(Freshman CS Student)Should I buy MBP now?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fcaoile, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. fcaoile, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011

    fcaoile macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    Vancouver, Canada
    I'm heading to college in September for a CS degree. I'm just wondering if I really need a laptop (well, MBP for this matter) for now. Based on the Macrumors Buyer's Guide, MBPs get their refresh around 8-10 months average which is approximately around October to December. (2 - 4 months since my college starts)

    So my question is, How is it to be a freshman CS student? Do I need to carry a laptop during those early months inside the class? Will I be having some programming projects as EARLY as that which I need a laptop? group projects?

    I currently have a pretty good desktop which runs Windows and Linux and I also just got an iPad 2 from my GF as gift.

    What I'm thinking is 2 - 4 months of college is all about lectures? Am I right with this? Since I have the iPad 2, I can pretty much use it for those purposes until the new Refresh comes out.

    I'm really willing to BUY it now but 2-4 months of wait is not bad ayt? I heard the refresh would be new case design :rolleyes: ,faster for sure and etc which is worth the wait.

    Any CS students out there?

  2. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
  3. Darien Red Sox macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    CT, USA
    At a lot of schools you will be taking very few classes turds your major the first year. For lecture classes you might want to take notes the old fashion way so you are less distracted, in fact, some teachers don't even let laptops to be used in the classrooms.

    The school might also provide some computer resources to you, where I work we provide a computer lab to the students which has all of the required software.
  4. defected07 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    Computer Science.

    Do you feel you'll need the power of a MBP for CS? Have you looked into a MacBook Air? May be better for college, since it'll be lighter to carry to class, lab, library, etc.

    MBP would be great if you're gaming, or doing intensive audio/video--or even photo editing--though I'll be doing web development/Photoshop but thinking about going down the MBA road.

    I'm also a developer, but don't see XCode/Eclipse/whatever IDE taking up enough resources to necessitate a new MBP, but I'll just wait to see what the (hopeful) MBA refresh has to offer.
  5. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    Apple has been updating them less often. i would not expect to see an update until next year. You could get a cheap netbook until the update comes. That is more than powerfull enough for a first year cs major.
  6. Lagmonster macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2007
    You can easily survive with your current machine for the first semester. Get to school and feel it out. If you are in a dorm, you might really like the laptop option. But hold on to your money and see how it goes.
  7. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    You can probably go all 4 years without a laptop. All the coding you have to do can be done in labs.
  8. fcaoile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    Vancouver, Canada
    Oh yahh, I actually considered MBA as an option. But the screen size quite bothers me. Well, I know I can always hook it up to my 27inch monitor. I'm actually planning of getting the 15'' high res MBP.

    hmm, can I ask you one more question? I actually want the ability of my machine to handle some tasks like dual booting some OS. (e.g linux or windows). Can the MBA handle this?

    Thanks for the Advice. :)
  9. AFPoster macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    For a CS student you don't need a laptop you only "want" a laptop. Your decision but if you want one and can afford one get one, if you don't feel the need and you just want it as a luxury don't.
  10. ABadSanta macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2011
    You can definitely run Windows in either bootcamp (dual booting) or through a virtual desktop software. I know linux can be installed using a virtual desktop software but I'm less familiar with it.


    That might help give you an idea.

    And I'm an incoming sophomore in college. You definitely don't bring your computer to as many classes as you think you will. You technically won't need a laptop but everyone has one.
  11. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Ask your CS department. For major universities I wouldn't imagine that their intro CS class doesn't have some type of coding involved (for instance the beginner cs courses that I took were heavily involved in java programming). The assignments were extremely long. If your campus offers a high number of programming labs with the necessary IDE then you can get away with no laptop, but if you won't be on campus often then you'll want to have your own box. Your desktop will work fine also.

    But in no way shape or form did these classes require anything other than a computer that boots into windows xp or os x 10.4. Some of the blocky dinosaurs I saw were laughable but they got the job done.
  12. defected07 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2011
    Not sure if the MBA can run both OS X as well as Windows XP in VMWare -- but I can on my 15" C2D MBP which is 4+ years old. Can't run too much on the OS X side while running XP--and you'll want to find a light weight XP install if possible. But, I'm sure the new MBAs will be able to run both OSs very well. And of course, you could just boot into Windows via Boot Camp.

    Also, the 13" MBA resolution is larger than the 13" MBP--not sure about the 15", I'm sure the resolution is at least the same on the MBA if not larger. But yes, the screen size is still smaller, but I think it'd be a better option for college, since you'll want something lightweight if you're carrying both that and books to class--that **** gets heavy! Wait at least a week or two until the MBAs are released and see what you want then.
  13. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    It's...not terribly necessary, but it is hella inconvenient to not have your own machine.

