Going to be a freshman in college, studying Computer Science.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jg216, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    #1
    Ok, opinions... Go!

    I do many of the basics, iTunes Safari iChat iWork.
    I also do spend some time using iMovie, and I am getting very into Xcode.
     

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  2. macrumors newbie

    #2
    Also, figure the firewire/optical drive doesn't matter to me, if anything I'll buy a superdrive
     
  3. macrumors member

    #3
    I'm gonna be a freshman and going into IT. I got the basic 13 inch air 1.8/4/128 but I'm going to return it for the 13 inch 2.0 i7/8/256 so that should be beefy enough for my needs. If I need to do anything on a really powerful machine they will probably have them at my university. The same most likely goes for you.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    #4
    I'm going to grad school next year (microbiology/immunology) and I'm still trying to find out from current students what sort of power I need, if I have to do a lot of 3D modeling, and how security and theft is in the labs. I would like to get a 13"/i5/8GB/128.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    #5
    Any of the 3 laptops will work but I'd recommend either of the Air laptops. The size and weight makes it a lot nicer when traveling around campus.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    #6
    I'm also a little confused as to how the speeds of the computers work. Isn't 1.8ghz relatively slow this day in age? The 2.9 of the MacBook pro is fast, so why do people say the air is just as capable?

    ----------

    And how much faster is the 2.0 air than the 1.8 option?
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    #7
    Dual core. Yeah my 8 yr old PB G4 is 1.5ghz which sounds pretty close to 1.8 but 1) it's not dual core and 2) they've just gotten a lot better regardless of what the number is.

    The 2.0 is slightly faster but the temperature it runs at is disproportionally higher. It's not worth it IMO.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    #8
    Unless you are doing certain tasks (3D gaming, multiple video edits, etc.) frequently, the speed difference isn't that noticeable. If you are walking back and forth across campus, by the end of the day, the weight is.
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    #9
    I rarely brought my Latitude to class during my undergrad years simply because with the textbooks, notebooks, and binders, that 4.5 pounds, the same weight as the Pro, was a killer on my back. I don't know about your school, but not all professors have embraced technology, and some simply don't post their slides before class.

    I guess it'd depend on your note taking habits, but I'd choose one of the Airs.
     
  10. macrumors member

    #10
    Honestly man, Ive been contemplating the same thing for days now. I am currently enrolled in college for CS. I posted a thread about this the other day and the response I got was i5/256/8. So in my opinion I would go with either the i5 with 256/8 or the i7 with 256/8. I really don't know which one I will choose but I would like to get the i7 just for hyper threading. You can't go wrong with one or the other. Hope this helps you out.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    #11
    Its not just 1.8 Ghz, the CPU will overclock itself up to 2.8Ghz based on usage. It is almost twice as fast as the high-end 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo CPU in the 2009 MacBook Pros. Basically, the Air will eat everything you throw at it, save for really heavy number crunching or graphically intensive computer games (although it will play modern games at medium/low setting and lower resolutions).
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    #12
    I'm looking at specs of old MBA models and I noticed the late 2010 model (before Sandy bridge) had 1.86 Ghz processor speed, and 2 cores. Isn't that faster than the current ones (and last years model for that matter)?! Somebody please explain what this is all about.
     
  13. macrumors member

    #13
    I think if you bumped up the ssd you would be fine to be honest.
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    charlieegan3

    #14
    Use the geekbench results browser to compare speeds.

    if you can't carry around a MBP then you need to go to the gym, just saying.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    #15
    When i was a freshman i had a 15" MBP, it was a great computer... but in a backpack with textbooks it is VERY heavy. I now have a 13" air and it is perfect for traveling around campus. You cant go wrong with any of them, but if I were you i would go with the MBA, the current gen is plenty powerful to meet your needs.
     
  16. wilycoder, Jun 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    #16
    Get the high end Air.

    It is more important to have hardware support than it is to have hardware speed.

    I've got a CS degree and I do 3d graphics programming. So from my perspective it is important that the hardware supports OpenGL/OpenCL. How fast that support is doesnt matter. As long as the code builds and runs with hardware acceleration. I wasn't graded on framerates, I was graded on whether or not the damn thing actually builds and runs successfully.

    I would not recommend the 13 pro even though the i7 is clocked higher. Back when I was in college I lugged around a heavy ass laptop because it had a dedicated ATi GPU. If the Air existed back then I would have gotten that instead without even thinking about it.

