Anyone here knows someone who goes to or is at Drexel Engineering? Debating between the 13" MBP (not air because of expandability) or a Lenovo Thinkpad T series. Which one will be more stable? Price doesn't factor here.
I go to Carnegie Mellon but I have a number of friends who go to Drexel. You should be fine with either a mac or a pc. If price really isn't a factor I would go for a mac but I would probably go for the RMBP (which is what I have) or a MBA (which is what I used to have and what most of my friends in CS love). You can always get a MBA and replace it in 2-3 years and sell the old one. That's what I just did.
On the other hand I have a secret crush on thinkpads.
Both should be stable, I guess which way to go will depend a bit on personal preference and the specific curriculum.
In my case almost everything I've done so far as a CS major is unix-style C programming or Java. Both of those work great on OSX. Getting up and running with GCC on Windows can be a bit of a pain by comparison.
You can always install Windows on the Macbook in a VM or as dual-boot to run any Windows-only apps that are required.
On the other hand you could also install Linux on the Thinkpad in a VM or as dual-boot for more unix-focused programming work.
I think it comes down to personal prefrence on OSX vs Linux/Windows and the hardware/keyboard/trackpad designs of the two machines.
I found a late 2011 MBP for a really cheap price and got that. It's the 2.4 i5 with Intel 3000. RAM is upgradable later so I'm not too worried. Will this configuration last me through at least a few years?
I did my undergrad degree in Comp Sci at a state university, and I used a base model 13'' Macbook the whole way. I was usually the only one using a Mac, but I never had a single issue. Most projects were done in Java, which is platform independent. In one case I had to use a specific C++ IDE, but it had a OS X version that ran in a Java VM, and in another I had to use Matlab, but it was over a Citrix client to the University's server running it remotely.
Most programs I wrote were command line based, so I can't say if projects with a GUI would require Windows, or if you will encounter something like DirectX or .NET programming. In that case, you may want to be able to boot into a Windows partition.
Personally, I'm starting a MS in Comp Sci in two weeks and just ordered a base model MBPr with the 16GB of RAM upgrade. My thesis project involves work with the Microsoft Kinect, and ironically, it's easier to set up in OS X and some good code libraries for it are OS X specific. I went with the RAM upgrade in case I need to run a VM, but I'm hoping to avoid Windows entirely since I only have 256GB of storage on this model.
Getting back to your question of stability, my experience has been that Mac's are generally more stable then Windows based PC's. I would go whole semesters without powering down my Macbook without issues, and only had one Kernal Panic since 2007 which was due to me tinkering with the OS GUI files. On top of that, The trackpad and keyboard make using the laptop a joy rather then a chore like some do (I simply will not use a tiny or offset trackpad) and the OS itself is simple and hassle free for when your trying to focus on work that matters. I use Windows too, on my desktop, and think both OS's are great, but I prefer OS X for laptops.
It really doesn't matter though I always enjoyed how easy SSH stuff was in the terminal (but the same experience can be had w/ any Linux booted on a Windows machine, and the SSH experience on windows isn't bad at all after some tweaking).
I personally don't do this, but if you want to get into developing iOS apps to make a few bucks, get a Mac.
They're both great platforms, problem w/ Windows machines is the inconsistency in build quality and mfr warranty policies but the ThinkPad series are absolute beasts that i wholeheartedly recommend.