Do I Need A New Macbook Pro for College?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nade, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Nade macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2010
    Hello everyone, I have been accepted to UIUC and I'm going to be studying Computer Science. I was thinking of upgrading because I can at this point but for some reason I feel as if I might not need to. If anyone in the CS field could help with what is required, that would be great.

    Currently I have the following:
    Black Macbook (2.4ghz, 2GB Memory)
    iPad 32GB
    Custom PC (2.8ghz, 12GB memory, GTX285 SLi)

    Would I need a better computer for coding on the go (lecture halls, library, other campus facilites)? I was thinking of the 15" top-end MBP because of the hi-res display but I'm not sure If I need it.
  2. Looon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
  3. snouter, Feb 28, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011

    snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Keep it.

    College is harsh. You will bang it up, it will be targeted by thieves, you will spill beer on it, or someone else will spill beer on it.

    I'd up the ram to 4GB if you can. Should be cheap.
  4. Nade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2010

    i don't drink and I never would, I'm a pretty responsible guy.
  5. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I was not saying anything bad about you or your character.

    Someone else will spill beer on it for you.

    It's just a harsh environment for shiny new things, college is.
  6. ramo macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2006
    You're in probably are gonna be living on a budget. Keep what you have until it breaks, or you can afford to buy a computer with out it really affecting your budget.
  7. AdamRock macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2010
  8. Derango macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2011
    (CompSci graduate here) Honestly, your current machine will probably be perfectly fine for coding. It's not really that intensive of a process. Especially for the first part of your education. You'll probably be working on less complex stuff to start and you really won't be doing much of anything that will tax that machine.

    The extra screen resolution might be useful, but unless you REALLY feel you need it or you REALLY need an upgrade, I'd save my money for now. You've got a speedy enough desktop.
  9. Nade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2010
    The budget is not really the problem.
    My parents do not mind buying me a $2300 configured Mac. it's just that I don't know how much I will benefit from it.

    I can't sell my iPad nor would I if I could, it would be a big loss for a nice tech toy.

    **Also I do have a 24" display and 2 other monitors that could be used but I'm wondering if I'll need the MBP for portable (I.E in class use).
  10. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Tell them you might take them up on the offer in 2 years. Then you will know.
  11. ramo macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2006
    You must be a lucky kid, but I would still keep what you have. Carrying a 13" to school is better than the 15" if thats what you're looking at. Most of the people were using 13" when I was going to college....
  12. Derango macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2011
    ^^ That

    I know how easy it is to try to rationalize yourself into buying but I'd hold off for now :) You're not going to absolutely need it.
  13. ronjon10 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2009
    I wouldn't until you know what your requirements will be since you've got the basics covered with the macbook.

    If you're compelled to upgrade now, I'd seriously consider the high end 13" macbook air. With that, you'd be getting serious battery life and the 1440 by 900 screen resolution plus all the flash memory goodness.
  14. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    This. If you plan on it being portable, stick with the MacBook. If you ever run into anything it can't handle (unlikely), then you have a perfectly capable desktop at home to handle that.

    No need to upgrade. Now want, that's a different matter entirely... :D
  15. Nade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2010
    Thanks guys I really appreciate it.

    The thing I didn't want to say was: I bought the MBP AG $2500 version 2 days ago but I was pondering the need for it.
    I thought people would tell me to keep it since I already got it.

    I'm going to go to the apple store in a little bit and return this.
  16. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I just really think that whatever you take to school will get destroyed at some point, and why worry about it.

    Leave it in a hot car, a pizza place, kick it off a table, spill water on it...
  17. sbddude macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    Nor Cal, USA
    I agree with the others that coding is not CPU intensive, but IMHO screen real-estate is very important. Have you considered an older model 15" HighRes or 17"?

    Yes, it will be heavier but I think it will be worth it for increased productivity.
  18. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I agree with this.

    Plus, in my experience, property in a college setting is almost communal. During my time, computers, living spaces, cars, bikes, food, you name it.. It was all shared. It's a chaotic environment.
  19. snverhallen macrumors 6502a

    Oct 17, 2007
    First of all congratulations with your acceptance.

    I'm in a bit of similar situation as you, I may be going to college as well and will definitely be doing programming. Moreover, I'm a pretty heavy computer user: I will almost certainly be editing HD video, multitasking with CPU and HD-intensive applications etc and like things to be snappy.

    I've never owned an Apple notebook (always had Apple desktops); do you guys think the 15'' 2010 MBP would suffice (I want to get an SSD in either case) or would the 2011 MBP be the better option?
  20. sbddude macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    Nor Cal, USA
    the 2010 model is fine. I have one and thought about upgrading but I decided to hold off. Nothing I do daily will really be impacted by quad core, thunderbolt, or better GPU. Apple has some great deals on refurbs now and I am sure you can buy a used machine from someone who is upgrading.

    SSD is definitley the way to go.
  21. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Keep your curren MacBook. No need to go into debt before you even get into college. You'll have the rest of your life to be in debt.
  22. i3igsmooth5769 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    only irresponsible people drink.
  23. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'd pop 4GB RAM in yours and keep it. If you need more space, upgrade the HD. Both are pretty simple and can be done on the cheap, and add better performance to your computer. I'm certain your PC can handle anything that you might find to be a bit slow on your Mac.
  24. Benjamins macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2010
    If you a computer science student, you probably don't even need a dual core.
    When you go to senior classes, you probably don't even need a computer at all.
    All you need is a dumb terminal that connects you to the school server.
  25. JNL Productions macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    All you need is food, water, and shelter. As everyone else said, entry level CS material isn't very demanding. I agree with the general responses in this thread. The only reason you'd need a new MBP maxed out would be for graphically intense applications like games, FCE/FCP, etc.

    Oh and congratulations for your acceptance.

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