Skip to main content
  1. Posts/

Laptop Rejuvenation

I’ve owned my MacBook for about 18 months now, which is coming close to a record for me. I was looking at replacing it with a new laptop — preferably something running Ubuntu that doesn’t totally look like ass. I started looking and saw things I liked from both Dell and System 76 (I really wanted to like Zareason , especially given that they’re local, but System 76 kills them on pricing).

But then I looked closer at the Wikipedia article on MacBooks, the System Profiler on my machine and just what I was paying for. It was then I realized that my MacBook already has a Core 2 Duo T7200 , as well as 802.11n support. With most of the economical Dell options still using T5xxx series processors (with it’s 2MB L2 cache, compared to the T7200’s 4MB), it became clear I was mostly investing in more RAM and a larger hard drive. A quick look showed I could take my system from 1.5GB RAM to 4GB for $501_ and could go from the 120GB stock hard drive to a 320GB model for $100. And with the extra drive space I could comfortably run Ubuntu as my primary operating system, retaining the Mac OS X partition until I have all the apps replaced.

So that was my task for yesterday. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as well as planned. When I put the new hard drive in and tried to power things back on… nothing. No chime, no video, no spin up. Nothing. Sigh. I managed to get an 8 AM appointment at the Apple Genius Bar, but I was pretty bummed about it last night. This morning, however, things turned out OK. Not fantastic but OK.

Brian , my assigned Genius, suggested that the problem might be the “top case” — literally the top of the case, containing the keyboard and power switch. After pulling it off and putting on a new one, things fired right up. So another $150 later, all is well.

Brian was actually really nice and helpful about the whole situation (almost making me regret calling Apple the “corporate asshole du jour” on Saturday, but not quite). As I write this I realize how strange it is that I consider this a surprising exception. Next up: Ubuntu installation and configuration.