Highschool student with MacBook questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by XTheLancerX, May 14, 2016.

  1. XTheLancerX macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    I'm a sophomore in high school right now and am looking into getting a retina MacBook Pro. I am wondering how long this thing will last, pretty much because I plan on this thing lasting me through college, or most of college at least (assume 4 years). Will it be a concern making it through junior year, senior year, then most of college afterwards?

    I'm on somewhat of a budget, I probably would be getting the baseline 13" rMBP that comes out next, especially if they increase the baseline storage to 256GB SSD. It would make sense for them to do this as the baseline is only 128GB in the rMBP but it's 256GB in the rMB.

    Oh and I'm hoping RAM gets upgraded to minimum 16GB. I don't think I would need 16GB but it definitely would help in future proofing. With competing laptops this shift of baseline models would make sense. Also when taking the rMB into account, that starts at 8GB and it's a lower "tier" than the rMBP. Anyway, back to storage space. The only thing that concerns me about 256GB of space is making partitions for other operating systems. I would probably have a Windows partition as well as another partition potentially if I feel like running an OS X beta (how much space should you allocate to such a partition anyway?)
  2. Closingracer macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2010

    A) the baseline will still have a 128gb ssd....just look at the 16gb iPhones being sold . And B) 8gb is fine and will be the baseline model for the same reason why you'll have a 128gb ssd
  3. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    Well, I have a MacBook Pro that the dGPU would fail consistently and Apple has not found a way to rectify, but since the 13" MacBook Pro doesn't have dGPU, you should be free from that problem.

    RAM is soldered, so you can't upgrade the RAM.

    And yes, I do think that getting a 128GB SSD for $1300 laptop is ridiculous. Apple should bump the base model to 256GB, but then we do know Apple all too well (still shipping 16GB iPhone 6S and such).
  4. adamsmith100 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2016
    If you want a more futureproof machine, get the 13 inch classic MacBook pro with the i7 BTO from apple, and upgrade the ram to 16 and add a 256gb ssd yourself. It won't be the latest technology or the lightest laptop, but it will be decently fast. And if you need more storage later on, you can upgrade it without too much trouble.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm not seeing the logic in recommending the older non retina display as future proof. If anyhting this will not be able to run things well enough well before a current machine can. True, the storage can be upgraded, but there are other factors in trying to ensure a computer lasts x years.
  6. Lunfai macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2010
    Been using my MBP since Late 2013 and it's not showing a sign of wear. Looking to upgrade next year or the year after though looking to move onto a more portable machine (redesigns). i5 13" 256gb Retina Late 2013.
  7. ABC5S Suspended


    Sep 10, 2013
    Save more until you reach college, than buy a better system. High school, you don't really need a notebook computer.
  8. matt_on_a_mtn Suspended

    Mar 25, 2016
    For the amount you'll spend on the 13" with 256GB and 16GB RAM, you might as well snag a deal on a base 15" and get twice the performance and a bigger screen.
  9. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    Something to consider is what you plan on doing in college/uni, and where you'll be living. If you won't have space for a second monitor (ie. dorm room possibly), definitely consider the 15". Considering the cost of school, paying a little more for the right tool will be unquestionably worthwhile. Also, the 15" comes with quad core and 16 GB standard.

    Storage space is a bit of a toss-up since you can use external drives for a lot of things, but I'd stay at or above 256 GB.

    Barring a hardware failure, a new 15" MBP (hopefully there will be new ones by the summer) will easily last you until the end of college/university. They're very powerful, and software demands are flattening now days so it should be good longer than they would have been in the past.
  10. npolly0212 macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2015
    I got the base model and am currently in college. have had it for almost 5 years and do all my programming and graphic designing on it and it still runs strong. The HD failed on it and got a new one in and it runs like the day i bought it
  11. adamsmith100 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2016
    Good point. However, I would estimate that my method would give a better performance than a base model retina.

    Good to consider:

    Advantages of base model retina mbp
    -battery life
    -faster storage
    -very thin and light

    Advantages of upgraded non-retina mbp
    -better processor (not 100% sure, but I think it is still better than base rmbp)
    -more ram
    -storage can be upgraded

    So, you are right, the base model retina mbp does have more positive points. Retina screen should count as two points, it does look really nice. However, 128gb storage may not be that futureproof, depending on your major in college.
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The non retina has a far worse processor it is not even close, it has slower ram, and most importantly the HD4000 graphics are dreadful especially compared to the iris in broadwell, and the new ones for skylake are going to give an even bigger boost to graphics with 64mb eDRAM cache.

    Not to mention no 4K support, no ac wireless, no Hdmi, thunderbolt 1 only.

    That's the thing after a time being able to add a bit more ram and replace a hard drive just don't make up for all the out of date tech on this machine in terms of future proofing.
  13. adamsmith100 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2016
    Alright, I stand corrected. Very good point with the graphics, I forgot to mention.
  14. XTheLancerX thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    Yeah, sorry I agree with this... I am not considering the MBP (non retina) at all. If anything, I am only considering the NEXT rMBP or even the one after that! The display and design alone make it a no-brainer, sorry. Take everything else into account that was just said here, and there is no way I could consider the regular MBP. Not meaning to shoot down your idea, I appreciate the thought (I have to say, I prefer the price of the MBP!) but it just isn't even on my radar.

    I plan on majoring in Computer Science or a related field, I am interested in IT sort of stuff. Also photography/videography as more of a hobby, potentially :p

    How much power would even be needed for the former field I mentioned? I know it will differ a ton depending on what I decide on but just a general idea of what types of tasks could be at hand and what sort of power it would require? I'm not an expert in what I'm looking into obviously, just have a big interest in it. Taking Computer Science II (Python) as a start right now, I have interests in learning other languages (particularly Swift, or anything that could be used for iOS apps, maybe jailbreak tweaks if jailbreaking even continues to be a thing) but I am intimidated by starting and not really sure where to look on my own time.

