Beginning Architecture Grad School: 13" or 15" MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacBookFan19, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. MacBookFan19 macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    I'm starting grad school in a month and I'm shopping for a new MacBook Pro that can last 3 years of graduate school. I'm considering three options (student discounts included): 13" 2.26GHz for $1099, 13" 2.53GHz for $1399, 15" 2.66GHz for $1849. I'm considering the 13" primarily because of its small size, light weight and low price. I'm also considering the 15" because of its larger screen and dedicated graphics.

    This is why I'm on the fence: I know that I'll be toting my MacBook Pro across campus to studio quite a bit, ranging anywhere from once/twice a week during slow-times to everyday when gearing up for presentations, so weight is an issue for me. I did this for 2 years using my MacBook with no complaints. Would a 15" Pro be an issue? On the other hand, dedicated graphics would come in handy for those large Revit models. And so would a bigger screen for design work on the go.

    But screen size isn't a huge issue for me. I'm currently using a 13" BlackBook. Before that I used a 12" PowerBook G4. But I also have a 22" external monitor for docking at home.

    So what do you guys think? Do you see the need for a 9600m or will the 9400m suffice for my purposes? Beyond the typical web surfing and paper writing, I'll probably use Photoshop, AutoCad & Revit (on Bootcamp/Windows 7) very often. BTW I'm not a big gamer. I may play the Sims or Spore from time to time but that's about it.

    So...any thoughts?
  2. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    I would get the 15in 2.8GHz Macbook Pro because of the dedicated graphics and overall better specs. But, you can get the 13in 2.26GHz or 2.53GHz Macbook Pro and connect it to an external monitor.
  3. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
  4. AMessy macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    If you are running a lot of CAD and design programs the 15" may be worth it just for the larger screen. It can get pretty rough working with CAD programs on small laptop screens.
  5. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    You can always get a bigger external display, but it is really tough (cost prohibitive) to change the graphics card after the fact.

    For CAD work, get the best graphics card you can afford, and it will last you 3-4 years of solid work.
  6. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    If you'll be doing any type of graphics/3d/CAD work I would advise you upgrade to the 512 Vram flavors of the 15" (2.8GHz and 3.06GHz configurations) because the extra texture mem will help you if you decide to use a 30" display in the future (or if you get really wild with your visualizations).

    You'll also benefit from the additional 3Mb of L2 cache on the 2.8 and 3.06 configs.
  7. kmac88 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2009
    13 inch should be good enough if it's not your primary computer, and you have a desktop to do hardcore cad-ing on. But if this is your primary computer, I'd say 15inch with a dedicated gpu:eek:
  8. MacBookFan19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Just wanted to say thanks, guys. I bought the 2.66GHz 15" Pro today - basically the best I could afford. The computer, incase sleeve and dvi adapter set me back about $2060 after tax. But I love this system. The 15" screen is a nice departure from my usual 13". Haven't put the dedicated graphics to work yet but so far even the 9400m is leaps and bounds ahead of my BlackBook's GMA 950. And the unibody enclosure is top notch. Hopefully I'll be cranking out some sweet models from this machine for quite some time.
  9. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    If you're modeling in Cad, you definitely want the biggest screen you can get.

    There has been an issue with Autodesk software under Boot Camp - something breaks the registration key each time you boot into Windows. I don't know if this got fixed.

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