NMB or NMBP for engineering student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by deanmadoo, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. deanmadoo macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    i'm starting my first year as a undergrad student in aerospace engineering

    and i am thinking of buying my first mac after using windows for 10 years

    but i cant decide between a
    new Macbook2.4Ghz or a New Macbook pro2.4Ghz

    1.is the extra 2 inch and the faster graphics card worth it?

    2.is 13inch enough for a engineering student using engineering programs?

    3.when using engineering programs that only runs on Windows should i use Bootcamp, Parallel or Fusion?

    4.my first semester wont start until the middle of next year. should i buy now or wait for the update on better CPU's?

    5.And which one should i get?

    Any further advice would be greatly appreciated:)
  2. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    Yes. Many have also reported that the quality of MBP screens is better, then there is also FireWire 800.

    I'm guessing it would be but when working from home you might want to get an external monitor. Otherwise Spaces will help out.

    If there is no OS X solution I'd suggest looking into UNIX solutions, which work beautifully on OS X with X11. MacPorts or Fink are two great software packages for managing open source software packages. Here are sci results.

    I personally would buy one now and plan to upgrade to Snow Leopard, which promises to be like getting a hardware boost.

    Unless you know you need a 2.8 GHz processor, I'd go for the highest config in stores (2.53 GHz) to avoid some of the hassles that go with shipment.
  3. Luftwaffles macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    I'd go with the MacBook Pro. Although, one thing to take into account is that even though you're in an engineering program, you'll spend the first two years getting useless crap and prerequisites out of the way - math, Engineering seminars, liberal arts and so on. While you won't need all of that power immediately, it's still nice to have it ready and waiting.

    That said, the 15-inch screen is a lifesaver for me. As a Computer Science major I do alot of work in IDEs and the additional real estate is wonderful when my two 19-inch monitors aren't at my disposal. Going for the fastest processor is really up to you, as some Engineering programs do have compute clusters and rendering farms at their disposal.

    I'd go with the fastest processor and more RAM, if not for the little boost in productivity, then for the little extracurricular things that help you pass the time. ;)

    Wait until a few months before school starts. It seems Apple is getting much less predictable when it comes to updates, so you'd probably be slapping yourself silly if you bought it now - MacWorld is just around the corner and something wonderful might be in store for us MBP fans.
  4. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    thx for the reply macream

    but my options are the 2.4Ghz MB or th 2.4Ghz MBP

    the highest i can afford is the 2.4Ghz MBP

    so the 2.53Ghz MPB wont be an option for me.
    (no need to mention the 2.8Ghz which is even more expensive):)
  5. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    ...a new 17". I would not expect much change (to stuff that's not incrementally upgradable) on the 13" or 15"-ers, as they just underwent a major overhaul. Maybe matte...?
  6. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    The differences in performance aren't much. The most noticeable boost probably comes from the base model with 512MB VRAM on the GPU, which Snow Leopard will take advantage of for general computing.
  7. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    and thx to Luftwaffles also
    i will be living in a dorm on campus so there probably wont be two 19inch monitors waiting in my new room :)

    and i will defenately update the ram in the future
    but 2.4 is the highest i can go with both models

    further information

    This is the laptop that i will use until i graduate(4years)

    so i would want one that will last.
  8. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    Whatever you get, enjoy! Here is another tip: get AppleCare just before the end of the first year (with student discount!), which is when the standard warranty runs out.
  9. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008

    I am now leaning over towards the Macbook Pro
    But the extra 300 dollars is quite a lot of money
    you can buy a NMB + 4M of ram and still have some money left

    so is it worth it to get the MBP or Should I get the MB with 4M of ram?

    further information and suggestions are highly appreciated :)
  10. shibbyshoo macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm almost in the same situation. I've been a PC user all my life. I've dabbled with OSX and I liked what I saw. Being a fourth year computer engineering student I haven't encountered any problems with my current laptop (a five year old Dell Inspiron) running any of my engineering based programs. Getting a MB would be enough if you just wanted to run programming apps, MATLAB etc. But if you want this laptop to last four years, I'd go for the MBP. You can't go wrong with more power and the extra money you spend will benefit you in the long run.

    Go big or go home!

    PS adding 4GB of memory to a MB won't make it amazing fast.
  11. Nuc macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2003
    I used a MBP for my graduate work in nuclear engineering (I used VMware and it worked great!). The gap between the MB & MBP were much bigger when I had to choose two years ago. However, you will like the extra screen on the MBP.

    If I were you I would sign up for the student developer program (Link) like I did ($99/yr). I got a big discount and they sent OS X when it was released. You should be able to get the 2.53GHz MBP for $1999 + $99 for the membership. I would upgrade the HD to the 320GB 7200 rpm for $40. It already comes with 4GB of ram so you would be set.

    Check into it.

  12. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    You can i get a 2.53Ghz for 1999?
    In the store the 2.53Ghz costs 2499.

    you get a 500dollar discount from that progarm? wow :eek:

    and does it add to your student discount?
  13. spgiva macrumors regular


    Feb 2, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    Since money is an issue I would say wait.

