2019 MBP for College

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jreiland8, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. jreiland8 macrumors newbie

    jreiland8

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #1
    Hello everyone! I will be heading off to college in the Fall to study Computer Science. As such, I am looking to buy a new MacBook Pro. I currently own a 13" 2015 MacBook Air (1.6 GHz i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB), but it isn't really powerful enough for my needs. I know that I want to buy a model with the Touch Bar (more due to the newer, faster processors rather than the Bar), but I'm not sure which model I should buy. I want 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage, and an i7, but I'm not sure if I should go for a top-end upgraded 13", or if I should get a base model 15" with upgraded storage. I would prefer not to rely on external storage. On one hand, I like the portability of the 13" (and that it's slightly cheaper), but I also like that the 15" has two more cores and dedicated graphics. The larger display of the 15" isn't very important to me, as I'll be connecting to an external monitor in my dorm anyway. Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. kp98077 macrumors 6502

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #2
    tough choice! Happy-pride :)
    I am in the same situation, cant decide! I love the power of the 15" almost always comes in handy regardless of what you are doing. I also love the larger screen, don't love lugging it around however or even having it sit on my lap! That being said the 13" hasn't given me a real reason to be disappointed, other than with video/movies/photo editing, just too slow IMO.... I have both models ATM....
     
  3. Northern Man macrumors member

    Northern Man

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    #3
    I would go for the 13" for portability and ease of lap use. But it is obviously a personal decision. Best of luck.
     
  4. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #4
    I would go with the 15. You will appreciate the larger screen size in labs and libraries.
     
  5. benobi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2016
    #5
    I would highly recommend the 13". In my experience, portability is huge in college. You'll want to take the machine to class, to the library, to a coffee shop, to a friend's dorm/apartment, etc. (Not to mention, using the 15" on an airline is almost impossible, but the 13" is quite comfortable). As you mentioned, you'll have an external monitor to alleviate any small-screen concerns, and if graphics power ever becomes a bottle-neck, there are also external GPU options. Since they put in a quad-core processor a year ago, I have gone 13" and never looked back.
     
  6. twinboys macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    #6
    My son is in the same boat. He is off to college this August and will major in computer science, cyber security, and wants the power of the new 15" but the portability of the 13". If he doesn't make-up his mind soon, he is getting the 15".

    I hope your choice suits your needs and I wish you well in school.
     
  7. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #7
    Get the 13" since you don't care about the size of the screen. Extra portability will be great.

    Reality is that you can keep using your current MacBook Air and it'll be more than enough for college computer science.
     
  8. kp98077 macrumors 6502

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #8
    yeah 13" is easier for those kids to lug around, at the local Starbucks here near Univ. Washington I would say 90% of the students have the 13" or MBA they clearly are going lightweight... as tempting as the 15" is....
     
  9. jreiland8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    jreiland8

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    #9
    Unfortunately, the RAM and SSD of my current Air aren’t up to what I need. I realize I can upgrade the SSD, I’ve already encountered cases where 8 GB RAM just isn’t enough.
     
  10. 960design macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #10
    Rarely has a developer thought, "I wish the screen was smaller".
    I would love a 13" for portability, but require a 15" just to see the little missing commas and semicolons. I use a 27" for design work and the 15" for development.
    Only relating to software development:
    90% time spent on 15" MBP
    5% time spent on 27" iMac
    4% time spent with paper and pencil
    1% holding coffee, staring at screen wondering where the missing comma is.
     
  11. kp98077 macrumors 6502

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #11
    yes good point re: detail on the larger screen, pretty true! Developer or not.... applies to most professionals... and the coffee, very important!
     
  12. kp98077 macrumors 6502

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #12
    seems to me you likely need the new 2019 MBP 15" baseline model?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 5, 2019 ---
    If I am buying a computer to will be used for a lot of spreadsheets, you tube, writing, browsing, storing lots of photos etc (15k plus) what would you all recommend?
     
  13. rhor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    #13
    I'll be a post-senior in comp-sci this fall, I've been developing iOS apps for 6 years at this point and I've interned at a very large software corporation.

    Trust me, your current laptop is fine for anything and everything you'll ever do in college. If you decide to use it for video editing or 3D-rendering for private projects, that is a different animal. Not related to school though.
    The only use cases I've encountered in comp-sci so far where 8GB of RAM wasn't enough were Machine Learning and Docker related things. Both of which weren't even school related.

    That being said, I did use a 15" MBP all the way through college (even upgraded to the 2016 model two years ago; was using a late-2013 15" prior to that) and I really enjoyed having the additional screen real estate. Lugging it around isn't as big of an issue as people who don't use or own one make it seem. I did buy an iPad Pro 10.5" the summer after freshman year though because I hate handling countless sheets of paper and the Apple Pencil meant taking digital notes only. All your friends are gonna love you, too because you can instantly share your notes with them and they'll have 'em right in their email inbox.
    You'll be doing a lot of math and theoretical comp-sci, rather than writing apps in swift, etc. You pretty much don't even have to take the laptop to class. The iPad is fine in my experience.

    => you'll find the iPad to be much more useful compared with a new Mac

    EDIT: typo
    --- Post Merged, Jun 5, 2019 ---
    A MacBook Air. Sounds like you don't need any sort of performance, at all. 15" can come in handy for large spreadsheets. My dad works with spreadsheets all day and he "downgraded" from 15" to 13" three years ago and after about a month of complaints he got used to it and would never go back. Just takes a little more scrolling around. Photo libraries differ wildly in size. Depends a lot on whether you shoot only iPhone pictures, or if you shoot a lot of high res (30+ mpix) pictures on a modern DSLR/MILC. I've got 51k photos and 2600 videos in photos.app shot on various cameras and phones starting with the Nikon D1 up to my EOS 5D mark IV today plus a bunch of iPhone pictures. The whole library is 735GB in total.
     
