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.

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