Need a laptop for college!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kagilbert7, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. kagilbert7 macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2013
    I am currently a high school senior and I am planning on going to college in the fall. My parents are going to buy me a laptop, but they are thinking about a Dell and I want a Mac. We agreed that if I want the Macbook, I will have to pay the difference. In order to save money and make my loss as small as possible, I am looking into refurbished 13" Macbook Pro's. I found one that I think I want, but it has 750GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm and the more expensive ones have 128-768GB of flash storage. This is really the only difference that I can find and I was wondering if less flash storage is better than more...whatever the other thing is. Also, as a student, is there any other things that I would need or should look into in regards to a laptop? I am planning on going into Biological Engineering.

    Thank you!!
  2. tonyshaker macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2012
    Mac air

    Hey man I'm doing a science course at Uni and I have a Mac book air and its amazing and light fast and durable just look after it I'm sure there are refurbished airs:D
  3. kagilbert7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2013
    I have looked at the air, and I wasn't a huge fan because it did not have enough (if any) USB ports. I know I want to stick with a Pro, it is just which one I want to get is the question.

    Also, I'm a girl :)
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I am looking into refurbished 13" Macbook Pro's. I found one that I think I want, but it has 750GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm and the more expensive ones have 128-768GB of flash storage."

    My suggestion is to get the lower-cost one with the regular HDD. it will be fast enough and it's very easy to upgrade the internal drive later on if you wish (assuming this variation of the MBPro has a removable back, as does mine).

    This keeps your "buy in" cost low, and gets you a decent MacBook with which to 'get started".

    "Also, as a student, is there any other things that I would need or should look into in regards to a laptop?"

    Yes -- a good backup system and strategy!
  5. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    How many USB ports do you need? They do have USB hubs available.

    I'm using an 11" air and have 2 ports available.

    Is this your only computer, or do you have a desktop available?

    The Pros seems like overkill for what you would be doing. I would imagine portability and battery life would be the important factors for you. The 13" macbook air would be my suggestion, unless you could get use to the 11" screen..
  6. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    One thing I would check is make sure all the software that you are going to use for your classes is available on OSX. At least in aerospace engineering, very few people I know use a Mac due to the fact that there are a lot of programs that only run Windows. It is true that you can put Windows on your mac but it will be an additional expense to consider if you have to purchase the OS.
  7. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    The 13" Air is going to suite your needs best at the moment. It's little lighter and the SSD is going to make operations seem quicker than the 5400RPM drive in the Pro. The SSD is going to be an asset also when it's out of RAM and has to use virtual memory.

    The cool thing about the Pro however, is you can do your own upgrades later when you have cash at a fraction of Apple's cost. You can easily put in a nice size SSD and 16GB of RAM thus blowing away any advantage the Air has besides weight. The Air on the other hand, cannot be user upgraded.

    When you buy, compare the refurb price to that at B&H and Amazon as the tax free angle will sometimes beat the refurb cost.

    As for other tools, you might consider an external monitor and an inexpensive USB3 drive to do backups. I would also see about getting the student edition of MS Office.
  8. RedCroissant, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013

    RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The fact that you're a girl is irrelevant to the question of which computer you would need. I personally would recommend a 15" MBP. Why? because even though the 13" is more than capable and a powerful machine, the screen real estate is less and the 15" has a GPU with its own dedicated memory. This makes for better performance when working with graphics programs/applications(I would assume that you would need this for biological engineering rendering applications and research). And if your degree will have anything to do with DNA(which I would imagine it would), you'll need the GPU to help with DNA sequencing applications.

    I would also go with the one that still has the superdrive for installing software not available through the Mac App Store, for movies and other data/media you might need, and also in case you want to instal Windows XP/Vista/7 on there if your school engineering department requires certain Windows-only programs.

    The 15" will also utilize more RAM.

    For the most part, that's it. I would recommend a really good eReader that can download various document formats for classes that you might take online or for classes whose professors like to distribute extra reading. I use my iPad mini for all my online class reading lists and even download and convert .doc, .docx, and .pages documents into ePub formats for easier searching and bookmarking.
  9. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    I think the "I'm a girl" was in response to some one replying with "hey man." ;)
  10. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Good call. I didn't notice that. I thought it was some sort of self-deprecation. That's what happens when you make assumptions, right?

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