15" or 13" MBP for Engineering Student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by k4show, May 17, 2011.

  1. k4show macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2009
    #1
    Next year I will be doing mechatronics engineering, I have two options, I can buy a 2011 13" 2.3ghz or I can get last year's 15" 2.4ghz i5 with the GT330M. I'm assuming I'll have to use autocad, matlab, office, etc. I plan on using bootcamp. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    Always contact your academic department and get some recommendations from them before purchasing a computer. They sometimes (often) have particular requirements for students' computers, either to run a certain software or network configuration, etc.

    If it's all the same to them, and if it were me, I'd go with the 15", and maybe even a 17". I'm also an engineer, and using AutoCAD on a small screen is an absolute nightmare. This changes, of course, if you plan to use an external monitor to extend your desktop (a great idea if you plan on keeping the MBP for a long time).
     
  3. k4show thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2009
    #3
    Okay thanks, will do. I forgot to mention I'd be using a 23" 1920x1080 external monitor in my dorm. However a bigger screen on the go would be nice as well.
     
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #4
    The big screen in your dorm makes it easier to forgo the 17", IMO. Again, if it were me, I'd still get the 15" if that's your main computer. I have a 13" MacBook, and trying to use it as my main machine was too frustrating with that small a screen.

    Good luck!
     
  5. k4show thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Do you know if the 15 can handle matlab and autocad? I think I will be doing some C++ programming as well.
     
  6. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #6
    Any current Mac will do just fine.
     
  7. macman312 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    15" with your external monitor. I would look into a refurbished 2011 15" because it has thunderbolt
     
  8. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #8
    15" because CAD requires space and you'll be dragging your laptop to the library, class, etc.

    Also, Autocad, Matlab, and Office have MAC OS versions that should be fine for a student. I'm using an 2008 17" MBP and I have no problem.
     
  9. rlav macrumors member

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    Mar 25, 2009
    #9
    I'm a CS student, so its a bit different. But I would recommend the 13", the size and the weight of the 13" is perfect, especially seeing that you have the external monitor. The screen resolution is high enough that you should be ok with CAD and most other applications. I would say that if you look around in the classes (atleast the ones I take) most of the MBP are the 13", with the 15" being a small minority.
     
  10. AWallen90 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #10
    I would go with the newer model with the 13" screen. I love the 13" size.
     
  11. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

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  12. SidBala macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #12
    15 inch please. Get the hi-res screen too. Once you start solidworks and EE CAD, you will hate yourself for going with a small screen.
     
  13. macman312 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Refurbished 2011 15" because it is future proof it can run pretty well anything
    and it has thunderbolt
     
  14. trip1ex macrumors 68000

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    #14
    I'd just buy a Windows laptop. There is little point in buying a Mac only to use Windows all the time.
     
  15. Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Sunny Southern California
    #15
    I say the 15"! Working on a 13" will be just a nightmare.

    If you do need to run windows, keep in mind you will need to purchase a copy of Windows 7 for Boot Camp.
     
  16. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #16
    I doubt you'll use CAD software until your junior year, if at all. even then, your assemblies likely won't be complex.

    get a 13" and just hook it up to your external. cheaper, more portable, and more than fast enough.
     
  17. AlanFord macrumors regular

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    Feb 26, 2011
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    Cro
    #17
    As a mechanical engineer I would recommend you the 15" model.
    I often use AutoCad and other CAD software's, even sometimes Matlab.
    Everything works very nice.
     
  18. k4show thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    Would the 13" suffice with a 23" external monitor? Also all the demanding software is run off of their campus servers. (My friend who's in software engineering told me its a dual quad core server)
     
  19. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #19
    I used AutoCAD freshman year, I would also get the 15" as it has a discrete graphics card.
     
  20. k4show thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2009
    #20
    I'm quite torn now to be honest, if I got a 15" refurbished I'd lose out on upgrading my iPod (right now a 32gb third gen, was going to sell it and upgrade to the 4th generation 32gb). Also the 15 is obviously more expensive and I'm on a tight budget, I might have sometime for some Battlefield Bad Company 2 possibly, or I might just bring my desktop PC (Q6600 overclocked to 3.4ghz, HD4850, 6gb of ram) for that and anything demanding possibly. I'm not sure how many people will bring a desktop, my guess is not many.
     
  21. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

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    #21
    Get the 15". The discrete graphics card is extremely important for any 3D activities.

    Also, strongly consider getting a refurb of the current 15", as the processor is a quad-core, not a dual-core like the previous model.
     
  22. k4show thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2009
    #22
    I think I've made up my mind, my mom is going to sell me her 2010 15 MBP i5 2.4ghz for a really good price. Does this sound like a good plan?
     
  23. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    Berkeley, CA
    #23
    I think that only makes sense if it will cost less than a new 13"
     
  24. k4show thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2009
    #24
    It will be, she's going to sell it to me for $1000. :)
     
  25. ghostlyorb macrumors 6502a

    ghostlyorb

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    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    #25
    Find out the min specs needed. I am an engineering student as well (starting this fall) and I got the maxed out 15". It's far beyond the min specs for my school.. as of now. It could change in 4 years. Always think of the future! haha.
     

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