Lots of questions about choosing a laptop.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jg216, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. jg216 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #1
    ATTN Computer Science Students

    I am so torn on which laptop to buy for college.

    I am studying computer science, and I don't want to go there (Binghamton) and look silly with a laptop that can barely do what I need it to do. To be quite honest I don't even know what it is I am going to have to do. How important is the power of my personal computer in a computer science major?

    Well, here we go (my budget can be worked to satisfy all of my needs)

    13" macbook air- great design, awesome for the actual college experience, but is it powerful enough for a computer heavy curriculum?

    15" retina macbook pro- don't get me wrong, this machine is amazing, but the 15 inches is too big for me. but do a lot of computer science students have 15" laptops?

    13" macbook pro- ideally the perfect laptop, powerful affordable. However, the screen resolution is just awful, and i do enjoy app development. The laptop here is perfect for my needs, i am just hesitant because of the outdated resolution, its the same as my 2007 macbook.

    So my questions to computer science students are these
    Are all of these sufficient for my needs?
    Would i be one of the only ones with a huge 15" laptop?
    Can i look past the 1280x800 resolution?

    and what the heck are all of these rumors about a retina 13" macbook pro, because that is absolutely the perfect laptop it is everything I wish for, shape, power, resolution. But will it be out in august? before i have to go away

    Thanks in advance to everyone with the patience to help me out here.
     
  2. ebolamonkey3 macrumors regular

    ebolamonkey3

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Well, this is several years ago, but I remember in college (I went to GA Tech) a lot of CS students had 15" laptops, so I think you'll be ok.

    If you want to wait for a retina update for the 13" MBP, that's your call. Rumor says October, but that may be too late for your schedule.

    Personally I'd go w/ the 15" RMBP and buy an external monitor for use in your dorm.
     
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #3
    i went with the 13in mbp

    on the go, the screen is just fine

    at home, i have a monitor

    that and i didnt want to spend in the mid 2000s for a laptop when I could get a perfectly nice one for the low 1000s

    I survived undergrad with an emac as my sole machine and now as a grad student with the 13in mbp
     
  4. jim468 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #4
    I am a CS student in USA. I got the MBA 2011 mainly because it was so sleek and compact and light weight and fast (because if SSD)!.

    But after I spend some time with it, I realized how much I miss the large screen estate of the 15 inch model. I then got an external display but the MBA is not the best tool for an external display because it goes not have a dedicated graphics card. Even trivial things like watching HD movies on the external display became jerky.

    In short, if you can have (or want to have) only one computer, then I would suggest the MBP with Retina. If you already have a desktop, then the Air makes more sense. I would not recommend MBP 13 in any case because it is not as thin as Air and it does not have a dedicated GPU.
     
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    Jul 17, 2005
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    #5
    ? I have never had an issue with hd movies and the IGU on external monitors. I do that fairly often

    the hd4000 is not a slouch either
     
  6. jg216 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #6
    thanks for the advice!

    Let's just say the 13" retina macbook pro was released. As a student who will be programming heavily in college, would you still suggest the 15" inch retina rather than the 13", or will that solely come down to my preference?

    How would a 15" laptop be in a classroom setting, taking into account desk size and such?
     
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    I think all the current computers are moooooooore than capable

    it comes down to entirely preferences and the ability to pay for those preferences
     
  8. leenak macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #8
    Most of the programming you will be doing won't be on your own machine. Now you may remotely connect to other machines and you may want a bigger screen due to that. A CS major though doesn't need any more powerful of a computer than any other person, in general. I know some people like big monitors but you can program fine on a 13".
     
  9. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #9
    Most people had 15-17 laptops a few years ago when I was getting my degree. In my opinion, 15 is the perfect size. The retina MBP is so much smaller in comparison to the 2007 I used. There are variables that can change things, but even with lab machines, I mainly used my laptop for everything.
     
  10. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #10
    I'm using a high-end 24" NEC display with an early 2011 13" MBP. It has the less powerful Intel HD 3000 GPU and I haven't had any problems running the high resolution external display.

    I've used the 13" and 15" MBP. The 15" MBP is too large as far as I am concerned; I travel light and the size of the 15" doesn't cut it for me.

    Pairing the 13" MBP with a decent display is the sweet spot for me quality and price-wise. Having paid $900 for the MBP and $550 for a display with an $899 MSRP my total cost was less than a base-model 15" MBP. I had money left over for a RAM upgrade to 8GB.

    Be sure to check the bookstore at the college you will be attending. Some college bookstores purchase previous-generation Macs and pass significant savings on to students. I have saved up to 50% going that route. If you don't need the latest and greatest Mac you can save some serious $$$.
     
  11. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    Jul 17, 2005
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    #11
    Also, if you have any external things (like cases, sleeves, etc) makes it harder to change sizes once you collect a few nice things of that nature lol....at least for me
     
  12. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #12
    15 was fine in all settings for me- classroom, library, etc. I would still choose 15 over 13 even if there was a 13 retina.
     
  13. jim468 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #13
    As dukebound85 said, it basically depends on how much is your budget. If you can spend 2K then RMBP sounds like a better machine to me (even though it is slightly bigger in size). I see many students carrying 15" laptops. A few of them even use 17" laptops (who game a lot).

    As per the weight, RMBP is the same weight as MBP 13", so while carrying you would not notice any difference. Personally if there was a Retina MBP 13", I would still choose 15.
     

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