MacBook



The MacBook is a line of Macintosh notebook computers developed and marketed by Apple Computer. The MacBook was introduced on May 16, 2006 to immediate availability in all United States Apple online and retail stores. The MacBook replaced the iBook G4 series as well as the last of the PowerBook series, the 12" PowerBook G4.

The MacBook is based on the Intel Core Duo processor and is available in three configurations: 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz with a white polycarbonate enclosure, and a 2.0 GHz model in a matte black case. Every model has a built-in iSight webcam, and a magnetic latch mechanism. The MacBook line is the companion to the higher-end MacBook Pro line.

The 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz Core Duo (retailing at US$1099 and US$1299, respectively) are equipped with a 60 GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive and the 2.0 GHz Core Duo premium black model (US$1499) features an 80 GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive. The two higher end models are equipped with an internal SuperDrive (DVD±RW, CD-RW), while the low end model features a Combo Drive (DVD-ROM, CD-RW).

All MacBooks come with integrated iSight, mini-DVI, MagSafe power connector, upgradeable 512 MB (2x256) RAM, built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet, AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, Sudden Motion Sensor and Scrolling TrackPad, as well as an Apple Remote. The ATI Radeon 9550 GPU used in the iBook has been replaced by an Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64 MB of DDR2 SDRAM (shared memory). The MacBook features a 13.3" glossy LCD display (1280x800) which is 79% brighter and provides 30% more viewing area than the iBook. The MacBook weighs 5.2 lbs (2.36 kg). It also includes a Trusted platform module chip, which may be used for Digital Rights Management.

The MacBook comes preloaded with iLife, Front Row and Photo Booth.

The MacBook's appearance is largely based on that of its predecessor, the iBook G4. In addition to the classic white case, Apple is offering a premium black case option, both cases made from polycarbonate, the thermoplastic Apple is known for using in many of its products. The two color decision has already received some criticism due to the fact that the stock black model costs US$150 more than a white model using the same hardware configuration. Also, some Apple fans think the black MacBook looks more like a generically designed portable from PC manufacturers such as Dell and HP. However, Apple laptops such as the PowerBook G3 came in black cases as well, so this is not quite as unusual as it may at first seem.

The MacBook features a glossy display, a first for Apple, which had used matte displays exclusively in its previous laptops. The different reflective properties of glossy displays are said to increase color saturation when compared to matte displays; this is a point of contention for many users, as some find them an improvement while others find them distractingly reflective. The display has a more narrow viewing angle than the matte displays, which is a disadvantage if the screen is not pointed directly at the viewer, but an advantage for use in public areas, as it is less open to casual inspection by others. Apple's approach with the new glossy display is similar to that of other PC manufacturers such as Sony with its XBRITE displays.

The MacBook also features a new keyboard design. Unlike the iBook and Titanium Powerbook's keyboard, it is not removable; instead, each key is individually integrated into the casing with about 5 mm of space between neighboring keys. This is ostensibly intended to give the keyboard a sturdier feel and to avoid keyboard contact with the screen when closed. The color scheme for keys and labels is white and gray for the white model and black and white for the black model.

The MacBook, unlike recent portable Macintosh computers, has an integrated GPU. It uses an Intel GMA 950 graphics processor instead of an ATI Radeon series GPU as featured in the iBook it replaces and in Apple's professional line of notebooks. Apple has also chosen not to include a graphics section in its MacBook product website, downplaying the significance of the MacBook's graphical capabilities. Intel's integrated graphics chipsets have been criticized in the past for being unable to handle graphically-intensive tasks such as complex 3D gaming and other heavily GPU-dependent processes.

Apple has most likely used integrated Intel graphics as a cost-cutting measure, as the Intel GMA chipset is cheaper than most discrete GPU solutions from ATI and nVidia. While the Intel GMA 950 lacks dedicated VRAM and other useful features such as Hardware Transform and Lighting (T&L) functionality and advanced pixel and vertex shaders, it is highly optimized for video playback and requires less power to operate than most ATI and nVidia chipsets, generating less heat (no fan required). Reportedly, graphics performance for non-3D-intensive tasks is on par with the MacBook Pro models.