  14. jreiland8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    jreiland8

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2019
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #14
    I suppose I should clarify then: I have already (through personal projects) run into limitations from my current MBA (namely RAM and CPU). Additionally, I would appreciate the nicer screen and faster SSD (Yes, I know that the SSD is already rather fast.). Furthermore, being an Apple fanboy, I just want something nice and new for college. I feel that my original question comes down to this: does the power of the 15" justify its size?

    I currently own a 9.7" iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. Any recommendations on note-taking apps?
     
  15. rhor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    #15
    The 2018 or later generation? No. If you're comparing a dual core 13" MBP to any quad core MBP then yes, the power does justify the size.

    Why? Because you likely won't need more than 16GB of RAM or more than 4 cores for years to come for anything comp-sci related. If you've got very power hungry ML workloads, macOS is the wrong OS and a laptop the wrong hardware. Check out some of the currently available cloud offerings. They're awesome. For everything else you won't run into power limitations.

    I use Notability simply because it's the first note-taking app I came across when I read a few reviews right after I bought the iPad. I'm sure there are many other good ones out there.
     
  16. jreiland8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    jreiland8

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    #16
    Even with integrated vs. dedicated GPU?
     
  17. rhor macrumors newbie

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    Dec 1, 2017
    #17
    Why would you need a dedicated GPU?

    If you need access to a dedicated GPU every now and then, is an eGPU not a good solution for you?
     
  18. jreiland8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    jreiland8

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    Jun 1, 2019
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    #18
    I suppose my thought is that it’s nice to have for flexibility, and I occasionally do a bit of light video editing. As for the eGPU, I’d rather spend my money now (and it would be less money) on a traditional dGPU instead of an eGPU.
     
  19. kp98077 macrumors 6502

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #19
    even if the power did not justify the size (which it does) the screen size is honestly so superior IMO especially if you will be writing...
     
  20. rhor macrumors newbie

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    Dec 1, 2017
    #20
    You won't need a dGPU or an eGPU for a bit of light video editing. I've actually thought about buying a 12" MacBook for traveling and that includes Lightroom editing and 5-10 minute 4K YouTube videos when I'm on the road. I do use FinalCut for video editing though and that's highly optimized for macOS and not so powerful hardware. It's your money that you're spending, so ultimately the purchase decision is up to you, but in your case I wouldn't waste the money on a dGPU or a 6 or even an 8 core chip. The difference will simply not be huge. You won't notice it when you're working on comp-sci stuff and the difference for light video editing will be minor.

    If you wanna get the 15" for the additional screen real estate, that's something I'd 100% understand and that (besides the fact that there was no quad core 13" MBP available in 2016 and 2017) is the main reason why I own a 15" machine.
     
  21. bafi macrumors newbie

    bafi

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2018
    Location:
    Italy
    #21
    Glad that I found out this post, I'm almost in a similar situation. I've a 2013 full spec macbook air and looking to upgrade for drone footage (FCPX user) and cryptocurrency/various workload. I feel the price of a spec 13 inch is really not worth it, configured with 16 gb of ram and 512gb of SSD you are in the price tag of the 15" which gets the 9th generation + 6 core + dedicated GPU.
    What would you suggest for 4K footage? is the integrated card of the 13" enough?
     
  22. kp98077 macrumors 6502

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #22
    yep, agreed - 13 is not a good value, that's why I went with the 15"...
     
  23. rhor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2017
    #23
    Depends on the codec used. If you're transcoding everything to ProRes or if you use proxy files, you won't face any issues, for sure. I don't have any experience editing 4K footage on a non-dGPU Mac, so I can't say anything about performance regarding codecs other than ProRes. Let me say this though: My maxed out 2016 15" MBP can't play 5D mark 4 4K MJPEG files at more than maybe 1fps. You read that right. It's pretty much unusable without transcoding to ProRes first or by using proxy files. And it's got the Radeon Pro 460 4096MB GPU, too.
     
  24. peachpup macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    #24
    Sounds like you are talking yourself into the 15. You will NOT regret it. The 13 is lighter weight, more compact. That is the only advantage I see. The 15 will give you more processing power; discrete graphics; bigger screen; etc ... I am not in computer science but am a college teacher. I have a 2014 MBPro 15. 16 GB Ram; 1 TB SSD. Of course not only OSX but I also have Windows 10 (w/latest May update); Linux (Ubuntu) and (Debian); and Chrome OS installed thru Parallels Desktop Virtual OS software. It is great! 5 year old machine. But it still blows away 95% of what my students use in class. Windows on my 5 year old MBP runs better than most of my student's windows computers. And I switch between OSX and WIN on the fly constantly in class . )) I am going to have to replace the battery this summer... and probably will upgrade to the new MBP 15 after 5.5 years - but only because I want to and not because I need to. If you wanted to save some money, installing a new SSD and more RAM would save you a couple thousand dollars. The new SSD would speed up your "on the side" video projects. If not, then get what you can now for longevity. If it's the 13, it will still be an amazing machine.
     
  25. MoreRumors? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2018
    Location:
    Dub Dub
    #25
    Don't forget you can get student discount at the Apple Store and just have your student ID card with you. With the discounted price, you may consider using that saving towards upgrading your memory, RAM or processor. You may check to see if the school store at your college sell Apple products which may be discounted.
     

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28 June 1, 2019