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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > what was the last reliable laptop apple made?

what was the last reliable laptop apple made?
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gooser
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Dec 18, 2011, 10:18 PM
 
i'm currently using a 466 clamshell but it's really slowing down. would like something a little more powerful. please note that i said laptop and not notebook. the temperature of this thing sitting on my lap is my biggest priority and i'm not interested in putting some type of barrier between the laptop and me. by the way, the clamshell is very comfortable.
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Lateralus
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Dec 18, 2011, 11:04 PM
 
The Pismo.
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amazing
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Dec 18, 2011, 11:52 PM
 
I would go for a 12" PB, either the 1.33 or the 1.5. Trouble is, they're still pretty desirable, so the price stays up there.

For reference, here's what you can get at OWC:

Apple MB402LL/A MacBook '2008' White 2.1GHz Core 2... in stock at OWC

can't comment on the reliability...
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 19, 2011, 01:42 AM
 
My 867 MHz 12" Powerbook was a complete lemon.

FWIW, the unibodies are great.
     
Big Mac
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Dec 19, 2011, 04:00 AM
 
Yeah, the last reliable laptop Apple made are the most recent unibodies based on everything I know. I've seen next to no complaints from anyone about the unibody Macs. Unless you mean pre-Intel (because they're not real Macs anyway hahahaha). Just kidding guys, I'm not starting that again!

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OreoCookie
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Dec 19, 2011, 09:00 AM
 
I have to say, all of my Apple laptops have been very reliable: my first-gen MacBook Pro survived two bike accidents that left me with broken ribs and a broken shoulder. The reason it is no longer in use is an accident: apple juice + MacBook Pro = bad for electronics.

My unibody MacBook Pro feels even more robust. Ditto for the MacBook Airs that I have seen and tried. With the exception of my 12" iBook G3 800 which had GPU problems (I went through 3 motherboards), I have had good experience with Apple so far.
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amazing
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Dec 19, 2011, 11:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
My 867 MHz 12" Powerbook was a complete lemon.

FWIW, the unibodies are great.
Yep, the 867 12" was a disaster...which is why I recommended the last 2 versions.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 19, 2011, 12:04 PM
 
Why recommend such an old machine? Even going to the used market, any MacBook will smoke the 12" PowerBook while offering a similar form factor. Even better, I'd look into getting a 2010 13" MacBook Air if I were on a budget.
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Waragainstsleep
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Dec 19, 2011, 12:26 PM
 
I thought the OPs point was that the Intel machines run way too hot to put on your lap comfortably. At least sometimes at any rate.

If thats the case, go for a 17" MacBook Pro and pull the battery out. Should get nice airflow through it so it stays nice and cool.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Dec 19, 2011, 01:04 PM
 
The newest Airs run a 17W TDP CPU - including the old Northbridge - which runs at close to nothing when idle. Any metal shell will of course conduct heat better, and so will possibly feel warmer quicker compared to one with a plastic shell and a big fan blowing hot air out, but I find mine comfortably warm rather than hot. If it's too hot, there are cases for them that don't have to be removed when in use.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
gooser  (op)
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Dec 19, 2011, 01:15 PM
 
cases?


i'm listening everyone. and yes, temperature is important.


EDIT: just a little web browsing mostly. i don't even need to play videos.
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OreoCookie
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Dec 19, 2011, 02:28 PM
 
As others have said, MacBook Airs do not run very not. Nor have I had any serious problems with my MacBook Pros. Even if you don't expect that much power, I'd still suggest something like a MacBook Air (used or new) or a used MacBook. They're definitely a much better deal. Keep in mind that very old notebooks come with old batteries which in all likelihood need to be replaced.
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mduell
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Dec 19, 2011, 03:21 PM
 
A 13" MBP with a plastic cover would be a thinner laptop than your iB.

The Airs do get hot if you work them, like say stumbling upon a webpage with flash on it.
     
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Dec 19, 2011, 03:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by gooser View Post
cases?


i'm listening everyone. and yes, temperature is important.


EDIT: just a little web browsing mostly. i don't even need to play videos.
Just google "macbook 11 case" - or wait a while, I'm sure a spammer will point you to one soon enough. Macbook cases is one of the more common spam I delete. Anyway: they look a lot like the hard plastic cases for iPads and iPhones. Pick a color you like and snap it on, and you will avoid the direct contact with the metal.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 19, 2011, 05:26 PM
 
speck products makes some, as do incase.
     
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Dec 19, 2011, 07:50 PM
 
I had a CD MBP (first generation) and it was HOT on my lap. My Feb 2011 MBP has better battery life and is much cooler.

