MBP for College?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pvbwerjr, May 5, 2011.

  1. pvbwerjr macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2010
    Hey everyone, I am looking for computing suggestions for college.
    • I will leave for college in September
    • Dartmouth College, NH
    • Majoring in Economics or Economics and Physics
    • Will not be able to purchase a second computer after this initial purchase, but willing to spend the money up front
    • 50GB music collection
    • Portal 2
    • Will carry around all day
    Based on this information, is the top 15" MBP (stock options) too much computer, too heavy, or is the future-proofness of its computing power worth the cost and weight? I am open to all suggestions, but have no real idea of what an econ or physics student should expect from their computer (strictly for school uses), and if the performance is worth the cost for leisure. $2500 to spend on computer and any accessories/software.
  2. WillEH macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2011
    United Kingdom
    Hey pvbwerjr!

    I'd say top end 15", I don't think it's to heavy to carry around all day, it depends on what you're comfortable with. I do mini projects on the side, video editing, and I carry my MBP around all day no problems. It's future proof for sure. It's a good investment, but it really depends on you. Hope this is of some help.
  3. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    I'd say go with the 13". You can use the extra cash to put in a SSD and more RAM. Makes the computer EXTREMELY fast when opening up applications. It doesn't sound like you are doing anything graphics heavy unless when it comes to your physics work.

    Also, you could use the money to get a cinema display off craigslist or something so when you come home, you can attach it to the big boy. :)

    I'm majoring in marketing btw and I don't see the difference to econ to be that much. But, physics is something else. Ask someone on College Confidential for help with that!
  4. Just "Vinnie" macrumors member

    May 5, 2011
    Nay on the 15" for school. It's too damned big to lug around and doesn't sit well in some tight spots.

    13" for you. I guarantee that 3/4ths the student body (and staff) will have at least the same, similar or less. Universities structure their software requirements around middle-of-the-road machines which the MBP by far exceeds.

    If you can wait, the Air line is due for a refresh soon. Were it not for you gaming needs I'd say you're almost a candidate for that.

    Otherwise, the MBP won't be refreshed until well into 1st and possibly 2nd semester so it's quite safe to buy anytime.
  5. aluren macrumors 65816

    Sep 9, 2008
    It always depends on how much gaming you want to do, cuz let's face it, a 2006 Powerbook can run Excel or Word just fine for class.

    If it must be portable, then you should get a 13" MBP and use the saved money to upgrade it to a SATA 3 SSD. It's nice to get a top 15", but I don't think you will do enough to get your money's worth out of the CPU/GPU (unless you game alot or do heavy video editing).
  6. Chupa Chupa, May 6, 2011
    Last edited: May 6, 2011

    Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    The key question here is why kind of s/w will you need for your physics classes. If you are not doing anything too graphics intense then you can get by with integrated graphics.

    If that is the case then I'd go w/ a low end 13" MBP. It's a 1lb lighter than the 15" and also the smaller footprint is going to make it easier on you when using a small classroom desk or workspace area.

    I'd removed the hard drive -- put it in a separate ext. enclosure, and put in a 128GB SSD. They are fairly affordable now -- about $200-250. That will make the MBP a tad lighter, but more importantly, SSDs are more durable. Keep essential info on the SSD, and non-essential stuff (docs, etc. you don't usually need/want) on the ext. drive. Bump up the RAM to 8GB. RAM is cheap if you upgrade yourself.

    Another option is to wait a month or two until Apple refreshes the MBAs to i3s -- though I think you'll do better with an i5 or i7 MPB. But 4.5 lbs can get to be a burden schelping around all day. Truly tough, personal choice.

    Next question - do you have to spend the entire $2500? I'm asking b/c if not I'd put half of it in a 2 year CD (not that CDs are making a bunch of interest these days, but because you won't be tempted to spend it prematurely) and use it for a mid-college career upgrade.

    As you advance in your major your hardware demands will probably increase. So your Jr. year would be the ideal time to sell the computer you bought freshman year and upgrade. Use the proceeds from the sale + the CD to buy the new machine. Using a 4 y.o. machine sr. year in a high science major will be miserable.

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