Opinions on what Mac is best for me

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Erasmus, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    OK, sorry for starting yet another "What should I buy" thread, but I believe I am in somewhat of a unique situation. Yes, I did do a quick search.

    Firstly, I'm at Uni, just finished the first semester of my second year. I'm doing Aeronautical Engineering combined with Physics. I am on the train commuting to Uni every day for about 1.5 hours each way.

    I will be using Matlab a lot, plus Solidworks, some games, and of course all the little stuff like internet, music and word processing.

    Basically, I feel I could really use the extra power of the MBP, and I would get one, except a AU$3G notebook is probably a bit too risky to take to Uni every day, in case it gets stolen, or damaged.

    Also, I don't like the idea of using a Macbook as a desktop replacement.

    I have 3.5 years more Uni to get through, and so I want something that will last a while.

    So, I figure I have 3 choices:
    1) Settle and try and survive with the Macbook, probably the middle one.
    2) Risk going with the MBP, use ADC discount to get it.
    3) Get the entry level Macbook to take to Uni every day, as well as an iMac to stay at home and do the heavy stuff.

    Hopefully, the iMacs will get a Santa Rosa redesign within a few weeks, with a faster CPU and better graphics card. Who knows, maybe they will go with faster desktop CPUs instead of the notebook ones?

    So, what are you guy's opinions?
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Mate, I don't normally recommend the MacBook Pro 'cause I reckon it's overkill. It's far more computer than most users really need. However, I really think it'd be the best option for you. I wouldn't worry too much about it getting stolen since we still live in the backwaters and half the uni probably don't even realise Apple make computers... I used the apps you're talking about for mechanical engineering, and can pretty safely say the MacBook Pro will handle 'em and last you the three and a half remaining years of uni easily. :)
  3. RainCityMacFan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2007
    I hope the iMacs get updated soon but I don't think iMacs are that good for a Univ. guy unless you are going to be living and working in one place.

    If you aren't going to game or do anything that needs a dedicated graphics then go for the Macbook. I recommend the Blackbook and I highly doubt that your laptop will get stolen as long as you take care of it properly and not have it laying there.

    If you want you can get a baseline or middle MBP so you can attach it to another screen and mouse/keyboard so you can have a portable desktop. I'm also not sure about your major, if physics will require simulations/graphics/processing power or not...

    This is just my 2 cents.
  4. syntrophy macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2004
    go for the macbook

    i would say go for the macbook because the graphics card don't really do much for most users unless you are doing graphics intensive work, and this don't include photoshop, as far as i know, motion is one of the few professional apps that require a solid graphics card.

    the macbook comes with very good processors for the money while gamewise it would probably suck at it, for other task it would really shine.

    www.barefeats.com post some very good comparisons and http://www.macworld.com/2007/05/reviews/macbookrev/index.php shows you that the black macbook can run faster than the macbook pro =)

    save the gaming for a brand new imac when it comes out

  5. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    It depends on you. Personally, i hate synching between computers and moving files between them. When i have 2 computers, i normally start to just use one of them :eek: . So i would pick the mbp and an acd since you can get the adc discount. Also, this way you can take all your main work everywhere with you, especially if you need to work in groups or just want to chill out at a local cafe.
    If you're worried about theft, just buy a discrete backpack and a security cable. Watch your stuff closely and take it everywhere you go, and you should be fine.
  6. 9Speed macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    A couple years ago I was in the same situation that you are now, and I decided to buy an iBook for school and an iMac for home. Even though I could still synch settings and files between my laptop and iMac over the internet, I found that it was a pain installing the same programs twice and trying to remember to copy saved files etc etc between them. I ended up selling the iMac and used the iBook exclusively.

    The base MacBook Pro (the 2.0ghz model) is heck of a lot of a machine for the price... in my opinion and experience it would be much wiser to invest in a really nice, powerful laptop instead of purchasing a cheap laptop and a desktop.

    If you are worried about getting a laptop stolen, check out the program iAlertU. Most of the people at my university are comfortable leaving their laptops sitting on the table when they run to take a bathroom break or whatever, but this little program gives me some extra peace of mind. I leave a little sign on the keyboard that says "Touching this laptop will set off an alarm". No, it's not a lock, but it sure makes my laptop a less juicy target for some punk looking for an opportunity in a quiet library.
  7. Erasmus thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Thanks for your opinions.

    Still want a MBP. That would be most convenient for me, I figure. Oh well, I'm sure to get something within a week or two, and I will be sure to tell you all when I make a choice and put in the order.

    Although any more compelling opinions would be also appreciated.
  8. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    Go with the MBP - I can't think of any compelling reasons for going for something else!
  9. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    In my opinion, it would not be a good idea to get a cheap laptop and an iMac for home. If you are spending 3 hours on the train each day, you will definitely want a computer that can do the "heavy lifting" with you.

    As for engineering programs, Matlab runs well on a Mac but you should probably have at least 1 GB RAM. Solidworks (student edition) also requires at least 1 GB RAM to run well. There is currenty no Solidworks software for Mac, except eDrawings, so you will have to run windows and the current version (2006-2007) doesn't work with Windows Vista so make sure you get XP or wait for the next edition.
  10. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    While it's true that there's no current version of Solidworks for Mac OS X, Parallels 3 can now run it with 3D acceleration. That, together with applying an OS X theme to WinXP and Parallels "Coherence", should get you pretty close to the same effect. I don't have the opportunity to try this out, yet, but I'm very curious to find out from someone how well this will work. When I get a new MBP, I'll be setting up my system in this manner.
  11. Erasmus thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    Oh well, thanks guys, seems the iMac idea is out (was probably a silly idea anyway).

    I like that program iAlertU! It's pretty funny! Although I'm sure it would drive people bonkers.

    I'm sure I'd run SolidWorks and Matlab in BootCamp, XP. See how things go, and then only if I can't deal with the rebooting, go see about getting Parallels or Crossover or something.

    I do hate the macbook Keyboard. And the Macbook's comparatively dim glossy screen on the train could be interesting. Must take myself and family members to closest Applestore.

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