The Price of MacBook Portability and Repairs - dummies

The Price of MacBook Portability and Repairs

By Mark L. Chambers

You pay dearly for the portability of a MacBook. As an example, compare the low-end iMac desktop computer and a 17-inch MacBook Pro laptop computer with these (roughly) similar components:

  • Processor: The iMac sports a 2.5GHz quad-core i5 processor, whereas the MacBook Pro has a slightly faster 2.2GHz quad-core i7 CPU.

  • RAM: Both computers have 4GB of RAM installed.

  • Hard drive capacity: The iMac sports a 500GB hard drive, whereas the MacBook Pro offers a larger 750GB hard drive.

  • Screen size: Our MacBook Pro has a 17-inch widescreen display, and the iMac has a 21.5-inch widescreen monitor.

Now for the tale of the register tape: At the time of this writing, the iMac will set you back $1,199, whereas the MacBook Pro runs a hefty $2,499! Portability comes at a premium, road warriors.

There’s another high-dollar headache for all laptop owners (both Mac and PC). Compared to a desktop computer, repairs on your laptop are harder to perform, the components cost more, and the repairs are almost certain to take longer. Also, depending on use, a MacBook’s battery is almost certain to require replacement in four to five years.

Consider this typical scenario: If the graphics card fails in your Mac Pro desktop, you can easily replace it yourself with a new (and likely even more powerful) graphics adapter card. You simply open the case, unscrew the old card, and replace it with a new one.

However, if the sound hardware fails in your MacBook (or iMac, or Mac mini), it’s time to pull out your wallet. Why? The hardware on these three systems is all integrated onto the motherboard, so you can’t fix it yourself. Therein lies the rub. The entire motherboard probably needs to be replaced, and ordering parts and performing the necessary surgery take time.

If you invest in a MacBook, you should also invest in AppleCare coverage for your laptop.

Although AppleCare is pricey ($249 extends your technical support and warranty coverage for a full three years), it’s worth every penny if a hardware component breaks!