Please help me. I'm new to Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bluebeanie, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. bluebeanie macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2014
    #1
    Hey everyone. Im heading out to college this year and I don't know what I need to buy. I'm going in for computer science and buissness. I also want to learn and do some game development. I was thinking maybe a gaming labtop and then a imac? Or vice versa. People tell me I should just get a macbook because I'll need need to learn Linux and I'll have the option to use windows. But then again a Mac probably won't be strong enough for game development. Itd be really cool if you all could help me out. Thanks. I have a budget of about 3500$. Thanks again guys!!
     
  2. casperes1996, Apr 12, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014

    casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    Horsens, Denmark
    #2
    Uhmm...

    An rMBP will do you fine for game development. The suited up model comes with a GT 750m and the lower end one with an Iris Pro 5200. The Iris Pro is probably easier to optimize the frame buffer for, but the 750m supports newer versions of OpenGL and DirectX. My suggestion is to get an rMBP (retina MacBoook Pro in case you were wondering), and if you really want a desktop than throw together a tower yourself and pop OpenSUSE on it. I've done quite a lot of work on Linux myself, and it's really wonderful that so many of the Mac terminal commands are the same on Linux (obviously because they both follow POSIX and work a lot like Unix). Apple are great when it comes to power management though, so getting your laptop from Apple would be a great idea. The rMBP has a battery life of around 8 hours with mild-medium use. If I were you though, i'd just get a really suited up rMBP and a thunderbolt/mini display port or HDMI screen, maybe even a 4K one, a mouse and a keyboard, and use the rMBP as my only computer. If you can wait that long, maybe hold on for Maxwell 850m GPUs? Another point to getting an rMBP by the way, is that you can have Xcode with you in college. (of course there's hackintosh, but it's all so unreliable from what I've experienced.), and yeah, there are many other IDEs out there for Windows and Linux that have comparable feature sets, but Xcode is in my opinion the king of IDEs.


    The different between between the 750m and the 850m will be about 50% and DirectX 11.1 vs 11.2 and OpenGL 4.3 vs 4.4
     
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #3
    This is just my opinion, but a gaming laptop and a laptop for college are two completely different things, and you will end up spending a lot of money on something that will not fit your needs. I'm not saying that you shouldn't play games at college. Go for it, but a gaming laptop is not the way to do it. You will be buying a heavy, hot, loud, expensive computer with poor battery life. In comparison to a gaming desktop, performance will be terrible, and your gaming set up will be awkward and cramped.

    The ONLY reason to get a gaming laptop is if you really need to play AAA games with medium settings on the go. Really consider if you need power on the go. And no, programming does not take power. I'm a college student, and one of the guys I'm living with is finishing up a computer science major on an iPad (wouldn't recommend it, just because of the inconvenience of touch, but it does everything he needs power wise).

    Now, here is what I would recommend. Get a refurbished 2012 iMac, i7, gtx 680mx, 1TB fusion drive for 2000$. It has better graphics performance than the maxed out 2013 model, and the 680mx is overclockable. Check it out on youtube. If you ever need to do any heavy work, it is a powerhouse. You will be able to run most modern games at 1440p, high settings. Wait until the new MBA comes out, and get a baseline model to do your schoolwork on. Or, if it doesn't come out by the time you need it, get a 13" rMBP for either 1200$ (128GB/4GB) or 1400$(256GB/8GB).It will come out to a little under 3500$.

    If you really really want the 15" rMBP, check out the 2012 model. The 2013 model barely improved. The baseline graphics are actually worse, the haswell processor doesn't improve performance, and barely improves battery life. You can pick up a 256GB/8GB model used on ebay for around 1400$, and it will be comprable in performance to the 2700$ 2013 model (at least graphics wise). You can still get the iMac with the best graphics performance available for 2000$, and stay in budget

    All the options aside, I have two pieces of advice. Gaming performance on laptops have a massive premium, so look into getting a powerful desktop and a portable laptop. Second, you are looking to spend 3500$, and since you are on this forum, it looks like you want to do research before you make a decision. There are many websites that do performance tests on graphics cards, laptops, and desktops. Check out anandtech, videocardbenchmark, and geekbench. The best computer is not always the most expensive computer, especially this year.

    Sorry if I came across a little rude, I just don't want you to waste your money. With 3500$, you can get some really great performance. I know it can be hard to save money, so I won't tell you to haha (I have a hackintosh with a gtx 770, an iPad air, and I will probably buy a MBA when the new one comes out). If you want to experiment, and you really want performance, a hackintosh is awesome if you do it right. For about 1000$ In components, and 500$ in peripherals (sound system, decent monitor, keyboard, and mouse) you can get a sick computer. I would still personally recommend an iMac, because it is a pain in the ass to maintain a hackintosh, you will get comprable performance, and the iMac is beautiful. I threw a lot of very vague information at you. If you want to know more about any of the options, I can direct you to the correct places.

    TL;DR: Don't waste your money on a 2013 model, 2012 models of the 15" rMBP and the iMac are even better than their 2013 counterparts in terms of graphics.

    Sorry for the long post, Best,
    Matt
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    Nov 23, 2011
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #5
    If you want gaming, then the rMBP is not for you, its a great computer and will handle everything you throw at it (other then serious games ;) )

    I'd recommend that, over anything else
     
  6. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

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    Sarf London
    #6
    But does the OP state that he/she wants to play games?
     
