computer science

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Mac7, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. Mac7 macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #1
    I'm entering college this coming fall, going to major in computer science, would a Macbook Pro be feasible or should I stick to PC?

    Should I go with the 13" or 15"? My main use would be for school with whatever they throw at me within computer science. Some light gaming and photoshop. I might dab into imovie and garageband also. Then everyday use(firefox, email, itunes, etc.)

    I also want the laptop to last atleast till I finish college.
     
  2. nutman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #2
    I am currently enrolled at UC Irvine and the majority of our classes are in java. For us, it really doesn't matter what os you ultimately choose. And plus, you will be meeting lots of linux heads in college.
     
  3. Zortrium macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    #3
    I graduated in CS from a top liberal arts college last year and the CS department was about 80% Macs and 20% Linux. I can only think of one professor who used Windows on a regular basis (and he still had a MacBook Pro). Unless the department specifically stipulates that Windows is required, you should be fine with a Mac.
     
  4. bluskale macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    #4
    Xcode is pretty nice for developing, I understand. If you need to run windows stuff occasionally, you can always virtualize or boot camp it.
     
  5. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    #5
    You will end up using linux more than anything, but if you have some old school professors, you're going to want to have windows as an option, even if it's just by virtual machine. Things like turbo assembler/pascal/other old crap are still around and taught for different reasons.

    I preferred a PC for my comp sci studies, but that is just because I couldn't be bothered to virtualize everything. We used mostly windows/linux based tools.
     
  6. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #6
    You will most likely use a lot of linux or unix.

    I would suggest Mac OS to get the best of all worlds. You can get vmware and have windows and linux if you ever need it.
     
  7. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #7
    I just received my Computer Science B.S. from Cal Poly. I used a 15 inch MBP for most of my school work and it was perfect. It's great for any programming. We did a lot of stuff in Unix, so having terminal built in was very helpful. I will get another MBP for grad school once in the next year or two.
     
  8. bluskale macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    #8
    Cal Poly Pomona, I assume? I graduated from there a few years ago with a Biotech BS.... now doing microbiology PhD work at Berkeley. Checked up on the news there a few months back, and am I ever glad I'm not an undergrad there anymore, with all the budget cuts >.>

    Not a bad school though, really.
     
  9. rovitotv macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #9
    Mac Book would be great for CS

    I have a MS in Computer Science and I think a Mac Book would be perfect. You could run Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows with either bootcamp or virtual machine. One machine to rule them all. I had many profs in college that only used Macs. It almost does not matter these days. As far as value the Mac Book will serve you well and XCode is a wonderful development environment.
     
  10. Coldmode macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    #10
    I would really say that a Mac is almost imperative for CS. If you wind up doing something in objective C or get into iPhone OS programming, you'll be tethered to the CS lab without a Mac. My roommate is developing an iPhone app this semester and spends a lot of time there.
     
  11. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I've done a BSc in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

    Having OS X and Linux was very useful for me as very few bits of work required Windows whereas a lot more required a Unix like OS's. Pretty much all the programming that I did was cross platform (Java, Python, Prolog).

    Most of the lecturers where I went used either Linux, OS X or Solaris on the uni machines. The laptops used in lectures by the other students had a good mix of Windows, OS X and Linux.

    Documents were handed out to me mostly as PDF's and hand-ins were also mostly done in PDF format, and preferably created using LaTeX. Of-course this will be different depending on the university.

    Currently I'm at a different university studying for an MSc in Artificial Intelligence, and the situation is pretty much the same there as well. Though replace Solaris with CentOS Linux.

    If you do end up going with a PC, I'd dual boot it with a Linux distribution. Which is what I had to do before I bought my first Mac.
     
  12. Mac7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #12
    ok so i've settled on getting a macbook pro but which one?

    updated the original post
     
  13. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #13
    The 13" model would be plenty for you, and the portability is awesome, but if you really want the bigger screen, go with the 15". Or you can do what I did and get the 13" and an external monitor, so you get both the portability and the big screen when you want it. That's really up to you, just as a preference, as the specs of either machine will do anything that you would need or want to do.
     
