Mac for computer science major questions (first mac)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bohnje, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. bohnje macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2011
    I am going into computer science at my university and am interested in getting a mac but im not sure if it will suit my needs. I will be using several different languages including java, c++, c#, c, ruby and likely several others and I was wondering if it is able to program with many different languages on a mac. I plan on dual booting windows 7 but i would like to do as much as possible in OSX. I am looking at a MBP 15" w/ a 2.2 or 2.3 Ghz i7 proccessor, a high res glossy screen, 8Gb ram, and either a 500 GB HD (7200RPM) or 750 GB HD (5400RPM). with the hard drives I am not sure what would be better for me as I would like the memory for dual booting windows but the speed might be useful. If any body can give me any advice based on there experiances that would be helpful and I appreciate negative feedback as much as positive. (Sorry I know this is a long post but I was also wondering if there will likely be a new MBP come out with lion, and will my rig be good for games and games in bootcamp (steam)) thanks!
  2. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    I would say that computer will do everything you want it to do and then some. I am going to get the base model 15" MacBook Pro and will be doing my computer science work on it. For the vast majority of what you will do in computer science classes, you will probably be using Windows. It can be done in OS X, but most classes I have taken want you to use Visual Studio to do the coding.

    Also, I think 500GB should be plenty for your hard drive running both OS X and Windows (depending on your music, movies, photos, etc.) I generally keep my project file in my DropBox folder, so if something happens, I won't lose all of my work.

    I am going to have a 128 GB SSD for Windows and OS X operating systems and put the stock 500GB drive in the opti-bay for storage.

    It should game very well in Windows, but the battery life will be considerably less when booted into boot camp since the computer will utilize the dedicated graphics card all the time.

    I doubt the MacBooks will get refreshed with the announcement of Lion (except maybe the Air...) since they were refreshed just a couple of months ago.
  3. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Ditto with WesCole's response, but wanted to add:

    You might want to consider Parallels instead of Bootcamp. It's easier to archive VMs than it is to diddle around with backing up the Win7 partition. I'll be installing a new VM shortly under Parallels 6 and going that route. Especially with multi-core machines, cores can be completely dedicated to the VM and performance drop is fairly small; only graphics-centric apps would be badly affected.)
  4. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    I have just completed my first year of Computer Science and I did not use a PC (or the bootcamp partition on my mbp) once. You'll be learning a lot of things in a linux environment, so using a mac on the unix architecture is mirroring this. There are so many of the languages that are built into unix that you dont have to download more software or anything for like a windows side. We focused on python and java in first year here and watching my friends program in a windows environment was almost laughable. It required more programs and annoying code to run from a command line. Python interpreter is built into os x, as well as java, no java SDK or anything required, the console/terminal in mac is the same as a linux one and much more readable and easy to remember commands (just my opinion albeit) than the windows command line.

    For the actual programming, eclipse is by far the best thing for java (its almost like cheating), and all the others can be written in any text editor (I prefer Gedit or emacs).

    I went full blown with my macbook pro, however I did want the power for non-programming things as well, but any of the 15" mbp's will suit you just fine. As I tell everyone going into computer science- pay for the upgrade to the high-res anti-glare display- you'll be shooting yourself in fluorescent lit lecture halls and such if you have the glossy (by far the best upgrade I did)
  5. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    Just want to throw in my 2 cents on the hard drive issue.

    Remember that platter density affects drive speed as well. To the point where the 500gb and 750gb speeds may be close to the same, despite speed differences. It really matters on how much data you have overall, and generally getting to about 50% capacity is where performance starts to drop off. 250gb+ on a 500gb drive might be slower than on the 750gb.

Share This Page