Best laptop for me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pmontanarella, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. pmontanarella macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hi all,

    I know there are various threads discussing this, however, I haven't found one matching my needs.

    I've been looking to get a new laptop for a few months now and I'm not exactly sure which one to get.

    I am looking at three main options, and please keep in mind I will want to keep this laptop with me for a long time, throughout the most part of university (I'm currently in Grade 10).

    The first option would be the higher-end 15" rMBP which has a 2.6gHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core processor, 8GB of ram and a 512GB SSD and would be $3047.41 after taxes.

    Second option is a 13" MacBook Air with a 2.0 gHz Intel Core i7 Dual-Core processor, 8GB of Ram and a 512GB SSD. This one would be $2394.16. My only doubt here being the reduced processor speed? Is it really that bad?

    3rd option is a 13" rMBP with a 512GB SSD and upgrade, i7 2.9 gHz processor. This one would be $2938.54

    I'm currently attending 10th grade and will use this computer mostly for research, writing essays, PPT presentations and homework, as well as the usual web surfing (Facebook, youtube, tech sites) and email. I need the big SSD because i will also use it as my main media hub with photos, movies and music. As i mentioned above I would like a computer that i can rely on for a long time and also use in university (if it helps, i'm looking to go into computer engineering) last ideally about 4/5 years. My doubt with the MacBook Air is the processor which looks to be a bit slow. Also is the retina display really worth it for what I will do? Lastly, my doubt with the 15" rMBP is the bigger screen with I'm not used to, and I have concerns on its portability, any thoughts on this?

    Thanks in advance for the suggestions,

  2. Stewart21 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2011
    South Yorkshire
    Either would be fine. Personally I would get the MBA (and a good case) because you'll soon get tired of lugging that MBP brick around.
  3. jdblas69 macrumors regular

    Aug 15, 2012
    For your needs the retina display is probably not needed.

    I would purchase a non-retina MBP and at least down the road you will have some upgrade options...ssd and ram. I would not purchase the ram or ssd upgrades through apple up front. You can do the upgrades a lot cheaper yourself.

    The trade off is the MBA would offer better portability but of course with limited upgrade options. But I would not be afraid of the processor being slow.
  4. Giuly macrumors 68040


    Get the CPU max'd out (2.6GHz on the MacBook Pro will do), the same goes for the non-replaceable RAM, get the 16GB - better safe than sorry.

    As far as the SSD goes - you don't have to get a large one. You can store media on an external hard drive, as even 768GB will be filled rather quickly with music and videos. Also, if the need ever arises, you could replace it, as OWC offers larger Aura Pro SSDs for those models.
  5. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    The MBP is overkill and even though it's lighter, the weight is going to get old. Get the 13" Air -- I think the processors are fine for what you're doing. It's not just about MHz anymore. Take some measures to make this last through your college years, keeping in mind it can't be user upgraded later. Get the 8GB RAM and the 256GB drive, placing extra media on an external USB3 drive. Consider getting an external monitor so you can dock to comfortably write those long papers. Lastly, get Apple care or purchase with a CC that doubles the manufacturer's warranty just before your one year ownership anniversary. This machine is going to get knocked around and you want a little peace of mind.
  6. pmontanarella thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thanks for all the responses,

    I'll probably end up getting the Air. The more I think of it the more I agree with people saying the Pro is overkill.

    Thanks for the answers,

  7. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    Hey, as a 12th grader myself, I understand your situation.

    First of all, as a student (and based off your described usage), any of those laptops will satisfy your needs. A MacBook Air is by far the cheapest and most cost-effective way to deal with the situation.

    Because of your listed requirements, you should not notice the difference between the CPU on the MacBook Air and a 15" MBP.

    However, since you stated you want it to last you through university (and you're looking to go into/use it for computer engineering), you might want to go with the 15" MBP.

    The 15" MBP will last you longer in terms of power and how long it will be able to handle current applications and other uses.

    I'd also highly recommend buying a refurbished model. In many ways, they are arguably better than buying brand new. You will also save quite a bit (actually, *A LOT*) of money, compared to your current price figures.
  8. jordnew macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2013
    Best Intel Sandy Bridge Laptop

    I'm not a very "techy" guy even though I love techy stuff, I'm not too knowledgable about the details of a laptop. I mostly read reviews and stuff before I purchase a laptop. I found this website and it's got a pretty good range of price and products. Check it out if you want some ideas, I purchased one of the Toshiba's and I've really liked it.
  9. LiveinRiot macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
    With the price that you will pay in the ultimates macbooks is better you buy every year a new macbook air 13''. ;)
  10. cperry2 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011
    I'd get the mba with 128gb and 4 or 8gb ram.

    Honestly, you can get a great hard drive for $100 and put more media than you ever could on an ssd, and 128 is plenty for all your apps and most important files.

    I also understand wanting to make it last, but it ends up being way more cost effective and value-driven for you do get the machine that suits your needs for today, and get a new machine in about three years when college begins.

    By 2016, you could probably get a notebook with 16gb ram and a retina display with a much faster processor in an air-like form factor, and you'd still be paying about the same as getting whatever ultimate configuration you can get today.
  11. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I'd choose the Air among the three you listed, but I wouldn't go for the maxed out SSD. You can easily use external drives to hold media, but local storage is becoming less and less important every year. So many services allow you to stream content that keeping terabytes of media local is becoming pointless. You will almost certainly find that your university offers the fastest bandwidth that you will ever have access to, so living more 'in the cloud' should be pretty easy for the next few years.

    My only concern would be that the comp sci department at your uni may want you to buy from an approved list to support some of your classes. Virtualization usually takes care of that, but back in the dark ages when I was off to college, they were pretty strict about it. If that were to become an issue, Mac laptops hold their value well and are easy to sell used.
  12. hkim1983 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2009
    Best advice, although other people are basically saying the same thing. I agree with this 100%.

    IMO, unless you do only the most basic of tasks, or the computer you buy is grossly overpowered for your needs, no computer will last you 5 years without serious diminishing returns in performance.

    Also, remember that even if you use the SAME programs without upgrading at all during those 4-5 years, the web will evolve whether you like it or not and become more and more demanding!

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