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My MacBook experience


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My MacBook experience
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Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-05, 23:31

Today after work I had about an hour to kill before an intramural ultimate frisbee match, so I spent some quality time with a MacBook to make sure It was what I was looking for from a computer.

Anyway, I did some serious comparing in general OS performance between the MacBook, the MacBook Pros.

For starters, all 3 computers had 1gb of ram. The MacBook Pro 15" and the MacBook were both 2.0 ghz Core Duo processors. The 17" had a 2.1 ghz processor.

For everyone that knocks the glossy display, stop. Apple stores have crazy florescent lighting and you really don't notice it at all unless you're trying to see it. It is the most beautiful glossy display I have ever seen. It is definitely brighter and has a higher contrast than BOTH MacBook Pro displays (matte finish; they didn't have any glossy). I was blown away when seeing how things popped out of the aqua interface and iPhoto on the MacBook that I didn't notice on either of the professional models. This is PERFECT for the consumer, but I can see where it needs to be built-to-order as it could potentially create complications for the serious, professional photographer/editor.

As for the integrated graphics, I couldn't have told a difference. I was running expose, many windows, photobooth, all sorts of cool applications. At one point, I executed an expose with a 1080p super bowl trailer off Apple Trailers of Mission Impossible 3, one of the stock iMovie clips playing, the generic quicktime video clip playing, the pixar CARS trailer running, photobooth, as well as about 10 other windows, including iPhoto, calculator, calender, the rosetta apps excel, word and powerpoint, iWeb, Pages and the other program from iWork, and I believe iTunes. It was downright ridiculous. Needless to say, it responded immediately. The video lagged momentarily and the windows moved apart slightly slower than normal, but it was not bad enough to be annoying to even the most anal of people. Needless to say, I was EXTREMELY impressed with this. It blew my mind.

I tried to adjust the "custom" performance setting, but it required a password to do. I set it to the highest performance level allowed instead, I don't remember what its called since I don't have a mac currently. I then attempted to install our very own Chucker's temperature measuring program, but it did not work with the MacBook. I then settled on CoreDuoTemp version .8 I believe. It was whatever the first download link was when googled CoreDuoTemp download. Anyway, I closed every application, and then reopened EVERY application in the dock (about 25) at once to max out the CPU. I effectively did this, and the temperature hit 77 degrees celcius at 100% cpu usage for a significant period of time. However, when I felt the bottom of this, it felt NO WARMER (if anything cooler) then my 12" iBook g4. I then let it cool down and the notebook dropped to around 50 degrees celsius. It felt similiar to the touch at 50 and 77 degrees, which I thought was really weird. For reference, all these hand felt temperatures were taken in the back left corner where it supposedly runs the hottest. In comparison, I did the same thing with both the MacBook pros with the exact same program. Oddly enough,both the 15" and 17" reported =~35 degrees celsius while idling with only an app or two open. I did not think this was correct, because at 35 degrees the bottom back left corner of the MBP case felt significantly warmer than the MacBook at 77 degrees, so I am not sure that this measurement was accurate. When Maxed out, both the MacBook Pros hit about 75 degrees celsius, but they both cooler down much faster for some reason. Regardless, though the MacBook processor may have run hot, they have clearly found a great way to dissapate the heat. It literally was cooler than my iBook g4 12", I kid you not. I was very much taken away. Definitely lap-able if you ask me, but it might be a little warm for some people.

The MacBook I used this time was in the same location as the first time I used a MacBook. They must have switched the computers, because the trackpad button felt much better this time. Last time, it didn't give you a very good click. It was much worse than the iBooks click, which was a HUGE step back from the Powerbooks firm click. This trackpad button gave me the type of click I desire. It was nice and quiet but solid. It was almost identical to the MacBook Pro's. This was really nice because that was a huge dissapointment in my first MacBook experience. The trackpad in general is very nice. I enjoy the increased size. One thing that I can definitely see is why some people think the lip of the MacBook hurts their wrists. If you look closely, there are two levels and I can understand why it would bother some. It does not bother me however, and I am pretty picky. So take that for whats it worth.

As for the keyboard, in my initial impressions, I stated it was great and gave a much better feel than the MBP keyboards. I would like to take this chance and set the record straight and say they are equal in my opinion. The MacBook keyboard is pretty ugly and weird looking in my opinion, but it types as well as the MacBook Pro's. I can't tell you about the push and give, other than its a huge step up from an iBook g4 12". The design and theory behind the new keyboard are pretty nice, as it will keep it cleaner and make it much easier and cheaper in the event of a lost key.

