Apple MacBook (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz review:

Apple MacBook (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz

With no new CPU options, the big development in terms of performance is the new Nvidia chipset, called the GeForce 9400M, which also includes improved integrated graphics. Of course, one would not have to go far to improve on the Intel integrated graphics found in most laptops--we've long ago given up on trying to find a 3D-game test that gives playable frame rates from Intel's integrated graphics.

The GeForce 9400 graphics were impressive, giving us 58.7 frames per second in Quake IV (admittedly not the most hardware-intensive game) at 1,024x768 resolution. There may be some hope for integrated graphics yet--long the bane of any semi-serious PC gamer. The new MacBook Pro takes it one step further, including a separate discrete GeForce 9600 GPU and letting you switch between integrated and discrete graphics to save battery life or give better performance.

There's no doubt that Apple laptops are known for having above-average battery life. On CNET's video playback battery drain test, we got 4 hours and 3 minutes, which is shy of the "up to 5 hours of wireless productivity," promised by Apple. But as Web surfing can be less intensive than video playback, we could see getting close to that 5-hour mark in casual use. Notably, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro gets almost the same score with its dedicated GPU turned off (using only the integrated Nvidia 9400 chip, the same as in the 13-inch MacBook), and about 3 hours with the Nvidia GeForce 9600 card turned on.

Apple continues to both frustrate and impress with its service and support. MacBooks still have a standard 1-year parts-and-labor warranty, but only 90 days of toll-free telephone support. This, along with the proprietary nature of Apple's products, makes purchasing an extended Apple Care warranty almost a necessity, at $249 for a total of three years of coverage.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in minutes)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

OS X 10.5.5 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

OS X 10.5.5 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.53GHz; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M / 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

OS X 10.5.1 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT; 250GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

OS X 10.5.1 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 144MB Intel GMA X3100; 160GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm

Windows Vista Business Edition SP1; 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9400; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB Mobile Intel 4500MHD; 64GB Samsung Solid State Drive

Windows Vista Home Premium Edition SP1; 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD3400; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

What you'll pay

Best laptops of 2017 See All


Discuss: Apple MacBook (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, NVIDIA...

Conversation powered by Livefyre