MacBook

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The early 2010 MacBook
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The early 2010 MacBook

The MacBook is Apple's consumer notebook line. It was first released on May 16, 2006. The MacBook replaced Apple's previous low-end laptop line, the iBook, and also the 12" PowerBook G4. The original Rev. A MacBook was Apple's first consumer notebook to use Intel processors.

In October, 2008, Apple introduced a unibody aluminum version of the MacBook but retained a low-end polycarbonate version. At WWDC 2009, an improved aluminum version was merged into the MacBook Pro line, leaving only the white model to carry the name "MacBook," albeit with an improved white unibody case that's less prone to cracking. Apple discontinued retail sales of MacBooks on July 20, 2011, although sales to educational institutions continued until early 2012. With the end of the MacBook, Apple's 11 inch MacBook Air became the lowest priced portable Macintosh.

Hard disks and memory are end-user accessible and upgradeable in all MacBooks, although you will need a Torx screwdriver to replace hard disks. With the exception of Rev. A MacBooks, all MacBooks can operate with more memory than Apple's original published specifications.

Contents

Major Differences Among Revisions

The various MacBook revisions can be separated into five major groups:

  • The Rev. A MacBooks with their Intel Core Duo processors do not support 64-bit instructions, so they cannot run Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). They also have limited memory expansion capability (2GB maximum).
  • The Rev. B and C pre-Santa Rosa MacBooks feature 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processors and (optionally) dual layer SuperDrives, but they have limited memory expansion capability (3GB usable maximum unofficially).
  • The Rev. D through H polycarbonate MacBooks which all unofficially support up to 6GB of memory. However, models prior to Rev. G may not support OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).[1]
  • The aluminum unibody MacBook, effectively the very first 13 inch MacBook Pro, which unofficially supports up to 8GB of memory. Aluminum MacBooks do not have FireWire ports, though.
  • The white unibody MacBooks (Rev. I and J), which also support 8GB of memory and are functionally similar to then-current 13 inch MacBook Pros. Like the aluminum MacBooks, the Rev. I and J MacBooks feature a more durable case design and a longer-lasting LED-backlit display, but they also lack FireWire.

Rev. J

Overview

On May 18, 2010, Apple quietly upgraded the MacBook with a faster processor, 10-hour battery, and the same video circuitry as the 13" MacBook Pro. The Rev. J MacBook's Mini DisplayPort supports both audio and video output, like then-current MacBook Pro and iMac models. The price remained the same.

In late January, 2012, Apple released a firmware update for the Rev. J MacBook which adds support for Lion Internet Recovery. Lion Internet Recovery allows installation or reinstallation of Mac OS X 10.7 from Apple's servers via the Internet, without any startup media.

Rev. I

Overview

On October 20, 2009, Apple launched the first (and only) redesign of the polycarbonate MacBook. The Rev. I MacBook borrowed many elements from the MacBook Pro line including a built-in (non-swappable) 7 hour battery, glass multi-touch trackpad, DDR3 RAM, LED-backlit screen, Mini DisplayPort, single combined input/output audio connector, and unibody construction, though with a white rubberized covering. The unibody construction reduced or eliminated the older polycarbonate MacBook's tendency to crack with even routine handling, and it saved some weight.

FireWire and infrared support disappeared with this revision, thus the Apple Remote isn't compatible.

Specifications

Rev. I (Late 2009) White UnibodyRev. J (Mid 2010) White Unibody
Model ID MacBook6,1 MacBook7,1
Price (USD) $999
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.26 GHzIntel Core 2 Duo at 2.4 GHz
1066 MHz system bus, 3 MB shared L2 cache
Memory 2 GB (1GBx2) 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Supports up to 4GB (2GBx2), unofficially up to 8GB (4GBx2)
Storage 250 GB Serial ATA at 5400 rpm
BTO option of up to 500 GB at 5400 rpm
Graphics Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphicsNvidia GeForce 320M graphics
256 MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
Media 8x DL SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Display 13.3" glossy widescreen TFT, LED-backlit - 1280x800 resolution
Audio Optical digital [in/output]/headphone [in/out]
Ports two USB 2.0, one 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
Battery built-in 7 hour 60Whr Lithium-ionbuilt-in 10 hour 63.5Whr Lithium-ion
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Weight and Dimensions 2.13 kg (4.7 lbs), 2.74 cm thick (1.08 inches)
Other Front Row, built in iSight

