The Apple Netbook Part 2: Doing the Unmentionable, Buying a PC

by Hadley Stern Feb 17, 2009

This is Part 2 in my series to get an Apple netbook running for under $500. Please see Part 1 for my logic and reasoning to take on this experiment for the community. I have never bought a PC before, only Macs. The Macs I have bought have come from many sources from school computer stores to Macconnection, Amazon to the Apple store. So it was with some trepidation that I stepped into huge minefield that is called PCs. So many choices! So many variables! I have to admit it was all pretty exciting. I felt unshackled from the buying experience that is Apple where you only have a few choices. Sure you can upgrade or downgrade within those choices. But the line is pretty simple to understand, particularly in these post-Performa days. You got your Mac tower, you Mac mini, your Macbook and your Macbook Pro.


Even the relatively small segment of Netbooks has a bunch of manufactures some I had heard of some I hadn't. Asus, Dell, MSI, HP, Lenovo and some others. All of them have pretty similar specs; powered by the Intel Atom processor, typically coming with a gig of ram and either a regular laptop hard drive or a solid state drive.

Now it was decision time. Bear with me as I go through the pros and cons of each Netbook

Dell Mini 9:


- I like the counter-Apple aspect of the fact its a Dell. Dude its a Dell rings through my ears as I think of the irony of getting a Dell to put OS X on.

- I like the fact I can order the Dell without having to buy Windows. Dell offers Ubuntu as an option purchase which shaves off about $49.

- The build of the Mini is quite nice compared to the other machines.

- Dell appears to have the most seamless way to install OS X, along with the MSI Wind



- Dude, its a Dell!

- The mini only comes with a solid state drive, 4GB is the default. And going up to 8 or 16 GB gets expensive (that is, relative to this experiment).

- In true Dell fashion everything can be customized, webcam, ram, etc, but it gets pricey.

- I just can hardly stomach actually buying a Dell.


MSI Wind:


- Never heard of them but I believe they, along with Asus, started this whole Netbook thing, I kind of like the idea of supporting them.

- Like the Dell, the MSI Wind is supposed to be a snap to install OS X on. It has become the default Netbook for Hackintosh


- The mouse clicker is absolutely horrific. It is tapered along the edge of the laptop and, while I have pretty small hands, I cannot see clicking the damn thing.

- Kind of pricey compared to other Netbooks. And by pricey I mean in the 400-450 range.

- Never heard of them.

- Comes with Windows only.


Acer Aspire One:


- Cheap, really cheap, you can find one for $299 with a 120 gig HD, 1 Gig of ram, webcam, and wifi.

- Small and light, they typify Netbooks


- Apparently it is a little harder to install OS X on.

- Come with Windows only.

HP 1000:


- Nice quality build (although the mouse clicker stinks)

- HP, I think they make good stuff?


- Hard to find below $400



- They started the whole Netbook revolution, so supporting them seems like a good idea.

- OS X has a good track record on the device.


- Crappy design and build. Keyboard is horrible.

- They make so many it is kind of hard to keep track of features when shopping.

So where did I end up? It may not have been the most compatible decision but I couldn't help going with the Acer Aspire One for $299. Specs were 1GB ram, Atom processor, 120 Gig hard drive, built in webcam and wifi. Can't beat that! I know that the install steps will be a little more painful but the idea of getting a working Mac Netbook for $299 is enticing.

Check back into the next installment when I try to get Leopard running on this little beast.


  • Hadley, I hear you on this. My PowerBook is getting heavier and heavier these days as I think about one of those small notebooks I could use. And thanks for doing the leg work on the research. In these hard times, a $300 notebook is not bad. I don’t belong to the high money class that Apple markets to.

    Bakari had this to say on Feb 17, 2009 Posts: 37
  • This is what one reviewers says on Amazon about the Acer: “Love this, got rid of my itouch and use this, fits in wifes purse, love windows xp. would recommend this to anyone wanting to go wireless.”

    Dropping his iTouch! Apple, wake up.

    Bakari had this to say on Feb 17, 2009 Posts: 37
  • Can’t wait to get to the OS X installation to see how that goes.  A Mac netbook for $300 (plus Leopard) sounds good to me.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Feb 17, 2009 Posts: 2220
  • Hey, Hadley, what’s the screen size on that one?

    Chris Howard had this to say on Feb 19, 2009 Posts: 1209
  • have you heard of HASEE?

    second to Lenovo in China..supplying govt and schools

    they have a netbook, six hour battery, 2GB ram, 120GB HDD..for $450AUD…
    about $300USD

    runs linux with edubuntu = zero cost for OS!

    the only thing coming out of all this is the end of win PCs

    garybau had this to say on Feb 21, 2009 Posts: 2
  • as well..
    bluetooth, webcam, wi-fi, 3 USB ports, SD card reader, VGA out will run a data projector

    garybau had this to say on Feb 21, 2009 Posts: 2
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