The Black MacBook is Dead, Long Live the Black MacBook!

While talking to an employee at the Apple Store in Valley Fair Mall a month ago, I mentioned that my first-generation black MacBook had a bad fan that either didn’t work to prevent system from overheating or whine so loudly that I couldn’t use it. The employee told me I should bring my MacBook in to the Genius Bar to have the fan replaced for under $50 USD. That surprised me since this was a six-year-old laptop that should have been too old to repair. I set up a Genius Bar appointment to bring in my MacBook.

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I showed up for my appointment a few days later and waited five minutes before I sat down at the Genius Bar in the back of the store. The employee hooked up power and network to my MacBook, which booted off a network server to run diagnostics. The fan was flagged as not working. The battery, which stopped holding a decent charge years ago and started bulging out from the case, was also flagged. The repair bill was quoted at $150.00 to replace the fan and the battery. That was surprisingly inexpensive in comparison to the third-party repair centers that wanted $500 USD to replace the entire logic board to fix the fan. Since my black MacBook was a “vintage” system, I was warned that it might take a week or longer to get the replacement parts.

I got a phone call four days later that my MacBook was ready to pick up. During my dinner break at work (I worked from 3:00PM to 12:00AM at the time), I went over to the store and waited a few minutes before I was seated at the Genius Bar. An employee brought out my Macbook, encouraged me to boot up the system, and finalized the transaction. The MacBook booted up normally and was whispered quiet, but it became unresponsive to the keyboard and trackpad. The employee confirmed that there was a problem and took it into the backroom for a technician to look at.

I spent the next two hours waiting for my MacBook to be diagnosed and repaired again. The employee, technician and store manager all repeatedly apologized for my inconvenience. Finally, with another round of apologies from everyone, I got my MacBook back with a brand new keyboard and trackpad top for free since the technician pinched the brittle cable when putting it back together that it broke. The difference between the worn down top and the pristine new top was amazing. I felt like I was getting a brand new MacBook and grateful that Apple could repair my “vintage” system.

With the new fan working twice as fast as the old fan without sounding like a banshee in heat, I decided to get back into web programming by updating and relaunching all my websites. I stopped doing any serious programming since the fan started acting up over a year ago. Now I can program again in relative silence. If nothing else fizzles out, I could do web development on this system for another six years.


  1. I was just wondering, how old actually Is your black MacBook? My teacher has one and is worried hers will soon die and become irreplaceable.

    1. I got my first-generation black MacBook in 2006. I’m still using it after the CPU fan and keyboard were replaced. Alas, it’s a 32-bit system. I keep finding more software that I can’t run because a 64-bit system is required. I’ll be replacing it by the end of this year.

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