Is it right for me? (engineering student)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by solaris7, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. solaris7 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2008
    I am going to uni. this august and i was wondering if the sleek macbook air will fit the bill.
    I have been playing computer games all through my high school, and i finally have decided to quit(the bad habit?) and focus fully on my studies. Besides, the uni. is expensive and i want to do really well there. So the mbp is out.
    Also, I am looking for portability. The macbook, though it is a 13inch, is on the heavier side, and i doubt if it will last me throughout the full 4 years with constant case cracking.
    I want to use the laptop mainly for project work, accessing the internet, word, excel etc. I don't need the raw power that both the macbook and the mbp offer because my uni is equipped with super fast computers, but will the air handle the basics well?
    As for the low capacity i am going to buy an external hard drive, so it shouldn't be a problem.
    Also, is the air capable of running vista or xp smoothly on bootcamp?
    Thanks for reading, and hopefully replying!!!
  2. kingcrowing macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    The air should run XP/Vista about as smoothly as the regular macbooks. However since theres only an 80GB drive I wouldn't reccomend partitioning your HD. You can but it might be better to just use OS X on it.

    I'm just using Leopard on mine, If I was planning on using Windows a lot on it I would have gotten a blackbook. But since I'm only going to use OS X on it, 80GB is plenty. It's up to you it will run ok but I'd personally say its not worth the HD space.
  3. gregk205 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    New York
    Don't believe everything you read on here about problems. There are a lot of us that are happy and have no problems with our computers. Not all MacBook cases crack. Most of them don't. I have a Blackbook, MBA, and a MBP. And none have given me any problems. My Blackbook has been all over the world with me for the last 2 years and has not cracked and still looks brand new! And I am not easy with it. My MBA is only 4 months old and the hinges are already a little loose. So I don't think it is as durable as the MacBook is. Any of them will be plenty powerful enough for school as long as you aren't in film or photography. The MBA is great to carry around. So if you are looking to carry something to class everyday I would buy a MBA. I run Windows XP in a Virtual Machine using Fusion and it works great. If money is a big part of it I would buy a Macbook and I am sure you would be happy with it. But if you buy a MBA I reccomend buying a refurb from Apple for $1499.00 You will save a lot of money and it will be just like brand new and you won't be able to tell the difference. And more importantly it would have been put through all sorts of tests and so you can be sure it will not be faulty.
  4. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    I have a SSD 64 GB MBA, and I partitioned my MBA for vista. Not too much room left, but honestly if you get an external HDD, you can save some music, videos, and files on it, keeping the essentials on the MBA and the extras at your dorm.

    The weight factor is amazing, and 2 lbs really does make a huge difference. Also, it has great battery life, so it can last for several consecutive classes.
  5. R.Youden macrumors 68020


    Apr 1, 2005
    If you want to run Vista / XP on a MacBook Air have you considered running them under Parallels or VMWare? That maybe able to save you some space rather than doing a full partition.
  6. Savagestorm macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I'm going to be an engineering student in a month too, and I decided to go for the MBA and I'm very happy with my purchase.
  7. ScottFitz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 3, 2007
    First of all on the gaming addiction, good luck with that one. My son is going to college this fall as well. He's addicted to warcraft and other games. Mainly WOW. That is one reason why we're skipping the MBP route.

    Since he must contribute to some of the cost, he's looking at the 2gb white macbook as the best bang for the buck. He wants black but 200 bucks more isn't worth it to him.

    The Air is more than he wishes to pay, but the screen on the Air is 10x prettier to look at.

    After 3-4 weeks with my Air, my biggest complaint is the trackpad is too large. I sometimes get to typing quickly and accidently bump the trackpad with my palm and end up inserting letters where they are not wanted. So, I have to slow down and keep my wrists elevated a bit (deliberate action on my part).

    If you can get used to that, you'll love the air. For my kid, it's a cost issue.

    P.S. We've decided to wait to order whatever he chooses on August 5th (tuesday). Signs hint to an update. While I doubt any laptop will make it four years at uni, having better specs might help stretch it out a tiny bit. And, he's in no hurry.
  8. rinux macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2007

    I am a norwegian engineering student and I have owned quiet a few apple computers over the years. I haven`t owned a MBA, but I have had my hands on one and I must say that the slow cpu and the lame graphiccard bugs me alot. Surely it can handle all the programs you must use, but i uses those 3-4 extra seconds than the MBP. At first it is OK, but after a dusin rounds with MATLAB, you will start to notice those extra seconds. Take my word for it, go for the MBP !

    EDIT: Im sorry, I didn`t read your post completely. If it is for basic stuff, the MBA is fine. I for once uses MATLAB and Simulink alot at home when I need to catch up with lost sessions at school and it is at those time I am glad for the power the MBP provides.
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    One thing that you should watch out for is that you might not stay with engineering. You might move into video editing, and require a firewire port, which the air does not have. Not saying the air wont work, but I was an engineering student who switched to communications, and a Macbook Air, while being a $2000 computer, wouldn't have worked for any video editing, where as the $1000 macbook would have.

    Just my 2¢.
  10. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    Even if there are computers all over campus, you want to use your own, with all your own stuff on it. They might be all occupied, or the labs might be closed, etc. It's a good idea to reliably have your own computer.

    As an only computer, it's hard for me to recommend the Air. Although you'll be very happy with either the MB/MBP/MBA, I'd recommend you the MacBook Pro. It's very powerful while still being pretty portable. But like I said - they're all excellent machines, and if you want the Air, go ahead and get one as it does mostly everything a regular MacBook can do (compared to what you need from your computer anyways).
  11. Evolesque macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    I went to school for engineering and thinking back I can tell you the macbook air will last you four years easily. As long as you take care of it. All engineering type programs run fine with bootcamp and the integrated video processor will handle all 3d stuff for that fine. The form factor I would think makes a macbook air a great buy for college.

    Since you said basic apps(ms office and etc) and usage you'll have no problems.
    (Matlab,labview,pro e (8),inventor,CAD, solidworks and c compilers etc all run fine on bootcamp) Though generally matlab runs slower on osx side. So install it on bootcamp for speed.) Your probably not going to use these type of programs until soph/junior year though so again it'll be fine for now.

    But heres a good suggestion, wait till you get to the university to buy one,
    the macbook pro and macbook air cost pretty much the same at universities with the uni discount(most of the time its either slightly or a lot more then 10 percent off) Sometimes they have deals when departments order too many and there is extra stock. With a valid uni id you can pick up a macbook pro for probably less than an air, you just have to wait and until they have those deals..which is quite often.

    I've seen penryn macbook pros 2.5's for 2000 before and I've also seen other deals too for other macs. Not to mention the stock apple student discount for a macbook pro makes the base model around 2000 dollars after tax. The air would be around 1834, you wouldn't save much money relative to the amount your already spending. I know you want less weight and power isn't a issue but this is still something to think about because of the close-ness in price and the future proof-ness of the mbp, which somebody brought up just in case you switch majors or something.

    hope this helps a bit.

    p.s. this is probably blasphemy here haha, but if its for just xp work and simple stuff at that, have you considered a msi wind?
    This little guy will definitely save you a lot of money and it'll probably do everything fine.

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