The MacBook Pro's have some really nice features that it would be nice to see implemented in the MacBook. For example, having one USB port on each side makes it very convient and easy to hook up a mouse. Much easier than on the MacBook. This isn't a big deal at all, but I am just giving the thoughts that ran through my mind as I used these machines.

The build quality is much higher than the 12" iBook g4s. I was being really detailed today with the hinge, and picking it up and such, and it is definitely held together tigher with higher quality materials. It seems equally sturdy to a MacBook Pro, which is a great thing.

The Magnetic Latch is amazing. It really gives you an extremely satisfying click. The pro users are going to love this once it makes the transition. Apple hit a freaking grand slam on this one. This thing is here to stay.

I wanted to try video chatting with the integrated graphics to see how it was, but I could not connect to one my friends on iChat outside of the Apple Store. We kept getting Network errors.

It is blistering fast in comparison to the iBook g4 12". I unplugged the ethernet cable and was rendering websites faster than I have on any computer ever before. It was like lightning! I was blown away by the speed. I only had a chance to test Safari, but it freaking flew!!

I then converted the entire iTunes library from MP3(there was about 30 songs) to ACC. They were going at about 26.8x. That seemed outrageously fast to me compared to how fast they go on my PC, but that is not a fair comparison. They really seemed to go quickly, though.

I loaded the iPhoto library of exactly 300 pictures, and it was 3 bounces and I was scrolling through pictures. That is ridiculously fast. Absolutely outrageously sickly fast!!

Overall, I was EXTREMELY impressed with this laptop. It will definitely be the next computer I purchase. This is saying a lot since I consider myself a pretty hardcore user and the recent developments showing the sheer power of Merom and the prospect of getting one of those. Overall, this beast flies. It is plenty fast and then some for what I need. I give my experience with it a 10/10, as it improved on every single element of the iBook g4 12" I bought 18 months ago.

The widescreen makes it look really big. Really, really big, and really, really wide. The 15" MacBook Pro looks WAY bigger than my 17" LCD. It's really weird. Straight up bizzare.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2006-06-06, 00:06

Thanks for the review! My next Mac will be a MacBook. (2.0 GHz, unless they're updated - I'm not sure whether I'll spring for the black color yet.)

Yeah, I'm a bit worried about the size. I'm a fan of small notebooks - I think the 12" PowerBook G4 is one of my favorite Macs. The MacBook certainly isn't a compact notebook. It's not large, mind you, but the bezels on the screen are quite noticable - it's really more akin to a 14" widescreen notebook. Which isn't a bad thing, unless you're picky like me. But who knows - maybe we'll see a MacBook mini.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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pkatzman
Formerly "djfusion"
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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2006-06-06, 00:40

This is really good, encouraging news. Feels like we've mostly been hearing about all the problems with the MacBooks - whining, heat, slow screens, etc, so it's nice to hear some positives. Personally, I'm really excitied about the possibilities the Core Duos bring, despite buying a PBG4 in January. Makes me even more confident about purchasing an Intel Mac in around 2 years.

Thanks for the review.

Oh, and one more thing, I bet the 15" feels "bigger" because it's widescreen whereas your 17" (most likely) isn't. I've noticed that too with widescreen vs. non-widescreen monitors and can't really explain it, it's kind of odd..
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-06, 00:41

I definitely agree its the widescreen, it just makes it seem a ton bigger. It's weird.

It was a truly great experience. If I hadn't promised my GF i'd wait until I worked a few days/weeks before buying it I would have bought it today!!
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2006-06-06, 05:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by tensdanny38
I then attempted to install our very own Chucker's temperature measuring program, but it did not work with the MacBook.
Confused by this statement, I checked and noticed that my projects page still links to 1.0.0. 1.0.1 (direct download) should work just fine on the MacBook (as well as on the 17-inch MacBook Pro, or any other Intel Core-based Mac).
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neiltc13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
 
2006-06-06, 07:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker
Confused by this statement, I checked and noticed that my projects page still links to 1.0.0. 1.0.1 (direct download) should work just fine on the MacBook (as well as on the 17-inch MacBook Pro, or any other Intel Core-based Mac).
Works fine on my MacBook 1.83GHz.
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-06, 07:45

Hmm, that's really bizzare. It definitely gave me a message saying that the MacBook didn't have a measuring device or something. I don't recall the exact words to it.
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Windswept
On Pacific time
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Moderator's Pub
 
2006-06-06, 13:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by tensdanny38
Overall, I was EXTREMELY impressed with this laptop. It will definitely be the next computer I purchase. This is saying a lot since I consider myself a pretty hardcore user and the recent developments showing the sheer power of Merom and the prospect of getting one of those. Overall, this beast flies. It is plenty fast and then some for what I need. I give my experience with it a 10/10, as it improved on every single element of the iBook g4 12" I bought 18 months ago.
A great review, tensdanny.