    Can't really screw with iOS-related stuff unless I have OS X/xcode, though. Part of the reason I am interested in getting a Mac, I can run OS X, Windows, pretty much whatever I want I believe.

    Other than the potential school-related tasks I mentioned above, I would be a pretty average user. Lots of web, lots of typing (forums like this, reddit), document editing for school, email, social media.
    --- Post Merged, May 16, 2016 ---
    In a perfect world I would get a specced to the gills 15" rMBP (I would probably never utilize the power...) but even then I feel like it might be a little bulky for my tastes, throwing it in a backpack could potentially be a little harder, and I am on a bit of a budget. I don't know if I wan't to even go much more than $1,500-1,600ish, let alone $2000-$2500 and beyond with the 15" MacBook. I know the words "Budget" and "MacBook" do not go together, but I digress.
  15. adamsmith100 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2016
    CS won't take a huge amount of computing power, but photography/videography might. The rMB won't be very good for futureproofing, but rMBP should work well for your usage. We'll have to wait and see what apple releases soon.
  16. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    For video editing, running virtual machines, you'll benefit massively with quad core CPU and 16GB of RAM. You say you'll want to run Windows of it too. The nice thing is you can install it with boot camp and then either boot into it directly or run that same bootcamp copy as a VM. This is super handy when you're doing homework in Windows but using OS X primarily at the time.

    Honestly, it's cheaper in the long run to buy the right machine the first time. If you want a computer that will see you through the rest of high school and then college/uni, get the base model 15". Save up a little longer if you have to, but it's worth it. You can save a bit by buying refurb.

    If most of your school work will be done on the computer, having that extra screen space will be very worth it. Like I say, the price difference is a drop in the bucket compared with the overall cost of schooling... Don't limit your productivity on account of a few hundred bucks!

    Having said all that, if you're really set on the 13", I'd highly recommend getting an external IPS monitor for when you sit down and need to get some work done. I don't know how much the RAM upgrade is but consider getting 16GB.

    Or menu C... Buy used to get you through high school, then save up, sell it and buy whatever makes the most sense going into college/uni.

    Good luck! :cool:
  17. adamsmith100 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2016
    I would agree with the above post, a base model 15 will be the best option. However, idk if your budget allows it.
  18. XTheLancerX thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    That does seem like a good option now, to be honest. Budget is a concern, but we will see. I don't think I will dump $500 into a dGPU. I have seen a lot of stuff related to that failing, and even then it still isn't ideal for much gaming from what I've heard.
  19. duervo, May 16, 2016
    Last edited: May 16, 2016

    duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    I suspect that whatever gets announced this summer, if anything, it will have 256GB SSD storage minimum. DDR4, but will probably stick with 8GB RAM base, and bump the max configurable up to 32GB (8/16/32 as available options.) ... But wait. Can you even get DDR4 chips small enough to do only 8GB (4x2)? I'm not sure, and I'm too lazy to go research that right now. If you can't, then it's possible we may see a 16GB DDR4 base model. (The retinas seem to use both of the memory channels on the CPU ... That's where I found this train of thought. 2 memory channels = 4x2=8, or 8x2=16.)

    Anyway, all of those things would do nicely for what you'd like to run on it, but if it were me, I would continue saving until you're done high school. I know it might be hard to do, but I would at least give it some decent effort to resist the temptation to get one this year.
  20. XTheLancerX thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    Yeah minimum SSD is definitely getting a bump, considering the rMB starts at 256GB. RAM is debatable like you said, I would love to see it bump to 16 but I highly doubt that will happen.

    I agree I probably should just wait until end of highschool... Really do not want to though, I have no computer that is just mine. Will have to tough it out with the family PC and family laptop for the time being, until next year or so at least anyway.
  21. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    I'd wait until you graduate to buy anything
  22. adamsmith100 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2016
    I know tons of people who have rMBP and MBA with 128gb ssd. If apple is making good sales on the 128gb model, they might not change it.
  23. kevinkyoo macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2016
    Sounds to me like 15" is the best option for what you're looking for. From that, I would NOT suggest the one with the dGPU. As you mentioned, I've experienced a myriad of problems based on how it interacts with the computer. If you're looking for a future-proof device, I'd say go for the 512GB for storage (More than enough to partition between OSX and Windows10) and 16GB of RAM. However, whether you really need this device now is questionable. I'm not sure how serious your school is, or what you're venturing in terms of an internship or volunteering during the summer, but this computer I just described should be good enough through high school, and through college.

    If you're looking to game, and if you're using Windows10 mostly for gaming, look elsewhere. For what you're paying, the MacBook is NOT worth it. I'd invest in a PC. And if that's the case, you can drop the storage down to 256GB, and use an external storage for things like docs, music, and other forms of media.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention, you may possibly want to wait for WWDC. See how Apple releases a MBP, if they do - whether they keep the old design, or finally ramp up the 15". Either case, the refurbished 15" should be fine for you, as the prices will drop further
  24. JPNFRK7 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2012
    As far as longevity goes my 2010 MBP survives despite going through High School and currently college. Macs last a long time if you take care of them.
  25. matt_on_a_mtn Suspended

    Mar 25, 2016
    OP, ElectronicsValley on eBay currently has new, current gen 15" base models for $1599 shipped. Pretty tough to beat that, especially as that's only a little more than the 13" model with 256GB storage.

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