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New MacBook Pro 13 vs. older MacBook 13?

by jennywren1420 / June 12, 2009 12:14 AM PDT

My dear old PowerBook Firewire model is showing its age badly?though if I thought it could be fixed for a reasonable amount (and competently), I might put some money into it. I'd have to replace the CD/DVD drive and the battery (and maybe even the soldered-in battery that keeps the time, etc.), and some of the keys on the right side don't respond to the Shift. The rest of it works just fine.

That is just to show you what I am like: I keep my computers for a long, long time. Also, because I have a working G4 desktop, I don't use the laptop a lot.

1. That said, I have been considering getting a new laptop, and when the desktop fails, that (and an external monitor and maybe a keyboard) will be my main computer. I like a lot of what the new MacBook Pro 13-inch offers, but I'm put off by the fact that the battery cannot be replaced. Or can it? That is at the heart of the matter: Is it just that I would not be able to replace it myself, or that I couldn't even get it replaced by clever techs? That is, is the computer done for, once the battery goes dead?

Also, I wondered about the battery in relation to the question of someone like me, who tended to use the computer with the AC adaptor, not detached from a power supply. In such a situation, the length of battery time is irrelevant, but the replaceability of the battery is not. I might even remove the battery at such times.

So, although I really like the return of Firewire, and the SD card is nice, I don't absolutely need those things. Would I do better to get the MacBook 13 (the generation before the Pro13)? Would that ensure that I could keep my computer as long as everything else besides the battery works?

2. Perhaps a silly question but one that I think is relevant. I see that neither MacBook has an internal modem. Does that mean that when my broadband connection goes down (it does that, though very rarely), I cannot use the few hours a month of dialup that my ISP provides for such situations?

Of course, since I don't need a laptop at the present moment, I suppose I could wait until either my desktop breaks down and can't be repaired or Apple comes across with a MacBook model with a removeable battery (if that really is a great plus). For me a laptop would be an occasional convenience, not a necessity. Still, if I should want to get the earlier model (spiffed up with the maximum HD and RAM), I think I must hustle. It may not be available for long.

Any observations would be very welcome. I know that some of this may seem silly to people who are not oriented to keeping equipment for long periods or to those who are more thoroughly informed than I, and for that I beg your indulgence and give you my thanks.



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About the battery.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 12, 2009 2:40 AM PDT

1. Apple has a web page about that. Not to duplicate that but look at the longevity of that battery. It is not your typical 18 month battery. We'll see if they hit the 5 year mark but it's a fine thing and I'll let you read the web about replacement costs and yes the question about DIY is answered.

My view? Much ado about nothing. I'll check back in 5 years.

2. Modems are truly dead. The dial up crowd is screaming over the rise in rates. Think about it. Less users = less users to share the costs = HIGHER PRICES = less users = less users to share the costs = HIGHER PRICES (keep repeating.)

For now I just head out to a wifi hot spot.

If you don't need it, skip it. It's only going to get better!

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Thanks, Bob
by jennywren1420 / June 12, 2009 7:55 AM PDT
In reply to: About the battery.

I went to the Apple page but didn't find anything there or in the discussions that dealt exactly with whether a professional Mac place could replace the battery, once it has been depleted. I did phone the Apple number, however, and the woman I spoke to said that she was "pretty sure" that the battery could be replaced (though of course, not by me?which was already clear). I guess it makes sense, since if someone had a broken battery *before* the statute of limitations (so to speak) ran out, that battery would be replaced.

Anyway, it sounds promising. It certainly would be nice to have the other features (Firewire, better screen, possibility of more RAM and bigger hard drive, to name a few) and a lower price?though I'm sure that any merchant wanting to dispose of its early 2009 MacBooks will reduce the price.

I asked about the modem only because my ISP offers a certain number of hours of dialup as an alternative when Wifi or broadband goes down, but that hasn't happened so far. And yes, I could take the laptop out to a place that had Wifi in such a case.

Well, thanks again. I'm still dithering, but I shall decide soonish.


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Here's the prices.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 12, 2009 9:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, Bob

Shopping around I see batteries ran about the same price so this price is darn reasonable since you get another 5 year battery and "the right battery."

