Macbook 2010 13 inch comparison
Update: The new sandy bridge changes things!
With the release of the white 13 inch macbook, it makes for an interesting counterpart to the 13 inch shiny silver aluminum macbook pro which had been looking immensely lackluster beside its bigger brothers and sisters, the 15 inches and the 17 inch macbook pros. Namely, due to the lack of a recent intel chip in its 13 inches of metal. Its main change has been the addition of the new graphics card and with that, is it worth it? Would the 13 inch macbook pro be worth your money?
Let us look at what they share and what they don't. Firstly let's go by physical specifications. The white macbook is slightly fatter than the 13 inch macbook pro 2010 series, and while its width and and depth is about the same, basically its top down area, it is slightly thicker at 2.7 cm which is about 0.35 cm more than the aluminum bodied macbook pro. It is also heavier by a teeny tiny bit of 0.1 kg about 100 grams more at 2.13kg. Not the lightest thing in the world, but not heavy either.
In essence this comes down to the superficial exterior slugfest. Do you prefer a metallic aluminum shell, that is silverish in color but also heats up much faster being metal and designed to do so, or a white plastic coating that to some is cheap but to others is signature apple white or otherwise, but warms slower, holds nicely and is less likely to shock you with its touch. And to add fuel to the fire, do you want the amazing backlit keyboard that the macbook pro series have. It is probably the coolest looking backlit keyboard out there, in contrast to the gaudy Alienware customizable backlights. Useful if you plan to type in low light areas like on the plane or on your bed at night. As for the 100 grams difference in weight, it might not make such a difference in your life.
Let us proceed to look at what is under the hood. Due to the upgrade of the white macbook, on paper they share almost identical core features underneath their different material shells.
If you notice they both share the same new custom made by Nvidia for Apple Nvidia 320M graphics card. Instead of swapping in an i5, (the i3 doesn't suit this line well), apple decided with a processor from the previous and old series. The processor chip change between it and the i5 series is rather significant though, and apple wishes to reserve the i5 chips for its more expensive line. While i3 is really more of a netbook chip, it looks like i5 might not make it to the smaller macbooks until the next revision. The graphics card is definitely better, by about 35 - 50%, but that becomes moot if you don't play games or use photoshop extensively.
They also have the same macbook pro 2010 battery test results. At their most efficient they can clock in as advertised 10 hours of life. This is pretty decent as they actually outperform the i5 and i7 15 inch and 17 inch macbook pros due to their older cores and slower cores that actually consume less electricity and have a lead of 10% to 20% more battery power and thus longer life than its bigger brothers. At this point they have the best battery life out of the macbook and pro series.
For those concerned about whether the macbook 13" can play starcraft 2, even the older ones could at medium settings and that was before they had this custom graphics card made by Nvidia for Apple. With the 320M replacing the older 9400M you are probably going to see good performance at medium settings with the small size of the 13 inch screen really helping out in that area so that you can play starcraft 2 on it. As for running it on a higher resolution, that might be iffier. You might want to pair it with a starcraft 2 keyboard too. If your decision pivots solely on starcraft 2, you might consider the beefier 15" and 17" macbook pros which have Nvidia GT 330M cards.