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White & Black MacBook Q&A - Revised June 5, 2009

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What are the "pros and cons" of the MacBook? Is it right for my needs?

Please note that the "White & Black" MacBook models have been discontinued.

Like any other purchase, only you can make the decision whether or not the MacBook is the right notebook for you, but you can evaluate the pros and cons of the series to see if your needs are met. This "run down" may be helpful in making a decision:


  • Relatively lightweight, sleek design.
  • Widescreen display.
  • Quick and easy to upgrade the RAM and hard drive.
  • Quite fast when running "Universal" applications, as fast as some MacBook Pro models in some situations.
  • Gigabit Ethernet standard.
  • Built-in iSight camera for easy video conferencing.
  • Clever "MagSafe" connector helps protect the system from damage.
  • Relatively inexpensive.


  • Heavier than the replaced PowerBook G4 12" models and some competitive Windows notebooks.
  • Glossy display casts a glare in direct lighting.
  • Processor cannot be upgraded.
  • MacOS X applications forced to run via "Rosetta" sometimes are no faster, and sometimes are slower, on some MacBook models than the same applications running on late model PowerPC-based Macs.
  • No support of MacOS 9/Classic applications.
  • Integrated graphics "borrow" system RAM and are substantially slower than dedicated graphics.
  • No internal modem.
  • No expansion slot (ExpressCard/34 or PC Card).
  • Built-in iSight may prevent use in high-security environments.
  • Prior to the introduction of the "Early 2009" MacBook, the entry-level MacBook consistenly had been more expensive than the entry-level iBook models.

Basically, if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive and powerful notebook Mac, and have no MacOS 9/"Classic" applications, and no older "mission critical" MacOS X applications that are incompatible or run too slowly using "Rosetta", then the MacBook would be an excellent choice.

If performance (particularly 3D graphics performance), screen size, or expansion are high priorities, the MacBook Pro might be a better option. If compatibility with older applications or hardware (PC cards) is critical, a PowerBook G4 would be a wise choice. If you need to find a cheaper Mac notebook, a used or refurbished iBook G4 is worth consideration. Site sponsor PowerMax sells all of these systems.

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