The Black MacBook
It hasn’t got a Retina screen. It hasn’t got a backlit keyboard. It doesn’t have an aluminium unibody enclosure, and it can’t even run the latest version of OS X. But I still can’t help but love my mid-2007 13-inch MacBook.
For a seven-year-old notebook, it shows surprisingly few signs of wear and tear. The matt finish has rubbed off on some of the corners, a few keys are a little faded and the trackpad (which unfortunately doesn’t offer gesture controls) has rubbed a little smooth in the middle. But apart from that, it looks very good for its age. It performs well too. Its 64-bit 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor has long since been surpassed, and its GMA 950 graphics mean I can upgrade no further than OS X 10.7 Lion. But after increasing the RAM to 4GB and replacing the hard drive with a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive, it boots and runs surprisingly quickly, certainly faster than a Windows PC of a similar vintage.
It still runs almost all the software I need too. It’s not much use as a high-end gaming rig, but that’s not what I bought it for anyway. As well as the usual email and web browsing tasks you expect from a 21st century computer, it’s perfectly at home running Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office
It’s perfectly at home running CS4, Microsoft
Office and (most importantly) Scrivener
and (most importantly) Scrivener. I can use it to work on a train or in our local cafe without difficulty. It can’t run the latest version of the iWork suite, which is annoying as I’d like to make use of the iCloud integration, but there’s always Dropbox.
However, there are a couple of areas where it is really shown up by the latest generation of MacBooks: weight and battery life. At 5.1lbs, my polycarbonate MacBook is nearly 2lbs heavier than a current-generation 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and it’s almost twice as heavy as a similar-sized MacBook Air. Its battery life is looking shabby too. It’s good for around three and a half hours these days, but it can’t match the all-day battery life offered by modern Apple notebooks. This is why I’ll probably upgrade it within the next year, but I’ll always have fond memories of my black polycarbonate MacBook.