MacBooks Jump to Core 2 Duo

Apple Computer today refreshed its MacBook of notebook computers, adding Intel Core 2 Duo processors at speeds of 1.83 and 2.0 GHz, with prices starting at just $1,099.

“MacBook has helped drive Apple’s notebook market share to over 10 percent in US retail, and the new MacBooks will be among this holiday season’s most exciting new products,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With Intel Core 2 Duo processors across the entire line, these new MacBooks are up to 25 percent faster than their predecessors.”

The updated MacBook line sports three models: two white-cased models with processors running at 1.83 or 2.0 GHz, and a sleek black model with the 2 GHz processor. Apple says the Core 2 Duo-equipped systems perform up to 25 percent faster than their predecessors—which may be true, but Macworld Labs wasn’t able to find Apple’s touted 39 percent speed increase when it took its high-end MacBook Pro line to Core 2 Duo. Real world performance data suggests the Core 2 Duo boost is more on the order of a 10 percent improvement. Apple has also doubled the memory and increased hard drive sizes in the 2 GHz models.

Each MacBook features a 13-inch 1,280 by 800 LCD display, built-in iSight video camera, integrated graphics, AirPort Extreme (802.11a/b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR wireless networking, 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM (up to 2 GB is supported), 60 to 120 GB hard drives, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 400 port, combined analog/optical audio input and output, and a mini-DVI video output. The systems are just one inch thick, come with Apple’s lauded MagSafe power adapter (Apple just announced a new $59 version for use on airlines), and Apple’s iLife ’06 lifestyle application suite, Apple’s Front Row media management software, an infrared remote, and (of course) Mac OS X 10.4.8 Tiger.

The new MacBooks are available now from Apple’s online and retail stores, as well as Mac dealers; the 1.83 GHz white model lists for $1,099, and the white 2 GHz model lists for $1,299. If you want the black 2 GHz model with its 120 GB hard drive, be prepared to shell out $1,499.

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