Need Opinions/Advice and Knowledge on purchasing first Macbook.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by est1738, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. est1738 macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2014
    Hello Everyone,

    First and for most. I didn't expect this to be so long with many questions however I couldn't think of a better community to ask. I want to thank those who take the time and help me in advance. I do appreciate it.

    I am looking to purchase my first macbook. I was going to purchase a macbook pro 15" but decided it wouldn't be portable enough for my daily routine and the price was a tad to much for my liking.

    So that leaves me with the macbook air 13", vs macbook pro 13".

    I am looking to get one with the upgraded processors that apple announced today with the 5th gen Intels.

    My first question is:

    Is there a noticeable difference between the i5 and the i7 as far a performance goes? (I know you won't be able to give specifics on these processors but in the passed did the i7 out perform the i5 by a reasonable margin?)

    This machine will be used for my returning to college to finish the last two years of my Computer Science degree with a minor in Software Programming.
    (So little to no Video/Music editing. I may dabble in Pixlemator or Acorn, but no Photoshop or Other top tier video editors.)

    The retina screen is the least of my worries but some people say it is great to have while coding/viewing movies/ other things. (This is my first mac purchase. So I have not experienced retina on a computer unless I'm playing around with it at the apple store.)

    Which ever computer I purchase will not only be my school computer but my everyday computer. (i.e. My only machine)

    Also, can either one of the laptops be used for coding? Im not a video editor or photographer so I shouldn't be using heavy apps like Photoshop, or any of the other awesome apps. (hence why I am not going after the quad core 15" inch beast which I will never use the power and it would be a waste of money)

    Also I know the Ram nor the SSD is upgradable so I will be at least getting 8gb Ram in either model I get. I know the air isn't upgradeable to 16gb of Ram but the Retina Pro is. Will 8gb be good enough to last me 2-3 years or will I be sorry I didn't opt for the 16gb and the retina with the extra add on?

    Also, is it smart to opt for more than 128GB of storage with the vast amount of cheaper External Harddrives? I honestly have a poor iTunes music library of only about 3-4gb of music. ( I know thats not a lot). I do have about 100gb of Movies from iTunes I have purchased and would like to know if they are playable from an external hard drive?

    I believe those are the only questions I have.

    Once again, Thank you.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Based on the intended use you described, you won't see any difference between processors, as you won't be fully taxing either one. The same goes for RAM; 8GB will easily accommodate your projected workload. The 128GB SSD will also suffice, and yes, you can play movies, music, etc. from external drives. Any Mac model made in recent years can easily handle your workload.
  3. Raunien macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2011
    1. You will not see a difference between a i5 and i7 based on your usage.

    2. If you do not care for the retina screen, I think the macbook air is your best choice because of its portability, and its long lasting battery, both of which are important to being a student.

    3. Use the money you save on the retina to get the 8gb upgrade for the air.

    4. As for the hard drive size, get the size that you will not regret. I suggest 256.
  4. est1738 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2014
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    either way I go I will be getting 8gb of ram. I was trying to get voice on if I could save some money and not purchase a maxed out macbook and it would work for me.

    I plan on only keeping this macbook for 3 years max of 4 so I def want to make sure that it will last tell then.

    Also, Can the Air be used to display to bigger monitor if I hooked one up while I was at home?
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, every Mac notebook can connect to one or more external displays.
  6. aquilc macrumors member

    Dec 26, 2014
    Whichever MacBook model you choose, be sure that it has a minimum of 8GB of RAM (so that it will satisfy all your needs especially since you're going to code with it, and since it will be your only machine, and since the RAM is not upgradeable at a later stage).

    As for the SSD, 256GB should be enough, and do not forget to get an External HDD and make regular backups of your work/data. Although SSDs are more reliable than HDDs, you are never prepared for the worst that could happen to a computer.

    A MacBook 13" should satisfy your needs.
  7. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Every macbook sold right now will work equally fine for your needs and the foreseeable future.
  8. APEuroHis macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2012
    Camarillo, CA., USA
    MacBookPro Purchase

    Get the 2.5ghz i5 non-retina, 13" MacBookPro (you can upgrade to 2.9ghz but that is your choice), upgrade to 16gb Raam, and later on upgrade HD to an 1 TB SSD from MacSales(3G or 6G great) if:
    -you want a fast machine for a lot less cost than a retina.
    -Raam and HD upgrades via Apple are way overpriced. You can do that yourself.
    -If you don't plan on using your optical drive, replace it with a 2nd HD as well.
    This should last you 4-6 years.
    -This laptop has Thunderbolt, Firewire 800, USB 3, everything you will need for a long time to come.
    -retina screen over-hyped. I have one on my iPad Air and nothing to scream about.
    -Its heavier than an "Air" but that is underpowered.
    -When in doubt, go for more power, you won't be sorry.
    I purchased all of my upgrades via Reasonable in cost, good customer service, and quick turn-around. :)
  9. est1738 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2014
    Thanks everyone. I ended up purchasing a mac from apple refurbished site.

    I got the July 2014 13.3" Macbook pro w retina
    3.0Ghz Dual Core i7 with 8gb ram and 512gb SSD

    Saved some money and got a pretty good machine.

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8 March 11, 2015