New MacBook for Law School

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LawDog1180, May 14, 2013.

  1. LawDog1180 macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    I have used the search and I really hate to beat the dead horse on this.. Seriously. I do. However, I digress.....

    I am a long time lurker, but I am in the market for a new MacBook. I'm currently on a Late 08 13" Unibody MB (non pro), but I start law school in August and I am planning on upgrading this summer. I'm waiting for WWDC before I make any purchases, but my question stands no matter what happens at WWDC. I can spend around $2,000 give or take a little (not a lot) and obviously not including Apple Care etc. While i'm pretty technologically proficient, I don't fully grasp the minutiae of processing speed differences. I'm basically trying to decide between an upgraded 13" rMBP or a baseline 15" rMBP. It bears mentioning that I have a Mac Mini also, so my MBP will not be my only computer, though it will be my primary computer. Basically I use my laptop for word processing, internet, powerpoint, etc. Rarely (if ever) any CPU intensive things. I have never even noticed that my 08 MB runs slow or anything, so I know that I don't "need" the 15" rMBP. But if it is within my price range, is a baseline 15" rMBP substantially better than an upgraded 13" rMBP? I realize a lot of this comes down to personal preference, and I really like the size of the 13", but I also see that the 15" is a more powerful machine with quad core processing, etc.

    Wow, that was longer than I expected. If you skipped all that, basically here is my question:

    If you have around $2,000 to spend on a computer (for a college student), do you go with the upgraded 13" rMBP or the baseline 15" rMBP?
  2. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    What do you mean by uograded? The things you do don't need a quad core processor or a discrete GPU. The 13" vs. 15" comes down to two things:

    Will you carry it arround everywhere you go?
    Do you need an extra 2 inches of diagonal screen space?

    I would simply stick with the 13" rMBP with 256 GB SSD and the i5 processor (don't do the i7 upgrade, not worth it for your uses) for $1599 (with student discount). Then buy AppleCare for $183 with your student discount. Comes out to around $1850, depending on tax in your state (if you live in the US), which is perfect for your budget.
  3. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    Well, based on your needs it's unlikely that you'll notice any speed benefit from the 15". If you're finding the late '08 unibody sufficient for your needs then the 13" rMBP will be even further away from being pushed.

    Unless you really want the retina display you may even be better served with the 13" Air, especially if Apple brings CPU upgrades in WWDC.
  4. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    If I already had a computer AND $2000... the last thing I would need was another computer. :)

    As a student I'd think your first priority would be portability. That said, I don't know why you'd even consider a 15" model based on your needs.
  5. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    For your uses it sounds like you could do fine with either 13" or 15", the 15 being a quad core with discreet GPU, both of which you don't really need but that's based only on the requirements you listed.

    If you plan to keep it as long as your 08 machine, the 15" will be faster into the future simply because of the GPU and quad core CPU.

    Mostly it comes down to perceived need. Do you need the clarity, speed and size of a 15" retina or do you need the small size and price of a 13" cMBP or rMBP?
  6. jeblis macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    Either one is more than enough for what you need for school. The difference is which form factor you want.
  7. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Do you want more power or MARGINALLY a smaller laptop?
  8. dprovi macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    Hey there, just my two cents.

    I'm in law school- actually I just wrapped up my first year and I'm currently using a mid-2012 13" macbook pro (2.9 GHz i7 - 8GB- 1TB).

    If your usage is anything like mine, I'm talking about - word processing, youtube, numerous windows open in the browser (this will most certainly be the case especially when you're reading cases and prepping for seminars), music playing, various apps running, Skype/FaceTime somewhere thrown in there THEN a baseline 13" rMBP is more than enough.

    Not only is my 13" more than enough for my usage it is also extremely portable (ex: cramped libraries, corner spaces in coffee shops, traveling on the train, in airports -etc) which helps in managing my workload and keeping my stress levels down.

    HTH ;)
  9. adb1973 macrumors newbie


    Aug 25, 2008
    Really this is a no brainer...

    For what you describe as tasks and the fact that it's your second computer I would personally stay with the machine you have, but...

    If you realy want to spent money on a new machine (i can imagine, it makes me feel good too) you can pick any 13-inch MacBook available Air or Pro.

    Apart from the fact that it's nice to have, a 15-inch with discrete graphics is only a good investment if you do a lot of gaming and/or video editing or graphic design.

    If you want to invest in the machine be sure to stick an SSD in it, that will give you MUCH more 'snappiness' than you ever had and in a previous machine AND it's pretty shock resistant.

    So my 2 cents... 13 inch MacBook Air wit max SSD or 13 inch MBP with SSD, it wil be your friend for 5 more years.

    Being in law school you might want to stick a Samsung branded SSD and DDR memory in it, that way no one can say you are biased :D
  10. LawDog1180 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    Thanks for all the advice so far! I'll try and address the major concerns so far:

    The main reason i'm upgrading is because my grandmother is older and she wants to buy me a new computer for law school. I've told her I don't really need one, but she insists on buying me something, and who is gonna say no to a new Macbook (first world problem, i know). And also, I have a good friend who had to quit college to work a while, but he is going back this summer and he was looking into buying a Chromebook, so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and give him my current MB. So I don't really "need" an upgrade, but the opportunity has presented itself.

    Also, I guess I asked because of longevity. I realize I don't need the power of the 15" rMBP, but this is also gonna be the last computer that I am not personally paying for, so I want it to last a very long time, haha. Also, I feel like in 4 or 5 years, a 15" rMBP will be further from obsolescence. But those things aside, a 13" will certainly fit my needs.

    As far as a SSD goes, is that an upgrade that I can get through Apple when I purchase or is that a DIY job?
  11. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    It's a DIY job if you don't want to pay Apple prices. :)

    Personally I'm in love with the design of the Retina 13" (this coming from a Retina 15" owner), and it includes an SSD. If you have the money to upgrade it a bit that would be my choice.
  12. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    You can do it yourself but only through OWC's specialized SSDs, and they are really expensive right now. 480 GB is around $600 because of Apple's new proprietary shape, but prices will go down, and you can get it then. That's why I would stick with the base SSD, because who wants to pay $300 or $500 for an extra 256 GB SSD? Also, the 15" might be a little bit more future-proof, but if your uses don't vastly change over the next 4 years, the 13" will be great now and in years to come.
  13. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    I am finishing law school myself (last exam is tomorrow :)) and went from 13 inch MBP to 15 inch rMBP; those 2 extra inches makes in my opinion a big difference, so would recommend you the 15 inch.
  14. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    Good luck on your exam!
  15. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    Thanks a lot !!!!! :D

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