MBP For Computer Science?

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
Hi,

I am currently planning on going to college for a B.S. in Computer Science. I would like to know if it would be a good idea to get the 13", basic model of the MBP for computer science. The college I will be going to uses Solaris for the programming OS which can but ran in Boot Camp, and Parallels (but reviews say it is laggy running Unix).

Would 13" be a large enough screen to be doing programming? Is the MBP a joke for CS students because Windows seems to be the giant, or would it be good to have experience in all three OS's at college?


Would it be better to get Microsoft office for Windows or Mac if I am running Windows 7 in parallels?

What would the estimated cost be if I were to get Windows 7 Home OS, MacBook Pro 13" (At Amazon), Microsoft Office, Parallels, and a LogiTech 30 USD mouse?


Would the MBP last for all four years? Would I need to get the base model upgraded at all?
 

wpotere

Guest
Oct 7, 2010
1,533
1
I used my old 2008 Macbook for completing my CS degree (just last year). I used bootcamp for courses that required Windows and VMWare for Solaris (as well as the schools UNIX system for UNIX classes). The Macbook handled my JAVA programming classes with no problems.

Bottom line is that you have plenty of computing power to do what you need.

All of this said, it would be best to speak with your school to make sure but I would think it would be fine.
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
I've already talking to the college I intend to go to, they said all programs will work if I have access to Bootcamp, since all programs besides 2 or 3 are run on Solaris, which is open sourced. I would just like to know if it is a GOOD decision to do it, thanks for the input, especially since you got the CS degree

Is VMWare better than Parallels for UNIX?
 

wpotere

Guest
Oct 7, 2010
1,533
1
I've already talking to the college I intend to go to, they said all programs will work if I have access to Bootcamp, since all programs besides 2 or 3 are run on Solaris, which is open sourced. I would just like to know if it is a GOOD decision to do it, thanks for the input, especially since you got the CS degree

Is VMWare better than Parallels for UNIX?
I didn't have a problem with it. I did spend a lot of time in Windows but it ran just fine.

As for the VM's, either or is fine. I am currently running Solaris 11 on VMWare and it works fine. Not sure why people are saying it is laggy, it works just fine.
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
It wasn't the VMWare that people were reporting to be laggy running UNIX, it was Parallels.

Will every product I listed total less than $1,500? (Not including Microsoft Office, I have a disc and intend to uninstall it off of my PC laptop that is basically wrecked once I get a new laptop)
 

wpotere

Guest
Oct 7, 2010
1,533
1
It wasn't the VMWare that people were reporting to be laggy running UNIX, it was Parallels.

Will every product I listed total less than $1,500? (Not including Microsoft Office, I have a disc and intend to uninstall it off of my PC laptop that is basically wrecked once I get a new laptop)

I have no clue, I would have to tally it all up.
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
I just realized...it is crazy lazy of me asking people to do that for me

I will find the price, if anyone else could offer their advice on MBP for CS PLEASE do so :)
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I wouldn't like to program on such a small screen. I already feel constrained on the 15'' high-res. I like editor + compiler window + API browser next to each other, which doesn't fit that well.

A mac will be fine for you. Grab a big chunk of RAM and run Win7 and Solaris in VMs. I did run Ubuntu in VirtualBox for a while, since it's free. But you might be better off with some professional software.

PS: Don't forget, iOS and Android will be important in the future, along with Windows, OSX and PC Unix systems. On the mac, you can program for all of these platforms.
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
I have used a 2go PC with roughly an 8" screen to code in Labview for my school's FIRST Robotics team, that was an amazing endurance experience :p

How much RAM will I need and what is the cheapest upgrade options?
 

wpotere

Guest
Oct 7, 2010
1,533
1
I wouldn't like to program on such a small screen. I already feel constrained on the 15'' high-res. I like editor + compiler window + API browser next to each other, which doesn't fit that well.

A mac will be fine for you. Grab a big chunk of RAM and run Win7 and Solaris in VMs. I did run Ubuntu in VirtualBox for a while, since it's free. But you might be better off with some professional software.

