MBP for college student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DSMRob, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. DSMRob macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2013
    Hello all,
    My daughter is starting College this fall (Pre-med and chem) and it is time to get her a computer. I would like to get her a Mack book pro with Retina Display but am stuck between the I5 and I7... Are Apples a resource hog? Do I need 16G of Memory for a student? Also I know I can get a 13" cheaper but am wondering if the larger 15" would be better on the eyes for late night studying. Please help I am a father in need of advice. I would hate to buy one and have it not work for what she needs. (when I went to college the processor was 33 megahertz and the memory was 4 mb... Damn thing cost me over 2k with the fancy dot matric printer)
  2. WhiteIphone5 macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2011
    Lima, Peru
    15" Faster Graphics and power. Quad-Core compared to Dual-Core on the 13"

    you also have to think about weight and size? does she like 15" computers? too big for her? would 13" be ok? Does she need that much power? i7 would be for heavy intensive applications such as editing and producing music, photos, videos etc.

    i think i5 would be okay for her based on the "pre-med and chem major"
    I also could be wrong, take your daughter to the apple store with you, so she can play with the machines.
    Is this a gift? If not, let her choose her own computer.
  3. dragonjinse macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2013
    Im the 5th year per-med/business student. I used 3 Dells 8GB 10", 17", 15" for a whole 4 years.
    Being a pre-med, I would say 8GB is totally enough. For the screen size, it depends on your daughter. I used 10" for my 1st year = too small
    I used 17" in my 2nd year = too big/heavy
    I used 15" in my 3rd year = great size&weight

    I love watching movies and do multiple tasks in one time. So 15" is perfect for me.
    My friend always use 13", and it's perfect for her.

    So let your daughter try it out and see what size she likes. About the late studying, both 13" and 15" have the same effect. I don't see any problem using 13" for studying at night.

    I'm going to buy MacBook Pro 15" soon. I'm getting sick of Dell keeps breaking apart.

    Hope this help

  4. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    I'm in my Junior year of Nursing School (not chem/pre-med but close I suppose...) and I have had my fair share of Apple Laptops. First, I had a regular Macbook Pro 13" for a while. It was great, but then I sold it and wanted to get an Air. Bought the 11" Air and absolutely hated it (wayyyy too small and poor battery life, though Haswell fixes that)... returned it for the 13" Air and it was a little better, but the keyboard felt a little shallow to me. It also was only about $150 less than a 13" retina macbook pro (bought it at a steal best buy open box).

    I couldn't be happier with the retina macbook pro. It is plenty powerful enough (I use Microsoft Word a ton to type notes, powerpoint to view teacher's powerpoints). I use Parallels / Windows XP for when I need a Windows program or something won't work right on mac (which is VERY very rare).

    The portability of the 13" MBP is by far the best I have ever had. It is super thin, light, and battery life is awesome. It looks great, runs great, and feels great. I wouldn't give my 13" retina MBP up for anything. I highly recommend it. I use a program called SizeUp to size my windows in left/right etc. for note taking its perfect as well as studying, etc. That coupled with a super high resolution, it is the perfect companion.
  5. ECFinMD macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2012
    I am making the same decision for my daughter, who is also planning to major in either biology or chemistry. I am a science/engineering faculty at a major research university and use a 15" rMBP (Core i7, 768 GB SSD, 16 GB memory) as my computer for everything (I do have access to a cluster at work for larger computational jobs). I previously had two generations of 13" MBP that I used in the same way. I carry the computer to work every day and typically used it plugged into large (24" and 30" monitors). I also carry it when I travel to conferences and vacations. I really like having all my stuff with me all the time. I absolutely love the 15" rMBP. It is without reservation the best computer I have every had. The large memory is very nice if I have to run Windows in a VM, but I don't think it is otherwise necessary for normal scientific/academic tasks. I checked the memory usage and there is currently 10.5 GB used, but 2.75 GB is Inactive, 5.34 GB is Active, and 2.8 GB is Wired. It has been up 4 days and I am currently running Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Calendar, and Terminal. I had 8 GB in my previous MBP and that was fine too. I had 4 GB in the one before that, which didn't work well for VMs or even when I had a lot of stuff running that I was switching back and forth between. I bought the 15" before the 13" came out. If I had to do it again I think I would get the 13" as I like that size better for portability and the ability to use it on airplanes (a 15" display is a bit crunched when the person in front tilts their seat back). I frankly don't think I would miss the discrete graphics or quad core, though the 16 GB is nice for occasions where I run a VM and switch back and forth between apps.

    In terms of the form factor, I will almost certainly get either a 13" rMBP or 13" MBA. I eliminated the 15" largely because of cost and because I simply don't think she would need the extra cores or screen size. I am pretty sure we won't go with the 13" MBP because SSDs are really nice, optical disks are not that necessary, it weights more, and it doesn't really cost that much less than an rMBP once you add the SSD. Another reason for not considerin the 15" is that I have found you have to be careful that it isn't running on the discrete graphics when on battery, or the battery life is not very good. (Some programs, like XQuartz, automatically turn on the discrete graphics). My daughter has had a 13" unibody MB for high school and is quite happy with that form factor and screen size. I have also found that the Retina display makes things feel a lot bigger since you can use smaller fonts and still see things very well. I have an old 19" display that I will let her take to college if she wants it. However, she says she doesn't need it. I think the screen on the 11" MBA is way too small.

    So, the decision comes down to the 13" rMBP or 13" MBA. Ultimately I will probably let her make the decision after a trip to the Apple Store. The MBA is a bit lighter, but I don't think it is enough to make a noticeable difference, especially given the immense backpack she was used to carrying around in high school. The extra battery life on the new MBA would be nice, but I think the life on the 13" rMBP is plenty long enough for college use. I think I would miss the extra performance on the Air, but am not sure that she would. I frankly think the Retina display is so nice that it trumps portability and battery life, but will let her decide. My only reluctance about buying the 13" rMBP is timing: I really wish the Haswell based ones were out.

    I will definitely get her 8 GB of memory and a 256 GB SSD on either.
  6. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    Just another note for both of your daughters... good luck to them! I'm sure you know everything there needs to know but as a current student I can tell you to do one thing...

    Use DropBox, or something similar to it! Get an external hard drive and use Time Machine!

    I set up a "School" folder where I organize all my school documents, etc. It then automatically syncs to my DropBox account which is then synced to my NAS (RAID 1). I have copies of my files wherever I go, and, in the case of an accidental drop or stolen laptop (may have happened to me :eek: ), I still have all of my important files backed up. Dropbox makes it effortless and is worth it.

    Also - I know you said the decision would ultimately be up to your daughter(s), but, I think given a choice the excitement over a MBA vs rMBP would be heavily. Maybe make two visits :p (I just am a huge rMBP fan!)
  7. appleisking macrumors 6502a

    May 24, 2013
    Hello, consider getting her an air. It's cheaper and has just been updated, more portable so more college friendly and powerful enough for her tasks. That being said, the i5 is def enough.

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