PhD Economics: Macbook Pro 13" or Windows based PC

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fbrwn, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. fbrwn, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    fbrwn macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hi All,
    I know a similar thread has been done about this a few years back, but with windows based pc's coming a long way forward I thought I post a new one. I will be studying for a PhD in economics this fall with a focus on econometrics and time series analysis. I've been looking into the macbook pro 13" with the i7cpu, 16gb ram, and 256storage and its windows based pc equivalents (e.g. dell xps 13" 9350). I will be using some statistical software such as stata, matlab, R, spss, and excel. I "hope" to do the majority of the work on one of the schools comps, but need a laptop to do light work mainly and sometimes heavy. I own a mac now, been going strong for 6 years but its time for an upgrade. My main question is there a good alternative out there for the macbook pro with the specs I outlined above, main reason is price? I am very hesitant to spend more than $1500. Or should I bite the bullet and go with the macbook pro?

    Thanks!

    Also: is there any compatibility issues transferring data using sata, R, or matlab between windows 10 and osx?
     
  2. Closingracer, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Tbh I'll go for a windows device unless you are partial to OS X. You'll spend less money for the same specs basically on a Windows device. You can ignore ore anybody who says what about anti virus costs and etc because Microsoft includes a good one included and common sense is also good as well.


    [​IMG]


    And with the upgrade to 16gb of ddr4 ram o believe it is would cost around $1600 or so.


    Realized you said 13 inch but this still cheaper and 15 might be small enough still.
     
  3. Sully macrumors regular

    Sully

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    #3

    Check out the Razor Stealth.
     
  4. Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    #4


    That looks so ummmm childish I guess I would call it.
     
  5. jerryk, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    jerryk macrumors 68020

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    #5
    R and matlab run fine on either platform. As does R Studio. Matlab just costs an arm and a leg, but I think education uses can get it for free. If not consider Octave. Not much of a UI, but generally source code compatible with Matlab

    By sata did you mean "stata"? I believe that also works on either platform.

    And obviously Excel runs in both places.

    Regarding systems, both systems are fine, but remember the number of cores matter when doing R and I suspect Matlab. In R you can set your system to use every core available. I do this and seen some of my model training sessions run 3 times as fast on an i-7 quad core. But the current Macbook 13 only has 2 cores, not 4. I do not know what the Dell has.

    I do Machine Learning which uses stats, so hopefully this information is useful.

    Jerry
     
  6. fbrwn thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Thanks! What you said makes sense. But another thing that worries is me is the dell's longevity. I've had dell a dell in the past that only lasted me 2-3 years. My current macbook pro has lasted me 6 years with very little maintenance needed and few problems.
     
  7. Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    #7

    I personally won't buy a del product because of similar history and the horrible customer service I experienced but I have seen positive remarks form the tech websites and left it up to you to decide or not. If you're fine with 8gb of ram the HP SPECTRE might be a good choice for you. It has an intel i7 8gb of ram, 256gb pcie ssd and a 1080p screen which looks good but is glossy. As somebody else said the razor stealth but it doesn't look as mature and sleek as a Macbook is.....quite different.
     
  8. Fancuku macrumors 6502a

    Fancuku

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    #8
    If all the software that you need to use in school are available for both, then it all comes down to which OS you prefer.
     
  9. fbrwn thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Yeah I meant stata. Thanks for the help!
     
  10. tubeexperience, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Which Dell did you have?

    Obviously, if you bought some bottom of the barrel laptop, then it's not surprise that it only last a few years.

    XPS is Dell's flagship so it's intended to last a while.

    Dell XPS 13 is probably the best 13-inch all around Windows laptop to get at the moment.

    Obviously, if you are buying a MacBook Pro, you are paying a premium to use OS X.

    MacBook Pro is not immune to failure either with the flagship prone to dGPU failure.
     
  11. racer1441 macrumors 68000

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    #11
    The answer is never windows. That's the first lesson.
     
  12. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Such an insightful advise /s
     
  13. Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    #13


    For a fanboy sure.
     
  14. Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    #14


    I had a Dell XPS desktop back in the day and it lasted at most three years and sluggish the last year..... I think it was around $1400 dollars or something?
     
  15. Sully macrumors regular

    Sully

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    #15

    The computer or my my 4 word answer that I typed quickly on my phone in an attempt to refer the OP to a Google search for a computer that is equivalent to a Mac laptop and arguably better built than the XPS 13?

    You seem like sort of a douchebag with flippant posts like this. Are you 13 or something?
     
  16. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Back then, processing power was increasing so much that you computer was outdated by then.

    These days, not so much since processing power barely increase.
     
  17. Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    #17


    Not really.... And it was only with Dell products.
     
  18. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Well, I still have my Dell XPS laptop from 5 years ago. It still works great.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    I guess the bottom line is - does the Mac run all the software that you will need or be expected to use? If not, then the windows machine is a no brainer.
     
  20. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #20
    I would certainly wait until next week at the very least to see what if anything is announced.

    Otherwise, as long as all your software can run on either OS, I would pick the one you are most comfortable in. I work with Windows all day, and we purchase many top of the line Thinkpads and Dells, including the XPS and Precision machines. The Windows hardware is ok - performance is good - Thinkpad keyboards are still the best available - touchpads are so-so compared to the Macs. Battery life is never as good as you'd expect.
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #21
    OP, all the software you mentioned (as well as some other econometrics software such as gretl and OxMetrics) are compatible with OS X. However, check with your university to make sure that they have Mac licenses for all software. Sometimes licenses are not universal and universities may skip on Mac licences as universities tend to be PC-based.

    Also, I would really go for a 15" model regardless of what laptop you end up buying. Having a quad core CPU will speed up modelling quite a bit, especially if you work with large data sets. Dell XPS 15 is considerably cheaper than the 15" MBP, so that might be something you want to consider.

    I agree. Monday may dramatically change things, so making a decision right now is quite difficult.
     
  22. fbrwn thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Thanks! I'll have to check with them.
     
  23. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

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    #23
    You can always run Windows on your MBP using Parallels, Fusion ($) or even VirtualBox (Free) and have the best of both worlds. That's what I do with Parallels.

    Alternatively, you can install bootcamp and run Windows natively on the Mac but you lose the ability to work with OS X for fuel exchange, etc. Parallels can run it's VM from the Bootcamp partition so you can decide if you need native Windows or want interoperability with OSX. Not sure if Fusion or VB does that simply because i do not us them.

    Ultimately, the question is where are your indifference curve and budget line tangential?
     
  24. leman macrumors 604

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    #24
    If you are going to spend substantial time in R and other open-source data-analysis tools (which you should, because its the best staff on the market), then do yourself a favour and get a unix-based OS like OS X or Linux. With R classes I teach, students with Windows machines are always having issues with toolchains or software. Windows is a great OS if you are a specialist that mainly operates with a single, special-purpose software (like Photoshop etc.), but if fails short if flexibility is needed. Besides, you are probably writing your papers/thesis in LaTeX, and its much easier to set up convenient toolchains.
     
  25. blackoutz macrumors member

    blackoutz

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    #25
    Not sure about other fields but for macro, E-views is only available on Windows. I've tested matlab on OS X and boot camp Windows 10. For the same mcmc Bayesian estimation, it's takes less time on Windows. This is by no means scientific as I only run my code once on each platform. I assume if you do IO you also run tons of VFI in matlab. Nothing I've used on Windows looks as good as texshop in OS X though when it comes to latex.
     

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