PS: Don't forget, iOS and Android will be important in the future, along with Windows, OSX and PC Unix systems. On the mac, you can program for all of these platforms.
Small windows do suck for programming but most of the ones that we did in school were not that complex to the point that it required a lot of space. In the office we are working on 30" screens. Love it!
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
For those of you curious fellows out there, I did a quick price estimate:

MacBook Pro - 1,200 Est.
Parallels - 80 est
Windows 7 - 90 est (Student pricing)
LogiTech Mouse - 30 est

= 1,400 USD

A bit high, but hopefully it will last me for four years. I should get Apple Care right before the 1 year warranty is up, yes?

Should I be getting Microsoft Office for MAC or for PC? I really do not mind either way, just want the best.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,269
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
It likely will not matter what computer you buy. Odds are your college has a computing cluster on/in which you'll do all of your really heavy lifting, if it comes to that. CS curriculums tend to be fairly platform-independent anyways, with some exceptions like your Solaris requirement.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
For those of you curious fellows out there, I did a quick price estimate:

MacBook Pro - 1,200 Est.
Parallels - 80 est
Windows 7 - 90 est (Student pricing)
LogiTech Mouse - 30 est

= 1,400 USD

A bit high, but hopefully it will last me for four years. I should get Apple Care right before the 1 year warranty is up, yes?

Should I be getting Microsoft Office for MAC or for PC? I really do not mind either way, just want the best.
Did you look into education pricing for the MacBook Pro + Applecare. You can buy it right away, it only lasts 3 year from date of purchase, independent of when you buy it.

Office for windows seems to be more stable.

Have you looked into alternatives, like Lenovo Thinkpad? You're sinking a lot of money into the MBP, although you might not benefit from it very much.
 

chillfrilla

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2011
64
0
For those of you curious fellows out there, I did a quick price estimate:

MacBook Pro - 1,200 Est.
Parallels - 80 est
Windows 7 - 90 est (Student pricing)
LogiTech Mouse - 30 est

= 1,400 USD

A bit high, but hopefully it will last me for four years. I should get Apple Care right before the 1 year warranty is up, yes?

Should I be getting Microsoft Office for MAC or for PC? I really do not mind either way, just want the best.
it willl last u 4 years which u did not factor in
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
I am actually considering the following laptops, but am only discussing mac here since this seems to be a mac forum (who would have guessed?):

HP DVT6 Quad Edition
Lenovo Thinkpad (L Series AND X Series)
Toshiba A665-S6050

Hmm good plan... you have to pay Sales tax from buying from Apple.com (CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, WOULD BE CRAZY HELPFUL) meaning with educational pricing the MBP would be 1,099+75.99 tax = roughly 1,175 dollars. On Amazon.com I can get one for 1,120 dollars. Totaling a 55 dollars profit. Apple Care with educational pricing is 183 dollars. Apple Care WITHOUT is roughly 250 dollars. Totaling 67 dollars profit going with Apple. Meaning I could save 12 dollars going with Apple.

If I DO decide to go with MBP you just saved me 12 dollars, you are awesome!

Can I purchase Apple Care for educational pricing LATER ON or do I have to do it WITH the MBP to qualify for educational pricing?
 
Last edited:

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
I think you can buy the MBP from Amazon and AppleCare in the education store. As long as you have a valid student id or something equivalent you should be able to buy AppleCare at a later date.

In fall Apple usually has some college startup sales - you get the laptop with education discount and something like an iPod for free.
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
Thanks for the info, if anyone else has advice on if a Mac would be wise for CS or not, please offer it. Or give your advice on any other questions I had
 

bmk08

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2011
3
0
When I started college as a CS major I got a 13" Macbook. It worked fine. Most everything was platform independent, and what wasn't there were computer labs that had what I needed.

