MacBook Pro 17" for a college student?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SeventeenPro, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. SeventeenPro macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2012
    Hey guys, I plan to use a 2009 MacBook Pro 17" for college. I'm currently taking I.T. My question is: Is it too unpratical/unusual to use a big laptop like this? Although the daily job of carrying it is not an issue to me (super lightweight actually). I'm also afraid of scratching the underside; any tips to prevent it?

    I'll be honest to it; It's my first time to use a Mac OS. What are some essential applications/programs that may be useful?

    Thanks all.
  2. daleski75 macrumors 68000


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northampton, UK
    That's going to be quite a heavy weight to carry around with you and I think it would get to you in the end.

    Also why are you looking at a laptop which is 3 years old and not a newer 2010+ model?
  3. SeventeenPro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2012
    Not much in the weight. Can do manage it.

    Not 3 years old, it's a brandnew preserved one (kept in storage since bought). Old model obviously.
  4. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
  5. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    I have a 17 inch Pro and while it isn't super easy to use in a lecture hall, it's more than practical. I've run into some issues where if it's in my messenger bag it's hit a few things, but with the right padding and with it inside a neoprene sleeve inside a bag its more than fine.
    One or two pounds over an air or whatever is nothing, people that complain or even mention that must not carry books or anything around.
  6. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    How much have you actually tested it? I've never heard of anyone refer to the 17" as super lightweight. You must not even know when you're holding a phone in your hand.

    Also, curious, how come the laptop was kept unopened for 3 years?
  7. tbn002 macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2011
    The 17" is absolutely fantastic for working on assignments and studying on a desk or in a library. The extra screen real estate is very useful. It will be a bit big for using it in a lecture hall if you tend to take notes on it. While the weight is comparatively heavy to other smaller products, college students are usually young, strong, and fit enough to carry a meager 6.6 lbs on their back. ;)

    As for scratches, you can protect it with skins such as wrapsol, bestskinsever, or phantomskinz. To be honest, as a 3-year old machine, I really wouldn't worry about scratches and just use it until the end of its useable life for you after a couple years.
  8. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    I had a 17" MBP for a while during university, and while there is definitely trade offs it was useable if you really want a 17".

    Taking notes with it during class is practically impossible due to the small size of the desks. However, I found my self more productive outside of the class room when @ home or the library. So if you're a pen & paper notetaker then everything will work out great, if you like taking down notes directly onto your computer during class then I suggest a 13" Air.

    Weight wise it was fine, can get a bit bothersome after a long day but it's manageable if you don't have back problems and aren't small framed.
  9. bruzzac macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2012
    I studied for a degree in IT (and also Elec Eng) and started out with a generic (non-Apple) 15" laptop which must have weighed about 7lb! I got sick of carrying it to and from home, and around campus for lectures, so I usually didn't bother with it most days. Having such a large laptop was also pretty cumbersome during lectures. I only wish I had bought the original 13" MacBook earlier!

    Long story short, I'd cut away the 17". You might say you won't notice the weight now, but tell me that in six months time when you've been lugging it around for eight hours a day! IMHO, the 13" MacBook Air will be sufficient enough for anything you'll be tackling with in IT and it has a vastly improved battery life. You can always connect it to an external monitor at home if you need the extra screen size. However, if you still want something bigger/more powerful, I'd suggest a previous model 15" MBP.


    On the topic of apps/programs, a productivity suite will be vital, such as MS Office or iWorks. Depending on what stream of IT you'll head down, you may require different operating systems (Windows or possibly even a variety of *nix, ie. Linux) for software development or networking assignments. You can always dual boot with Bootcamp or use a VMWare. Although, if you're going to run virtual machines, then a Pro is probably the way to go. Also, if you've got your own Dorm, then it may also be prudent to invest in a cheap black and white Laser printer for the plethora of lecture notes and assignments you'll print!
  10. SeventeenPro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2012
    That helped. Thanks all for your responses. :eek:
    There's no refusing this big thing as I'm using it now. Pretty neat. :D
  11. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2012
    Main question is, how many bonus points do you get from the parental units for using the 17" instead of a new laptop?

    Other than that, get either an extra-support backpack or a rolling case. If you carry this monster on only one shoulder, you're gonna walk lopsided for the rest of your life...
  12. Queen6, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    I would be more concerned with performance depending on the course work, if you are required to run several virtual machines the 09 machine will slow down significantly, I would look to a newer iCore machine it will last you the duration of the course. The 17" you will likely tire of, it`s not the weight, more that such big machines tend to be cumbersome and require you to take additional care. The one and only benefit of the 17" is the additional work space offered by the hires display.

    As several have stated the 13" Air is a great machine for college/uni, workspace of the 15" MBP and a good all round performer, however if you need the power the 15" QuadCore is the way to go.

    Geek Test - Results
    15" 2012 2.3 MBP Retina - 10810
    15" 2011 2.4 MBP - 10381
    13" 2012 1.8 Air - 6084
    13" 2011 1.7 Air - 5712
    17" 2009 3GHZ - 3814
    15" 2008 2.4Ghz -3164

    I own four from this list and the numbers are representative, the bigger question is can you live with the performance ;)
  13. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    I'm a college student and I had a MBA 11'' as well as a MBP 15'' during my freshman year this last semester. Personally, I really didn't like carrying my 15'' around, not only because it was easier to carry my MBA, but because it really was just too big for a lot of desks and the weight did bother me. However, I'm a pretty particular person, and if you don't think you'd care about lugging around a 17'' machine, then you will probably enjoy it. In my personal experience, however, I did have to use desks in college that hardly even fit my 15'' MBP without feeling like it would tip over, so you might consider getting a 13'' machine for the most comfortable scenario.

    As for not scratching it, I always put my case under it. So I'll take my laptop out of my case, then put the case under it so it's never touching the actual desk surface.

    As far as applications, there are lots of posts online about this and you'd learn a lot more reading articles than anyone would tell you on here :)
  14. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2012
    Just think of the weight as getting in shape for backpacking. Just remember to wear the backpack on both shoulders, so your posture is good.

    To prevent scratching, you can get a Speck shell (or you can save $50 by being careful--it's a 3 year old laptop after all.)

    I put a photo that I like under the top see-through shell, and leave the bottom shell off. It's the top I'm most worried about protecting, since it's more visible.

    Be advised that putting the shell on reduces the opening angle of the laptop because the 2 shells parts meet where the hinge flexes.

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