Thanks for all the detail.

It sounds wonderfully exciting.
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alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2006-06-06, 14:33

Nice writeup. Even earned a new user title out of it.
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funduk
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
 
2006-06-06, 15:40

I just wanted to let you know that if you want to max out the cpu(s) you don't really need to start opening programs and stuff (since that will only max out the cpu temporarily anyway ).

The best way to do this is to open two terminals and type:
yes > /dev/null

... into both. Each instance of yes (which is kicking it's output into /dev/null, aka, 'nowhere') will use 50% of the processing power on the system since there is two cores.

Just 2 or 3 cents to maybe make future heat testing easier for you
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hotch
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Rocky Mountains
 
2006-06-06, 16:41

excellent writeup danny!
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-06, 16:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by funduk
I just wanted to let you know that if you want to max out the cpu(s) you don't really need to start opening programs and stuff (since that will only max out the cpu temporarily anyway ).

The best way to do this is to open two terminals and type:
yes > /dev/null

... into both. Each instance of yes (which is kicking it's output into /dev/null, aka, 'nowhere') will use 50% of the processing power on the system since there is two cores.

Just 2 or 3 cents to maybe make future heat testing easier for you

Thanks, that would have been nice to know!!
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bantock101
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
 
2006-06-07, 03:16

Please keep in mind that at the Apple store, they most likely have a T1 line, making the surfing experience there faster than most other places you may end up using your notebook. It makes it seem like it is the computer, when actually it is the connection.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2006-06-07, 03:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by bantock101
Please keep in mind that at the Apple store, they most likely have a T1 line, making the surfing experience there faster than most other places you may end up using your notebook. It makes it seem like it is the computer, when actually it is the connection.
In some cases, yes, if the website has a lot of information to load(lots of media or plugins or bandwidth consuming things). Then the connection matters in terms of how fast it gets that media, but most residential lines can load most webpages fast enough regardless, and the perceptual speed comes more from how fast the computer can render all the information.

You also have to take into consideration that while Apple might have a very fast connection at their stores, they also have, at any given time, 2-3 dozen devices on wired and wireless networks, so even with a very fast base, there would be bottlenecks created by the amount of user traffic anyway. Additionally, you have to keep in mind the server that the data is being received from. You could have the fastest connection in the world and still take 10 minutes to load applenova if applenova was being served off a residential cable line.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2006-06-07, 04:00

I'd like to chime in with my thoughts on playing with a macbook for the first time recently. It is a phenomenal machine, very powerful, snappy, light, thin, and well built. The only things that I would say annoyed me were the keyboard and the trackpad.

The keyboard is a major improvement over the old ibook keyboard, as is the trackpad, both feel wonderful and are very responsive and well designed... for the most part. I dislike how big they've made the trackpad, it's not a huge deal, but it is just kinda weird, there are measure to avoid accidental input, I know, but it seems like such an unnecessary edition. I suppose it is because they have been vamping up the trackpads touch features, but still.

The keyboard is very responsive and it feels great, my only gripe with that is that it feels a little bit too wide. I have huge hands and even then I found myself having a hard time trying to touch type or otherwise type at the pace I'm usually comfortable with. I'm sure I'd adjust very quickly, but it still stuck out to me.

I'm wary of the integrated graphics only because I feel them to be far less futureproof than a dedicated GPU. I'm sure that they can run all the OS and gizmos just dandy for the time being, but what about 3 years from now when the OS has become more complex, or iLife is more taxing, or more HD formats start becoming standard...etc. I mean, sure, 3 years might be time to upgrade anyway, but it seems like a dedicated GPU would be more assured to work later down the line than the integrated one.

I will most definitely be getting a macbook. I'm torn over wanting the Black one very badly(it looks amazing in person) and wanting to be economical. I have a hard time justifying $150 for a paint job, and since the HD is user upgradable now, getting the 80 GB HD standard doesn't really appeal to me, I could settle for 60 GB and bump it up to 120 on my own and probably save some cash.

