New computer for a lovely biochem student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by HexZeroRouge, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. HexZeroRouge macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2007
    So i have been lurking around these forums for the past few months, but finally realized that i didn't have an account tonight. haha.

    anyway. I start at SFSU in less than a month, and am looking into getting either a MB or MBP. Problem is, i have heard this and that about performance equity between the high end MB and the low end MBP.

    I'm a biochemistry student, so i could potentially be running some semi heavy programs on my machine. I've been told by one apple rep to go for a MBP for the [slightly] faster processor and the video card, but another rep said i would be fine with a high-end MB after revealing my major.

    so i desire input from you guys. help?

    ps: the middle and high-end MBP aren't options due to financial constraints.
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I'm at UCSF in a similar field...I run a two-and-half year-old PowerBook, and it's plenty fast for my personal use. What programs do you have in mind?
  3. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    The MacBook Pro will be faster because of it using the faster Core 2 Duos and Santa Rosa platform. But unless you're going to be running very intensive programs on the computer all the time you probably won't notice the difference. You could go with either computer.
  4. HexZeroRouge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2007
    i didn't necessarily have any specific programs in mind. it was more like a just in case sort of thing. theoretical chemistry programs and the like could pose a potential problem.

    but of course, i might not even need to run anything like that.
  5. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I'd imagine the MacBook would probably be fine. I can't really think of many biochem-related programs that would cause it problems. I'm in structural biology, so I've got some modeling and rendering programs that I use on a regular basis. My PowerBook runs them like a champ, so a MacBook should do just fine.

    Any really sophisticated visualization programs or the like will likely be run via dedicated workstations in your lab or at a core facility.
  6. HexZeroRouge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2007
    ah thats fantastic to have someone who can five first hand perspective with that specific 'issue'[which it isn't anymore].

    thaaaank you for your help. i will be getting my macbook within the week then.
  7. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    nah, the chem programs aren't that heavy duty.I'm an analytical chemist and I run everything more than easily on a black macbook. Anything really hefty will be run on the school's workstations, generally. Personal liscenses for the really heavy duty stuff are too expensive (many times the cost of either laptop) so you won't be running them on your own hardware.
  8. emotion macrumors 68040


    Mar 29, 2004
    Manchester, UK
    I guess it's possible that you might want to visualize with your machine (I'm a computational chemist by training) but I'd say the macbook would probably be sufficient.
  9. L3X macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2006
    Chesapeake, VA
    I was a Chem major and I used ChemDraw, but it was on a lab computer. A MacBook will be fine.

    You should use Excel a lot though, so make sure you have that either on Mac or on your XP partition.
  10. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    A macbook will be fine for you. If it's goin to be your only computer though, I would suggest an external monitor (perhaps a cheaper 19inch or something you can find them for just about 150USD so save up if you think the small size might be a problem)

    Office for the mac through your school shouldn't be too expensive, go with that.. or run a partition with bootcamp until office 08 comes out for mac.

    Look at the refurb store. Definitely better deals there then straight out edu discounts normally ... check EARLY in the morning though. Someone got a CD blackbook for just over 900 today in the forums.... unless you order during their ipod deal right now.. then you can sell that and use the difference to pay for the apple care.

    Check out your schools computer store too. I know mine has some great clearance deals on macs through the actual campus store that they dont' have on the website.


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