MBP Model Decision

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JTR7, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. JTR7 macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Hello All,
    I'm heading off to college this fall. I need to decide on a laptop for college. I've decided to get my first Mac. I'm deciding whether to buy a 13" or 15" MacBook Pro. I'm also debating on upgrades, aftermarket or Apple-installed.

    I'm going into engineering. Some of my classes will require CAD. Also, I make money through web design via Dreamweaver, Flash, and Photoshop. I'll probably need to write papers, I'll want to keep music on it, etc.

    I'm tech savvy, but I've never been to college before. While I understand some of the tech benefits of the 15" over the 13", I'm wondering about the size. I'll be walking... a lot. I'll be carrying my laptop... a lot. I'm wondering how aggravating the extra weight will be. Also, I'm wondering how easy it is to use a 15" laptop in a lecture hall setting.

    I'm most likely getting an iPad as well, but I'm not sure I want to use it for notes.
  2. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Weight shouldn't be a problem. I think you would benefit from a 15" i7. Also, RAM and HDD upgrades are easy to do yourself. I personally would suggest a Seagate Momentus XT because it is partial SSD so you can get really good performance for a good price. Also, if you upgrade to an Apple 500GB 7200 RPM drive, its like $150. You can get a 500GB Seagate Momentus XT for right around $150 and you would be able to keep the drive your MBP comes with. As for RAM, it is cheaper to put 8GB in when you order rather than buy 8GB from OWC or Crucial. If you buy from Apple, it is only an upgrade from 4GB and 4GB is already built into the price whereas from OWC or Crucial, you would end up paying full price for 8GB.
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009

    What about the Macs in your signature? Are they yours? They seem like they could work for a little.
  4. JTR7 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    The Macs in my signature are mine, as in I bought and paid for them. However, as my mom is paying for part of my college tuition, she decoded I have to give them to her computer illiterate mother and brother and give them lessons in email and web surfing.

    I'm not worried about the weight of the 15" so much as the size. In lecture halls you get this tiny little flip up surface to put a computer on. I'm worried about it's clunkiness in such a situation.
  5. ag227 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    speaking from experience of engineering lectures.... you wont need a laptop in the lectures at all. Far to much of the stuff I covered / presumably you will be covering is to technical and is far better off hand written.

    For CAD things, any macbook or any laptop will be fine at this level, and if its anything like mine, unless you have bought licences for the software it will be on desktops they own. Not to mention the majority is windows based.

    The weight difference is that much, you will more likely have heavier books then you laptop so the slight difference between weights is negligible. i suggest to get a good bag.

    Size wise to physically fit in lectures if you must take... go with 13"

    Screen size wise, 15" high res is a much better option for the sort of software youl be using

    As for upgrades, all the machines will do fine with what you need. A larger HD is always beneficial but is much better value bought separately.
  6. JTR7 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    My handwriting is not very good, nor is my writing speed. In HS, I had a semi-hard time keeping up while taking notes with pen and paper. I type much faster than I write, and I figured it'd be beneficial to have a laptop in lectures. I was definitely planning on a good bag, as with my schedule, I don't get to stop at my dorm room to exchange books often.

    As for Windows, I was going to boot camp to have a small XP partition as some of the work I do to keep my expensive habits funded is Windows based.
  7. EzhnoWolf macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Vancouver, Canada
    There is a slight weight difference between the 13"and the 15".

    My brother owns the 13" and it definitely is lighter carrying it in a messenger bag; the 15" is a bit uncomfortable carrying on one shoulder for a long time and this is coming from someone who goes to the gym regularly.

    But if you are going to be using a backpack, there really isn't a noticable difference in overall comfort.

    I debated for a long time over 13" and 15" and eventually went with the 15" for the bigger screen and better performance.

    I think the base level 2.4GHz should be more than adequate for what you will be doing with the machine. Use the money you save from going with the base level instead of the i7 to buy a larger+faster HDD and more RAM if necessary. That should work out beautifully for you I think.
  8. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    I never go to the gym, I'm a nerd, and I find no problem carrying my 15 inch mbp in a rather large case on my shoulder.

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