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Should I buy the basic macbook for $999 ?

by naranja7 / December 3, 2008 2:23 AM PST

I am struggling to afford it, but I just can't bring myself to buy a PC, now that I have an apple desktop. I really can't afford to go with the higher end laptops, just want some opinions if it is worth it.

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That depends
by tleMega / December 3, 2008 8:12 AM PST

For $1000, you get the low-end, plastic MacBook. Any Mac is, by all means, a good computer, but considering the price difference between the White MacBook and the aluminum models, and the performance and spec bumps, I could never bring myself to take it. If you wanted a cheaper MacBook, many online retailers are reselling last generation hardware at prices as low as $800-$900 for an extremely low-end MacBook. For a new Mac, that's not bad at all.

I have seen both the old and new MacBooks, and I think that the new ones are quite amazing. Huge improvements. The new trackpad is a little different, but the unibody enclosure and NVIDIA graphics are very nice. I have seen friends who have had white MacBooks, and the lesser build quality will show over time. One MacBook I saw was chipping and cracking on the front, and the palm-rest areas were completely discolored from use. With an aluminum MacBook (or MacBook Pro), I have found that a soft cloth and some polish will clean up almost any regular marks from use. If you care about that sort of thing, you would be better off with the aluminum model. Also, be aware that the aluminum models are very easy to upgrade (Ex: hard drive, RAM) and are compatible with the new Apple displays. I think they are also lighter, use "greener" LED displays, and a little thinner. Huge overhaul from the previous lineups.

One problem with the new ones is the fact that FireWire is gone. The white MacBook still has the FireWire 400 port, which will allow you to use a compatible camcorder or hard drive on it. If you need that, get an older MacBook. If you can't manage to opt for an aluminum machine, then get the low-end one so you can still enjoy the Mac OS. A plastic MacBook will still work fine. Good luck.

-BMF

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About that Firewire. . . .
by jennywren1420 / December 13, 2008 2:00 AM PST
In reply to: That depends

I'm not anywhere ready to buy a new laptop (or desktop), but I do use a Firewire external drive for backup on my current computers (a G4 Sawtooth tower and a G3 Powerbook with Firewire). Is there anything, adaptor or something else, that allows use of a Firewire device with a MacBook, or would I need to get a MacBook Pro when I'm ready to get a new computer? This is important for a cousin of mine who is about to get a new computer, too.

Thanks so much,

Jenny

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You have limited choices
by tleMega / December 13, 2008 7:30 AM PST

I don't think you will be able to find a USB-to-FireWire cable. I think there may be one or two in existence, but the prices would be very high for those adapters. It would be difficult to track one down, I'd imagine. Since they're two different technologies, I wouldn't try to bridge the two together.

If you could network your FireWire devices, then you may be able to make them work on the new MacBook. Otherwise, you have no option but the MacBook Pro, if you need a notebook. Problem is the MacBook Pro costs quite a bit more, but hopefully its other benefits would be worth it for you or your cousin.

The Pro has a FireWire 800 port, but there are many 400-to-800 adapters out there. Those shouldn't be too expensive. All of your FireWire 400 electronics will work on that. Good luck.

-BMF

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Firewire or Not
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 13, 2008 9:47 PM PST

Yesterday I posted a reply to this question and today, it's not here.
So, there is not a USB to Firewire connector/adapter but all is not lost.
While it is always nice to be able to keep the peripherals that one already owns, sometimes this is not always possible. I have a number of SCSI external hard drives that no longer have anywhere to be plugged into.

The price of the low end MacBook is $1299 with the high end being $1599 (These are just stock machines without any additional RAM, etc.)
The MacBook Pro starts at $1999. That's a difference of between $300 and $700. For much less than that, you could get a HUGE, fast, quiet, warranted for 5 years, external USB 2.0 hard drive or even one with Firewire/Firewire800/USB2.0/eSata.

Spending an extra $700 just to be able to use an old external drive just does not make sense when you can get a Terrabyte of external storage for $209.
Check it out
Just one place I looked

P

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what are you looking for?
by Flaming_VT / December 3, 2008 11:15 AM PST

the white version is pretty much the same as last generation. if you are looking for a cheap mac but dont want to risk on used for whatever reason, check this page out:

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

"refurbished" in my experience pretty much means leftover store models or returned computers that apple then fixed. the nice thing is that they have the same 1 year warranty as new macs. the cheapest is $850 for basically the same macbook you are looking at.

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