Apple MacBook Review: Part 1

New Apple “Standards”

Mini DisplayPort

The MacBook is also the first notebook to be released with DisplayPort. DisplayPort is a royalty-free, license-free design that was created by VESA as an alternative to DVI and HDMI.

HDMI is a superset of DVI, which is to say that everything that DVI can do, HDMI can do also. This makes it very easy to connect DVI devices to HDMI displays via a passive adaptor. DisplayPort is a completely different signaling protocol that has both technical and marketing advantages. The marketing advantage is that DisplayPort is royalty-free, which means that it’s cheaper for PC manufacturers and monitor manufacturers to implement a DisplayPort-only chain than an HDMI-only chain. The technical advantages are lower power, reduced lines (smaller cables both internally and externally), as well as a micropacket architecture where the clock is integrated into the signal. For laptops, DisplayPort theoretically allows the same signaling to be used for the internal display as the external display. The current MacBook, however, continues to use traditional LVDS module.

From a practical standpoint the use of HDMI adds additional costs, particularly on the monitor end, while the use of a DisplayPort front loads the processing on the output device (the computer), making monitors cheaper, while also remaining royalty free for the PC/notebook manufacturers.  The DisplayPort-only 24” LED Cinema Display is a good example of what can be done with a DisplayPort-only design; although the $900 price tag may seem higher than the competition, the monitor features a top-of-the-line LG Philips H-IPS panel with LED backlight technology, which cannot be found elsewhere. Monitors such as the HP DreamColor line use DisplayPort to enable 10-bit color support without paying the added royalties required for implementing a HDMI port with Deep Color capabilities. The pervasiveness of HDMI for consumer electronics means that notebook and PC manufacturers will always need to include support for DVI or HDMI signaling methods and so the use of DisplayPort-only is going to be restricted to PC monitors. 

Apple has chosen to go with their proprietary, but open and freely-licensable Mini DisplayPort connector. While the Mini DisplayPort offers the same 20 pins as the larger DisplayPort, the mini version relies on a friction fit to reduce the connector size. This allows smaller notebooks to be manufactured. Unlike the Apple Display Connector (ADC) which rolled DVI, USB, and power into a single cable but never found use outside the Mac, DisplayPort is still a young enough technology where the standards are still evolving. The forthcoming DisplayPort 1.2 standard is set to officially include Apple’s Mini DisplayPort.

  • mrubermonkey
    My spider sense is telling me that Tom's is desperate to bring in more readers with the release of this article, which is bound to conger up the same epic comment wars regarding Mac vs. PC of Mac articles past.
  • mrubermonkey
  • curnel_D
    Yawn. Basically, you were just explaining a normal notebook that costs more than it should. It's slightly thinner by the standards in it's class but is 0.38" really a big deal? (No.) The famed apple screens can be outperformed and sometimes for cheaper if you shop around, upgradability is shaky at it's very best, and it is generally more expensive than everything in it's class.
    Then of course, you list the Mac OS X as an improvement over the PC's. That's where almost every single person will find error in your article. It is nothing more than a watered down version of more powerful unix/linux OS's. Anyone who has work to do, wont use this. Yawn.
  • ravenware
    I had three options, all of which would require considerable amounts of time. One was to reformat the HDD and start with a fresh install of Windows Vista. It’d be tried and true, but it was still going to take a lot of time to redo the whole thing. I could switch entirely to Linux. I had already switched from IRIX to Linux several years ago, so I was already comfortable managing and troubleshooting Linux systems. Unfortunately, I still needed a system capable of running the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office. Open source alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite didn’t have the same quality or capabilities that I needed, while OpenOffice lacked the same multi-core computation capabilities that Excel offers for some of my more complex spreadsheets. The third option was to try switching to a Mac.

    When Core i7 desktop processors were available in greater quantities, I’d rebuild my Windows PC then.

    I was too careful, too savvy, and too poor to switch to a Mac.

    This seems rather illogical. Reformatting the drive wouldn't cost anything but time and if your too poor then why spend 1300+ on a new computer? You would also still spend time and possibly more money on installing your apps.
    You also spent time and money on upgrade options.

    Who is "We"? We is used often in the article, I thought this article was one mans account/review on switching over to a mac.

    I would like to know more about what you actually do for a living and what you really use your computers for too.

    I and the majority of the Toms hardware readers are diehard windows users too and I can not afford to pick up a $1300 laptop to see if I like it or not. So I am very interested to see how this unfolds.
  • ravenware
    Oh yeah, why would the need to reformat your computer lead to building a new core i7 machine?
  • one-shot
    ..The scent of Mac-ness and the sense of power that comes with it. Maybe spending twice as much isn't such a bad idea after all.............
  • marraco

    I found lots of spam "comming" from my computer. Even when I had run Linux -Live CD only- for a month.

    Headers are easy to fake, so, are a common spam trick, to hide real spam origin.

    By the way, there are some easy fix you could had used:

    1- Use virtual machines to access Internet.
    2- Use utilities as Norton Ghost for fast "formatting". In minutes your computer restore a partition image ready to use with all your software installed.

    I don't want to hurt your feelings, but it looks like you spent an enormous effort to justify pay for an overpriced Mac OS (overpriced because the obsolete hardware you had buy does not wort a penny, so you are paying for the OS only).
  • Pei-chen
    Reads like crap only Anand himself would have written. You went Mac because someone better (a hacker, virus writer, whoever) defeated you? That's like saying you went gay because someone get the girl you're after.

    BTW, where are the reviews of web based Java game we were promised? You got a Mac so you're not reviewing SC2 that's for sure.
  • chaosgs
    Why would anyone "switch" to a mac, when pc will do everything you need for half the price. Everything you mentioned in this article, all pc's (vista pc's) in the world can do at half the price.

    As for security, i don't need security on my computer, i NEVER get any viruses, and if i did Norton or avg would take care of all that.

    Mac aint got shit on pc.
  • arkadi
    It more like an opinion (commercial stile) not a review. It a good article with all the specs and the pictures, but it far from being objective. And the suggestions that was made here...If you writing a review, you can't emphasize the superiority of your product on expanse of other (Microsoft in this case).