Best MBP 13" for a college engineering major

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by notclosetofour, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. notclosetofour macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2011
    I guess this would really be a question of which processor will be sufficient. I will be entering college this fall as an engineering major and I know I wanted to wait for the refresh to get my mac for college. I know that most engineering programs are on windows but I have been using a mac throughout high school ever since my family switched over and I can't go back to that crappy windows OS. I figure that personal use can be done on Mac OS X and then I can partition Windows 7 on my mac as well so I can do my school work also.

    So basically, I will be using my mac partition for web surfing, word documents/powerpoint/excel, light video editing, light music production (garageband), basic mac app store apps, skype/facetime, and iTunes. Then I would be using my Windows partition for CAD software and other engineering and programming applications.

    The low end 13" has a 2.3 GHz i5 and the high end 13" has a 2.7 GHz i7. I honestly don't know the difference between the two... all I know is both are significantly faster than the previous Core 2 duos. I'm not going to ask which is better for what I am going to be using my computer for, because the obvious answer would be the higher end every time. But my question is is the 2.3 GHz i5 processor sufficient for what I want to use my computer for in college. I don' really want to put 300 more dollars into the computer.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010
    13"? None of them. Get the 15" and have a real GPU. All of those CPU's are perfectly fine. But if you want a real GPU for your CAD work (and you will) you'll need to get a 15".
  3. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    I think the low end 13 is more than enough for your needs. I ran autocad just fine on my c2d. Plus you won't need to spend extra.
  4. notclosetofour thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Okay thanks! And the previous poster mentioned that GPU is too weak in the 13"? Is this a real issue or is it just preferable to have the better graphics? I don't have the money for the 15 inch and I am very happy with the size of the 13. I don't know much about these new Intel HD 3000, or GPU at all for that matter. Will it be a problem?
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    You won't have a problem. I ran Inventor 2010 on my MacBook with the 9400m (probably less than half as powerful as the HD3000) without issue. I wouldn't expect workstation type performance (you shouldn't expect that from a laptop to begin with), but it will definitely perform as well as you need it to for college classes.
  6. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    It depends so much on what CAD programs you are using.

    I use my 13" Aluminum MacBook (2008 version) to do class demonstrations. I teach digital Electrical Engineering courses. Not only does it run the CAD software we use faster than most students' PC notebooks, but I run it using a Windows 7 VM with Parallels, and record the lecture with iShowU HD at the same time.

    Students with MacBook Pros that they bring to class are almost entirely 13" models. 15" or 17" are rare. They do look diminutive against all the Windows monsters. It's an engineering school.

    The only downside to 13" is the screen size, which is made worse in my case by having to project my screen at reduced resolution. Attach an external monitor and you'll be fine.
  7. notclosetofour thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Awesome, thanks man! Go Buckeyes!
  8. DRGN89 macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2011
    how about for a student getting into architectural technology?
  9. TheNewDude macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2010
    Just remember, Apple does offer a student discount!
  10. theman123 macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2008
    My sisters BF is about to graduate from UCF with a degree in Engineering(not sure which field), but he has a low end 13" and he's perfectly fine. He's got Win7 loaded via bootcamp.

    I'm not sure what else he does other than the usual college stuff, but he is also big into picture taking. So probably has software dealing with that.
  11. notclosetofour thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2011
  12. jmdMac macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    This is my senior year of engineering. I got by with a POS dell until last spring....the 13"mbp will be more than sufficient for your needs.
  13. dwhynman macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2010
    you Will be fine with the 13 I myself just finished my undergraduate career in engineering and now am in grad school. Just remember to max out your RAM. you will want to also get fusion or parallels to run windows on. As great as a mac is you will need windows in engineering. I don't know what field you are going into but I am sure you will need it many times. A lot of it is just plugins for office that are only available for windows. Also MatLab works better in windows in communicates with excel better. Good Luck

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