Need help on deciding on a Mac for college

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by viperGTS, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. viperGTS, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013

    viperGTS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #1
    Hey MacRumors!

    I start college in the fall, as a Computer Science major and I'm currently deciding on which Mac to buy. Now, I'm considering both the lowest end models of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.

    HUGE EDIT: after testing at my local mall, I concluded that I cannot stand an 11" MBA. So now my choices include a 13" MBA, possibly the rMBP 13", OR:
    MBP ($999 after education discount):
    • 500 GB Hard Drive
    • 2.5 GHz Core i5 (not haswell)
    • 4 GB RAM
    • HD Graphics 4000
    • 13.3" model
    • 7 hour battery life

    Something important to note, once I get this Mac, it will become my primary machine for computing. I can't stand my desktop PC at home (I'm living at home throughout college), the thing is WAY too slow. As it will become my primary machine, the CD drive and 500 GB space are very appealing to me, plus the extra CPU power is as well.

    However, the longer lasting Air also appeals to me. Longer battery, much lighter, faster storage, faster graphics, but the screen is smaller and it has much less space.

    I'm leaning VERY slightly towards the Pro since I want this to be my primary machine. Everytime I look at the air though, I become confused again as to which one I really want.

    My main uses would be:
    •Typing essays/documents
    •iTunes and iDevice management
    •since Computer Science involves coding, coding :p
    •Online gaming (flash gaming, for instance)
    •Of course, web browsing! Facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.
    •Downloading files
    •Optional: steam gaming? Probably not, however.

    ALSO:I may very well wait for the October refresh of the MacBook Pro, if it happens. If not, I will consider the current generation.

    Please help me on this decision! Thank you for reading. :)
     
  2. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #3
    If I can wait until the October refresh, will the Pro be better?
     
  3. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #4
    Yes. Retina. Can barely think of any reason not to go with Retina besides price.
     
  4. iMacBooked macrumors 6502a

    iMacBooked

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    Location:
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    #5
    Yes, definitely! :) I'm waiting for it too. Problem is that even October isn't for sure, it might be November, or even worse: early 2014... :(
    So if you really need one during the first weeks of college, I'd buy the MBA. If you could wait, do so. There will probably come more details concerning the release date from September on.
     
  5. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #6
    Definitely not going for retina. I don't want the lag issues in the HD 4000...

    ----------

    I'm not sure if I will need it :eek: I'm taking an Intro to CS class but I'm not sure if I'll need it otherwise (during the first couple of weeks).

    It's my understanding that laptops are generally useful for college though :p
     
  6. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #7
    If that's stopping you from getting a Retina, you're only fooling yourself about this one. :rolleyes:
     
  7. iMacBooked macrumors 6502a

    iMacBooked

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    #8
    Well, if I were you, I would just wait and see what happens during the first week. If it turns out you would really need a fast MBA, you could still easily get one anyway. Hopefully there will be news about the Haswell MBP release date then. :)
     
  8. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #9
    Care to explain more? :p
    The problem though is that I'll miss out on education discounts. So waiting isn't necessarily the best :( would that mean I should just get an Air?
     
  9. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    Kansas, USA
    #10
    The education discounts run all year. You only lose out on the freebie item.
     
  10. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #11
    Oh! Well then I guess I should wait then :eek: I'm kind of wanting to buy one right now. I just need patience I guess. :p
     
  11. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #12
    The consensus is that the lag issue will be addressed via OS update or Mavericks. The hardware is perfectly capable of lag-free operation.
     
  12. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #13
    As your primary machine I'd recommend either of the following:

    13" 8GB/256GB MBA, or if you can wait:
    13" 8GB/256GB rMBP

    Otherwise, before long you may feel restricted with the 11" screen, the 4GB ram or the 128GB SSD.
     
  13. iPoopeh macrumors regular

    iPoopeh

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    #14
    I say rMBP all the way. Its a very good computer, and especially if you wait for the refresh in October. The 13" battery life shall get a pretty good bump, faster SSD, AC wifi (if you have a router that has AC), and a better iGPU. :) Clearly the better choice if compared to the recently updated MBA.
     
  14. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

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    Spain
    #15
    What consensus? Based on a poll in this forum? Did Apple recognize the issue and promised it'll be fixed via OS?
     
