College Life

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by eddy64, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. eddy64 macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hey guys, I'm thinking about getting my first Mac this year (very excited) before I go to college and I would like to get some opinions. This is directed mostly to college students, but feel free to post

    First, the following will include my tasks:
    Word processing
    Using the internet
    Watching movies
    Maybe playing the occasional game (maybe WoW?)
    Listening to tons of music
    I also like to multi task a lot

    Now, do you guys think this justifies buying a Macbook pro? I want one seeing as it will be updated soon and in my eye, apears more "Advanced" (especially since the macbook doesnt even have an led screen). But, I have also read that a smaller laptop is better for college since it takes up less desk space, a little lighter, and more portable.

    I'd like some feed back from college students who bought a Macbook or Macbook pro, any things they liked or didnt like. (Btw, money wise, I can spend up to $2500, but I also don't want to waste money)

    Finally, I have been reading tons of threads on the upcomming update of the MBP, yet I have seen very few (if any) that speak about a Macbook update. Is that coming before August or have there been no rumors up to this point?

    Thanks guys and I apreciate any help.
  2. takeabyteoutta macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2008
    Macbook Pro

    is just fine for college life. Labtops take up less space then desktops and the macbook pro is one of the best sized labtops (volume to screen size ratio), especially for carrying around to class, group meetngs, etc.

    The 17" inch is great for watching movies btw.

    However, for you uses, a macbook would be suitable as well. If you're planning on holding onto this computer for all 4 years and more, I'd suggest the MBP after it's updated, because it'll be more usable for longer. I'd also suggest you seriously consider the MBA if all you're going to be doing is writing/taking notes alot.

    Alot depends on what your planned major is going to be.
  3. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a


    Sep 25, 2007
    Davis, CA
    I think a MBP would be great for you. You'll have to decide if you'd rather have a bit more desk space or a better movie-watching machine.
  4. goose1873 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Erie, PA
    Macbook will do anything you need...

    Get a Macbook. Use the $800 you saved for a PS3 with a blueray and put the rest down on your flat-screen. Oh- and spend $80 on 4gb of ram from newegg or upgrades are overpriced.
  5. luftwaffles08 macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2007
    I've got the 15inch MBP and I've absolutely loved it for College. I have been writing a thesis (which I'm supposed to be doing right now, whoops) and I constantly bring it to classes, the library, or anywhere else I need to go. So as for the portability question, I'd say hands down it's a great balance between size and weight.

    Since you're looking at games like WoW, I'd have to say go with the MBP as well, if only because you want to future-proof yourself. If you're interested in WoW, you may down the line want to run another game or two with more demanding specs. An MBP with the dedicated video card will help you in that respect. While the fan in the MBP when it kicks into high gear may terrify you, at least you won't be losing FPS like on the Macbook.

    Another factor which I've noticed only because friends have complained to me, is the durability of the Macbook. Since it's a plastic case, it is more prone to cracks, and chips off the case if you're less than gentle with it. In a dorm environment, you may suffer the occasional fall or bump no matter how careful you are. While I already have a few less than discreet scuffs on my aluminum case, I at least maintain the illusion that it protects the components a bit more.

    Sorry this got so long, but from personal experience, go with the Pro.
  6. DCSMAC macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2005
    yea im kind of in the same situation as this kid. i really want the laptop to last at least 4 years and not be 100% obselete. I'll probably be using photoshop elements and final cut express on occasion as well.
  7. rsm5068 macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2008
    First, there are a bunch of these threads you could do by looking at those. Secondly, it is hard to help when you don't specify a major. And what your current situation is regarding technology. Engineering majors tend to need more of the power house that is an MBP if that is their sole computer, while Liberal Arts majors tend to need the portability of the MB or even the MBA. There are a ton of options, combos and trade-offs to be considered. Post some more info about the specifics of your college agenda and we may be able to help better.

    As of right now though, I would go MB (HE White or Black) for 2 years then re-evaluate your situation. Also, I am getting an iPod Touch (in some eventuality of time) and those seem to be helpful for organization when carrying a laptop around may not be the most convenient approach. And give up WoW, it's the devil and there are better games out there.
  8. takeabyteoutta macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2008
    desktop space

    really isn't an issue. You're saving perhaps an inch or so downgrading to a macbook, but if you're doing most of your work on your labtop, its a no-factor.

    You can also clear desk space by simply putting the labtop on your dresser, bed, etc. when you need the desk for drawing, doing math hw, etc.
  9. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    You don't need a macbook pro. A Macbook would be just fine... however...
    IF you can afford it, a bottom level macbook pro (when they are updated whenever that is) would be the creme de creme or whatever.

