Laptop for College? My Situation...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by wnxgenral, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. wnxgenral macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Hey Mac Rumors users, I am currently starting my search for the perfect computing setup for my college life, which I'm starting next year. First let me give you a few details you made need to know...

    I'm attending Purdue University which has one of the best wireless networks on a college campus, therefore wireless is definitely not a problem...

    Purdue is a HUGE campus, I have to do a ton of walking and need a ton of battery life!

    Here are my options...

    Option A: Wait for new MacBook Pro's and use the MBP as my main computer, for all my computing needs!

    Option B: Buy a Macbook Air... use this for all my school needs but also bring my desktop (Win Vista, Quad Core, 4 GB Ram, 2x8800GTX, 1TB HD) from home as use it as my workhorse?

    Some other things to factor in... I have almost 80 GB of Music, and over 500 GB of Random stuff on an External HD...

    I would plan on buying an external monitor for the MBP if I choose to use it as my primary computing machine...

    If you would need any other details, please post and I'll get back to you ASAP! Thanks for all your help, as I'm sure you know this decision making process has been a painful one haha!



    My Needs:

    Ability to Game
    Ability to use Adobe Suits
    Ability to Code

    The question is... do I want to buy a LAPTOP that can do it all, or split it up and have a laptop that can do my school work (Office, Safari, Email, Music) and have a Desktop that can do the rest...
  2. techlover828 macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2007
  3. wnxgenral thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Well I need the notebook for school... but I also do a fair amount of Photoshop, and other Adobe Editing programs, I also game... therefore I would have to use the DESKTOP for all those needs...
  4. TraustiB macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2007
    Reykjavík, Iceland
    Well the MBP could handle all that quite efficiently. Especially with a nice 24" external monitor hooked to it.

    My setup is currently a MBP 2.5ghz and a 24" BenQ G2400W display. Its incredibly nice, the extra screen realestate. The BenQ is very similar to the Samsung 24" counterpart.

    Also the MBA is quite expensive, cheaper then a MBP + display but your getting less when you could get a real workhorse for like $300 more.

    And also your current Desktop computer sounds quite nice too. This might be quite a difficult choice mate :p
  5. techlover828 macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2007
    well it really comes down to how much portability you want, if you want a lot of portability obviously you're going to want to go for the macbook or macbook air. If that's not too much of an issue, then the mbp would also be fine, it's also not bad for gaming.
  6. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    i think the real question is how often you'll be bringing your laptop to class.
    at my school no one uses there laptop other then for special group stuff or in the library
  7. woahdell macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008
    I think the best thing to do is keep your old computer, especially since you are a gamer because there are many games that aren't on Mac!
  8. rpg1hero macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2008
    If you don't mind me asking, what high school did you go to? I'm basically right next door to Purdue. The MBP, from what I've read, is pretty decent for gaming, even when it's in bootcamp running Windows. If I were you though, I think the MBP is a great machine for your photoshop/adobe needs and then you could also bring your machine from home to get the best performance in gaming. The Air looks cool but for the price it may not be the best. That and the lack of ports and drives would make it a hassle at times.
  9. wnxgenral thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008

    I actually went to a private high school in Milwaukee, WI. but to be honest I'm leaning twords the MBA because it would offer some things like (Great Portability, Battery Life and Slimness that I think the MBP wouldnt offer) If I went the MBP route, I doubt I would bring the big machine from home...
  10. techlover828 macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2007
    You may also want to invest in an extra battery.
  11. BMP1199 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2008

    I'll be going to Purdue in the fall as well as a freshman...

    I'm getting the (new) Macbook Pro if it comes out before we start. If not the current one is still perfect. But yeah I am going with the low range 15 inch with the 250GB hard drive, upgrading to 4gigs with ram from, and getting the glossy screen. It will be a powerhouse and I cannot wait for it.
  12. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I highly recommend getting base MacBook Pro or the mid range 15". Don't bother with the 17" because that thing is quite large and heavy. The 15" does not weigh all that much. I think for the price that you will spend on the Air...a Pro would be better. So buy a whatever with your Desktop, but also buy a monitor (or use your existing). The MacBook Pro can handle games pretty well...not as well as that computer you have listed...but its good!

    Get a MBP.
  13. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I know what your budget is, but I'd say the MB would be better suited than the MBA; used well the MB should have better battery life; now a powerful desktop and a good laptop is great combination; works very well.

    Of course the MBP is AIO solution, but the problem you will have is if you need to upgrade the power later, you will need a new machine; a separate MB/Desktop combo would not have that issue.

    If it were me, I'd get a MBP and a desktop (well I have that), but to save some money a MB and desktop is good.
  14. BMP1199 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2008
    Oh and keep in mind we use ethernet in our dorms...There is wireless everywhere except your actual room. My roommate and I are buying a router though and making it a secure connection so that we have WiFi in our dorm room.
  15. GuntherS macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    If I had to make this choice, I should buy a MacBook for school and keep the desktop for gaming.

    1. Your desktop is better for games than the MBP.
    2. When you take MB, you can also carry an extra battery with you. You can't officially replace the battery of the MBA by yourself.
    3. The MB has more functionality for plugging in external drives and stuff than the MBA.
    4. The MB is more portable than the MBP.
  16. rlm22b macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    I agree.

