Need college buying advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dekema2, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. Dekema2 macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    #1
    I'm going to college next month, and I'm looking to buy an rMBP; however, I don't know if I should wait, buy the current generation or get an Air.

    I have a 2010 Mini at home that I'm keeping and my sister can use.

    I have the money to do it because I'm selling my old Xbox and I have cash on hand to cover the rest. What is the best Mac to bring to college, and should I wait for this update? Also where can I get student discounts?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    You can get the discount at apple.com, You really don't define how you'll be using the computer so hard to state which model and configuration would be best.

    I think for longevity, i.e., using it for 4+ years while you're in college the rMBP would be better suited. If you want less processing power, but better battery life, then the MBA will be better.
     
  3. x3n0n1c macrumors regular

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    #3
    Now is as good a time to buy as any. The issue is that with broadwell chips being potentially delayed well into next year, no one knows what kind of updates macs will receive this year, if any.

    But what you want now, they will still very much be relevant when the new ones are released.

    The rMBP and the Air are both great machines. Basically choose if you want more power and a better screen, or less weight and longer battery life.

    The air is also physically larger than the rMBP, despite its thinness, so many consider the rMBP more portable even though it is a bit heavier.

    Cheers.
     
  4. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    #4
    Without any specifics, I would go ahead and recommend the mid tier 13" retina MacBook Pro. It's got ample RAM and storage space for the future, and can be found refurbished or with a discount to come out at the same price as the base model.

    I actually bought a sleeve for the 13" MBA that it fits in perfectly since they're about the same thickness, and it has a little less depth to it as well. Battery is still great and will last most of the day with regular usage, easily through a day of classes, and the screen is just gorgeous. I find it just as portable as the 13" MBA, especially coming from an older 15" model.

    So there's my vote :cool:
     
  5. Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    #5
    Thanks for your advice guys. I'll consult with my dad later and see what the best deal may be (I've never really been that much of a MBA fan anyway)
     
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #6
    Always compare you price from Apple with ed discount to what you can get online. Often you can be the Apple ed discount by purchasing from a 3rd party retailer like MacMall, B&H, or Adorama. http://prices.appleinsider.com

    If you do purchase from Apple, do so on your state;s tax free weekend. For many states surrounding me that is the first weekend of August. Some states will forget some of the sales tax while other states will forgive the entire sales tax.

    What the best bargain of all? On tax free weekend order a refurbed unit from Apple. The units come with full warranty are are eligible for AppleCare. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

    BTW, the cheapest place I know to get Apple Care is from B&H.
     
  7. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    #7
    Go with the rMBP and go refurbished to save some cash. The configuration you need solely depends on your usage habits. What kind of things will you be doing on your machine?
     
  8. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #8
    What are you planning to major in? I'm in history and education (lots of papers and powerpoints). I got the mid-level rMBP with 8gb of RAM and the 256gb SSD to replace my aging 2009 MBP that I stated with as a freshman. It should be plenty for papers, Netflix, and music. Engineering or something of that nature may require more power. I got mine online in the education store to get the discount.
     
  9. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    #9
    I do everything you do and more on a base model and it flies. Your mid tiered machine will be enough power for a decade:)
     
  10. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #10
    My 09 is a base model, and it was getting pokey before I upgraded the RAM, got a newer hard drive, and then retired it. 2gb of RAM became outdated very quickly. Since you can't upgrade the RAM in the rMBPs and I needed the drive space anyway (yay iTunes and photos), I went with the mid-range. It's also considered to be an excellent computer for the price you pay for it. That's not to say that OP couldn't get through college with a base model, but it may require upgrades later on that can't be done anymore.
     
  11. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

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    #11
    I would vote for Haswell based MacBook Air it has a better battery. Why? You can't go back to dorm to re-charge battery then go to class next. Haswell gives you about 10 hours of battery. Oh it is very light to carry in your backpack/messenger and very cheap. Good luck. :apple:
     
  12. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020

    TacticalDesire

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    #12
    Any Mid tier mac should get you 4+ years of use. I would go for the 13 inch 8gb/256gb model and at least a 1TB external drive to back up for files and additional storage. That's a pretty decent college setup. Netflix, powerpoints and documents don't really need a ton of power. I would suggest the base model pro but I have no idea what 4gb of RAM would look like with OSX getting heavier 4 years from now.
     
