If you are trying to decide whether to buy the $1299 or $1599 Macbook, know that there are only 3 (or 4 for some) differences difference between the two models. These are:
- 2.0GHz vs 2.4GHz CPU: The more expensive model has a 20% faster CPU, but the actual gains in performance for applications will be less than this unless they only use the processor.
- 160GB vs 250GB Hard Drive: You get 90GB more space with the more expensive model. Hard drives on the new Macbooks are incredibly easy to upgrade, so if you want to put in a larger drive or an SSD later, it may be cheaper to do it yourself.
- Backlit Keyboard: Only the $1599 model has the backlit keyboard. How much this is worth depends on the individual.
- $50 vs $100 Educational Discount: The $1299 model has a $50 educational discount, bringing the price to $1249. The $1599 model has a $100 educational discount, making the price before tax $1499. Some may use this to justify the higher cost model as saving more, but the logical way to look at it is to see the extra features priced as a $250 premium instead of $300. Don’t forget the extra tax as well if buying from Apple or a local store.
Some additional points to consider require more investigation. Namely, does the faster processor (and backlit keyboard, though that can be turned on and off) reduce battery life and generate more heat? I haven’t been able to find a comparison of the machines in this aspect yet, but the differences here are likely minimal.
So do the differences justify the higher cost? That depends on how much you need (or want) the processing power, the extra space, and the backlit keyboard. Whichever you choose, you will be getting a fine machine.