After 1.4 million estimated miles and five years, our 12" iBook G3 500 has been dropped a few too many times and is ready for replacement. It still works, mind you - the lid is just cockeyed and the DVD door won’t close any more. We just have to be careful when opening the lid, and I’ve taped the DVD door closed with duct tape. Clear duct tape, of course, the better to match the clear white case of the iBook. You can take the boy out of the country, but you just can’t take the country out of the boy.
We do have a nice shiny iMac G5 for a desktop unit, which stores all the iTunes music and all the movies. What we are really looking for is another laptop to take the place of the iBook 500, which very satisfactorily handled the transition from OS 9.0 through every version of OS X. I’d like the new one to be running strong in another five years. We’ll primarily be using it for web browsing, along with some MS Office use, iTunes, etc., but I would like to play with running XP via the Parallels virtual machine.
The change to Intel seems like the perfect time to buy another long-lifer, but I’m torn between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro. We don’t really need or want a huge display, so the 17" is out. I could be happy with either the 13" MacBook display or the 15" on the MacBook Pro. As far as I can tell, the major differences between the two, beyond the display size, are the dedicated video card, one additional expansion card, a metal case, and a nifty backlit keyboard. Assuming similar configurations (1 Gb of RAM, 80 Gb hard drive, 2 Ghz processor) the MacBook is $1449, and the MacBook Pro is $2099.
Does anyone have any suggestions on whether the dedicated video card is worth the extra money? Will it have a noticable impact on performance when running Parallels and XP? Is the MacBook still encased in polycarbonate, or is it metal painted white? Anything else I need to be thinking about?