  13. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #13
    Very much inclined to agree on the longevity part. I would suggest the 13" MBA or rMBP if you are going to be mobile. If your Mac is going to be left in the dorm 90% of the time, stick with the 15" if you can.
     
  14. Dekema2, Jul 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014

    Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

    Joined:
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    #14
    Need college buying advice


    Probably papers/math, quizzes and stuff, but I'm not quite sure yet (Maybe Minecraft once in a while ;))


    I'm going to a smaller, public engineering school for Civil. I plan to sell my mid-2010 Mac mini, does anyone know how much it would sell for if it's 8gigs, 320 GB hdd and has I think 2.66 GHZ core 2 duo?

    ----------


    Good advice! I'll consider it.
     
  15. x3n0n1c macrumors regular

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    Jul 9, 2014
    #15
    Honestly, when it comes to classes, especially ones where you will need to read data sheets, electrical diagrams and other technical documentation, the retina screen pays for itself multiple times over.

    Being able to fit an entire high resolution PDF or the like on screen and still be able to read the fine text saves a lot of it time that you would otherwise spend zooming and scrolling around.

    It really is worth it.
     
  16. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    #16
    I would second this. The retina experience is worth the extra money.
     
  17. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

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    #17
    I'd go with a retina because it's so easy on the eyes...resulting in minimal fatigue even after long sessions!!
     
  18. jimmyco2008 macrumors regular

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    Jan 8, 2014
    #18
    As a college student who's owned a non-Retina 2012 13" Macbook Pro and now owns a 2013 13" rMBP, I'm betting I can offer some stellar advice ;)

    Once you go Retina, you never go back. Every time I look at my old Macbook's display, well, it hurts. It's terrible. I'm shocked I ever used that thing, especially for looking at images or watching videos.

    Haswell is absolutely worth it. I've seen the battery-remaining time estimated at 13:xx before (of course it was mostly idling, but still, way more than I ever got with the 2012). It doesn't fare too well with games in Windows (bootcamp), though... Hopefully you're not getting this for gaming, otherwise you'd be looking at the ~$2600+ 15" Macbook Pro. Anyway, I haven't been back to school since I got this thing, but the thinking is I can leave the charger in the dorm room.

    BestBuy's Memorial Day Weekend sale, combined with their student discount of $150 for all Macbooks, was the cheapest I had ever seen current-gen Macbooks. So I hopped on it. Originally I was going to wait for Apple's July-September back to school promo, but the $100 giftcard and $100 student discount couldn't beat the ~$300 (all cash, mind you) I saved @BestBuy. For once, they really were the best buy. I believe the student discount is year-round, so you just have to wait for BestBuy to put the Macbooks on general sale, which is actually quite often...

    The caveat was I had to settle for a "pre-made" Macbook. I was going to go custom (max out the RAM), but determined the savings were too good. Lo and behold, 8GB is plenty for me. To help you figure out how much RAM you need, open up the apps you'll usually have open (or if you're feeling it, open all the apps you possibly can :p), then open Activity Monitor. Go to the Memory tab, and see what "Wired Memory" looks like. That's, in layman's terms, the RAM that is actually in use. The rest is used to boost overall performance, but the gain is marginal when you have an SSD, especially a PCIe SSD like the one in rMBPs.

    Anyway, I'm hard-pressed to use much more than 1GB of RAM when counting only Wired. As with the medical field, recommendations vary slightly by doctor, but this physician would recommend a ratio of about 1:4 for Wired Memory to Physical Memory (total RAM in your computer). For example, if, when all your apps are open, you're using around 2GB Wired, 8GB of RAM would be good to go with. If you're using closer to 4GB wired, I'd go 16GB. While 16GB is rarely necessary, OS X puts all the RAM it has to use to speed things up, so you really can't have "too much" RAM. Especially when the RAM isn't user-upgradeable. You can't just buy RAM and throw it in (although you can with the non-Retina Macbook Pro).

