Engineering student needs suggestion!

KTe24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 2, 2010
3
0
Hello, im currently in the market for a new laptop. Im a college student studying electrical engineering and im currently finishing up my junior year. My Dell XPS M1530 is starting to take a crap on me not to mention its pretty outdated at ~2.5 years old. Anyways, i was looking into a Macbook or possibly a Macbook Pro. Im looking to try something new (OSX) and all my friends that have them have no complaints. can anyone lend any suggestions?

As an engineering student, i will be multitasking often. i dont do too extensive coding (MATLAB mainly but a few other EE related programs). i will also be writing papers, listening to music, watching videos and surfing the web. Photography is one of my hobbies and i do photo-editing but not to immensely. My currently Dell XPS is spec'd out at:
# 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 processor
# 2GB DDR2-667 SDRAM (upgraded to 3GB DDR2 SDRAM)
# 160GB 5400 RPM SATA HDD

Will a Macbook or MBP be significantly better? my currently dell runs everything perfectly fine and quick (i just need a larger HDD, new battery, its kinda heavy and big, also there are a few other little annoying problems). Would a Macbook (newer white unibody) be sufficient or should i spend the extra $200-$400 for an equivalent MBP?

Sorry for the long post, thanks! :)
 

GfulDedFan

macrumors 65816
Oct 17, 2007
1,062
0
Indiana
Hey KT and welcome to the forum -

Gut feeling is that you'd probably be much happier with the 13" MBP (either one) but I know that price is an issue for college students... especially ones graduating into the current job market. You probably should upgrade to 4GB if you get the MB or entry MBP. You could upgrade your hard drive to a larger size by purchasing one from a third-party and installing it yourself.

You'll love having a Mac finally and if you need to, there are very effective ways to run ms windows on it.
 

RITZFit

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2007
1,268
8
In my Corner
will you need to run any CAD programs? If not, honestly the white macbook should be enough but I guess it also kinda boils down to whether you prefer metal or plastic :D
 

KTe24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 2, 2010
3
0
i will be running little to no CAD so i doubt that would be a problem. im leaning towards the macbook just because its about $900 (after student discount) 2.26 ghz, 2gb RAM and 250 gb hd. The entry level MBP is same specs but with only 160 gb hd and for $1099. The 2.53 ghz MBP with 4 gb RAM and 250 gb hd is too far out of my price range.
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,371
121
You will not see a major boost in performance with the macbook over your current Dell machine.

What you will gain is: better battery life, a better (in my opinion) operating system experience and you will be able to cater well to your photography hobby.

If you don't need a machine right now, I'd suggest you wait and see if there is a spec upgrade in the next few weeks since the current macbook is running on a processor very similar to your 2+ year old Dell. The mac may also have an inferior graphics chipset since some of the XPS units came with a decent graphics solution.
 

skinniezinho

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2009
1,022
44
Portugal
If you run Matlab, you will need windows under bootcamp, an additional expense.
There is matlab for OSX.

I am a mechanical engeneering student,and I have hte white macbook "unibody".
I think you don't need much more,ust upgrade it to 4Gb and you are ready to go.
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,114
54
Northeastern Ohio
The new white unibody Macbook is $799.99 at Microcenter but you have to live near one as it's in-store only. They have 29 left in stock.

  • Intel® Core 2 Duo Processor 2.26GHz
  • 2GB DDR3-1066 SDRAM
  • 250GB 5,400RPM Hard Drive
  • 8x Double-Layer SuperDrive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
  • 10/100/1000 Network
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • 13.3" Widescreen Display
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Kinda hard to believe that this is 2 years newer than your Dell.....
 

KTe24

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 2, 2010
3
0
Thanks for the tip about the Microcenter sales price! i just googled them and there is one about 15 miles away from my house. ill have to go check them out and see if they have any left.