    A hike across a large campus means every pound in your bag increases the physical stress exponentially.

    Its not a matter of "manning up" and carrying a pro around. Dont work hard, work smart.

    Hell one time I had to give a demo of this particle system i wrote in DirectX. I didn't have the laptop with the ATi card yet so I literally lugged my full desktop tower across campus. Everyone laughed about it heh.

    Get the air. I would even recommend you look at the 11" air. But I am biased because I just bought an 11" myself :D

    One last thing, Xcode rocks. Don't lock yourself down to one platform. Learn Eclipse and Visual Studio too. They all have pros and cons. Visual has the best debugger, Xcode doesnt have DLL-hell, and eclipse is pretty good for Android development. Just my opinion there.

    Get ready for discrete math to kick your butt lol. Actually its not that bad.

    Edit: I would get the i7 option for better multithreaded performance. And 8GB of ram too. so I would recommend an i7/8GB/256GB+ SSD. The SSD size is important because you will probably want to use bootcamp at some point. I doubt every teacher will accept xcode projects as assignments.

    11 or 13, totally up to user preference. Go to an apple store and try both models. Good news is the keyboard is the same size on both :)
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    #17
    I'm going to be a freshman in college doing computer science too. Do you think the i5/8GB/128 will be fine? I could get the 256 GB SSD but I wouldn't have much money left. Should I just get the 128 and wait for SSDs that work for the MBA to come out at a lower price or should i spend the extra $300 on the 256?
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    #18
    I think the 128GB would be fine as long as you are ok with storing a huge music library or lots of movies on the internal drive. A USB 3 external drive runs about $100 for 1 terrabyte these days and would be a good companion to one of the new Airs.

    For the OP: I agree with some others that the 2.0Ghz option probably isn't worth it. Definitely get the 8GB RAM. 128GB vs 256GB is a personal choice, but like I said above USB 3 external drives are fast and relatively cheap these days.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    #19
    I only have 5GB of music and stream movies so that shouldn't be a problem. I think 128GB should be fine for now, but with bootcamp that seems like it could get a little tight. The external drive is a good idea, but as I said above, I only have 5GB of music and i don't see what else i could put on one that would make all that space useful... After typing that it seems that 128GB will be fine for me :D

    One more thing. If i do ever want more flash storage do you think the prices will drop enough in the near future so that my own upgrade will significantly less than the $300 it costs now?
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    #20
    The 1.8 i5 processors in the Airs are model i5-3427U. Hyper-threading is enabled on these processors.
    http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Core_i5/Intel-Core i5-3427U Mobile processor.html

    There is very little reason to choose an i7 over an i5 if your not going to be video encoding.
     
  21. macrumors 68040

    #21
    Probably won't drop much because there are probably going to be only one or two companies selling Macbook-Air compatible SSD modules.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    #22
    Clock speed is almost irrelevant when comparing older processors to new ones. The micro-architecture of the processors these days is just SO much more advanced, from everything to materials used, to number of transistors.

    Hypothetically, a single-core processor with today's micro-architecture running at 1.5GHz, would be exponentially faster than an older single-core processor running at the same clock speed, or even a faster speed - even though the clock speeds may seem like they should determine which one is better.

    One tip to keep in mind is that don't compare processors by their clock speed, unless they are the same in other ways (Model, Architecture.. etc).

    I hope that made sense.. I'm a little tired/can't be bothered to read through.

    --------------------------------

    OT: I have a Macbook Pro 15" for school, and I have to admit sometimes I do wish I had an air, or 13" MBP. The air will more than suit your needs, and it's very portable and compact, as others have mentioned. I'm sure you'll love it!
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    #23
    Even if it does cost around $300 I still get to keep the 128GB SSD so I think getting an aftermarket SSD when it comes out would be the best for me.
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    #24
    I don't want to make blanket statements, but I'm 99% sure that any non crappy computer (you can generally tell by looking) is OK for a CS degree. The first year or two, you're generally working straight from the command line, and after that, should you need it, there should be powerful enough computers at your disposal to run what you need.

    tl;dr you're fine.
     
  25. macrumors regular

    #25
    People say that it is just as capable because the Macbook Air comes with SSD instead of HDD in Macbook Pro. Therefore, bootup time in the Air is better. I guess its why people call them 'just as capable'. FYI, i will be a uni freshmen next year, and i purchased a 13 inch Macbook Air high end, with 8GB ram today. I hear that many students got the air as well. good luck!
     

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