Macbook Pro for College Student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mac0824, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Mac0824, Mar 12, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018

    Mac0824 macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2018
    I am currently a senior in high school and am looking into getting a macbook pro for college. I have recently been using a slightly upgraded 2012 non retina mbp (not mine, family laptop) and want to buy a newer one for college. I carry this one with me every day in my backpack, and weight and portability are not a huge issue. I'm majoring in Biochem, and will likely be using excel a lot. We have an iMac that I use for all my big projects just because of the extra space, and really like being able to use all that space. This caused me to question whether I should be looking into a 15 inch pro. I'm planning on buying a 2015 because the new mbp's do not appeal to me at all, and am looking at the refurbished models from apple. Are these models generally reliable or will they be more run down and die faster? Basically I need advice on what to prioritize when looking through refurbished laptops, advice on 15 vs 13 inch for college, and if anyone has experience with buying apple refurbished products I would greatly appreciate some insight into the quality. Thanks!
    EDIT: I also might want to dual boot because I know many programs in medicine only run on windows. Never done this before and not sure what the performance requirements for this are.
  2. makinao macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2009
    I can't comment on the 2015 models because I dont have one. But I will say that the only thing lacking with a refurb is the box and packaging. But functionally, they are good as new and come with the same warranty.
  3. Mac0824 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2018
    Thank you for that, I will definitely be going for a refurbished mbp then. I just need something that will hopefully last the next 6-8 years so I don't have to deal with upgrading while i'm broke.
  4. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    The 15" will work well. Most STEM fields will require you to do some level of data analysis and programming for which the 15" is perfect. My daughter has a undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Biology from a top STEM school, and will soon have her PhD in Molecular Biology. She spends a lot time in lab and then crunching the results. She runs Windows and Ubuntu. But MacOS and Ubuntu should work fine.

    Refurbs are fine. They look like new, just in a plain white box. Same 1 year warranty as new.
  5. MichaelDT macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2012
    MacOS and Ubuntu are redundant, and Windows and MacOS are redundant, atleast in physics the majority use Macs because of this. It’s almost like someone payed us to do it. This is changing though because of the Linux subsystem in Windows, essentially gives Windows the same ability. All our clusters run Linux though.
  6. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    I second the 15". You're coming from an iMac which has a huge screen. 13" screen feels cramped. also for STEM classes, 15" is good any sort of progam you'll have to run thats specific to what you're doing. in these programs you'll feel the difference between the dual core in the 13" and the quad core in the 15"
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Buy whatever you want, there is nothing in undergraduate biochem that needs any great computing power. I did an online masters in medicinal chemistry using protein modelling programs etc and my 2013 13 inch mbp worked just fine with a little windows partition on Bootcamp for the windows only software.
  8. BananaX macrumors regular


    May 24, 2017
    I know nothing about STEM or Med. But, a refurb one is the way to go, if you don't really care about the nicer box or the new owner feel. The refurb one comes with brand new case/battery and same warranty anyway.

    And I would recommend a 17 model or wait for the 18 model if you can afford one. Since, you are looking for a laptop that can last 6-7 years. A 2015 MPB is nearly 3 years old now. You should consider things such as potential job opportunities which may require you to have a power laptop. Or maybe living by yourself during your uni time, which you don't have that iMac anymore. Just my 0.00002 cent.
  9. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    What’s your budget? Are you sure you actually need a new laptop? How are you paying for college? Scholarship?

    At this point I think it’s a very silly decision to buy a laptop with (at this point) 3+ year old internal components if you’re looking at the 2015 model. It’s kind of a waste and I’d just suggest either purchasing a cheaper Windows laptop or finding a way to tough it out with your current laptop and the home iMac or use the computer lab for projects.

    For what it’s worth I use a 2015 and 2016 15” everyday and previously had the 12” MacBook.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I will not recommend the 2016 or 2017 design MacBook Pros due to the high rate of failure of the keyboards. Bad design.

    I -WILL- recommend a 2015-design MacBook Pro.
    Either the 13" (you have to get these from the Apple Refurbished store)
    The 15" (you can still buy these brand-new from Apple).

    The 2015 design is much more rugged and the keyboard won't fail on you. It also comes with the "legacy ports", which may prove useful in a school environment. No dongles.

    IF you get a 2015 15", I would suggest that you DO NOT get one with a discrete GPU. Apple doesn't have a good track record on 15" MBP's with discrete GPU's. They seem prone to failure over time (usually due to heat-related problems).

    So... if you decide on a 2015 15", get the new one from Apple (with the integrated GPU).
    WARNING: you don't see these at UNLESS you:
    - go to the page for 15" MBP's
    - click the "buy" button
    - scroll down to see the earlier 2015 model.

    One other thing:
    IF you carry it around in a backpack, DO NOT "pack it in tightly". If you do this, you may start getting key marks on the display. There is little clearance between the display and the keyboard when closed, and pressure on the closed MacBook can cause contact between the keys and the surface of the display.
    Just be careful about this.

    That's my advice and I'm stickin' to it!
  11. raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    I would advise against the 2015 for one simple reason ---> It's a 3+ year old machine that is still selling for insane prices. No way I'd pay what they are going for, for a 3+ year old machine.. None, nada, zilch!

    You can find some good sales on the 2017, get a 2017 refurb or wait for the 2108's. If you go with the 2017 or even the 2018 I'd suggest getting Apple Care+ for the machine. When I purchased my 2017 I saved over $350 on it and spent that savings on Apple Care+

    Good luck whatever you decide..
  12. jerryk, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018

    jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Unfortunately many of the Bio tools are done by biologist, not developers. And are tied to Not just one distro, but also specific version of the distro. Especially any that do that control robots and other forms of automation which often do much of the work in today's labs.

    As a Computer Scientist I have had discussion with my daughter about this and she pointed out they tend to find what ever works and then move on to the bigger scientific questions. This just kills me as someone who strives for support-ability and good engineering practices.

    And I agree that with the Ubuntu subsystem, Windows vs Linux is becoming less of an issue. I have it running on my Windows systems, and it is nice to have "proper" shell.
  13. jaduff46 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2010
    Second star on the right....
    Hardware will last a long time.

    We bought our daughter the 15” MBP freshman year which took her through undergrad and 2 years of grad school. Got her the 13” MBP as a grad school graduation present which she’s had for almost 5 years and still runs well.

    No graphics or number crunching needs on her part.
  14. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Yup. At this point the only people who are saying buy a 2015 want to justify their own mistake purchase or they don’t like the keyboard and then think since they don’t like it, it must not work for anybody else. Even if the 2015 was selling at a discount it still has 3 year old components at this point. It’s so dumb to sit here and act like it’s the superior machine because mah keyboard.
  15. Zigman macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2012
    I would look at academic pricing and compare with refurb. It may be worthwhile to pay the extra hundred or two to get a “new” machine, but refurbs are great generally.
  16. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    Buying a 2015 refurb and expecting it to last 6-8 years is not a wise investment imo. Even buying a top of the line new computer is pushing it. If you want the longevity you should at the very least get a newly made product with 3 year old hardware
  17. R.Stoychev macrumors 6502a


    Dec 23, 2012
    I was at the same position and was using 10 year old acer laptop, so I pulled the trigger and got a mbp 2017 13 inch with tb. Pretty happy with my choice, the laptop is fast and battery life is great. IMO get the 13 inch it will be portable and easy to carry, you can always get monitor to use it at home if you need bigger monitor. It comes down to you but with the 2017 you will have longer support.

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16 March 12, 2018