    Honestly, I think waiting for Apple refreshes in the distant (2+ months) future is kinda a losing game. Also, if its brand new, you need to remember to take into account shipping time. It's not uncommon for that to tip the "time until machine is working" by another month.
  14. Samsumac macrumors regular

    May 18, 2011
    Give it a couple of days until the MB AIR refresh appears and then decide.
    The MBP 13" is a very good choice,regardless.
    You are attending a CS course. Owning some form of a computer is a given, if you value your time and your convenience
  15. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    I am not sure why people are recommending MBA to this OP. Op wrote that MBA's screens are too small.

    What part of small did not people understand?

    Is there such thing as 15 inch air? No.

    15 inch MBP is the only option.

    The answer is buy now, but wait if you can.
  16. hehe299792458 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2008
    There isn't a 15in MBP option right now.... who knows a few weeks from now, given the Air refresh coming up
  17. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    15 inch Air you mean? There is a 15 inch MBP right now.
    15 inch air is a very pointless. That isn't very portable.
  18. ForbiddenX macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2011
    What school are you going to if you don't mind me asking?

    I was at BCIT for two years and used a regular macbook and just got by fine. I was struggling near the end when I was doing a lot more graphics intensive courses (was in the digital processing option).

    I just transferred to SFU and I'm going to be getting a Macbook Pro. Most schools teach Java or C++. UBC uses their own language as their introduction course called Scheme.

    You should be fine with any laptop for any introduction course. You won't be doing any intense work and most of you're programs aren't going to be CPU or GPU hogs.

    Consider getting the higher resolution models as well as your programming workflow might be a bit smoother.
  19. maclaptop macrumors 65816


    Apr 8, 2011
    Western Hemisphere
    This is sage advice. I would agree completely.
  20. fcaoile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    Vancouver, Canada
    Oh wow, I'm actually going to BCIT :p LOL! (then transfer to UBC or SFU)

    Anyway, how's the first year in BCIT? do I really need to take a laptop to do some stuff? How often do you take yours?

    As I've said above, I have a decent desktop which I mainly use for everythin. I'm actually the webmaster of our school and now currently developing a small cash register java program that is gonna be used by 8 secondary schools here in Vancouver. I just graduated in HS and just really curious how college is like, especially as a CS student (environment etc).

    Thanks for the help buddy :)
  21. ForbiddenX macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2011
    Was going to send you a PM but I couldn't so I'm going to reply here

    In my opinion, BCIT's way of teaching is a bit different from your college/university. The first year isn't too difficult, but once you get into the last year of the program, brace yourself. And to be honest, the environment is completely different than a university.

    I went straight from HS to BCIT and it was HUGE jump in workload after the first term. Just a warning.

    I took my laptop to school every single day for the duration of the program. You don't really need to for the first two terms as there really isn't any "big" coding projects that you're going to be doing. I mostly used mine to work on assignments and labs outside of class and during boring lectures (COMM, BUSA, And the 2 COMP courses that are just "essential learning courses"). Outside of lectures and labs, there's really nothing worth doing at BCIT. You'll eventually find that you're going to be sticking in the gym(foyer area) a lot to do work and play games in.

    The type of programming you do in the first two terms (1st year) aren't cpu intensive at all. You can get by with a netbook. You're mostly working in Java in the first term using Netbeans (used to be Eclipse but they changed it so they can use Ant scripts). You also have an intro to web development course which again can be done on a netbook.

    The type of work you do in the second term is about the same in the first term. Advanced Java course and a C course. You're also going to be taking a Database course that uses Microsoft Visio so you'll need to Bootcamp. Other than that there isn't really anything else.

    What option are you thinking of doing in the 3rd and 4th term?

    Hope this helps a bit!

    You can email me if you have any more questions contact@romeldris.ca
  22. buckyballs macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2006
    I'm gonna agree. While you can get buy without a computer in a CS course (as there are labs available), it's not desired as you are unable to use the tools you wish and set them up to your personal preference. I am at least twice as productive (if not more) using my own machine as it is set up around me and how I work.
  23. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    You don't really want a Mac for a Counter-Strike degree; you'll be better served with a desktop or maybe a gaming laptop. :p
  24. fcaoile thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thanks for these wonderful information man! I guess, I'll just wait till the new refresh comes out. I just don't want to spend $2500-$3000 with a machine if I wouldn't need it that much for the FIRST term and if there would be a new one coming soon. I have my desktop and iPad 2 to handle things till I get my first ever mac! LOL

    Thanks again. :)

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