    I'm a college student as well, my Penryn gets 4.5 hours of wireless productivity easy. With the MBP you have the option of getting a spare battery and you can always get a quick charge in from time to time on campus if needed be. Also the MBP is only 5 pounds, I'm always bewildered when ppl think of it as heavy. Of course it's not as light as the MBA but it's heavy by no means. I have a speck hardshell on mine as well and that also adds no bulk.
  17. skythefly13 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2005
    Exact same...

    I was just in your exact situation earlier this afternoon. I was debating between an Air and a MBP, and went with the MBP. I was bouncing back and forth for days because I needed a good laptop for college (my first year). I will have a 20" 2.66 iMac in the dormroom and it has more power than I would ever need. The only thing that made me get the MBP was that the Air could become outdated within the next few years and might not handle new features brought out by Apple. Sure, it could manage, but who knows what Apple could come out with in the future! I was helped, so hopefully this helps you as well!
  18. Zephgx macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2007
    To option A - If you are up to do gaming on a laptop, go for the MBP. Keep in mind though it won't be as powerful as your desktop right now (nice setup btw). If you can (but may/mostly defeat the purpose of getting a MBP) you could buy the MBP and bring your desktop.

    To option B - Most people would say MB over a MBA (price, spec, ports, battery, etc...) MBA if you don't mind the limited space, ports, and price if that is not an issue. MB if you want more features than the MBA and need a cheaper priced laptop.

    Although me personally I would go with the MBP, but if possible, bring the desktop along. If you can't bring the desktop, then the MBP would fit what you would be doing. Also what games do you play?
  19. bart rijksen macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2008
    Great idea. I have a mbp, and it's heavy to carry every day, and the battery life isn't super. Plus you'll have a good desktop at home to do all your other tasks.
  20. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    why not just get a macbook and save a bundle?

    and bring your pc for games (which will outperform a mbp easily)
  21. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
  22. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2007
    Hey I can give you a little hands on experience. I go to school at the University of Kansas, which is a closed campus (aka-walk your ass off.) I went with the 15" MBP...and it is honestly the best $2000 I have ever spent. It will handle anything you will throw at it. I play around with photoshop somewhat (I do more HD video and audio stuff), but my girlfriend is a graphic design student and uses PS, InDesign and Lightroom quite a bit. The MBP doesn't even hesitate when she is doing projects on hers (she has a Penryn model). Its an absolute animal in its class.

    As far as portability, battery life and the like....second to none. I have worked for Best Buy for the last couple years and fly pretty regularly all over the US...I have never had to worry about the battery on my MBP dying on me. If I switch the power settings to better energy savings, I regularly get upwards of 4 1/2 hours surfing the net and listening to music. As far as the music goes, I have a 40GB library, plus several gigs of seem like a pretty tech-savvy individual, so look into getting one of the new WD 320GB hard drives and swapping out the internal HD. If thats not enough, Samsung and a couple others are coming out with 500GB hard drives that will fit in the 15" model. There really isn't a single reason to NOT get a MacBook Pro. You'll be much happier with it than if you get a MBA.

    So to sum all that up...MBP all the way. You won't look back.
  23. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Heres my setup

    While I don't stay on a college campus, I am in a similar situation. I live and work in the same area and need tp bring my computer all around. I use pretty much all of adobe master collection and corel painter x, and maya, and I code in Visual Studio 2008. (I do game development as a hobby and school, and work as an IT tech). I have a macbook pro (its in my signature) and here is my setup:

    In my living area I have a 26inch monitor, at work I have a 22 inch that I hook this thing up to.

    I have mac os and windows installed on it and I use vmware fusion to create a virtual windows machine on one of my screens so I can code while doing stuff in mac OS.

    When I want to game, I boot into windows and I have a 5 drive enclosure that connects via esata to an express card slot on the mac and I have all my games stored on that drive and I just play as if I had a windows machine.

    This setup is amazing and lets me do all the work I need to do and I do some pretty computational intensive stuff. Not only do I do game development but I also do a ton of photography so I always have lightroom batch processing, I am backing up all my movies to my drives incase the dvds get stolen (again) so something is always encoding. The mac pro handels all of this with ease. Its really a great system and the battery life is great too. I recommend going with a mbp.

    If you REALLY want something lightweight to haul around to take notes on, eeePC is a great choice :) I always prefered typing my notes in class (I know most students hate those people but some of us have HORRIBLE writing and it hurts to write)
  24. wnxgenral thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Ahhh First let me thank everyone for their replies... The reason I keep coming back to these forums is because the community is second to none... but anyways heres where I am at...

    So I just got back from Purdue down in Indiana and I had some questions answered... The Wireless is EVERYWHERE, therefore I'm not going to have to worry about it. Next is I have a 15 minute walk from my dorms to where my classes are... That means I'm going to have to make this walk a few times a day which means I'll probably want the lightest load possible... Purdue also had the Macbook Air on display as a great laptop for school? Now I don't know if this is just me but I want to type almost all my notes and have the laptop with me at all times... I have my iPhone but having the ability to pop open the notebook on the fly anywhere on campus is what I want... So it leaves me to say this...

    To the users who recommended the Macbook Pro:

    Why do I need to have TWO powerhouse machines? I find it hard to Edit photos/play games on the go without a BIG Monitor and a BIG Mouse pad... two things my desktop will incorporate... From what I posted before the reason I'm so attracted to the MBA is because it offers SOO Much Mobility when really I need it for Email, Office, Music, Safari and very light photo editing. I will tell you though I'm not the kind of guy who is willing to wait for programs to load, I like everything pretty much instant... If I go the MBA/Desktop Route... Will I be happy?


    p.s. I really do love this community...

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