I've read too much about this and my thoughts are simple. "Much ado about a good thing."

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Thanks for the link, Bob,
by jennywren1420 / June 12, 2009 9:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Here's the prices.

Just the kind of thing I wanted to know.



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About the modem
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 12, 2009 3:34 AM PDT

Apple's laptops, desktops too for that matter, have not had internal modems in them for a very long time.
However, Apple sells a $50 USB modem which works very well.
See it Here

It will be interesting to see what sort of warranty, if any, the 5 year battery has.


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Much obliged!
by jennywren1420 / June 12, 2009 8:05 AM PDT
In reply to: About the modem

Of course, as we all know, batteries can be the Achilles' heel in many devices. You have just given me something more to have nightmares about. Just kidding, but you truly have raised an arresting question.

Fact is, either MacBook would be likely to have more than enough space, RAM and more than I am likely to use, considering my dear old dinosaur of a G4 desktop (long may it roar) and the length of time I used my old PowerBook G3. But as I said to Bob, there are some very tempting features of the Pro that the earlier MacBook doesn't have, and since I would be using the thing with the AC adapter (once my G4 goes the way of, well, you know), I could well find myself never having to replace the battery because the rest of the computer would fail first. The woman I spoke to at Apple told me that the battery kind of rests?isn't recharging?when the AC adapter is being used, so that could lengthen the life of the battery beyond its normal span.

I hope that this information is useful to others. Thanks to you, as always.



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(NT) Very tempting features indeed!
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 12, 2009 11:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Much obliged!
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Bandwidth cap
by tipoo_ / June 15, 2009 12:56 AM PDT
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Mountain out of a mole hill
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 15, 2009 11:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Bandwidth cap

See the original post on this subject.

Apparently, not uncommon


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Thank you both
by jennywren1420 / June 16, 2009 9:35 AM PDT

Thanks to tipoo and Peter for their comments. Fact is, after reading the hot, hot, hot commentary in the thread from the link that tipoo sent me, I am hardly better equipped to make the choice. Anyway, with my antediluvian practices where computers are concerned, these issues seem unrelated to any reality in my computing life. All the specs on either the 2009 MacBook or the MacBook Pro are so far beyond anything I've known to date (even on my desktop, which is a G4 Sawtooth model) that I'm bound to be in awe when I use whichever one I buy. My standards are just too modest to make either anything but a good choice. I just need to decide before all the 13" MBs disappear. If I decide to get a MacBook Pro in the end, I can even wait to see how the dust settles on the SATA issue.

And so, once again, thanks. I have just spent what seems like a lifetime reading posts about this subject. I understand the issue better now than I did when I began (and find myself astounded at what some people know and care about regarding their computers), but it is clear that I would not suffer, whichever computer I buy.


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I'm glad
by tipoo_ / June 16, 2009 10:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you both

Well if you dont get in to the technical nitty-gritty your bound to enjoy a product much more than those of us who do, and your correct in thinking the SATA issue wont affect you much (i bet they will firmware patch it in a few months at most anyways), so enjoy your shiney new macbook!

Btw can i have your G4 Sawtooth? lol

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No way are you getting my Sawtooth! <grin>
by jennywren1420 / June 16, 2009 10:42 AM PDT
In reply to: I'm glad

I am hoping it will just grind on forever!

Anyway, it was good of you to write back.



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*Weeps silently*
by tipoo_ / June 17, 2009 4:14 AM PDT

Ah well, no G4 for me. Enjoy your new computer anyways though Wink

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(NT) NT Funny! But thanks for the wishes.
by jennywren1420 / June 17, 2009 1:42 PM PDT
In reply to: *Weeps silently*
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Using the Macbook without the battery
by jhE6600 / June 19, 2009 6:16 PM PDT

By the way, since you mentioned using your Macbook with the AC adaptor and without the battery, you should take a look at this KB article from Apple:
"MacBook and MacBook Pro: Mac reduces processor speed when battery is removed while operating from an A/C adaptor"

And evidently the reduction in speed is substantial, according to tests done by Gearlog - - up to 40% slower

