Heading to college, need some advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hthomas, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. hthomas macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
    Hey guys. Im headed to college in the fall and I am going to be doing a lot of music recording with software, HD videos and movies.

    I am trying to decide between the 13inch or 15inch MacBook pro.
    I no they have different processors. i5 and i7. Will either one make a big difference in what I wanna do?

    Also. Any advice for upgrading it when I get one for more speed,performance and space?

  2. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    I'd say go for the 15" if you plan on doing intensive work with music and videos/movies. The quad-core and video card improvement should prove useful.

    as for upgrades...8gb of ram would be good, especially since they are so cheap now.

    an SSD would be great for speed and performance but you will probably have to give up some space as larger SSDs would quite pricey.
  3. ABadSanta macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2011
    The 15" is a great mix of portability and power. From what you said you'll be doing, the 15" will be a great system. And no, there isn't a huge difference between the two different 15" models. The more expensive one might be for those who really want to max out their games or do a lot of heavy video editing and rendering. Otherwise, the base model is more than enough power, and is very, very powerful computer by today's standards.
  4. ahdickter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    IMO stick with the 15" like the previous user said: better CPU for editing media. If you are comfortable with the insides of computers, then I suggest buying the 8GB of ram online and installing it yourself.
  5. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
    Thanks for the info guys!

    What about getting an SSD for it? Is it nessecary?
  6. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    SSD is not necessary, but a pretty nice add-on. Boot/shut down times are much faster, as are application loading times. The mac will seem "snappier"

    IMO ssds don't really have that much of an advantage performance-wise when the computer is open and you already opened and are working on the programs you want.

    Sure, there are additional benefits such as being able to throw the laptop around without fears of HDD failure and a more silent operation but having an HDD is perfectly fine.
  7. Merkyworks macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    I went through college with a 13" mbp and now I have a 15" mbp.

    I can tell you that the 13" is so easy to carry around and use in class, I carried mine with me every day. It had more than enough power to do anything I needed it to do, for my senior engineering project I was responsible for all of our media and used Photoshop CS4 and iMove without any issues. that being said I wish that the 13" had a higher res screen, I didnt like how little screen space i had. now i have the 15" with the high res AG screen and its great but I will say this, I could see myself carrying around the 15" and it not be a huge burden but its not going to be as easy as it was with the 13", that little 13" is just so easy to carry around.

    as for getting a SSD, well I didnt have that on the 13" but got it on the 15" and its is fast (everything you read about SSD performance is true) but there is no way I can afford the space I need with just a SSD so I had to ditch the optical drive for a second HDD. if you pinched for money id say get a SSD later down the road, if not then its worth getting.
  8. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    If you plan to store any music or video on your MBP you'll quickly find yourself running out of HD space with an SSD.

    Personally, I think they make sense in the Air for space reasons and on a MBP if you really need speed and don't plan to store large file such as pictures, music collections or movies.
  9. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    Some college students find that they don't want to haul around laptops everywhere. If you think that you may be using your laptop mainly in your room go for the larger model. This way you are not always hunched over a 13 inch screen. But if you will always be carrying your laptop the smaller model is the way to go.
  10. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    I carry my 15" everywhere with me. A quality backpack goes a long way, you know.
  11. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
    I was thiking of getting a external hard drive to store and backup all my music recording projects. I only plan to have my iTunes and a few live concerts saved on my laptop. Would keeping my recording on a extern hard drive be the best option for awhile?

    I want to keep my MBP running good and not slow up a ton

    Thanks for all the help so far!
  12. Merkyworks macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    can you do without having at dvd drive? if so slap a 500 GB HDD in there and your set
  13. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010

    I will need aDVD drive. Will the external hard drive work?
  14. ABadSanta macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2011
    Yea external drives work perfectly.

    And SSDs aren't really needed, but they definitely make your computer a lot faster. You don't have to get one now, especially since the computer itself will cost a lot- it could be a solid upgrade down the road though.
  15. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
    That's exactly what I was thinking.

    Any advice for a certain external hard drive?
  16. schizbomb macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2011
    I prefer Western Digitals, but we use Seagates at work and those are fine too. I think if you stick to those brands you'll be fine. Buy USB3 if you can, because...why not? It'd be a few bucks extra for the new technology, especially if you carry around to PCs and such.

    My 2 cents.
  17. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
    Was just looking at WD. The My passport for mac looks good. You think that would be good for saving recording software projects, videos, etc?

    why does it give a range? 250gb-640gb? wouldnt there be just one number of gb for it? im confused

    I do lie the My Passport SE for Mac though. Looks like that would be the best choice
  18. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
    I was looking at the 15inch with 2.0 ghz and the 13in with2.7ghz. Both have i7. Would the 13 inch be better since it has the 2.7ghz or does that not really matter?
  19. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2011
    The 15" is QUAD core, while the 13 is DUAL core, so the 15" will be much faster in heavy tasks. You'll never notice a difference in everyday computing, between the two models, but If you ever want to play games, or do other 3d stuff you'll probably need the discrete graphics card of the 15. Also, in my experience an SSD made daily operations on my computer much snappier
  20. ranviper macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2010
    Adirondacks, NY
    Agreed with most above statements. The 15" add's a significant 2 inches of real estate to work with, and the quad core cpu will throw your performance way up. Unless you have a desktop or an external monitor, I would go 15. Even if you had just an external for a 13, I'd still say 15, simply because of the cpu.
  21. DWBurke811 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2011
    Boca Raton, FL
    For the external HD, you can get a 1TB WD passport from new egg for ~$100, the "Mac" version is ~$20 more for it's pretty case.
  22. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    Different sizes can be bought. Get the PC version not only are they usually cheaper if there's also a Mac version - you can format it with OSX's file structure - or leave it with FAt and use i to transport work between a Mac and PC.

    I'd go for a bigger drive - especially since you are planning to store video on it you can get external 1TB dives for around $80 and 2 TBs for around $100. Check out Buy.com, Amazon, Frys.com for deals. A bigger drive gives you room for Timecapsule backups and storage space - personally I'd spring for a 2TB since the marginal cost is small.

    Next up - get Synk Pro (http://decimus.net/Synk/SynkPro.html) It's $10 for academic use and at some point will save your behind. It syncs files so if your HD dies you have a backup. You can do it to an external drive; I also recommend getting an HDSD card and setting up for sync as well - that way if you are away from your external drive you still have a sync'd backup.
    Personally, I also use Forever Save (on the App store) - it essentially acts as an auto save function across applications - do one Cmd-S (to get it started in a document or file) and it will save sequential backups so if you mess up a file you can roll back to an earlier version. An added bonus - Synk Pro will sync the saved file to your external folder as long as the Forever Save folder is setup to be synced.

    Yes, I am paranoid about backups - but I make a living using my Mac and can't afford to go to the client and say "Sorry - lost all your work. oppss."
    As a student, you don't want to lose hours of work because a HD died or you accidentally overwrote / deleted key parts of a project. the $30 for backup software will be the best insurance you can buy (along with a renter's policy to cover your Mac).
  23. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010

    Thanks for the info, I am going to be doing mainly video watching and downloading movies etc. alot of recording with logic. so the quad core would be much better than the dual for all that correct?
  24. hthomas thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2010
  25. jasonbro macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011

    Seems like you've gotten some good replies already. Not much more to add.

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