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olePigeon
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Dec 19, 2011, 07:55 PM
 
I'm a big fan of the acrylic unibody MacBook. We have about 60 of them at my work, and I've seen kids drop them from shoulder height right on the corner. I thought for sure the laptop was done for, but it just had a small dent in the plastic. No cracks.
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amazing
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Dec 19, 2011, 10:22 PM
 
I like the iBooks and the MacBooks, too! I got a 12" 1.5 iBook for a non-profit--all it had to do was run an iTunes library--but the web browsing has got to be way better than the old horseshoe iBooks...

And I recently helped a friend get a MacBook from OWC--it's working great!

Which is why I'll point out that the MacBook in my earlier post is still available...
     
cybergoober
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Dec 20, 2011, 08:01 AM
 
FWIW my late 2011 MacBook Pro runs much cooler than my 2005 PowerBook G4 ever did...
     
Salty
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Dec 20, 2011, 09:29 PM
 
Having owned the white iBook, 12 inch PowerBook, 13 inch MacBook and now a 13 inch MacBook Pro, I can honestly say my MacBook Pro (i7) is my favourite one. In general the heat on this puppy is no worse than any of the earlier ones. I use it in bed all the time, though often it's sitting on my bed not my lap. Nude I'd probably find it uncomfortably warm, but so long as you're wearing pants you'll be fine.

They also get awesome battery life. And if you're super concerned about heat get one with an SSD as HDDs throw off a huge portion of the heat in a notebook.
     
imitchellg5
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Dec 20, 2011, 09:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
Yep, the 867 12" was a disaster...which is why I recommended the last 2 versions.
My dad still uses a 12" 867MHz G4 as his only machine. It's been to Iraq and Afghanistan and dropped a billion times.
     
amazing
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Dec 21, 2011, 01:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
My dad still uses a 12" 867MHz G4 as his only machine. It's been to Iraq and Afghanistan and dropped a billion times.
which proves that the 12" form factor is a great sweet spot--and that it can handle the heat!
     
Spheric Harlot
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Dec 21, 2011, 01:44 PM
 
My anecdotal evidence says the opposite.
     
imitchellg5
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Dec 21, 2011, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
which proves that the 12" form factor is a great sweet spot--and that it can handle the heat!
Well, I don't think it handles the heat very well. Pretty much any web browsing for more than 10 or 15 minutes makes the fans come on. But still, nothing's ever broken on it, and it's got the original 4,200 RPM drive with 640 Mb of RAM running Leopard.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Dec 21, 2011, 02:39 PM
 
I saw a 12" survive having a whole glass of Baileys poured on it at a wedding once. I think it needed a new keyboard but the top case does a half decent job of protecting the logic board from liquid spills, unlike most laptops before or since.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
amazing
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Dec 21, 2011, 05:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Well, I don't think it handles the heat very well. Pretty much any web browsing for more than 10 or 15 minutes makes the fans come on. But still, nothing's ever broken on it, and it's got the original 4,200 RPM drive with 640 Mb of RAM running Leopard.
you have to put a flash blocker on it...and the 867 did have a bad reputation for intense heat, which seems to have been reduced in the last 2 versions.

I used to play Shanghai II in Sheepshaver on mine, which did get the heat going...
     
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Dec 22, 2011, 05:03 PM
 
My current 15" MBP i7 is almost 2 years old now and no problems (touch wood).

It's predecessor, a 17" PB G4 had so many component problems. In it's 6 year life it had 2 replacement motherboards and 2 hard drives. I replaced the second hard drive myself as it was well out of warranty and found over half the internal screws missing. Very shoddy repair work done.
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Dec 22, 2011, 09:01 PM
 
2011 Mac laptops (SSD mandatory) are so very much better than earlier generations that it makes no sense to look backward.

Sounds like an MBA for you.

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gooser  (op)
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Dec 22, 2011, 10:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
2011 Mac laptops (SSD mandatory) are so very much better than earlier generations that it makes no sense to look backward.

Sounds like an MBA for you.

-Allen

you may be right.
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Big Mac
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Dec 23, 2011, 07:26 AM
 
If you're looking at an integrated graphics based Mac like the Air or 13" MBP, you're best off waiting for Ivy. Huge improvements in the IGP, much lower energy consumption. 2011 owners are going to feel jealous of the 2012 owners.

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Dec 23, 2011, 08:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
If you're looking at an integrated graphics based Mac like the Air or 13" MBP, you're best off waiting for Ivy. Huge improvements in the IGP, much lower energy consumption. 2011 owners are going to feel jealous of the 2012 owners.
That is unfortunately not true. The first was a misunderstanding of Intel's presentation that got spread around the world, and the second is delayed.

