Advice for student purchase

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Blumpkinson, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Blumpkinson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #1
    First off this forum has been very helpful in answering many questions i've had about my current macbook, thank you very much.

    Now down to the question, i am going back to school for mechanical engineering and need help upgrading my current laptop. I'm not a very "techy" person but i've been doing my research. I have a refurbished macbook(4 years old i think) that has been a complete joy for photography and everyday use.

    I'm going to be running programs such as matlab, solidworks, and cs4. I've been looking at the 15" 2.4GHz and the 2.66GHz models (since the 2.53GHz doesn't seem to be worth the increase in price over the base model). It appears that i will need to run bootcamp for most of the programs, however i'm worried the I5 processor won't be fast enough for my needs.

    Budget is reasonably flexible, however it'll be tapping into beer/book funds.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    #2
    The i5 is going to be plenty fast. Even a Core 2 Duo would work fine. Your biggest problem is going to be ram.... and may I suggest something like parallels instead of bootcamp. Get the 2.4 instead of the 2.6 and use that money to upgrade to 6gb of ram and you will be running many mac and windows applications simultaneously in no time.
     
  3. Blumpkinson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 15, 2010
    #3
    would the offered upgrade to 8gb of ram through apple be worth the $400? Or is there another option to upgrading the ram without screwing with the applecare warranty.

    Also would the smaller hard drive the 2.4 offers be an issue?
     
  4. pilotkid macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
    #4
    I'm going to jump in here and answer the $400 question! You can buy the ram and install it yourself from a reputable place like OWC. I looked for you and the 8GB kit is $245 vs. $400 from Apple. Now you said you were not very "techy". If you dont feel confident enough to follow the instructions below it might be worth the $400 for you. Here I have the links to OWC's ram selections and Apples ram upgrade instructions.

    OWC NuRam: http://tiny.cc/xx5o4

    Apple's Ram Upgrade Instructions for 15" MBP: http://tiny.cc/9bduo
    **On the Apple link click the 2nd MBP choice, for the 15" model**
     
  5. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    #5
    I would rather upgrade myself, but I am always concerned about the quality of the parts. So for someone not confident in taking off the bottom of the computer and carefully taking chips and replacing them with parts you need to have researched to trust, the upgrade through apple may be worth it because it is instantly done for you and you know you can trust the parts.

    I am just saying, 8gb is a bit overkill. It may be worth it one day, but I can't see most, if not all users needing more than 6gb
     
  6. OlegShv macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    outer Shpongolia
    #6
    RAM would be useful. Matlab can run fine on the OS X. For SolidWorks it's better to use the computer labs anyway.
     
  7. pilotkid macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
    #7
    It may be overkill but I'd still love to have 8 gigs:D
     
  8. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

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    Apr 24, 2010
    #8
    It could save you a decent amount of $$$ to stick with 6
     
  9. Blumpkinson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 15, 2010
    #9
    Thanks for the links, the instructions for installing the memory seem very straight forward.

    I will probably go with the 6GB to save some money. Does taking the bottom of the computer off and replacing the memory mess with applecare at all?

    Also would it be worth it for me to upgrade to a solid state harddrive for my applications, of course it would have to wait alittle while so i could save up?
     
  10. colourfastt macrumors 6502a

    colourfastt

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    #10
    If this is the case, you'd be better off saving some money and buying a Windows machine.
     
  11. Rithem macrumors 6502

    Rithem

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #11
    If anything buy the high res version. I'm so happy I got it when I compared it to the low res in the Apple store.
     
  12. Blumpkinson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 15, 2010
    #12
    I had a dell laptop that my sister gave to me when she upgraded and i had nothing but problems with it. It appears that the only program that i would need bootcamp for is solidworks (didn't look into it enough before posting the question). Most people use the computer lab for it, so i might be able to get away without needing bootcamp.


    As for the high resolution screen, did you go with the antiglare or glossy finish?
     
  13. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #13
    I have the glossy screen, if you are going to be indoors and aren't doing any graphics work I'm not sure it really matters. That being said, if you are trying to do any graphics work - the matte is definitely more accurate, perhaps less exciting.
     
  14. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    If you're a Mech Eng student, installing RAM into a MBP should be a piece of cake.

    I reckon you should run with the 4GB and see how you get on first before considering a bump up. You never know, you might not actually need more RAM yet but when you do, hopefully the prices would've come down a bit. Just thinking of your student budget that's all.
     
  15. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a

    cloroxbleach4

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #15
    I'm trying to look up 6gb, but I can't find anything.
     
  16. studentmac macrumors regular

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #16
    Hi mate,

    I'm an engineering student, and thought I'd let you know I've been running Solidworks under boot camp on my 3 year old white macbook for the past couple of years, with no problems as yet. Bootcamp seems to run the program faster than parallels ever did, so I recommend it.

    So basically, any of the macbook pros would be perfectly fine for your design work.
     
  17. bigjobby macrumors 65816

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    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #17
    You just replace one of the 2GB sticks for a 4GB stick then BINGO!
     
  18. Blumpkinson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #18
    Thats exactly what i wanted to here. Thanks. Did you upgrade the ram, so it would run smoother, or is it fine as it is?
     
  19. Blumpkinson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #19
    Seems like waiting is probably the best idea, it's going to be much faster then what i have now. Thanks for the info.
     
  20. studentmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #20
    I actually upgraded to 2GB RAM before I started on Solidworks, so cannot compare the performance. But Solidworks (2009) is running pretty smooth considering the integrated graphics and relatively low RAM I'm using.

    With a discrete video card like on the Macbook Pros and 4GB of RAM (as found as standard on most of the models) Solidworks will run beautifully!
     

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