I mentioned briefly in my previous entry that I’d ordered myself a MacBook. Well, it’s finally arrived (about a week and a half after ordering) and I’ve spent the last three or four days trying it out and generally having some geek fun.
I went for the white, 2Ghz version and specified 2Gb of RAM to make sure it had a decent bit of headroom — 1Gb is a lot but I could afford the extra and, for me at least, you can never have too much memory.
Looks-wise it’s very similar to the iBook I borrowed off Tugger last year when I came out of hospital; the keyboard is different and the screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the iBooks 4:3 (it runs at a resolution of 1280×800) but otherwise they’re more or less identical to look at. After using 1440×900 on my iMac for the last three years I’d assumed that I’d miss the extra space but to be honest I’d forgotten all about it until I just wrote that previous sentence!
The processor is very swift compared to the ageing 1.25Ghz G4 in my iMac. (If you’re not an Apple obsessive fan like me you probably don’t know that for years Macs were built with IBM’s PowerPC processors at their heart but around this time last year Apple announced that they were switching to Intel — this seems to have been a smart move with many benefits, not least of all being able to dual-boot into Windows via Apple’s own Boot Camp.) The extra memory helps, of course, as when an application has been used once after start-up it opens almost instantly any subsequent time it’s called.
I intend to use the MacBook occasionally to encode some more of my DVDs so I did a test to compare it to the speed my iMac was reaching: it came out very favourably averaging around 32 frames per second compared to my iMacs 4 to 5 frames per second. After about four or five minutes the MacBooks fans started up and it sounded quite loud (it’s usually almost silent) but just became background noise after I’d gotten used to it — I propped it up on a couple of CD cases to give it some space underneath to allow the air to circulate and this seemed to slow the fans slightly, although it may have been just my imagination. An hour and nine minutes later I had a copy of Monsters, Inc. sat on my hard drive at 60% quality, 640×352 pixels and just over 1,019MB in size, which is perfect for my current needs.
But probably the best thing about getting a laptop is the one thing they’re all designed for: to be able to use them wherever you want. One of my worst habits is parking myself in front of my iMac last thing at night to “quickly finish something” and then getting side-tracked and still being up at half past one in the morning — while this in itself isn’t too bad (it’s not like I have a hard days work to do in the morrow) but it does mean that the various noises from my chair, hoist and bed have a good chance of disturbing Rocco and/or N. Now I can clamber into bed at a more sociable hour and still carry on with my computery-geeky tasks to my hearts content. And we’ll have no mention of “left-handed websites” thankyouverymuch!