Computer Science/Engineering Major ; 13" or 15" ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sifinity, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Sifinity macrumors 6502

    Sifinity

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    im going to be a CS or Comp E major in the fall when school starts and was wondering if i could get along with a maxed 13" retina dual core or would it be worth it to buy the 15" ; due to its quad core?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Either model would be more than enough horsepower to get you through school. It comes down to what screen size you prefer, more than anything. If you have specific apps you intend to run that are resource-intensive, that might warrant a closer look, but for most people, any Mac model, even the baseline models, have more than enough power for common uses, gaming being a possible exception.
     
  3. Sifinity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sifinity

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    Jun 11, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    can't decide ; money isnt really the problem since its my graduation gift from my parents and grandparents :D ; to all those that have a 13" or 15" is the 15" really that much less portable than the 13"
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    I've had both an older 15" non-unibody MBP which was heavier than current models, and a new 13" rMBP. I consider both to be quite portable. YMMV You're only talking about 1 lb. difference in weight, and 2" x 1" difference in size.
     
  5. Ryan0751 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    #5
    I'm a professional software engineer (CS background), and I much prefer a 15" to a 13" notebook for coding.

    The 15" retina has a mode that displays the equivalent of 1600x1200. It's a bit on the small font size, but when you have to look at a bunch of code, the real-estate is really really nice. I sometimes switch back and forth with modes.

    The 15" isn't that big, the retinas are thin and fairly light. I bring my MBP back and forth to work every day using public transit, and it doesn't bother me one bit.

    I recommend a good backpack with notebook sleeve. My work gave us High Sierra Swerve backpacks ($40 on amazon), and it's actually a very nice backpack. I bring my MBP, gym clothes, lunch, it all fits well. Should be good for school :) And a 13" notebook wouldn't make it any smaller!
     
  6. KJmoon117 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #6
    13" Macbook Pro Retina/Air & a 24" External monitor.

    I had a 15" MBP before it died and it was great for coding. But it does not beat a 24" monitor (which can be had for around $140-160). However, portability and battery power are something I come to greatly appreciate as I enter by 4th year of uni.
     
  7. Sifinity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sifinity

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    Jun 11, 2014
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    Texas
    #7
    i was planning on getting this backpack since it has a no questions asked lifetime warranty ; http://www.amazon.com/Briggs-Riley-...6915&sr=8-8&keywords=briggs+and+riley+luggage .
     
  8. CarreraGuy macrumors regular

    CarreraGuy

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    Jan 15, 2013
    #8
    Depends on what floor your dorm room is on or if it has elevators :)

    Seriously though, if you'll be hooking your MBP to an external monitor often I'd opt for the 13".
     
  9. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #9
    You don't need a quad core or even a fast CPU to study computer science. It boils down whether a) you prefer a bigger screen and b) whether you play games. I'd recommend you a 13" rMBP with 8GB RAM and 256Gb SSD, don't even bother upgrading the CPU.
     
  10. Sifinity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sifinity

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    #10
    you don't need quad-core it when your running multiple vm's?
     
  11. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    Oct 31, 2009
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    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #11
    15" hands down. I will never buy another 13" again. It feels very cramped, even for using something as simple as Safari.
     
  12. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #12
    Will you be running multiple VMs? If you will, what kind of VMs are those going to be? If we are talking about headless linux service VMs, then you don't need a quad core. If you are going to develop massive software on a Windows VM while running a different VM as a build server and a high-throughput database on the third one, then yes, you might benefit from a quad core.
     
  13. jg321 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 29, 2012
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    UK
    #13
    My thoughts exactly, and I've just said pretty much this in another thread!
     
  14. Yoshi Yogurt macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #14
    My Macbook was a grad gift as well. I originally asked for the 13inch air and my dad goes "lol no you are getting the beefiest macbook pro"

    If they are willing to spend more on you, then get the 15inch. Even the 15inch feels cramped compared to my usual 21" monitor.

    Get the dGPU version if you like PC gaming at all.
     
  15. Freyqq, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    Dec 13, 2004
    #15
    I took one of the older 15" that weighed 5.6lbs to class every day in college. When it is in a backpack, the difference of a couple pounds is negligible. Also keep in mind that in the powerbook days, 4.6lbs (the weight of the 15" rmbp) was the lightest laptop apple sold (12" powerbook). It was plenty portable then...

    The extra screen size really helps too for tasks, as it is comfortable to have two windows open at once.
     
  16. jg321 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 29, 2012
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    UK
    #16
    I have to disagree with this. I have the cMBP and the rMBP (both 13"), and the weight in my backpack is noticeable. Whenever I have to go travelling with my cMBP (work machine) I really wish it wasn't as heavy as it was. When the backpack is filled with other stuff it really adds up.

    cMBP spends all of it's time in clamshell mode on my desk. For the very few occasions it's out and about on it's own, the screen size hardly matters.

    I wish it was an 11" Air.
     
  17. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #17
    As it's a retina - 15".

    I'd have gone the other way with the old classic line for portability.

    I spent my Uni years lugging around a 7lb Toshiba. Light for it's day (late 90s), but way less portable than a modern Mac.
     
  18. Sifinity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sifinity

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    Texas
    #18
    at the moment the 15" seems the best way to go as im not losing that much portability but gaining a good amount of power
     
  19. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Apr 21, 2010
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    Brasil
    #19
    15", of course. If you had a pre-retina Macbook, 2kg is piece of cake. When you'll study parallel processing, you have a good platform for testing synchronization, threads and so on. Also, your A.I. algorithms will return results sooner and hence computer graphics, digital image processing. You can do these tasks on a 13" one, but if you can afford a 15", why not?
     
  20. Mac7 macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

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    Jun 14, 2009
    #20
    Since you're a student, you can grab a 15" rMBP for around $1600 after taxes with the student discount + movers discount. Just picked one up yesterday
     
  21. Sifinity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sifinity

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    Jun 11, 2014
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    Texas
    #21
    movers discount?? what is it and where do i get it?
     
  22. Starfyre macrumors 68030

    Starfyre

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    Nov 7, 2010
  23. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #23
    For coding an external monitor is the best thing you can add regardless of the size of the MBP. How much of your work will be in your own space vs elsewhere on campus. If you expect to do most of your work in your form room than a 13" with big monitor is gone. If you expect to use it a lot in mobile mode then the 15" is better.

    I'm a retired programmer and used a 14" ThinkPad for years. At work it was fine with 2 19" external monitors. When on-call at home it was usable but I really missed the screen space.
     
  24. merrickdrfc macrumors 6502

    merrickdrfc

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    Jan 8, 2011
    Location:
    Berlin
    #24
    I'm in the same position, coming from a 2011 13" MBA, so I'm leaning towards the 13" rMBP. I think I would notice the difference in portability of the 15". But still can't decide...

    The 13" will have more than enough power for Comp Sci, I ran Xcode, Adobe CS, Visual Studio 2013 in a Windows 8.1 VM on my MBA without any stuttering at all. That was just with 4GB RAM and an old Sandy Bridge i5. I'll be getting the top 13" or the top 15" I'd imagine.

    Does anybody have any experience on coding on the 13" rMBP? If so is it usable? It'll be hooked up to a Thunderbolt display when it's at home, but what's it like on the road?
     
  25. Mac7 macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

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    #25

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