Sunday, October 19, 2008

Think about ignoring the new MacBooks

Since the announcement that new MacBooks would not have FireWire ports, there has been a firestorm of criticism on Apple's chat forums and other blog sites. Other complaints have centered around the price increase for MacBook Pros.

Loss of FireWire means no more connecting to other Macs via Target Disk mode. ALthough all Intel Macs can boot off of USB-2 external hard drives, and all the drives I have been recommending for backup purposes have both ports, I cannot recommend the new MacBook to anyone without hesitation. But for that, it would be a great machine and an appropriate replacement for the old 12" PowerBook G4. Still, if you can't imagine ever needing FireWire to link two Macs together or to hook up a digital video camera, it is a worthy product.

Migration without FireWire is still possible if you have a cloned backup to one of these multi-port drives because it can read that same drive through the USB port.

According to Ric Ford of Macintouch, the best buy right now is to get a remaindered MB Pro from Amazon or other sources, at a savings of as much as $500 over the new ones. I have that particular model myself and recommend it without reservation.

The now-cheaper white plastic MacBook ($999) Apple is selling alongside the aluminum ones has been upgraded with a SuperDrive (writes DVDs too) which actually makes it cheaper by $300. It comes with only one gig of RAM, though, so if you buy this model, which still has a FireWire port, be sure to get at least two gigs RAM at time of order.

Besides price, I don't see any problems with the new MacBook Pro models, except you must buy an extra-cost DVI adapter to use them with an external monitor you already have or any non-Apple one you may buy. They are designed specifically for the new Cinema Display, which has built-in video camera and speakers. Assume the adapters will ad $20-$30 to the total cost. The 24" Cinema Display looks hot, though, and at $900 is not too far out of competition with other manufacturers, especially if you would actually use the video camera for video chatting or podcasting.

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