Anyways, I really agree with some of the previous posts. 13" is pretty small for coding, IMO. The more I code, and the larger the project, the more space I prefer. I've actually come to not like coding much on a laptop as I prefer a good desktop keyboard and a 21"+ monitor.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,032
649
Pennsylvania
I don't know about the specs on the lenovo, but I'd get a lenovo over a toshiba or HP. The Mac, although a great machine, isn't going to be that great for CS... I mean sure it'll work fine, but for the price I'd much rather have a Windows machine with a higher resolution screen. Of course an external monitor would work too....

If you wait until summer, just before the back to school season, you can usually find great deals on PC laptops. I got my Dell Vostro 3450 for under a grand, and that included 2 years of next-business day, on-site repair, as well as an i5 CPU and an ATI 6630m graphics card. It's not a huge machine either, and it's got a backlit keyboard and good battery life.

For CS, you want screen real-estate more than anything else. To the point where I'd (almost) pick an atom CPU with a 21" high-res screen over an i7 and 13" low-res screen. Almost.
 

Steve Jobs.

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2010
177
10
I go to UT-Austin, a top 10 CompSci school, and many many of the students that are in the program (me included) have a Macbook Pro as their primary computer.

It's really great for programming because alot of stuff comes preinstalled and its a unix based OS. I virtualize Ubuntu and its smooth as butter with me only allocating less than a gig of RAM to the VM.

I think you'll be very pleased with a MBP!

However, like others have said, I think you should get a 15" for coding.
Coding on a 13" would suck balls.

----------

For CS, you want screen real-estate more than anything else. To the point where I'd (almost) pick an atom CPU with a 21" high-res screen over an i7 and 13" low-res screen. Almost.
Until you have to constantly compile your code which is CPU intensive :p
 

Nlynn527

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2012
133
3
I am actually considering the following laptops, but am only discussing mac here since this seems to be a mac forum (who would have guessed?):

HP DVT6 Quad Edition
Lenovo Thinkpad (L Series AND X Series)
Toshiba A665-S6050

Hmm good plan... you have to pay Sales tax from buying from Apple.com (CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, WOULD BE CRAZY HELPFUL) meaning with educational pricing the MBP would be 1,099+75.99 tax = roughly 1,175 dollars. On Amazon.com I can get one for 1,120 dollars. Totaling a 55 dollars profit. Apple Care with educational pricing is 183 dollars. Apple Care WITHOUT is roughly 250 dollars. Totaling 67 dollars profit going with Apple. Meaning I could save 12 dollars going with Apple.

If I DO decide to go with MBP you just saved me 12 dollars, you are awesome!

Can I purchase Apple Care for educational pricing LATER ON or do I have to do it WITH the MBP to qualify for educational pricing?
You can buy the AppleCare at the educational discount price at anytime before your one year warranty runs out. I just purchased it yesterday for my iMac that I bought back in May. So you could hold off on that for now and use the extra cash towards your other purchases.
 

A Hebrew

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
847
0
Minnesota
Thanks for the response.

If anyone has input on anything that I have asked previously, please answer.

(Such as if I should get Microsoft Office MAC or Parallel it)
 

wpotere

Guest
Oct 7, 2010
1,533
1
Thanks for the response.

If anyone has input on anything that I have asked previously, please answer.

(Such as if I should get Microsoft Office MAC or Parallel it)
Here is my take on Office... One of the main reasons that I used a VM was that Mac Office 2008 was having issues. Some of the things that would happen is that all the text would disappear when I shifted between screens, and the formatting would get screwed up when I turned it in and it was opened on a windows machine. So, I decided to use office on windows only to do my papers. With Fusion I was able to use Unity to make it look like part of my desktop but it saved my butt on formatting issues with my professors.

As I mentioned I was using the older version burn now have 2011 and have noticed that it seems to work a lot better. So far I have not seen any issues with formatting and will likely give it a shot when I start my grad work next month. That being said, I am a Microsoft Dev, so I have access to all of their software if I do have issues. I can easily install Windows and the latest version of Office.

If you don't have money to toss around, it might be safer to use the Windows version just in case.