried Whoopi Goldberg’s morning talk show. (I didn’t know she had one.) Today’s topic was the PS3 – which is why I didn’t change the station. She made the comment that for it’s price, she was surprised that it doesn’t play all games from the previous versions. She said it sounded like the PS3 still need another year of development – unlike her MacBook Pro which she just loves and hasn’t let her down.

    A little later she gave a monologue (in reality a commerical for the MacBook). She was saying how Apple has not let her down and how fantastic “the Book” is and encouraged everyone to go get one – that they would not be disappointed! (She mentioned the MacBook but could have been talking about the MacBook Pro – she didn’t seem very technically oriented.)

    Or at least that’s how I remember how the show went. I didn’t know Whoopi was such a fan of the Mac. In a show about the upcoming PS3 launch, she said a LOT of positive things about Mac laptops.


Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.