    More ram standard, LED screen, dedicated graphics, better battery life (led screen) better speakers, better and higher rez screen... only 1799 with the student discount. (prices will probably stay the same after the update as perusual)

    It would future proof you a bit more as far as gaming goes, give you more power and a non-integrated graphics card which may become something more needed, You'll get a bigger and nicer screen, and I actually got better battery life from my MBP SR 2.2 because of the LED screen then I do from my current macbook. It also ran cooler.... IMO.

    I've had both. I LOVED my macbook pro, but i wanted a change and didn't need the power this semester. However, I also have an external monitor for work at home. IF you go with a macbook, grab an external monitor.

    The macbook pro keyboard was a little better to type on in my opinion, and the screen was a beauty to look at.

    Honestly, the footprint between the macbook and macbook pro is not much different, nor is the weight, so that's not much of an issue. I never had a problem with my 15inch macbook pro in classes at all.

    Really it's up to you, and what you want to spend, but I've had both types and would suggest the macbook pro for future proofing, and style, I know that sounds weird coming from someone who downgraded and is honestly quite happy, but I swap computers a lot and plan on going back to a pro this summer, or getting a desktop along with this...

    Just get a good sleeve for it or a speck case (although people report scratches from those, I got a great macally leather and suede shell which i love) or something along those lines to keep it protected and you'll be just great for classes :)
  10. takeabyteoutta macrumors 6502

    Jan 31, 2008
    get an xbox 360

    you can download HD movies from itunes. seriously, you don't need a blu-ray player unless you have a 40" or greater tv with surround sound. in terms of games and online community, 360 is much bettter and many more college students own 360's compared to ps3's
  11. forafireescape macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    If you can afford a Pro, go for it, but it's not necessary. It won't be too much heavier/take up more desk space. It's a great machine - I use it at college.
  12. eddy64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback. Yea, I'm not planning on watching too many movies, so it's not very high on my priority list, but It's definately something I want to do. Also, I've heard that the desks in certain lecture rooms can be quite small and hard to fit a 15 inch. Has this been an issue to anyone? I'm going into Biomedical Engineering at University of Florida btw ;).
    One more thing, is five pounds (or 5.4 pounds) too heavy to carry around in college? I've never had a laptop before so I really don't know much about this. I actually tried to pick up a Macbook at a store and carry it around (to get a feel for the weight) but they were locked down =( This would be the only reason as to why I would get the underpowered Macbook Air.
    Thanks again
  13. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
  14. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I am 5'4" and weight 115 and carried a macbook pro all day to and from classes and coffee shops etc, in a huge packed bag, and it's not a problem at all. 5.4 lbs for a laptop with the the power of a mbp is nothing. the .3 lb difference doesn't make much of a difference (macbook vs macbook pro)

    once again, I reiterate... I've never had a problem fitting a laptop on a desk in college... lecture halls or elsewhere. The difference in footprint between the macbook and macbook pro isn't that different really, because of the larger bezel on the macbook, compared to the pro, the difference is negligible.

    You'll be happy with either, but i would suggest the pro. You get a lot for the extra 600 (assuming you were going with the white...)
  15. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    Right now I'm going to Iowa State University majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and I have the 2.16 GHz Macbook. I upgraded the RAM to 2GB and it performs well for me. I use it like you said you are going to be using your notebook - the WoW(but I have seen people running it). The only programs that I need that do not run on my computer is Solid Works and that isn't even available for Macs, as are most of the programs that you will probably be using. So don't expect to be using your notebook for any high performance tasks because that is what the computer labs are for. So save you money and get the Macbook.
  16. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    really? I run solidworks via vmware fusion on my macbook just fine. I have a 2.2 now, but the 2.16 i had ran it alright.... I didn't do any very intensive modeling, but it does run fine for what i do.
  17. eddy64 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Thank you all for your replies. I really apreciate it. Right now I'm leaning a little more for the MBP after reviewing your replies, especially since I forgot to mention I often like typing at night and I'm too lazy to turn on the lights (Backlit Keyboard). The weight issues and size have been resolved for me (thanks ktbubster and others) and I'm not worried. One last thing, I have read about the MBP getting kind of hot, yet people don't really mention which version they have specifically. Is the heat issue isolated to the MBP before June 2007, or do the Santa Rosa MBP (After June 2007) still get uncomfortably hot?
    Thnaks again and keep posting, your feedback always helps :)
  18. rsm5068 macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2008
    BioMed ENGR, cool beans! My friend is doing that at PSU next year, I am going MechE/NucE (double Major) or ArchE I can't decide yet. BMEs usually don't need that much in the way of power because it is less dependent on things like MatLAB and such. The MacBook is probably the way to go for you, however if you can wait until just before you start college you will get some nice deals on the Apple Store (usually a free nano or something like that). Also, it has been rumored that the MB will be upgraded sometime this Summer/Early Fall and may include colors. Just some thoughts.

