Laptop for College [engineering/business]

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by crazykid, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. crazykid macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2009
    I'm a senior in high school. In August, I'm planning on going to the University of Alabama to double major in chemical engineering and economics (through their Business school). I'm looking into laptops for school right now. I know that Alabama has discount programs with Dell and Apple, and I currently work on an iMac that I've had for about 8 months. Until then, I was a lifelong Windows user. I love my Mac, but have heard horror stories about compatibility issues, especially in engineering and business. The school has no specific preferences, all we were told was to get as much memory as possible. I was wondering if anyone has any advice for what I should get.
  2. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    Well, for me at least, I went with a UMB 2.4GHz. As much as I wanted to go with the pro, just carrying my cousin's around the house made the decision for me. Of course, that is totally just personal preference.

    I am going to be in Computer engineering in September, and I am pretty convinced that my macbook will hold its own without being too sluggish. Especially with SL coming out by then, that should help a bit with speeding up the overall computing speed.

    About the compatibility, just install Windows in boot camp, and run all the windows based apps you need that way, that's what I plan on doing, and that is what my cousin (just graduated with a CS degree) did as well.

    So my suggestion is to go with a MB, with 4GB of ram. That should be plenty, unless you want that extra screen size, and the quality is better on the pro in the sense of viewing angles, but straight on, my macbook looks just as nice as my cousin's pro, minus the matte screen on his.
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    I am majoring in Electric Engineering. I have found that the few times Ive needed Windows Fusion does the job well done. However, since I'm into playing games i started using a Boot camp partition.

    Thus far my Al Machook has proven it's value and I have had no issues with windows compatibility.
  4. mbleopard macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2008
    I just graduated in electrical engineering and I have the new aluminum macbook with 2 gb ram and it worked great. I don't know what kind of software your going to be running but just install Windows in bootcamp or Fusion. Make sure its at least service pack 2 and not a dvd you got with a previous computer purchase or the installation won't work.

    I actually had a HP laptop with Vista and it was terrible, the software I needed for my classes ran slow and terribly unstable, it would crash all the time. I finally got fed up and got the 2.5GHz MB with 2 gb ram, and running XP in bootcamp the programs ran much faster and never crashed at all.
  5. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008

    I'd suggest the 2.4ghz MB with an upgrade to 4gb RAM and a 7200RPM 320gb HD. Run Windows if you need it under Bootcamp, Vmware or Parallels (I prefer parallels). It will have enough speed and capacity and portability.

    The MBP is a great machine but a little big an heavy for lugging from class to class everyday and it takes up a lot of desk space. You can always add an external Monitor to the MB for working at home if you like more real estate than the 13" screen offers.
  6. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    Nothing keeps you from buying an Apple notebook for your college needs. BUT: You will find yourself using Windows almost exclusively. Almost none of the software that you will need for your studies will be available for OS X. So your computer won't be a Mac, just some Apple hardware running Microsoft Office and a lot of other software for Windows.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with this. Windows performs superbly on Apple machines. But you should ask your wallet and your calculator if paying the premium for the Apple design is worth it or if you should not go for a Dell or some other PC manufacturer instead.
  7. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    You are way behind the times. MS Office 2008 is available for the Mac, Openoffice 3 and iWork09 are largely MS Office Compatible. I run about 80 varried and sundry applications and have been able to find MAC equivelents for everything I used on the PC except for some rare extensions to IE6. On the occasion I need to run Windows I do it under Parallels and it works great.

    It might not hurt to ask about any specific software or hardware that may be required for some classes but there is often a MAC substitute and for occasional use a VM works great so I would not be to concerned.
  8. yousoldtheworld macrumors member


    Jan 6, 2009
    nowhere, Indiana
    Not true at all. I never used Windows once in college. My roommate was an engineering major, and while he did have one program that required Windows, everything else he did, he used his Mac (running OS X.)
  9. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    My son's college specifically told him not to buy an apple as some of the animation programs had some compatibility issues. For the programs requiring macs they have a lab for the students.

    I was shock but we were happy. He was able to buy a nice loaded machine, printer, and plasma tv with the money the mbp was going to run.
  10. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    It depends on what programas you are going to use. In general, older or more specific programs are going to be Windows exclusive. Check with what kind of software is likely to be used. For example, at our school, MATLAB was the software almost every EE used all the time and Windows was the only choice.
  11. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    The mb should be great mind you, it could be worth to wait out until october/november to get the new updates. You won't need it before then, especially if you have an iMac. Most classes will probably be math, chem and other technical things, kind of hard to take notes efficiently on a laptop, I find. If you get it now, you will need to change a year earlier... so you might end up with a piece of crap computer on your final year undergrad year, not a good idea as you'll probably need all the power you can have.

    I'm a mechanical engineering student, finishing my first year. Don't expect everything you'll need for class to work or have a compatible equivalent in os x. Mind you, win xp works perfectly on my unibody macbook, I only need to use SolidWorks on it too. So on top of working great, my xp partition is squeaky clean, so I know that when I'm working a project; I'm not wandering on some other stuff.
  12. crazyxzer0 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2008
    I am electrical engineering major on my final 2 semesters in school. I find I use a few programs for school and thats about it. If I really need to use things specifically for windows, I can go to the school lab to do my hw.

    I run windows 7 VMFusion Virtual Machine w/ PSPICE/Office2007/Logicworks and it only takes up 10GB without sacrificing free space for a bootcamp parition :D

    Beyond that, the macbook serves me well for the rest of my leisure activities. :)
    I'm very happy with my purchase. The apple premium is something you do have to overlook when you pay for it. ;)

Share This Page