Rev. H

Overview

On May 27, 2009, Apple quietly tweaked the polycarbonate MacBook once again. CPU speed increased to 2.13 GHz. RAM speed increased to 800 MHz DDR2. The standard hard disk was increased to 160GB. The unibody MacBooks remained unchanged, but less than two weeks later Apple upgraded all the unibody MacBooks and rebranded them to join the MacBook Pro line. That left only a single MacBook model.

Rev. G

Overview

On January 20, 2009, Apple quietly tweaked the polycarbonate MacBook. The front-side bus speed increased to 1066 MHz, and Apple replaced the Intel GMA X3100 graphics chipset with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M circuitry. Both these changes matched the low-end aluminum unibody MacBook. In addition, Apple slightly reduced CPU speed to 2.0 GHz (again matching the low-end unibody) but kept the 667 MHz DDR2 RAM while increasing standard RAM to 2GB. The unibody MacBooks remained unchanged.

Specifications

Rev. F (Late 2008) PolycarbonateRev. G (Early 2009) Polycarbonate Rev. H (Mid 2009) Polycarbonate
Model ID MacBook4,1 MacBook5,2
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.13 GHz
800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache1066 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache
Memory 1 GB (512MBx2) 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM2 GB (1GBx2) 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM2 GB (1GBx2) 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 4GB (2GBx2), unofficially up to 6GB (4GBx1,2GBx1)
Storage 120 GB with BTO options for up to 250 GB at 5,400 rpm120 GB with BTO options for up to 320 GB at 5,400 rpm160 GB with BTO options for up to 500 GB at 5,400 rpm
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
144 MB shared memory256 MB shared memory
Battery Life 4.5 hours5 hours
Wireless Bluetooth 2.0Bluetooth 2.1

Rev. F

Overview

After several months of rumors, accurate predictions and real photographs, the Rev. F MacBook was finally released at Apple's notebook event on October 14, 2008. Although Apple still sold the polycarbonate model, the new mid-range and high-end models included a new "unibody" aluminium enclosure. This design allowed Apple to produce a slightly slimmer, lighter, and arguably more durable notebook computer. Although a slower processor clock speed is used on the low-end unibody compared to the polycarbonate model, the faster front-side bus and RAM more than compensate for the difference.

After listening to the complaints about Intel's GMA X3100 being too slow, Apple decided to include NVIDIA 9400M GT circuitry with 256 MB shared VRAM in the unibody MacBooks. According to Apple, the 9400M is up to 5x faster than the GMA X3100. DDR3 RAM was also included for the first time, and Apple dropped its prices for RAM upgrades.

Controversially, Apple dropped the FireWire port in the unibody MacBooks, while the polycarbonate MacBook continued to offer FireWire 400. Also in the unibodies (only) Apple replaced the Mini-DVI port with a new Mini DisplayPort.

The single Revision F polycarbonate model is identical to the Revision E low-end white MacBook but with a SuperDrive upgrade. Apple dropped the U.S. price for this polycarbonate model to $999, making it the lowest priced MacBook ever.