    1. By next summer OSX 10.6 will (probably) already be out so you will not have to pay the $100+ for that upgrade.

    2. For the last few years apple has done some pretty decent back to school sales. Combine that with student discounts (which you can use once you have a student ID) and the difference price can be significant, I think last year with the 2 it was $300 off the higher end MBP plus a free-after-rebate nano or low end touch (which if you not need yourself you can sell for a few extra bucks).

    3. By next summer there may have been 1 (maybe even 2) processor speed bumps so the 2.53 may be the low end MBP at that point.

    Once the back to school sales start get the highest model you can afford. If you are going into engineering and you are planning on using this computer for all 4 years of school, you really want the best machine you can get.

    Best of luck, and no matter what you do have fun!

    I completly forgot about the developer discount. As far as I know you can not combine that with any other discount, but I am not certain about that as I have never used it.
  14. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    Thanks for the reply Spgiva

    But my school will start in about May
    Do you think there would be a CPU bump by then?

    I hope so:)
  15. spgiva macrumors regular


    Feb 2, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    There may well be a bump in January at Mac Expo or what ever event it is that is coming up in Jan, along with the release of OS 10.6 (although no one knows until it happens). Beyond that, who know when Apple will release what, it is all a closely guarded secret that we all spend far to much time speculating about.

    There is no reason to think the student developer discount is going anywhere, it has always been the best of the apple discounts. It is a 1 time deal though (so if you use it now, you can not use it 5 years when you are an engineering grad student).

    Best of luck!
  16. xplor macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2008
    Lisbon - Portugal
    i understand that aerospace engineering is like a mix between electrotecnical and mechanical engineering, since im studying the first i can tell you that using a virtual machine is more than enought for the several windows-only apps you'll need to work with, their very light-weight.
    one of the things mechanical engineers work with is autocad-like software to design parts and so on, and for that, you'll need the biggest screen you can afford.

    I own a MBP(the previous model) and have installed windows on a boot camp partition that i use also with VMWare Fusion, witch rocks btw. I can tell you that this is by far, the greatest computer i have ever owned, and since you can install windows, there is nothing you'll need to work with that you can't. Buy the MBP.
  17. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    Do you know exactly how much is the student developer discount for the MB and MBP?
    (not including the application fee)

    What is the speck of your MBP?
    and is it enough for your needs?

    Thx btw for all the responses :D
  18. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
  19. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Yes buy the best you can afford.

    Its dependant on the programs you will be using, I use autocad and other 3D software. The graphics card in the MBP is crucial to do it in amazingly quick times.

    I use both fusion and bootcamp. I have no problems with either, except when it does get more demanding I use bootcamp. Simple.

    Plus you will enjoy the extra two inches of real estate if you think an external monitor will not be an option, the most irritating thing is scrolling round a screen to get to one part. So higher resolution plus bigger screen = happy days!

    :D Enjoy your apple experience!
  20. kgeier82 macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    if you intend for the laptop to last several years, buy what you can afford.

    Both the MB/MBP will get you through ANY school, engineering or not.

    I say go look at the screens, and make your decision SOLEY on that.
  21. deanmadoo thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2008
    thx for the suggestions

    does anybody know exactly how much is the student developer program discounts?
  22. Captain Nougat macrumors member

    Dec 26, 2008
    Orange County, CA
    The Developer Program saves $400.

    So for the 2.53GHz MBP that people are suggesting, it'd be $2099 + $99 membership into the Development Program.

    Pretty good deal.
  23. xplor macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2008
    Lisbon - Portugal
    its the basic setup MBP. the last version before the unibody thing came.
    2.4Ghz Codre 2 Duo/2Gb ram/200Gb HD/ 256Mb graf card

    Alltought some people might thing 2Gb ram is not enough, i have to disagree. so far i haven't felt the need for more ram, even using VMWare with windows on full screen and switching spaces like crazy :)

    i also had the doubts you have. "Should i buy the MB or the MBP? unibody or no unibody?" i ended up buying the no-unibody-MBP with 300€ discount. i think i made the perfect choice, since like you i didnt had much money but desperatly needed a very good machine that i could rely on for many years. I even carry it around in my bagpack everyday and its not that heavy. :)

    so to sum up: Buy the MBP. it wont give you any performance problems, it has the perfect size/screen ratio and will last long enought for you to graduate and find your own job and buy another one. :)
  24. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Buy a 2.4ghz macbook now with an external screen (or get the screen a bit latter or use what ever screen you own right now). Then in 3/4 years, sell it and get what ever will be the equivalent of a high specked macbook then IE next revision. Either way, both should be able to last until then. Both will probably start ramming on your final assignment. But that also depends on the software you'll be using, and on the size of the project you'll be working on. You should check out what software you'll be using and the requirements for those and also stuff like if the macbooks do all the acceleration or if it's fully supported.

    A 15" laptop is no fun to haul around and doesn't help you all that much. 2" more won't make using a CAD on a laptop all that more fun or make you do it on a bus. So you'll end up doing that on an external monitor anyhow. Same thing for programming, you don't fit a lot of code on a laptop screen + the assignment + other info you might need.

    That's what I'd do... That's what I'm doing actually, I'm studying mechanical engineering, 2.0ghz macbook with 22" external monitor.
  25. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I would select max RAM and the fastest drive over a slight processor increase. Also, set your machine up for bootcamp, but use Parallels primarily. That way if you have to do something particularly hefty you can switch to BootCamp, but for regular work do Parallels.

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