    In fact, not to go on a rant, but without virtual machines or some intense professional work (ie. Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, etc.), there's virtually no way you'd ever need more than 8GB (at least with today's OS X and applications).

    Some other things to consider vs the 2012 Macbook Pro:

    - The speakers are incredibly better on the Retina Macbooks. Much louder, clearer, better bass response.

    - The 2012 Macbook Pro is a laptop. The rMBPs are ultrabooks. Lugging around that 2012 Macbook all the time sucked immensely.

    - Adapters, anyone? Not with the rMBP, because it actually has an HDMI port. Yeah, that thing that's been on virtually EVERY laptop since 2011? It's not on the 2012 Macbook Pro. You'd have to buy a mini-displayport-to-HDMI adapter, which uses its only Thunderbolt port.

    - Nothing obnoxious, either. You may think the pulsing light on the front of the 2012 Macbook Pro is "cool", but really it's just the reason you have to get out of your bed to turn the thing around so you don't see it when you're trying to sleep in your otherwise pitch-black room. If it's bright enough to see during the day, how bright do you think it is at night? Very. And how'd you like to hear the SuperDrive make its obnoxious "er eeeer errr"/"Is there a disc inside me?" noise every time you go to use your Macbook? It gets annoying. It turns heads in class (and not in the good way).

    I spent way too much time on this post... Hopefully it helps you, though.
     
  19. Dekema2, Aug 8, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014

    Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Location:
    WNY or Utica
    #19
    Need college buying advice


    This was a great post and worth your effort, because I've decided to go with the rMBP 13", 4GB RAM, 128GB hard drive from 2013. My dad pushed for the Air but I guess since my birthday is this weekend he had a change of heart. Not having a job right now doesn't help so I've been having to cut lawns and sell my Xbox and Mini, both of which were reformatted (hopefully it's in good hands). Plus I'll be using graduation money!

    That aside, what I thought was intriguing about this particular model was the fact that I already have a 1 TB external hard drive, so if I run intensive programs (i.e. iMovie, iTunes, any iWorks or maybe even AutoCad) off of the SSD it may go a bit faster. Then I read the MBA didn't have Bluetooth, which if I read that correctly was crazy given the Bluetooth-heavy Yosemite update. Oh and the Retina display was a major bonus in my mind.

    Best Buy in my opinion undervalued my Mini when I sold it to them, they say it would only be worth ~160. However, I upgraded my RAM from 2G to 8G a year ago and feel that should've helped. Then, we found out they don't have the particular model in stock in any of the area stores and we'd have to drive between 1-2 hours to get to one (because now we have store credit). And it's just a hassle to order the thing online, so the plan is to order it in store and have it shipped there.

    At the end of the day they'll certainly help out due to the fact that a) This model got a price cut because I waited a few weeks and the new models came out, b) I can get it down to ~1000 plus sales tax with the .edu discount, and c) I think they're running another price cut with it but I'm not sure.

    I definitely think that it'll last at least 5 years and beyond that just because of the way I'll handle what goes where, which will increase performance.

    P.S.: is the RAM consumer serviceable? If not I don't think it will matter, I'm not a mega multitasker

    P.P.S.: Best Buy doesn't have a rMBP 1,099 13" 8GB 128GB SSD do they? Including .edu discount
     
  20. Miltz macrumors 6502a

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    New York
    #20
    If you're going to wait for the new rentina macbook air like me, I recommend the Acer C720 chromebook to hold you over. For $179 is amazing. Not it's not even close to the macbook air I just sold. But it's worth more than $179 and it's got over 10 hours of battery life which is perfect for a student. You can even use Office 365 on it if you need microsoft office. (it actually feels as fast as my 2013 MBA for web surfing.)

    That's being said, if you don't wanna wait, the macbook air 2014 is the best option for the price.
     