The black model seems fairly out of place. It seems like it wants to be a 13" macbook pro, but lacking a dedicated gpu prevents it from really filling that role, despite being priced there.
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funduk
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
 
2006-06-09, 11:59

"I have a hard time justifying $150 for a paint job"

Think of it this way, everyone will know you spent more money just for the black! You'll be the coolest guy around!
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spikeh
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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2006-06-09, 15:58

Thanks TensDanny, I just persuaded my little brother to buy one on the basis of your review! You should get a commission
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-10, 01:00

I just bought my macbook today. I am very impressed with the display and the overall build quality thus far. As of right now, I would say you definitely need to put more ram in the machine, but other than that it is blazing fast. It is definitely cooler to the touch than my iBook 12" as well!

edit - I've been using this for about 2 hours at the point of this edit. They keyboard is really, really nice. Really quiet and firm. The display even looks more gorgeous in my home. Good lord, is that ever sexy! The trackpad kicks ass, but the button kind of sucks again. I received one where the trackpad was not as solid as the store models.

One thing is for certain is you need to upgrade the ram. My ram is on the way to my house, and it seems things just lag a bit like this.

Last edited by Partial : 2006-06-10 at 01:46.
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PB PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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2006-06-10, 02:39

I find it hard to believe that it runs cooler than the ibook (considering all the posts I have seen about how hot the Macbook runs) , but then again you have the 12" model... vs my 14" model, more space = more room to cool?
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-10, 02:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM
I find it hard to believe that it runs cooler than the ibook (considering all the posts I have seen about how hot the Macbook runs) , but then again you have the 12" model... vs my 14" model, more space = more room to cool?
It is definitely hotter interally. It is chilling at 58 degrees right now with only finder, dashboard, Shiira, Safari, and Adium open. However, it is cooler to the touch, most definitely.
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PB PM
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2006-06-10, 11:31

Even after a number of hours of use? Interesting, because I can use my ibook for hours and it only runs at around 45ºC, unless I play some games. I think thats a little hot for the knees, but I have beared it for short periods of time. I think I'm more interested in the heat of the new Intel chips over all, since I'm not looking at a Macbook due to the fact I like to play some of the higher end games (thus my desktop replacement of the future would be a Macbook Pro).
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-10, 12:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM
Even after a number of hours of use? Interesting, because I can use my ibook for hours and it only runs at around 45ºC, unless I play some games. I think thats a little hot for the knees, but I have beared it for short periods of time. I think I'm more interested in the heat of the new Intel chips over all, since I'm not looking at a Macbook due to the fact I like to play some of the higher end games (thus my desktop replacement of the future would be a Macbook Pro).
I used it from 11pm-3am with it on my legs last night. I never got unbearably or even uncomfortably hot and I had shorts on. I think at its hottest point to the touch, it is equal if not cooler than my iBook g4 12". Definitely cooler than my GF's 12" PB 1.5ghz. It was running at like 55-60 celsius the whole time.
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neiltc13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
 
2006-06-10, 12:41

My MacBook is currently idling at 55-60ºC. It gets much hotter if I do anything with video.
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-10, 12:49

I don't have my additional ram installed yet so I steered clear of the video stuff
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geneman
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2006-06-10, 17:50

First off, really nice review!

Out of curiosity, how much RAM did you order? and could you report the speed difference when you get it. thx
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-10, 17:52

I ordered a seperate gig, since it appears that the dual-channel mode is turned off anyway as 3dMark2003/5 reported very little score differences
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-10, 17:53

I used Chuckers program on my macbook, and it marinates between 50-65 degrees celcius, fyi. Clearly, coreduotemp was reporting something wrong in the initial review, as mine feels about the same as the store model did in terms of bottom heat.
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chucker
 
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2006-06-10, 19:51

CoreDuoTemp relies on the same technique, so the reported values were probably (as) accurate (as mine).
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BlueRabbit
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: San Francisco, CA
 
2006-06-11, 00:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by tensdanny38
it marinates between 50-65 degrees celcius, fyi.
Um....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dictionary.app
marinate |ˈmarəˌnāt| verb [ trans. ] soak (meat, fish, or other food) in a marinade : the beef was marinated in red wine vinegar.
I certainly hope you aren't cooking your MacBook.
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Partial
Stallion
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milwaukee
 
2006-06-11, 02:03

yeah I was using marinate as a substitute for like hangs out/chills, it just how I do things.
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