The IGP thing was that Intel compared the current i7-2600 (what is in the top iMac when BTO to the fastest CPU) with the i7-3770 (the Ivy Bridge that will cost the same). Intel claimed 2.7 to 3 times better graphics performance, and the rumor spread that "Ivy Bridge triples graphics performance!". Unfortunately not. The i7-2600 uses the nerfed version of the current Intel graphics, HD 2000 with 6 execution units, and the i7-3770 uses the full version of the next gen graphics, HD 4000 with 16 execution units. No Mac uses HD 2000 - they all use HD 3000, with 12 execution units. The HD 3000 is twice as fast as HD 2000, so the increase is only 1.35-1.5 times over that one. Since Intel (and everyone else, I guess), tend to cherry-pick results, most likely Ivy will be about 35% faster in actual tasks - a far cry from three times as fast.

The energy consumption was an expectation that there would be a 35W quadcore mobile chip. In the first price lists, there is no such chip. There is one OEM only chip (i7-3612QM) that doesn't have a release date yet, meaning it might be here by summer if we're lucky, but there's nothing in the first batch. There are improvements - the duals will get 1600 MHz RAM, they will all get support for lower voltage RAM, there is a new cache for the GPU and the IPC probably improves a little - but it will not be a big change. Moving to a new process node is tricky - remember that the first chips on both 32nm and 45nm had worse power characteristics (at least at idle) than the chips they replaced before Intel got the kinks worked out of the process.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Big Mac
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Dec 23, 2011, 09:18 AM
 
Ah, thanks for the clarification then. I was thinking the IGP improvement was going to be something like 30% based on what I had read (wasn't thinking of anything like 2-3X better, that would be a pipe dream). Still, there should be something to show for a shrink and a year's worth of progress, right?

If Ivy isn't as impressive as I was led to believe, I'm glad I didn't wait months and instead got an i5 2500K for my just newly built desktop.

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gooser  (op)
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Dec 23, 2011, 09:18 AM
 
well i'm not in any hurry.
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Dec 24, 2011, 07:55 AM
 
Ivy is a rebuilding year, I think. Amd's failure with bulldozer means that they don't have to push clockspeeds, and they want to use an existing design to be able to figure out the new
process. Gpu is where they need to work but, being Intel, they consistently overpromise and underdeliver on that front.
     
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Dec 24, 2011, 08:53 AM
 
@gooser
I don't think you'll be disappointed by a Sandy Bridge-based MacBook Air. They have more CPU power than any 2010 MacBook Pro and the graphics performance is »good enough«. The SSD makes a world of difference, too.
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Dec 24, 2011, 09:15 AM
 
My wife babies her machine a bit, but her 2005, 1.67 GHz PPC PB continues to look and perform essentially as new. We've been very happy with it.

Both of my children will be proud recipients of their own shiny new 13", 2.4 GHz i5 MBPs tomorrow morning. I can't wait to see 'em light up and I hope these will be good machines for them.
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Dec 25, 2011, 04:52 AM
 
Very cool ebuddy. Great presents. How old are your kids?

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Koralatov
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Jan 13, 2012, 06:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I thought the OPs point was that the Intel machines run way too hot to put on your lap comfortably. At least sometimes at any rate.
Not true of the Unibodies. As I type, I’m sitting with a 2009 MacBook Pro on my lap, and it’s running cool. That may not be true of the very early Intels, but the Unibodies onward really don’t heat up during normal use. The only exception to this is when you do something really processor intensive like transcoding video, which does heat them up a bit.
     
Eug
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Jan 14, 2012, 03:14 AM
 
Refurbished MacBook Air 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
Originally released July 2011
11.6-inch (diagonal) high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
2GB memory
64GB flash storage
Thunderbolt port with support for up to 2560-by-1600 resolution
FaceTime camera
Intel HD Graphics 3000
$849

Alternatively you can get 12" iBook G4s for $200 on Kijiji. Personally I think it's foolish to buy a G4 in 2012 though, unless it's dirt cheap and it's just for nostalgia or something.
     
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Jan 14, 2012, 05:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
The Pismo.
This is the right answer.
However I also loved my 12" G4 PowerBook. It continued to serve me (4 years) until I abandoned it for a late 2006 15" C2D MBP. After 5 years the GPU on this has failed and so i'm about to replace it with a 13" MBA. So yeah, overall I'd say Apple laptops are some of the best out there and can keep going as long as you treat them okay.
If you're looking for a second hand, I'd suggest the the late 2006 MBP with the aluminum keycaps. I hate the new plastic keys found on the unibody MBPs, and the glossy display.
     