    If worse comes to worse, you can trade in your MB down the road and upgrade to the MBP (a re-evaluation should happen after the first 4 semesters of college anyway). I would even consider the dual Mac approach, MBA for classes and 20" iMac for the dorm. That is what my friends do (except with a MB not MBA) and they really like it. Also, a helpful way of deciding is to talk to Profs and students currently in your future situation. They will be able to give you more specific insight than a bunch of random dudes on Mac Forums. A big consideration should be the ability to run what you need to run for classes on your Mac, and that means meeting the specs of the apps you will live on for 4-5 years. Good luck!
  19. rsm5068 macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2008
    You say that like colleges update their computer labs with high-powered stuff often... you have a lot of faith. I agree though, SW should be on the Mac platform as should the entire Autodesk line (they acquired Alias 2 years ago and don't capitalize on the resources they gained from that acquisition) but that is life. I have used SW running on a MBP with Parallels and it was great! I would venture to say better than my PC, but that could have been due to the graphics capacity.
  20. bubble27 macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Im a 3rd year student


    After being a student for 3 years i advice you not to worry about the screen size since most of the students claim to be taking their laptops to class everyday, no one does! Belive me. Ok maybe once like in 2 years have i seen our lecture room of 200ppl have a single notebook.

    I've got a 15.4inch and regret that, rather go for the 17"

    MBP would do everything, i have some mates here with a macbook but i think its not ideal for a student that wants to game and watch movies.

    Oh yeh, Dont forget the student discount that you can get!!! in london its like 6% and every upgrade is cheaper aswell.

    Apple Care is £50! :D

    Duno about Taxes...
  21. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Get the MacBook Pro. If you like to multitask and watch movies, you'll want the extra juice. If you play WOW, you will NEED a MBP (if you get a laptop). The graphics will kill the integrated junk on the MacBook (or Mac Mini for that matter). I wish I would've had a laptop in college, but they were too pricey back then for anything decent.

    Make sure to order from the Apple Store and tell them you're a student. You'll get $200 off the $1999 version. I would use that to upgrade the hard drive to 200GB 7200rpm.

    However, if I were you I'd wait until the next MBP update. It should happen the first half of 2008. I would also get the matte screen instead of glossy. Glossy produces a nasty glare that, for some reason, some people apparently like (i.e. the people who designed the latest iMacs).
  22. landis macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2007
    Toronto/Kingston Canada
    i got a macbook pro for university because i am in engineering and need the extra power. although i love the extra screen real estate and the macbook always looks too small whenever i use it. i love my computer!
  23. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination

    Okay, now that i have your attention, I will tell you what I tell every single college student I know.

    If you are going to blow close to $3000 on a 17" MBP you might as well get a 20" imac and a 13" MB to carry around with you. Before you frown your face remember that you will get much more done with two computers than with one, the 17" MBP isn't as fast as the iMac because of the HDD, the iMac has a larger screen and more ports, and a much bigger HDD all great for watching movies and playing games, and your iMac won't walk as easily as your laptop will.

    I know that many will frown their faces yet again but trust me. Your laptop has a much higher risk of walking from just about anywhere you have it, even while on your body than your iMac will. There is nothing worse than going to school, enjoying all the work you do on your laptop, then having it stolen from you for various reasons.

    With TWO machines, you always have that backup computer to use, and the lie that desktops take up more room is just that. The iMac can't get any smaller as of yet... so it's plenty small to fit in your dorm room and be chained to the desk.

    Having both will give you piece of mind beyond anything your dormmates could understand. You will have the best of both worlds. Power and mobility. And (as life will teach you) when things go wrong, you have a large heavy backup waiting for you at home, or in your bag to carry with you.

    If you need some stories about broken hearts and hard drives just let me know my friend. Remember, consider both, and don't be afraid to take out a college loan for $4000 to get those two machines if need be, it WILL BE WORTH IT in the end...
  24. Daveway macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2004
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    I worried about the same thing for several months like you. I'm a freshman and do all the things you stated but a bit more gaming and wouldn't swap my MBP for anything else.

    The weight difference is very neglible and the larger footprint is barely noticeable. When you put a MB and a MBP together the differences are astounding. The MBP screen makes the MB screen look like Fischer-Price.

    And remember, most new games require a dedicated graphics card.;) In the end, you won't have to worry about regretting your purchase if you go with the MBP. And go with glossy.
  25. paul.b.davis macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2007
    Over the hills and far away...
    As for the glossy/matte issue, I would take a good long look at both before you decide. When I upgraded to the MBP from my PowerBook, I made sure that I checked out the glossy screen before I decided. I got the matte screen and can not be happier.

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