So you might reconsider taking the battery out while running on AC, even though that reduces the battery's lifespan (hopefully what Apple claims with the 5-year lifespan on the new Macbook Pro batteries is true; in that case it shouldn't be a serious problem)

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Perhaps, I was unclear
by jennywren1420 / June 21, 2009 4:09 AM PDT

I haven't run my PowerBook without a battery when it's powered by AC; all I was wondering was whether there was an effect on the battery's longevity when using either the MacBook or the MacBook Pro with the AC adaptor. I know that AC allows one to work longer, and the battery to carry the computer away from the plug in the wall. Those are both very useful options.

So the question simply is, does the battery last longer if I use AC, or is it the length of time that the battery will be effective the same, regardless? I'd be asking the same thing, regardless of what laptop computer I was using.

Just as a side comment: I used a little Mac laptop?one of the earliest, which belonged to the office where I was working?without a battery for year, because it was needed only at my place of work. I also have used my PowerBook with a dead battery for quite a while because I was not sure whether to repair the other (mechanical) problems it has or to get a new laptop. There never seemed to be a problem using either one only on AC. Of course, all computers now are much different, so that may be an irrelevant observation.

I do thank you for your interest, of course, and I'm sorry if I didn't make myself plain in my original question. I really wasn't considering using a new laptop?whether the MacBook or MacBookPro?without a battery, although I can't help wondering whether there is a difference between the two, whether if I bought the MacBook, I could preserve the battery by removing it. (I know that I could not do that with the Pro.)



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That pesky battery question
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 21, 2009 8:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Perhaps, I was unclear

Certainly the battery will have a longer lifetime if it is removed from the laptop and not used.
However, the increased lifespan, maybe a month or two extra, comes at the expense of a much slower computer.

While the laptop is running off the AC adapter, most of the available power is directed to running the computer with only a trickle charge going to the battery. Once the battery is fully charged, I believe the trickle charge is removed but don't quote me on that.
Apple does not advise running the laptop with the AC adapter connected all of the time.

They do advise taking the battery down to a point where the machine shuts down and then recharging it, just to keep it up to par.

You will find some, light, interesting reading on battery maintenance Here


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charge and discharge cycles
by tipoo_ / June 21, 2009 8:07 AM PDT

Somewhat unrelated, but with all Apple's talk of charge and discharge cycles, it would seem that leaving your laptop plugged in 24/7 would be best for the longevity of the battery?

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I wonder about that, too.
by jennywren1420 / June 21, 2009 10:36 AM PDT

Eventually, the old PowerBook just gave up battery power altogether, but it still functions on AC. Does that make sense?

Ah, well. No matter. Unless I fix the PowerBook, even increase the hard drive and all that (if it's even possible to do so), there will have to be a MacBook or MacBook Pro in my future, some day, so whatever I did with the PowerBook is moot. (Yes, I do know that if I am still considering the MacBook, I must hustle and get one before they are no more.)

Well, thanks again, everyone, for the helpful advice and the links. Now, it's all on me.


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Read that chewy stuff
by jennywren1420 / June 21, 2009 10:27 AM PDT

and I shall probably have to read it again, in order to understand most of what it said. The bottom line seems to be that one should not always leave the computer on AC adapter but not leave the plug out for too long. Not that they say, exactly how long is too long or too short, do they?

Anyway, thanks for the link. I'll go back and peruse it further when the time arrives for me to do something active. So tempting, sometimes, just to do what I would need to do to bring my old PowerBook G3 (Firewire) back?new batteries, new or external CD/DVD drive, repair the connections for a few keys, but in the end it would still be its little humble self with less HD space than it is possible to conceive in this day of hundreds of GBs, a speed that barely approaches the tortoise's and its little bitty bit of RAM. Were it in good working order and fit for the future, this thread would never have been started. My needs are very modest, but maybe even that is too silly to contemplate. Sweet little machine, though. It has served me very well since 2001.


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(NT) Thanks
by jennywren1420 / June 21, 2009 10:02 AM PDT
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The SATA thingy...
by tipoo_ / June 22, 2009 8:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks
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