2009 13" White MacBook Review


by Charles W. Moore & Steve Hildreth

Apple's long standing, since November 2006, entry-level white polycarbonate 13" MacBook was updated in May 2009 with faster clock speeds, from 2.0GHz to 2.13GHz, along with adding 40GB of standard hard disk capacity (to 160GB), and also upgrading the price-leader 'Book's RAM specification to 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM from 667MHz RAM in the preceding version, although it's still slower than the MacBook Pros 1066MHz. The standard RAM capacity remains at 2GB, upgradable to 4GB or (unofficially) 6GB.

With this week's refresh, the base MacBook is now about as powerful as the $200 more expensive low-end unibody 13" MacBook Pro, and has actually received two refreshes so far this year. The White MacBook is popular in the education market and now offers better value for the money.

Aside from the changes noted above, the WhiteBook's specification remains the same. The $999 machine already got Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics with 256MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared memory and a faster 1066MHz frontside bus in its January 21st update. The polycarbonate shell continues to offer good wireless performance and easy access to the hard drive in a bay accessible through the battery cavity on the underside of the computer. The 13" glossy widescreen 1280x800 display is unchanged.

Apple's recent updates to its $999 White MacBook should attract some cost-conscious, value-oriented consumers over the laptop-buying fence, with its faster processor; larger capacity hard drive; status as the only MacBook left with FireWire support, and comparatively long battery life. Very attractive to many Mac laptop fans is the FireWire port - which the unibody MacBook Pros no longer sport.

However, what you don't get are the Pro's luscious unibody designs, which include the new mini DisplayPort connector, faster 1066MHz DDR3 memory, and an LED display backlight.

White 13-inch MacBook (May, 2009) Base Specs.:

• 2.13GHz

• Intel Core 2 Duo

• 2GB DDR2 Memory

• 160GB hard drive

• NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

• Standard keyboard

• White polycarbonate shell

• $999.00