Specifications

PolycarbonateLow-end AluminiumHigh-end Aluminium
Model ID MacBook4,1 MacBook5,1
Price (USD) $999 $1,299 $1,599
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.4 GHz
800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache1066 MHz, 3 MB L2 cache
Memory 1 GB (512MBx2) 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM2 GB (1GBx2) 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Supports up to 4 GB (2GBx2), unofficially up to 6 GB (4GBx1,2GBx1) Supports up to 4 GB (2GBx2), unofficially up to 8 GB (4GBx2)
Storage 120 GB Serial ATA at 5,400-rpm 160 GB Serial ATA at 5,400-rpm 250 GB Serial ATA at 5,400-rpm
BTO options for up to 250 GB at 5,400 rpmBTO options for up to 320 GB at 5,400 rpm or 128 GB SSD
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
144 MB shared memory256 MB shared memory
Media 8x Double-layer SuperDrive
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth

Notes

  • Aluminum unibody MacBooks must have an updated boot ROM (revision MB51.007D.B03 or later) and must run Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later to operate with 8 GB. Install MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.4 (or later) to update the boot ROM. Otherwise, the unofficial maximum memory is 6GB (4GBx1,2GBx1).
  • Some aluminum MacBooks, particularly those manufactured toward the end of the revision cycle, have higher quality display panels than those found in other MacBooks. In other words, Apple quietly shifted some of its aluminum MacBook production to a more MacBook Pro-like configuration.

Rev. E

Overview

The Rev. E MacBook was released on February 26, 2008. It was updated to the Penryn chip and the processor speed was increased by 100 to 200 Mhz across the board. Additionally, larger hard drives were added as standard to all models, and the two high end models came with 2 GB RAM as standard.

The L2 cache was 3 MB (down from 4 MB), but higher clock speeds and more efficient architecture still improved performance over the previous revision. The Apple Remote became an extra-cost option with this revision.

Specifications

Low-end (White)High-end (White)High-end (Black)
Model ID MacBook4,1
Price (USD) $1,099 $1,299 $1,499
Color White Black
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.4 GHz
800 MHz system bus, 3 MB shared L2 cache
Memory 1 GB (512MBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 2 GB (1GBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 4 GB (2GBx2), unofficially up to 6 GB (4GBx1,2GBx1)
Storage 120 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 160 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 250 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm
BTO option of up to 250 GB 5,400-rpm
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
Media 24x Combo Drive 8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Display 13.3" glossy widescreen TFT - 1280x800 resolution
Audio Optical digital input/line in and Optical digital output/headphone out
Ports One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
Weight and Dimensions 5.0 lb (2.27 kg), 1.08 inches thick (2.75 cm)
Other Front Row and built in iSight

Rev. D

Overview

Released on November 1, 2007, the Rev. D Macbook was a modest update. It was updated to the Santa Rosa architecture, the processor speed was increased slightly in the two high-end models, and the Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor was added.

Specifications

Low-end (White)High-end (White)High-end (Black)
Model ID MacBook3,1
Price (USD) $1,099 $1,299 $1,499
Color White Black
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.2 GHz
800 MHz system bus, 4 MB shared L2 cache
Memory 1 GB (512MBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 4 GB (2GBx2), unofficially up to 6 GB (4GBx1,2GBx1)
Storage 80 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 120 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 160 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm
BTO option of up to 250 GB 5,400-rpm
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
Media 24x Combo Drive 8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Display 13.3" glossy widescreen TFT - 1280x800 resolution
Audio Optical digital input/line in and Optical digital output/headphone out
Ports One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
Weight and Dimensions 5.0 lb (2.27 kg), 1.08 inches thick (2.75 cm)
Other Front Row, built in iSight and Apple remote

Rev. C

Overview

Released on May 15, 2007, the Rev. C MacBook was a modest update with faster processors, larger hard drives, and more RAM as standard. However, it still included the GMA 950 which meant that despite the processor upgrade, a MacBook Pro would still be substantially better at graphic intensive applications.

Specifications

Low-end (White)High-end (White)High-end (Black)
Model ID MacBook2,1
Price (USD) $1,099 $1,299 $1,499
Color White Black
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.16 GHz
667 MHz system bus, 4 MB shared L2 cache
Memory 1 GB (512MBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 2GB (1GBx2). Unofficially supports up to 4GB (2GBx2), of which 3GB is usable.
Storage 80 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 120 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 160 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm
BTO option of up to 200 GB 4,200-rpm
Graphics Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
Media 24x Combo Drive 8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Display 13.3" glossy widescreen TFT - 1280x800 resolution
Audio Optical digital input/line in and Optical digital output/headphone out
Ports One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
Weight and Dimensions 5.2 lb (2.36 kg), 1.08 inches thick (2.75 cm)
Other Front Row, built in iSight and Apple remote

Notes

  • Apple dropped its MacBook prices in most countries outside the U.S. with this revision.

