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What are the differences between the three original MacBook models?
Please note that all systems mentioned in this Q&A have been discontinued. The original MacBook models were replaced by the "Late 2006" MacBook Core 2 Duo models.
Photo Credit: Apple Computer
While closed, all three are 1.08 inches "tall", 12.78 inches wide, 8.92 inches deep, and weigh 5.2 pounds. Each has a 13.3-inch "glossy" widescreen display with a 1280x800 native resolution housed in a polycarbonate case.
All three have "scrolling TrackPads" that allow one to scroll or pan by touching the trackpad with two fingers instead of one, as well as new "two-finger click" capability, which allows one to place two fingers on the trackpad and click with the thumb and the notebook interprets this action as the same as a "control-click". Each also have built-in iSight video cameras for easy videoconferencing, included Apple Remotes for use with Apple Front Row media organization software, and the clever "MagSafe" power connector. They also share a unique "flush against the bed" keyboard design and a magnetic latch that "catches without a catch", meaning that it is "sealed" simply by two magets rather than a magnetically attracted latch with a moving part.
They have the same connectivity -- AirPort Extreme (802.11g), Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire "400" port, mini-DVI out, and optical digital audio in/out. None have an internal modem, although an external Apple USB Modem is available for US$49.
Internally, the MacBook models share the same logic board design with Intel "Core Duo" processors -- each with two independent processor "cores" on a single silicon chip -- a 2 MB shared "on chip" level 2 cache, a 667 MHz frontside bus, support for 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) RAM, hard drives with "Sudden Motion Sensor" technology that stops the hard drive heads from moving if the notebook is dropped, and no doubt to the disappointment of some, "the Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory". Regardless, the MacBook systems all support external displays up to 1920x1200 pixels.
Apple quotes a maximum battery life of six hours for all MacBook notebooks with the provided 55-watt-hour battery, although the company estmates 3.5 hours while using wi-fi and 2.5 hours of DVD playback.
With the similarities covered, the differences can be summed up by "configuration, color, and price", which are summarized in this handy chart:
|MacBook "Core Duo"||1.83||2.0 (White)||2.0 (Black)|
|Processor Speed:||1.83 GHz||2.0 GHz||2.0 GHz|
|Hard Drive Size:||60 GB||60 GB||80 GB|
|Standard RAM:||512 MB||512 MB||512 MB|
|Optical Capabilities:||8X "Combo"||4X SL "SuperDrive"||4X SL "SuperDrive"|
|Apple Part No:||MA254LL/A||MA255LL/A||MA472LL/A|
Savvy readers will notice that although the black clad model is cool, the "mid-level" system could be upgraded to an 80 GB hard drive for US$50 at the time of purchase, so the black casing alone costs an extra US$150. An excessive premium, perhaps, for those more concerned with cost than appearance. Long-time readers will also be able to tell their friends who remark that they've never seen a black Apple notebook, that there have been lots and lots of them.
Please refer to the Ultimate Mac Comparison feature to dynamically compare any MacBook model to any other G3 or later Mac.