Computer Science major, which MacBook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by naeD, May 11, 2009.

  1. naeD macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2009
    I know there are a million threads on this, and I've read them all, but I'm still undecided.

    I have $2000 to spend.

    I am a computer science major and I need a laptop. I have a desktop PC which will remain as my default computer. I have a 22" monitor. The laptop will be used primarily for coding, Photoshop, Illustrator, and surfing the web/IM/email. I'll be taking it to school with me 4 days a week. I'd also like to dabble in iPhone and Mac software.

    Option 1 - Macbook

    I could purchase a standard MacBook for $1599 and use the rest of the money for accessories. If I go with the MacBook, which has a 13.3" screen, I would probably need to buy a keyboard, mouse, and display adapter so I could use it on my desktop monitor. I don't know if the 13.3" is big enough for heavy use. I'd add 2GB for a total of 4.

    I would also really like to have an iPhone. If I went regular MacBook I would have to decide between accessories and an iPhone.

    I'd like to have things like iWork, a backup drive, and MobileMe as well.

    Option 2 - MacBook Pro

    The MacBook Pro has the 15.4" screen and better graphics. But, it would take up all of my computer budget. I lust after the Pro. It's the one I want and, while I would be happy with either one, I really like the Pro. The larger screen really makes sense when it comes to coding and design.

    So, $2000 is the limit. Which option, either listed above or not, gets the most for my money? I'll be buying on Amazon (tons of Amazon credit + financing options) so there is no tax. Thanks.
  2. allmIne macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2008
    United Kingdom
    That's all there is to it, really. Get the pro, you'll not be happy with macbook if it's not what you really want :)
  3. PaperMacWriter macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2009
    Or, get the same MBP refurb, saving $300. Then it isn't all your computer budget, meaning you have a MBP AND an iPhone.
    SG :apple:
  4. Lexoticstylez02 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2007
    Orlando, Florida
    Agreed, get the refurb.. they are a great deal.
  5. Rhalliwell1 macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2008
    I am doing Computer Science and use a MBP 17" was the early 2008 one i think.
  6. naeD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2009
    Yea, it's true that I would love a MBP over a MB. Initially I was totally focused on a MBP but recently I've started thinking about what's more logical.

    The thing is, they're not that great of a deal. I would only save $20. Factoring in the 8.75% sales tax here in California brings the price of a refurb to $1847.66. Amazon has it brand new for $1868.98 shipped.
  7. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    if you dont need it right now wait. There is a rumor of an update in june. When they are updated amazon has a clearance i got a 2.5 mbp with 512 ram for like $1650 shipped a savings of like $800 just because it was the old model. the same thing will more than likely happen with the iphone. I am a computer science student and a macbook will work fine.
  8. thomahawk macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    Osaka, Japan
    computer science/ software engineer major here

    i use a white macbook 2.1ghz with the intel gma gpu

    nothing wrong with it, just a smaller screen but i have not been hindered by it. running boot camp on this thing, allows me to run the CS Lab apps and other windows programs on my macbook.

    for me, i'll take a refurbished 2008 mbp over the new aluminum mbp.

    but basically its what you want. im totally fine with the 13 inch screen, like i said, there are no hinderance of the screen size for me.
  9. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    i agree that you should wait til after wwdc if you can, and go with the macbook pro. get what you really want, or you'll regret it (i've done it)
  10. brguitarist macrumors member

    May 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    I'm a graduating Computer Engineering major. Either option would serve you well, but my preference would be the MB.

    I used my 12" PB for all but this last semester when I'm using a MB (I almost got a 15" PB back then, very glad I didn't). Granted the MBP is not much bigger than the MB, I prefer the slight portability factor.

    You can get a refurb 2.4 MB for $1299 (or I suppose some similar price through amazon) and upgrade to 4 GB for $60 with memory from Newegg.

    I would only get the MBP if I were getting a significant bump in the processor speed, but I assume the MBP you are considering is the 2.4?

    Just my 2 cents.

    EDIT: I love the portability factor but agree that to work comfortably in your room, external monitor/keyboard is essential.
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #11 iPhone costs $70/month for 2 years, so I'd say that puts him significantly overbudget.
  12. dhuang macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2009
    I am a CS student and web developer, and I just went from a SR MBP to a uMB.

    Love it already. The screen real estate doesn't disturb me that much since it isn't a major jump from 1280 -> 1440. Plus, I am already used to 1920 on my 24". Just as fast as my older MBP, if not faster. If I am working with Photoshop, I will use my external 24" since the uMB's screen isn't the best, nor big enough for my palettes (MBP wasn't comfortable either) .

    The major problem I had with the MBP was the size, I wanted something smaller, and the new uMB fit the bill. Its fabulous to carry around school, and *gasp* fits on the desks at my lecture hall and on the airplane with ease.

    I love the portability of it, and its great for barcamps, coding events, and meetings with clients. The MBP always felt a bit too large for me. Besides, all my coder friends have MBs, and now I can join them!
  13. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Get the pro, it has suited me perfectly for comp sci.
  14. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Dont you have edu discount which brings brand new prices close to refurbished ones? Edu discount also enables you buy AppleCare for a very cheap price. At the end brand new computer will cost you less then a refurbished one. ( Correct me if I'm wrong )
  15. PaperMacWriter macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2009
    The education discount brings it down to $1900, $200 more than refurb, and AppleCare costs $240. Then you still have tax, and you wonder, in what way is $2327 cheaper than $1848?
    SG :apple:
  16. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    You mentioned financing that where the $2,000 is coming from? Because you're going to be in enough debt when you get out of college for student loans, don't add to it by buying a computer on credit. If you've got the $2,000 in cash, then by all means, buy whatever you want, but I strongly recommend against financing a computer.
  17. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Does Applecare costs 240 for students as well? Here in UK when you buy it online your laptop comes with an extra 2 years warranty. If you but it from store then you pay 40-50 pounds and get Apple care.

    He can get the rebate for printer as well. Then he can go and sell the printer for 50-70 dollars which will lower the purchasing cost.
  18. amabo macrumors member

    May 2, 2009
    I'm a Comp Sci major.

    Programming doesn't entice Video encoding or Photoshop, unless you're also doing the design portion.

    If you buy a Macbook you'll save enough money to get a very large external monitor, much bigger than 15". For me, a Pro didn't really warrant the extra money for my needs. The screen real estate doesn't kill you because it's 2" smaller.

    Also - I've never believed in backlit keyboards. I think that if you're studying computer science you more than likely know where all the keys are on your keyboard so I don't see a real reason to have it. I guess it's nice..?
  19. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    I am currently using a Unibody 2.4hz with 4gb of ram. Works great.
    Plenty of power, runs Visual studio awesome in both VMware (win7) and bootcamp, with enough screen space to code and multitask.
    I used to use a 2ghz 15.4" acer laptop (with 1680x1050 resolution) and honestly I dont miss it (much). It really was not that huge of a difference once made a few changes (like set some panels in VisualStudio to autohide).

    The smaller size is actually much nicer, easier to carry around doesnt take a much desk space.

    I know a lot of schools now teach directX and openGL, and really the macbook can do great in these courses. It can handle more then what the school will throw at it.

    I have done some 3d modelling, photoshop, coding and gaming all on my 2.4 unibody (4gb ram). Great computer,

    Actually my brother starts Comp Sci. in the fall and will also be picking up a 2.4 unibody..


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