The MacBook is the second of Apple's computers to use integrated graphics, after the Mac mini, a desktop model that, like the MacBook, is aimed specifically at typical consumers, which is one new way that Apple is differentiating between its consumer and professional product lines.

The MacBook is different from its iBook predecessor in terms of user serviceability. It is much easier to disassemble compared to the old iBook, which required removing many components such as the EM shields to get to anything, whereas the MacBook requires simply the removal of the outer shell to access almost any interior component. However, the redesigned keyboard is integrated into the main body of the laptop and is thus no longer easily removable or replaceable. By contrast, the MacBook's internal hard drive and RAM are now easily accessible via the underside of the unit. Replacement of the bigger MacBook Pro's internal hard drive is more difficult, requiring disassembly by an authorized service provider to prevent risk of voiding the warranty. This also applies to the older iBook.

Unlike the iBook and PowerBook product lines, the MacBook family is marketed as a continuous range of portables. The main differences (besides price) between the MacBook and MacBook Pro product lines are size and weight, display resolution and graphics performance.

The MacBook Pro's aluminium enclosure accounts for its relatively low weight, considering its size, of 2.54 kg (5.6 pounds) for the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro model, which has a display resolution of 1440 × 900.

The MacBook Pro furthermore features an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card (128 or 256 MiB GDDR3), compared to the MacBook's integrated Intel GMA 950. Other notable differences include the illuminated keyboard, dual-link DVI port, ExpressCard/34 slot, and 7200 rpm hard drive option on the MacBook Pro. The 17-inch MacBook Pro also features an extra USB 2.0 port (three instead of two), a Firewire 800 port and an 8X dual-layer SuperDrive, unlike the two upper-end MacBooks' and the 15.4-inch MBP's 4X single-layer SuperDrive. The MacBook is currently the only model with a magnetic latch.

The basic MacBook Pro is priced at US$1999, which is US$500 more than the top-of-the-line black MacBook.

A number of MacBook owners have reported a strange "mooing" noise coming from their laptops. This is caused by the sound created by the fans as they turn on and then subsequently off continuously. Apple has released a firmware update that makes the fans kick in at a lower temperature, thus stopping the mooing sound and making the machines run cooler altogether. One MacBook owner previously complained about a similar problem with a MacBook Pro, which Apple replaced. The computer has also been reported to have a tendency to run hot, which some blame on poor application of thermal paste. Ars Technica's Clint Ecker recorded the temperature of his Macbook rising above 80 degrees Celsius. Users are reporting no more "mooing" noise and cooler temperatures after applying the SMC Firmware update that was released by Apple on August 17, which runs the fans slowly and continuously to prevent "mooing". The new firmware is also different in that it responds to both CPU usage and temperature, rather than temperature alone. This allows the cooling fans to become more active before the temperature gets a chance to reach undesirable levels. In a sense, temperature control is now more about prevention rather than reaction.

Other MacBook owners complained of discoloration that appeared on the palmrests of their MacBooks, which Apple has acknowledged as a manufacturing problem after a few weeks, offering to replace that part of the casing. Apple has issued a Knowledge Base article regarding this issue. This issue is unique to the white MacBooks.

Another issue found in a few laptops lies in the trackpad button, which some users report to be unresponsive. This error has been attributed (in most cases) to inadvertently having a second finger on the trackpad, which initiates the "scroll" fuction rather than the "pointer" function.

A recent issue affecting the Macbook are 'random shutdowns' that have been occuring, where the machine suddenly shuts down and becomes difficult to turn on again for several minutes. It is unknown how many Macbooks are affected, and the dubbed "RSD's" seem to be unaffected by system temperature. It appears the problem is related to the heat sink expanding and short circuiting a nearby cable. Once these shutdowns begin they may increase in frequency, potentially causing the machine to be unable to turn on. Several hundred users have registered their affected machines on the above website. Apple have now formally recognised this problem on their website and have advised anyone with this problem to contact Applecare.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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