Laptop for college?

iperson21

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 17, 2010
129
0
Hey guys, I was just thinking about college, and my computer situation is a little weird.
I currently have an 11" MBA, 128gb ssd and 4gb ram. I also have a junk PC that I use to mess with my android phone, that is like 1.8ghz core 2 duo and 2gb ram, 160gb hd.
I'm a sophomore in high school, and I want to go to stanford for computer science.
Would my MBA suffice for my needs in college? If not, what computer would you recommend? My dad also said, if I get accepted and go to stanford, he'll buy me any computer I want as a congratulations gift. So what would you say?
Please don't hate if you think im spoiled or something...

And i know this is in the MBP section, and not the MBA section, but since a lot of the posts in this section seem to be from college students, i decided to put it in here.
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,350
6,291
The Anthropocene
So what's the problem? Take your dad up on the generous offer if you get into Stanford. There are also things called computer labs, so I wouldn't worry too much.
 

wrinkster22

macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2011
2,623
6
Toronto
I would keep using your current computers until right before you leave for university.
I would get a mac desktop, such as the iMac. They are very powerful and in 2 years it may get even better.
An iMac in your room/dorm and your air for note taking in class.
I would wait until the last minute seeing as you are in grade 10 and there likely will be an upgrade soon.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,155
1,500
5045 feet above sea level
If you got into Stanford, I would decline. Why? Cheaper to stay in state and presitgious schools mean more at the Graduate level than undergrad

On topic, id just get a mac mini and supplement it with your current air
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,994
3
Citizens Bank Park
You have two years before college. Worrying about which computer you will need or want seems like a waste of time. Two years is an eternity for technology. Even if it wasn't, it shouldn't be your primary concern anyway. Worry about getting accepted instead.
 

chrismacguy

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2009
1,979
1
United Kingdom
Your MacBook Air will be absolutely fine for any Computer Science course. Heck I do most of my current Computer Science (Year 2 UK, equivalent to Year 3 in the US) work on a combination of my MBA 11"era (I have the 2010 and 2011 models) and a PowerMac 8600/250 (means I actually write papers instead of reading Wikipedia for 5 hours), and the MBAs are just fine for everything (And I do mean everything: That includes Computer Graphics Projects as well as lots of random coding, and it can run Mathematica (and Matlab and Maple)) you are likely to encounter. At least for the first 2 years. I would advise you to get your dad to wait 2 years and get your computer as you go into year 3 or year 4 (in the US system) - as then
(1) It will be much faster and
(2) your more likely to be able to sensibly judge your requirements for the final 2 years from a productivity, platform and where your interests lie standpoint.

Also a 1.8 Dual Core machine is hardly a Junk PC. My Junk PC (admittedly I have more powerful PCs, but this is the only one I would ever call Junk) is a 2.1Ghz Athlon. Single Core. From 2003. Now that is a "Junk" PC, but a 1.8 Core 2 Duo certainly isn't. My main business notebook is a 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo which I use for doing actual paid coding work, and its miles away from being "Junk".
 

iperson21

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 17, 2010
129
0
lol. i know its not something i should be worrying about. i was just really bored. And i defenitly want to go out of state. The closest city to me is D.C., and I go there every other weekend, and am so sick of it. Plus, my parents have already told me they will pay for whatever college I want to go to... In-state would basically mean going to college park.... And i really don't want to go to a party college.
 

JoeG4

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2002
2,705
237
Bay Area, Ca.
I think you've got time to worry about this :) Also, good luck getting into Stanford! I went to a programming competition there once and it was hella nice. However, I am going to a UC instead ;)

If you're not prestige crazy you might want to look into UC Santa Barbara or UC San Diego, those schools are pretty well-to-do (although they rank a lot lower than Stanford) but the campuses are beautiful (see google images!) Berkeley takes the cake in rankings, but it's not as pretty (although the east bay weather rocks).
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
By then, you'll probably get a new one. However, an 11" mba and an external monitor would probably be fine for the first couple years of college.
 

JoeG4

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2002
2,705
237
Bay Area, Ca.
Oh I didn't notice he already had an 11" MBA

Then I'd think about getting an imac or something. It's nice to have a desktop. (That, or if you want to get into the lan party/gaming machine, build a desktop :D)

Generally, you'll be fine with anything made in the past few years (as long as it has a GPU) for lan parties.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
Oh I didn't notice he already had an 11" MBA

Then I'd think about getting an imac or something. It's nice to have a desktop. (That, or if you want to get into the lan party/gaming machine, build a desktop :D)

Generally, you'll be fine with anything made in the past few years (as long as it has a GPU) for lan parties.
dedicated GPU, you mean ;) If you went that direction, you'd want an ati 5770 or better..assuming that you were buying today.
 

Ccrew

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2011
2,035
3
I would research what your major requires and is supported by the school.

As a parent that bought a MBP for a daughter going into engineering school at UVA, only to find out they wouldn't support a Mac, Bootcamp, or Windows virtualization on a Mac and required specialized Windows software that needed a Sandy Bridge or better laptop, I bought a computer not once, but twice.

Save your dad that frustration.
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,350
6,291
The Anthropocene
I would research what your major requires and is supported by the school.

As a parent that bought a MBP for a daughter going into engineering school at UVA, only to find out they wouldn't support a Mac, Bootcamp, or Windows virtualization on a Mac and required specialized Windows software that needed a Sandy Bridge or better laptop, I bought a computer not once, but twice.

Save your dad that frustration.
FWIW, Stanford definitely supports Macs. However, OP hasn't gotten in yet, and it is definitely a good idea to check into that stuff first.
 

Ccrew

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2011
2,035
3
FWIW, Stanford definitely supports Macs. However, OP hasn't gotten in yet, and it is definitely a good idea to check into that stuff first.

UVA supports Mac's too, just not in the engineering discipline my daughter is now in. That's why I said check.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,169
1,212
NYC
The computer I find that works best for college is the 15" MacBook Pro. It has a good dedicated GPU if you want to play games, while it's fast enough to handle almost anything a CS student needs. Finally you can opt for a higher-resolution antiglare display which should prove to be excellent for programming.

Compared to the 13", the 15" is faster and simply offers more as a one-machine for everything type of gig. The 17" is only a little bigger, but it's isn't really portable, not to mention it won't fit on most lecture hall desks.

The MacBook Air is a nice computer, but I still think you want more screen real estate as a CS student.

That said, good luck!
 

Mr.Outside

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2011
410
0
United States
You have two years before college. Worrying about which computer you will need or want seems like a waste of time. Two years is an eternity for technology. Even if it wasn't, it shouldn't be your primary concern anyway. Worry about getting accepted instead.
This right here.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,169
1,212
NYC
Also why are you aiming for Stanford?

Why not MIT or Carnegie Mellon? There are several schools with as good if not better CS programs.
 
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