CS Major Considering a Couple Models

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by smc333, May 22, 2010.


Which MBP?

  1. New LE 13"

    4 vote(s)
  2. Refurbed MR 15"

    1 vote(s)
  3. New LE 15"

    19 vote(s)
  1. smc333 macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Hi everyone,

    Back in February, I purchased the (at the time) base mode 15" MacBook Pro, which I shouldn't have returned (idiot). I spec whored and went for the Sony VPCF115FM/B, with i7 which has proven to be a catastrophic and horrendous piece of machinery.

    It is coming in from its second round of repairs (still will have poor screen, battery life, and dismal 900MHz throttling when on battery). I am looking to get a Mac to replace it, and I've come down to a few options.

    1) Get the baseline 13" model with hopefully the new BTS deal.
    2) Get the mid line MBP from last generation refurbished for $1529 (2.66, 9600 320GB 4GB).
    3. Get the low-end 15" from this gen with the BTS deal (required for me to afford it), and sell the iPod/Printer.

    Do I need the power and screen resolution (size doesn't matter to me) or would the cheaper 13" cover me?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. swish2351 macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    The "cheap" 13" (A.K.A. best computer I have ever owned, and I have a dual-core HP spec-whore desktop) is SO worth it. The i5 is a battery hog, with 2 graphics cards? Who needs that? The 13" is amazing. I wouldn't get the 15" even if it was cheaper than the 13" (Which I think it should be).

    Core2Duos are better than ALL i3s and MOST i5s. They are MEGA powerful.
  3. djasterix macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2010
    Paradise City
    What are you going to do with it, is the most important question. If you're to word processing, web surfing, not intense photographic, video or 3D work the 13" will be fine, it's a beautiful piece and runs very well.

    But if you need more power and a discrete GPU for some intense work, get the base 15", it's an amazing machine...
  4. chopper dave macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2007
    Screen resolution will be incredibly nice for seeing as much code as possible at a time. You will spend tons of time with the documentation sitting on one side of the screen and your code on the other.
  5. smc333 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Thanks for the replies so far. I wrote a response earlier, and my internet timed out for some reason.

    Anyhow, I can't envision any reason I really need a dedicated GPU, my primary uses are as follows:
    -MS Word
    -Light Virtualization in VMWare Fusion
    -NO GAMING, I prefer console (360)
    -Heavy internet browsing
    -Light chatting, etc.

    While resolution was a concern, I can have documentation in a second space, or on the netbook sitting right next to it. I've always done my browsing and such full screen, (hope to get an iPad/iPhone soon).

    But keep the input coming guys, its very appreciated!
  6. silencer88 macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2009
    I just finished a CS major at Penn. I honestly don't think it matters what system you choose (I would choose the new 13 or 15). I had a 15" MBP that served me faithfully for 4 years. The reason for my choice at the time was the aluminum construction and the screen resolution.

    I'd recommend choosing whatever system you like best, then adding a second monitor for documentation. That makes things like copy/paste and navigating documentation easier. You won't have to move your hands to scroll, etc.

    Best of luck to you!
  7. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    If you look back through my posts I've been back and forth between the 13" and 15" ... bottom line the 13" wins, so easy to bring everywhere, EXCELLENT screen, super keyboard ... it's a nice machine, down the road if you need more screen space get an external monitor.

    If it's going to sit on a desk or home mostly you might be happy with the 15".

    I'm sure you'll enjoy whichever one you choose.
  8. smc333 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Thanks silencer. You know, that is some really good advice. The need for power I think is often overstated for fellow CS majors, what's the difference if something takes a few more seconds/minutes to compile? I feel like the 13" is ideal for being on my lap or on my bed, and if I chose to get a second monitor, resolution and screen size won't be a problem (not hurting portability, yet it would be there when I needed it).

    To me the 13" feels the best, the 15" is slightly too large. I'm leaning toward the 13" now, because not only do I like it, my Citibank account will like it better too.
  9. silencer88 macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2009
    Yep, it's not like you need some crazy awesome CPU to compile your code. Most of the projects I did hardly had any wait for compiling (it's not like you're going to be coding 100,000 lines for homework), with the exception of a modified Linux kernel, which I had to compile a million times before it worked, and it took so long to compile each time that I didn't bother to sit and watch it.
  10. smc333 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Good to know. Now I do have two more remaining questions (want to make sure I do everything right).

    1. Is 250GB enough HD space? I have a 500 and don't think I come close, very little video, about a gig of photos, 5 gigs of music max. The rest would be code.

    2. Any chance of an update at WWDC? If so, I will wait until June 7th so I get the right model.
  11. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    I'm in your same predicament, as I am replacing my 17" core duo mbp. I plan to move down to the LE 13" mbp and buy an SSD for it, rather than paying for the i5 chip. My goal with this machine is portability. I learned that the 17" screen is just too much to lug around with books, and I would imagine that the 15" gets to be the same way after a while. I am going to wait until the back to school program is announced; a free iPod is a good deal!
  12. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    How long are you keeping this laptop before you want to buy a new one? If you want it to last a few years, I would go for the 500GB, to ensure you've got plenty of space going forward.

    Practically zero. WWDC is expected to be all about the iPhone, with maybe a little OS X thrown in. Maybe. But the MBP has had its refresh, so has the Macbook, and I think we're done for the year in that department.
  13. keantan macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2008
    Penang, Malaysia
    As an electronic engineer that does a significant amount of coding both in XCode and using MPLAB (bootcamp) your eyes will thank you if you go for the 15" if you can. I moved from a 13" MBA to a 15" MBP and have not looked back. You have SO much more real estate to work with especially if you go with the high res option. Totally worth it !

    I have the i7 15" but similar theory applies for the i5, I run an optibay as well and can still get the 8-9 hrs that apple claim on their website. so i dont think battery is a problem.

    The 13" is good. But the 15" imo is so much better : )

    Enjoy your new mac whatever you buy!
  14. smc333 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Hi guys, thanks for all of the input!

    I think since everyone is mentioning screen real estate, my best option would be to do the following, since the price on the 15 is kind of steep for me:

    1. Get the 13"
    2. Get a nice 1080p 23" display for $200. I get portability, plus I get the screen real estate when needed.

    Hopefully the iPod deal will become official in a few hours, so I can configure it with a 320GB HDD.
  15. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    buy a third party HDD, then you can use your OEM drive as a backup, and it should not cost anymore than what Apple charges just for the upgrade.

    And an awesome 23" monitor would be the Ultrasharp U2311H. You can get the Ultrasharp U2311H for $239 by following the instructions here.

    Here are the specs of the monitor, and you will want a high quality monitor (IPS) since you will be staring at it for hours on end.

    If you did that, your setup would be very similar to mine. I will say, though, that using the 13", without my external monitor, will feel cramped and/or small after a couple to a few hours of use.
  16. smc333 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Just placed my order! I decided to future-resist a bit with the 500GB HDD. As for the post above me, thanks a ton for the link, I will probably pull the trigger on that later today and get it. I've always had great experiences with Dell's flat panels.

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