  14. Mac7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #14
    screen real estate doesn't really matter to me, I just want to get the best bang for my buck without spending too much if i could help it
     
  15. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #15
    The thing is, screen real estate WILL matter to you once you start working on lots of projects, especially coding projects. I went through 1st year on a 13" MacBook, and while I got on just fine, Xcode got quite cramped, especially when working with multiple source codes at the same time. So this summer I decided to sell the 13" and buy a high res 15". I haven't done any coding on it really yet, but even for normal usage I can already tell this is an upgrade I'm not going to regret.

    Just keep that in mind.

    EDIT: Oh, and as far as portability is concerned, the 15" is obviously noticeably larger than the 13", but as long as your desk/table isn't minuscule, then you shouldn't have a problem with space. The 15" is only 1 lb heavier than the 13", so weight shouldn't be a problem unless you're carrying all your books in one bag, which I would recommend against anyway.
     
  16. iMacThere4Iam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #16
    Good advice. The 15" 2.4 for $1799 will suit all your needs.
     
  17. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #17
    I would say nab the 13 inch and keep an external monitor in your dorm. The 15inch, although not terribly heavy and big is too heavy and big to be wanting to carry around all day long.

    IMO in college, aim for portability and expandability. Grab the smallest (within reason, no eeePCs) laptop you can get thats useable and then keep the extras (external harddrive, monitor, mouse, keyboard) in the dorm.

    You can utilize spaces to make the most of the 13 inch screen. I do it on my 15 inch all the time when I'm coding and am not near a monitor.
     
  18. MacSignal macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #18
    The 13 will provide easier portability and better battery life. You can always add an external monitor if you decide you want more display area. If I were doing CS, I would think I would want a larger workspace for coding.

    The i5 15 is probably better prospect to have a useful four year life. If this has to be a four year machine, I think there is a greater chance that you are happier with the i5 in years three and four.
     
  19. dashcs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    #19
    I would get the 15 inch.
    13 inch is too small to look at code all day.
    Besides if you get a 13 inch,most likely you wont touch it at school cause the screen size is alot smaller then the lab computers


    Also heres a tip.
    No matter the size of your notebook,13/15/17.Get a external monitor.
    Its the key.


    When your at home or at your dorm.Coding is so much easy with a external monitor.
    Where you do the main work on the computer screen and the lecture/examples/slides on the external monitor,it works great.
    Its a great combo.
     
  20. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #20
    I'm a recent Software Engineering graduate, and had 4 years to observe the trends with the rise of Macbook usage ;)

    The more adept and eager programmers got a 15" laptop. And the "ordinary" programming folk got a 13" laptop.

    Although as the years went on, there was an increase in Dell laptops :p Especially the XPS units, haha
     
  21. Mac7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #21
    ok besides the screen size, what about performance wise?
     
  22. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #22
    Both machines will be perfect, even if you end up running Windows or Linux on them. 64-Bit Windows 7 and 64-Bit Ubuntu 10.04 run awesome on Apple hardware.

    Apple has a decent 64-Bit Java VM built-into Snow Leopard, and Mono (C#.NET) also works very well on OS X. Since OS X is based upon the FreeBSD UNIX derivative, Python, PHP and Perl interpreters are part of the default installation of OS X, as is Apache. (Apache only needs to be activated, but you might need to do some fine tuning to get PHP and other scripting languages to work with the web server.)

    I think you will be very well off with an Apple notebook.
     
  23. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #23
    It will be more than fast enough for what you said you are going to do with it.

    When you need to do really heavy grunt work, you will be buying a Quad Core iMac or Mac Pro anyway. But the thing is that most people, even software developers, usually don't really need that sort of artillery on their desk. In the real industrial world, when you compile large projects, you will have dedicated build servers in the background that will handle the heavy load.
     
  24. Block macrumors 6502a

    Block

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    #24
    Definitely get a Mac. You can get the UNIX-feel that most of your classes will be based off of while still retaining access to the plethora of applications that are available. Besides, if you take some sort of UI class, they more often than not use iPhone programming, and you wouldn't want to be stuck in the lab/emulate OSX on your computer.

    Also get a MBP, if you play any sort of games the MB can barely handle anything. And shorter compile times = more free time (assuming you don't do it remotely)!
     
  25. Mac7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mac7

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #25
    This will be my main computer, how does the 13" handle bootcamp with windows 7?
     

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