Cheap Laptops

Where do you look when you look for cheap laptops? (Hint, it isn’t Wal-Mart … for me, at least.) Apple finally launched their Intel-based consumer level (call them anything but cheap) laptops earlier this week, and the net was abuzz. Get ready to consider an Apple as your next PC …

I didn’t get the chance to stop by our local Apple Store to check out the new MacBooks in person until yesterday at lunchtime. (Hey, I’m trying to cut down on driving by combining trips … I stopped to look at VW TDI diesels, got a haircut, stopped at the Apple Store, grabbed a sandwich at the deli, and picked up my kid — all in one loop.)

Just in case you haven’t read the specs elsewhere, there are three models: a base 1.83GHz Core Duo in white, and two 2.0GHz models — one white, one black. Differences between the three models are minor. All are 13.3-inch glossy widescreens, sporting 1280 x 800 resolution. Each model includes 512MBs of RAM (2x256MB SODIMMs), expandable to a maximum of 2GBs. The 1.83GHz white MacBook comes with a 60GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA HD and a slot-loading Combo drive (DVD-ROM, CD-RW). The white 2.0GHz also uses the 60GB drive and adds Apple’s SuperDrive (DVD±RW, CD-RW) in place of the Combo drive. Other than the case, the black 2.0GHz is exactly the same as the white model, differing only with its 80GB HD.

Snapshot:


1.83GHz Intel Core Duo – White case


60GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA HD


Combo drive (DVD-ROM, CD-RW)


$1,099.00

2.0GHz Intel Core Duo – White case


60GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA HD


SuperDrive (DVD±RW, CD-RW)


$1,299.00

2.0GHz Intel Core Duo – Black case


80GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA HD


SuperDrive (DVD±RW, CD-RW)


$1,499.00

I asked the friendly Apple Store associate about the $200 premium on the black 2.0GHz model when compared to its white sibling.

“So basically, it’s $200 more for the black 2.0GHz for 20 gigs of additional hard drive space and a black case?”

“Yup.”

Word is that the MacBook’s RAM and HD are super-easy to upgrade, sitting just inside the battery door (behind an easily removed shield).

I’m keen on the base model. I’ll live without DVD-writing capability and handle the RAM upgrade. While I’d love to have a rugged Panasonic laptop, economic reality has set in … I can live with the MacBook …

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