Apple has updated the US$999, white MacBook to some of the specs of the new “unibody” models – but retaining the one thing we like about it, namely, an actual FireWire port. (The only other option has been upgrading to the Pro for significantly more cash.)

Now for US$999:

  • NVIDIA 9400M graphics (meaning this is mainly a story for visualists, so see our take on Create Digital Motion – but the rest of you can more easily enjoy World of Warcraft, if so inclined)
  • Newer Core 2 Duo, still 2.0 GHz but now with a faster 1066 MHz frontside bus for a marginal performance improvement
  • 2 GB instead of the ridiculous 1 GB RAM, meaning you don’t necessarily have to buy a RAM upgrade to use it
  • Bluetooth 2.1

More important is what didn’t change: it still has FireWire. And it’s still the cheapest new mobile Mac you can buy. It also still has the older-style Mini-DVI video connector, but it does not support the old adapters or TV out.

If you’re looking to run Windows or cross-platform software, of course, the PCs in the same price range remain competitive. But then, if you want Mac OS, Logic, and various Mac-only tools, that isn’t really an option, is it?

  • tricil

    Not to mention, running BootCamp on it and having both OSes

  • Peter

    How good is this machine for running logic? Are there any comparison charts anywhere about how many reverbs, softsynths, et al that can be run on this machine versus the rest of the Mac lineup?

  • @Peter:

    That was the 2006 model, and we already had more power than we knew what to do with CPU-wise. Logic runs just fine. (Now, things like Reaktor or even Live can get a little more intensive under certain circumstances… but you get the idea.)

    For real world music production use, the main advantages of the Pro have more to do with extra I/O, ExpressCard expansion (which now supports stuff like the UAD-1), the fast FireWire 800 connection, drive performance, and the bigger screen.

    And on either model, your biggest benchmark may actually be the hard drive.

  • shoo

    can we really do something with this mac ? i'm really wondering cuz i want to switch from pc to mac. But the 5400rpm HDD makes me a little afraid for recording with logic and a lot of virtual synth or effects. Is it possible to use ableton live on it ? or is it worth to pay 1000$ more to have a macbook pro ?
    my pc has 2 HDD 10000rpm 4GB ram core2duo (may 2008) but it's maybe too much for my expectation.

  • zaq

    any news on the firewire chip in this revision yet? is it the faulty agere or the revised one? (or even TI???) i have an rme fireface 400 and would be very interested if it works well with this recent revision…

  • So, I needed a laptop for playing out with my band. I've invested WAY too much money in my nice FW audio interface to even think about going back to USB.

    I didn't WANT to spend > two grand. But my choices were:

    A) be the shining white apple beacon on stage
    B) spend 2 grand on an aluminum macbook pro

    For christ's sake, why'd they have to discontinue the black one?

    So yeah, I'm a sucker. I bought the macbook pro. And it's aluminum: light bright and damn near white anyhow.

    But I did get a more powerful machine.

    Also … if you're using this in a home studio and you're worried about cpu eating plugins, know that you can run a logic nodes on other macs on your network.

    So Logic will suck cpu resources from your other machines over the network … it works pretty damn well … even if the nodes aren't on uhm … "legitimate macintoshes". Not saying how I know that exactly … I uuh … heard that from a dude on the street …

  • ERS

    You could always just have gotten a black case plurgid đŸ˜›

    If you are concerned about HD speed, you can always get a fast external drive. I feel like anyone doing a lot of audio/video work should be doing it on an external scratch drive anyway since it is hard on the drive and, well, assuming you use your machine for non-music related stuff killing the internal drive sucks.

    I seem to burnout about one external firewire drive per year.

  • janeoblivian

    "…it still has the older-style Mini-DVI video connector (which means it should still do analog TV output)…"

    Nope doesn't do it. Straight from Apple's product page for the mini DVI-Video adapter:

    "This adapter is not compatible with the 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo white MacBook introduced in January 2009."

    So it would make sense that lack of Analog video support must have something to do w/ the new NVIDIA graphics? Please someone explain why.

  • terminal3

    "still 2.0Ghz"

    I think you'll note that it's immediate white predecessor was actually 2.1Ghz… so there's actually been a marginal downgrade of outright speed here.

    the FSB upgrade may make up for that in real terms, though, we shall see..!

  • ekwipt

    You should be able to bump up the speed of the RAM to 4Gb 800mhz, hopefully it has version 7 of the agere firewire chipset, i'm also hoping for this for the new 17"mbp and eventually for the current MBP15". It will happen apple have acknowledged a problem with this chipset and agere have made a new version that works with cards such as RME fireface400, which will make a lot of people happy

  • ZANE

    I feel so fricken giddy!
    This is just so true, who needs the Pro when the Mac Book will simply rock the heck out of any Host app & almost VST!!!
    I have a MacBook Intel core2 duo w/ 4 gigs of Ram & a new 500Gig Hd.
    She flys…….
    I run Logic, & have Reason open plus other plugs and she just keeps rockin steady!!
    Save yer money people….it's all in how you set up your machine(s)


  • Jason

    Ah… has anyone looked at OSx86 stuff lately? it's pretty solid these days. I got an old Thinkpad t40 up and running in like an hour and that's SSE2.

    of course I'm also one of those guys who bought a refurb MBP the day they announced the departure of Firewire 400.

  • florian


    has anyone here tried out if the new white macbook
    (early 2009) works with the RME fireface 400. ?

  • Patrick

    yes, firewire audio with fireface400 works with the whitebook (early 2009 nvidia grfx)