  15. viperGTS, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013

    viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #16
    If I wait until October I'm sure it'll be fixed, new OS + better hardware. :)

    You're very right about the 11". I just tried it out at my local mall and I couldn't stand 11" after a bit, felt too cramped. So now I'm only considering 13".

    I'm not sure if I want to go retina simply because it lacks a CD drive. Also, I don't care for retina too much in general, it's $400 extra compared to the $999 non retina Pro. (I understand it lacks SSD though) However I'll take this into consideration :)

    Thank you all for your responses! Keep them coming, you're all giving great advice imo. :)
     
  16. Gonzo3333 macrumors 6502a

    Gonzo3333

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #17
    When was the last time you actually used a CD or DVD in a computer? I was a little bit worried about that issue when I bought my 15" retina but that quickly faded when I bought an eBay Apple Superdrive for $50. I use to have a 15" 2008 MacBook Pro that never saw any kind of DVD or CD use outside of home use. One thing you should think about is the future, DVD and CD's are going the way of the Dodo. I am sure that you can get an even lower price for a CD, DVD or even BlueRay drive for less than I paid on eBay for the Apple branded superdirve. Anyway, good luck in school. I hope you can figure out what you need without regrets.
     
  17. viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2010
    #18
    I actually wanted to use Handbrake to backup some of my TV shows on disc. Also, it wouldn't hurt to have it for watching a movie, for example if I have a large gap between two classes. Plus, retina is much more costly (which rids of the CD drive).

    And thank you very much for that last statement. :)
     
  18. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    #19
    One hugely important factor for college is battery life. And weight.

    The 13" MBA with Haswell has great battery life. Can't beat the weight.

    If you decide on MBP, you'd best wait for Haswell in the MBPs, you'll be a lot happier with the increase in battery life.

    Just to educate yourself on your choice, read this:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7085/the-2013-macbook-air-review-13inch

    Either way, in 4 years time, you'll probably be considering getting a new laptop before you no longer qualify for the edu discount.
     
  19. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #20
    Just read up on the forums and tech sites and you'll discover it yourself.
     
  20. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #21
    All 3 of your macbook options would fit these (except the last one). Gaming should be left to computers with dedicated graphics cards, which none of those have. But of the 3, the air has the most up to date graphics (unless they refresh the cMBP). Its all personal preference, is it more important to you to have battery life and portability? or customizability and an optical drive?
     
  21. sofianito macrumors 65816

    sofianito

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #22
    It is very subjective... Who is more suitable than Apple to state that lags will be fixed with Mavericks? Apple itself... Anything else are mere hopes and speculations...

    Of course, we hope Mavericks will fix lags in 1st gen rMBP (especially 13" model), and we hope iris and iris pro would help in 2nd gen...
     
  22. GSPice macrumors 68000

    GSPice

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #23
    Sigh. The point is that it is incorrect to blame hardware for the issue. If you forgo purchasing a laptop because of lag, by all means be my guest. But don't blame the lag on the wrong thing.
     
  23. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #24



    The updated version of the 13" retina should have the Iris 5100 graphics which will be a very big improvement. OS 10.9 Mavericks is also supposed to have a lot of improvements regarding scrolling and animation performance on retina machines.
     
  24. viperGTS, Aug 15, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013

    viperGTS thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #25
    Thanks :)

    Since it will become my primary machine, I definitely want all I can get, so all 4 of your options. I feel like waiting for the haswell MBP's is my best bet.

    I see. Thank you :)

    I have a question, what does cMBP mean? I know rMBP means Retina MacBook Pro. Also, it's not guaranteed that the MacBooks will be refreshed in October, so I'm still unsure if I should bother waiting when it might not happen soon. Plus, I'm concerned that Apple may just rid of the drive with the new refresh. I wish the Pro's were updated at WWDC. :(

    I have a tad clearer view of what I want:
    • 13"
    • NO Retina
    So it boils down to the 13" MBA and 13" MBP. The air is $50 more (after edu discount), has better battery, faster SSD, and is lighter. The MBP, while cheaper, has more but slower storage/faster CPU/optical drive. Which better fits my needs? And I can upgrade the HD to an SSD myself possibly.
     

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