I’m pretty much the same, with one notable exception. Went ahead and got myself one of those newfangled macbooks, and I must say it’s rather nice. My previous laptop is a g3 ibook from 2001. Almost 5 years old = basically useless, except for the simplest of tasks.
The dual core 2 GHz macbook runs quake4 better than my dual cpu 2.3 GHz g5 tower. With a desktop display, mouse, and keyboard plugged in, it feels as fast as the G5 in other ways. Certainly, the g5 will win handily when it comes to anything with very hot altivec code in it (altivec is sort of a speciality of the ‘old’ apple cpu architecture that is unequaled in x86 land)… but for every day use, I would say that this would be a suitable desktop replacement, regarding performance. The big problem with that idea of course is storage… I have two 240 GB drives in my g5, and that’s enough… stepping down to 100 GB in the laptop would be rough, but I could eek a bit more out of it with a bigger drive… (gotta be 7200 rpm though). The final test of desktop replacement potential comes when I install and use Final Cut Studio, which should be soon.
So far, the only serious complaint I have about the macbook is the noise associated with the second CPU core. The rapid transitions between power states that occur when the cpu is almost completely idle cause it to make a bit of noise. This is audible in a quiet-ish room towards the top left of the keyboard, but it’s at a frequency that allows you to keep hearing it even when there is some background noise. It is also audible out of the headphone port, unfortunately. A quick workaround is to disable the second cpu core if you want it to be totally quiet – I tend to run this way by default anyway, because I assume it uses less power… Installing apple’s CHUD tools provides a “Processor” prefpane, which lets you turn on a menu extra to easily enable / disable the second core.
Another thing is that it gets pretty warm. This is not a new criticism of laptops, but it’s kind of startling to compare a 500 g3 ibook to one of these macbooks in terms of heat output. I have one of those iCurve stands that I use when I’m at a desk, and that’s great for airflow… but at night when I’m reclining in bed, it’s basically sitting on a blanket. If I lift it up and feel the bottom of the laptop with my hand, it feels pretty damn hot for a few seconds until enough heat is transfered away… Still, this it more of an observation than a problem / complaint.
All in all, a pretty fine computer. I am pleased :)