CS Major: MacBook vs. iMac & iPad Combination

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DoctorRamen, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. DoctorRamen Guest


    Oct 9, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    In a few months, I will begin my career as a CS major and am wondering what will be the most appropriate combination for college.

    I currently own a 21.5" iMac from 2010 and its still running relatively well. Instead of selling it and purchasing a MacBook, I was considering simply saving and buying an iPad to use in class. However, I am worried that this would not be enough if I have to work in a group environment.

    From your experience and knowledge, which combination do you recommend?

    I am all about structure and simplicity.

    Thank you for your time!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You should see what the computer science department recommends. Odds are you are just going to be doing the rinky-dink stuff that everyone does on their laptops - internet, iTunes, movies - while all of your serious lifting will be done on a school cluster. You can write code on pretty much any modern machine.
  3. DoctorRamen thread starter Guest


    Oct 9, 2009
    Thank you for the response! I think that I will end up going with a powerhouse laptop.

    P.S. Thank you to the moderator who moved my post. Sorry about posting in the wrong location!
  4. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The iPad will be useless for any coding projects. I'm a CE major and I do all my work on my 13" MBP. 15" is too big and you don't need a whole lot of CPU power for CS problem sets.
  5. Bootes macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2010
    A great option is to remotely control your desktop from a netbook/tablet. This allows you to use a powerful computer from a small, lightweight machine with good battery life.

    I vote for the iPad + Bluetooth Keyboard + Jump Desktop http://jumpdesktop.com/
  6. fireshot91 macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2008
    Northern VA
    Wouldn't you need a Windows machine?

    I'm also starting a CS major, and my school requires a Windows tablet/laptop combo (Either a laptop + Tablet, or a convertible).
  7. smithy1185 macrumors member


    Jul 16, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I'm a CS major and at my uni, along with others I've talked to, they primarily use Linux/Unix for the programming environment. The lab computers run Windows but most of the time students are just SSHing into the school's servers. Starting out will most likely be platform agnostic. I've only had one class where a prof required us to use Windows and that was for C#/.Net.

    Looking back too, you really don't need anything that powerful for the most part.
  8. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    If you need Linux, VirtualBox + virtually any Linux distro works very well, costs nothing, and you can keep your Mac. I do this professionally (also use Windows under Parallels) and have eliminated Linux boxes at home and work as a result.
  9. wchp macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2012
    An iPad is NOT a laptop. It is great for a lot of things but it does NOT replace a laptop. It does compliment it. If I was on a budet I would just get a macbook air 11. About the same size / weight / portability. Better yet a 13" which has the same resolution as a MBP15. In the real world battery life is similar but the fullsize keyboard, trackpad and additional storage blows away the iPad.

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