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Jan 14, 2012, 01:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Alternatively you can get 12" iBook G4s for $200 on Kijiji. Personally I think it's foolish to buy a G4 in 2012 though, unless it's dirt cheap and it's just for nostalgia or something.
I absolutely second that. The Intels are just so much faster that a PPC doesn’t really make much sense any more. Add to that the fact PPC support from Apple was dropped with the OS before last, and the rapidly decreasing number of browsers than support PPC, and skipping PPC becomes even more persuasive.

Originally Posted by Macfreak7 View Post
If you're looking for a second hand, I'd suggest the the late 2006 MBP with the aluminum keycaps. I hate the new plastic keys found on the unibody MBPs, and the glossy display.
The glossy display isn’t so bad, once you get used to it. It can be a PITA if there’s a strong light-source right behind you, but otherwise they’re okay. You can get the 15" with a BTO matte option as well, which mitigates that particular issue.

How you find the keyboard will depend on your personal feelings on keyboards. My keyboard of preference is an Apple Extended II keyboard, and the ‘chiclets’ take a little getting used to, but I found them fine after about a week of using them. YMMV, of course.
     
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Jan 14, 2012, 09:57 PM
 
Here's an odd question: If you want to spend not very much money to get a low-power machine with which to just do some web browsing, why not get an iPad?
     
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Jan 15, 2012, 12:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by Nergol View Post
Here's an odd question: If you want to spend not very much money to get a low-power machine with which to just do some web browsing, why not get an iPad?
No Flash support, and hit and miss compatibility with certain sites. I would not recommend an iPad for a primary machine, nor would I recommend a G4 for a primary machine.

To save money I'd recommend a used or refurb Core 2 Duo, or else just a Windows 7 machine.
     
gooser  (op)
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Jan 15, 2012, 02:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
No Flash support, and hit and miss compatibility with certain sites. I would not recommend an iPad for a primary machine, nor would I recommend a G4 for a primary machine.

To save money I'd recommend a used or refurb Core 2 Duo, or else just a Windows 7 machine.

yesterday i went next door and tried out both an ipad and a macbook air. i was real impressed with the ipad. i went to a few of the sites i go to and didn't have any problems. any workarounds for the flash incompatibility?


EDIT: i two finger type so it's no different for me than a regular keyboard.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 15, 2012, 03:18 PM
 
There is the SkyFire browser, but that only works with certain types of Flash video, most of which is available via dedicated Apps anyway.
     
Eug
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Jan 15, 2012, 03:36 PM
 
As a primary machine I'd rather use any iPad more than any G3, but if you get a Core 2 Duo MacBook you will have no restrictions anywhere, and you'd be able to do real work with it if you need to.

If you're lucky, you can get a refurb one for under $700 with full one-year warranty, or a used one from third party resellers for under $600 with 3-month warranty.
( Last edited by Eug; Jan 15, 2012 at 03:46 PM. )
     
gooser  (op)
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Jan 15, 2012, 08:16 PM
 
i'm not looking for a primary machine, just a web browser that can comfortably sit in the lap.


until yesterday i had never considered an ipad so i was unaware of the flash-ipad conflict. sorry for bringing that back up.


when ipad 3 comes out my next door neighbor may sell her ipad 1. hmmmmmmm.





going to do some selling. finally get rid of my excess in computers. i'll get rid of a g4 mac mini, an ibook 466, and two ibook 600's. one of these is currently busted. that'll leave me with a g4 imac 800 mhz with superdrive and a g3 imac 600mhz. either of them will handle my music and picture needs and printing although neither will be that good for today's (and tomorrow's) internet. i have several firewire hard drives just filled up with music. when my neighbor's ipad becomes available i'll decide then on the macbook air and the ipad. thanks all.
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Jan 16, 2012, 06:26 AM
 
My experience:

- My Pismo was awesome, I got one with a Samsung display, which was bad. Those with LG panels were fine though.
- My 17" PowerBook (rev. a) was a complete lemon. God bless Apple Care.
- My 15" Unibody 2008 is near perfect, I upgraded it to 8 GB RAM and bought a new battery for it.

Fast forward to present day, I pray for a 15" Air with a High-Res antiglare display.
     
Big Mac
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Jan 17, 2012, 04:27 AM
 
The iPad is excellent, as long as you utilize its strong areas. It's a great media consumption device. There are many high quality apps. When my mother got mine (thinking I was leaving it with her ), she was hooked and I missed it. They're not replacements for full personal computers, though.

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Jan 17, 2012, 10:39 PM
 
13" Macbook Air, with the SD slot and a SSD drive.. Rock solid..
     
 
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