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I was quite surprised to learn today that Apple have quietly updated the “old” white MacBook to include the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics that its younger Aluminium brother uses. They’ve also doubled the amount of RAM to 2GB and updated Bluetooth to 2.1, while dropping cpu speed to 2.0GHz (from 2.1GHz, but the bus speed is up from 866MHz to 1066Mhz). I had assumed that the white MacBook was still on sale to clear out stock whilst also acting as a “budget” Mac offering but this update would suggest i was quite wrong. Maybe with the global economy in the state it is, Apple decided to keep the cheaper option available a while longer? Cheaper for them to upgrade the internals of the White than reduce the prices on the Aluminium perhaps?

So now the White shares much the same spec as the base Aluminium model, what do you get for the extra £210 on the price tag of the latter? Obviously there’s the sturdier aluminium “unibody” casing over a white polycarbonate shell but other than that… well… (in no particular order)

  • 3.4mm off the height
  • 230 grams lighter
  • DDR3 at 1066MHz over DDR2 at 667MHz
  • 30% larger SATA hard drive (160GB vs 120GB)
  • the “full” Multi-touch trackpad
  • 5 hours (claimed) battery life over 4.5hours
  • mini-DisplayPort instead of  mini-DVI output
  • Glass screened, LED display rather than TFT display
  • Resolutions of upto 2560×1600 on an external display over resolutions upto 1920×12001
  • oh, and a missing FireWire port

In other words, not a lot that Joe Public would spot. It’s the choice of a robust (solid aluminium case, glass screen) notebook that might run for an extra half-hour or two hundred quid in your pocket and a machine with Firewire. Difficult to call, but i think i’d probably go with the White MacBook, tight Yorkshireman that i am. Funny, because if i’d chosen the White MacBook back in October when the Aluminium MacBook was announced i’d be gutted by today’s update. Absolutely gutted. Fortunately though, back then, i decided on the Aluminium MacBook because of the “5 times faster” nVidia graphics…

  1. That’s according to the tech specs anyway – i suspect there may be some copy/paste error with that figure though. Why would it be different if they’ve put in the same graphics card?