Rev. B

Overview

Released on November 8, 2006, the Rev. B MacBook included Core 2 Duo processors and featured larger hard disks in the two 2.0 GHz models. Revision B MacBooks are the oldest models to support Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). Apple improved the SuperDrive so it could burn dual-layer discs.

Specifications

Low-end (White)High-end (White)High-end (Black)
Model ID MacBook2,1
Price (USD) $1,099 $1,299 $1,499
Color White Black
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo at 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.0 GHz
667 MHz system bus, 2 MB shared L2 cache 667 MHz system bus, 4 MB shared L2 cache
Memory 512 MB (256MBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 1 GB (512MBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 2GB (1GBx2). Unofficially supports up to 4GB (2GBx2), of which 3GB is usable.
Storage 60 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 80 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 120 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm
BTO option of up to 200 GB 4,200-rpm
Graphics Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
Media 24x Combo Drive 6x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Display 13.3" glossy widescreen TFT - 1280x800 resolution
Audio Optical digital input/line in and Optical digital output/headphone out
Ports One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR

Airport upgradable to draft-N spec with firmware upgrade

Weight and Dimensions 5.2 lb (2.36 kg), 1.08 inches thick (2.75 cm)
Other Front Row, built in iSight and Apple remote

Rev. A

Overview

The original MacBook was released on May 16, 2006. This revision sported an Intel Core Duo processor which was touted as a major improvement over the G4 used in its predecessor. The MacBook also introduced a 13.3" widescreen CCFL-backlit display with a resolution of 1280x800. Front Row and an Apple remote were now included along with Apple's Photo Booth software.

The MacBook was the first portable Mac to use integrated graphics, following its use in the Intel based Mac mini. Integrated graphics offer less performance when compared to the dedicated graphics cards such as those found on many MacBook Pro models. 3D performance was found to be worse than that of the last revision of iBook G4 which included a dedicated graphics card.

Being a first generation machine, it suffered from some issues such as fan and heat issues which were later fixed with firmware updates. Pieces of plastic were also found to be blocking the MacBook's rear vents on a few models which greatly increased operating temperature. The MacBook's plastic case was prone to cracking and there were some hinge problems, although Apple repaired many out-of-warranty MacBooks.

Specifications

Low-end (White)High-end (White)High-end (Black)
Model ID MacBook1,1
Price (USD) $1,099 $1,299 $1,499
Color White Black
Processor Intel Core Duo at 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo at 2.0 GHz
667 MHz system bus, 2 MB shared L2 cache
Memory 512 MB (256MBx2) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Supports up to 2 GB (1GBx2)
Storage 60 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm 80 GB Serial ATA at 5400-rpm
BTO option of up to 120 GB
Graphics Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
Media Combo Drive 4x SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Display 13.3" glossy widescreen TFT - 1280x800 resolution
Audio Optical digital input/line in and Optical digital output/headphone out
Ports One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
Wireless Airport Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
Weight and Dimensions 5.2 lb (2.36 kg), 1.08 inches thick (2.75 cm)
Other Front Row, built in iSight and Apple remote

History

Main article: History of MacBook Rumors

On June 6th, 2005, Apple announced that they would be transitioning the Macintosh to Intel Processors. The news came as a surprise to many. In the months prior to Macworld San Francisco 2006, an Intel-based iBook was expected to be announced at the expo, however it was not until May that the renamed line was released.

The short-lived aluminum MacBook was replaced with a cheaper 13 inch MacBook Pro at WWDC 2009.

See Also

Links


Models with Intel processors

iMac | Mac Pro | Mac mini | MacBook | MacBook Air | MacBook Pro | Retina MacBook Pro | Xserve