  21. Dekema2, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014

    Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
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    WNY or Utica
    #21
    Need college buying advice


    I have a slightly higher budget so I think I'll skip the air.

    However, I went into Best Buy today and took in my Mini. It was in BEAUTIFUL condition. Yesterday they only plugged it in the TV. Today they took it in the back room, were in there for 10 minutes and came back saying "Oh there's a piece under it broken," which were the RAM spreaders/clips. I knew a year ago when I upgraded the RAM to 8 GB, that I mistakenly pulled it out too much. But would bugged me was the fact that this was the only thing they found that would void them from taking the computer and guess what, it wasn't even damaged!

    A few minutes ago me and my dad sat down and carefully bent it back into place. Although I thought it was broken a year ago it pisses both me and my dad off that they carelessly inspect it. Yes it needed to be inspected, but between the 10-minute product lookup, the grab ass from the Geek squad guys, etc. I'm done with Best Buy for a while after we buy the MBP from a different location.
     
  22. x3n0n1c macrumors regular

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    #22
    The MacBook Air has Blutooth.
     
  23. Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    #23

    Don't know where I read that said it didn't, maybe it was an older one
     
  24. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #24
    In Sept Apple will likely introduce a 12" Retina MPA to replace the current 13" MVA. That machine likely does not ship until October. Still you might want to consider it if possible.
     
  25. Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    #25

    I could wait...

    And I don't want to beat a dead horse, but NOWHERE in the in store return policy does it mention damage so I think they were screwing around:

    TERMS FOR BEST BUY’S TRADE-IN PROGRAM AT PARTICIPATING STORES

    In-store Customer Agreement

    For Trade-in transactions at participating Best Buy stores, you will be asked to sign both a statement of ownership, which may vary by store, and our Customer Agreement:

    Declaration of Ownership

    I certify that the information offered in connection with this transaction is true, accurate, and complete. Further, I represent and warrant that I am the sole and rightful owner of the product(s) described in this transaction and that I have full authority to sell or otherwise dispose of the product(s).

    Customer Agreement

    I represent and warrant that (1) I have the power and authority to enter into this agreement; (2) the product(s) described in this transaction is (are) not counterfeit or stolen; and (3) the product(s) described in this transaction does (do) not violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation. By accepting the compensation offered (a Best Buy Gift Card), I accept the offer and I irrevocably transfer all rights and title to the product(s) described in this transaction to Best Buy in exchange for the Best Buy Gift Card. Upon accepting the compensation, I acknowledge and agree that this transaction is final and cannot be canceled or rescinded and that no further compensation is owed to me by Best Buy, its parent company or affiliates. In addition, I acknowledge that it is my sole responsibility to remove all personal data (e.g., files, photos, videos, music, etc.) from the product(s) (e.g., PCs, laptops, wireless phones, DVD/CD players, memory cards, iPods, MP3 players, etc.). I agree that Best Buy, its parent company and affiliates, are not responsible for the loss or destruction of the hardware or media containing any personal data left on or in the product(s). I understand and agree that I will not be able to recover any data or files stored within the product(s). To the extent permitted by applicable law, I hereby release Best Buy, its parent company and affiliates, from and against any and all claims arising out of the transfer of the product(s) described in this transaction, including but not limited to any liability arising out of or related to the deletion or non-deletion of any data, information, or files from the product(s) and the non-availability of the product(s) after it has been accepted by Best Buy. Best Buy may be required to share personal information in response to a valid court order, subpoena, government investigation, or as otherwise required by law. Best Buy reserves the right to report, and may be required to report, to law enforcement agencies any activities that Best Buy believes to be unlawful. Best Buy may share certain information when we believe that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property and safety of others and ourselves. By providing my landline or wireless number, or any number later converted to a cell phone number, and/or my email address, I consent to Best Buy contacting me by phone, including the leaving of pre-recorded messages or Best Buy making calls from automated dialing systems and/or email in regards to the transaction, as well as to participate in a Trade-In survey. With regard to phone calls, I understand that voice and data rates may apply.

    I understand that I will not be able to recover any data, information, or files on these product(s).
     

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