  7. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #7
    Gaming and college aren't necessarily compatible. Often colleges have Xboxes in the student union and some students bring gaming consoles and gaming pcs with them. Those same students are seldom on the dean's list. In fact, quite a few of them end up on the dean's "other" list.

    I suggest you focus on a MBP for academic use and if it doesn't do that well for gaming or game development, so what. If the college requires you to have some awesome 3D based machine for testing or development, chances are they will have some in the lab. Meanwhile, for the other 99.8% of your classes that involve mundane topics like english, math and science courses a rMBP is exactly the right machine to buy.
     
  8. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2013
    #8
    He asked if he should buy a gaming laptop, so yes.
     
  9. rapicell macrumors regular

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    Mar 20, 2013
    #9
    They started they wanted to do game development and assumed a gaming laptop should be acquired for that purpose. Game development =/= playing, it could be implied, but it isn't always.
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #10
    Yeah, no not exactly


    While most of your statements are true, the 750m (high end 2013 rMBP) is way better in terms of graphics than the 2012 650m. The difference there is that the 2012 model has the 650 for the lowest end base model as well. Getting the 750m however will yield better performance (although if possible wait for 850m, difference will be huge). And regarding the iMac, the 780m is faster than the 680MX. The only difference is clock speed, and the 780m comes in almost a 100 Mhz faster, which is a lot when it comes to GPUs. Not that that is at the same TDP, which is that advantage over over clocking the 680MX yourself.
    I also don't agree that an rMBP with the 750m isn't suitable for gaming. Yes, it's not the most optimal, but if you don't NEED to run every single game at ultra settings, and you are fine running at medium, or perhaps going down in resolution (I mean you're not expecting to run games in the native 2880x1800 anyway), you'll be fine with the rMBP. While the website is clunky, and written as if it were maintained by robots, I suggest GameDebate's GPU comparison site for details on specific GPUs. They have a nice overview that allows you to see the proportional percentage difference between to GPUs, and test whether or not a certain game will run at a certain resolution on a specific card. Usually they have pretty accurate information.

    Also, CS on an iPad? How? There are no way to compile code on the iPad. I mean, you could write the code in basically any app, but he'd be incapable of testing and debugging it properly. Did he just use the iPad at the school and have a Mac at home where he compiled debugged and ran his programs?

    ----------

    To defend Mad3Inch a bit, you have to test the programs you make, which in turn would mean he'd have to play his games.
     
  11. mad3inch1na, Apr 13, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014

    mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2013
    #11
    I got carried away





    I definitely agree that the gtx 750m is better than the gtx 650m. I just meant that considering you could get a 650m for 1400$ in comparison to 2700$ for the 750m, it doesn't make a lot of sense to get the maxed out version. Is the bump in performance really "way better" if it comes at the cost of 1300$? And I know there is a better processor, SSD, and RAM. My main point was that the portability afforded by a laptop is sometimes undermined by the excessive pricing of mobile components. If you can sacrifice a little bit of your mobile power (a gtx 750m vs gtx 650m), you can funnel some of your leftover money into a desktop. I'm sure some professionals out there REALLY need portability, but unless you have an office that you are developing games out of in the next 2-3 years, you don't need a maxed out rMBP.

    In terms of the gtx 680mx vs the gtx 780m, I used this website as my source:
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html
    It may be wrong, but they look about the same here.

    In terms of my roommate, I didn't specify, but I was referring to what his mobile needs were. He has a desktop at home where he does most of his heavy lifting, but anything he does in class solely requires an iPad, not a 2700$ laptop.

    In reference to the "gaming laptop" comment, it was a little bit of bias on my part. Any of my friends, in college, who are looking to spend over 2000$ on a computer are doing it because they want gaming capabilities. Not saying that anyone who buys a 2000$ laptop is in it for gaming, but as far as 17 year old guys looking to go into video game development go, it sounds like a gaming setup. Also, I've never heard anyone refer to a laptop as a "gaming laptop" unless they were gaming on it..maybe that is just me.

    The bottom line is that this guy wants to drop a lot of money, but not enough to get a desktop and a laptop. If he gets the best desktop available, he won't have enough for a decent laptop. If he gets the best laptop available, he won't have enough for a desktop at all. I don't think the 2012 rMBP and the 2012 iMac are the best computers offered, I just think for 3500$, that is the best bang for your buck. I posted my comment after someone recommended getting a maxed 2014 rMBP, assuming Apple keeps dedicated graphics only on the top model. This won't get released until next school year starts, and will most likely cost the same as the 2013 model. My solution might not be perfect, but I think it is a better solution for what his needs and wants are. I'm sure something could fit his needs better, and I'm sure he would like to hear if anyone has a better idea. I may have oversold the performance of the machines I recommended to get across that even if 2012 models aren't as good as 2013 models, I don't think the 2013 models are the right purchases in this situation.
     
  12. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #12
    You make a good case.



    You make a good case sir. And I wouldn't say you oversold the performance that much. In terms of GPU performance specifically, the difference isn't huge at all, but there is a difference. I was not trying to undermine your advice, and I think that your solution to the OP's problem is probably the best he''s gonna' find, but I felt some clarification was needed on certain parts. I don't however believe that we'll have to wait until the next school year for the next rMBP. I would put my money on a mid July/late June release, following a reveal at WWDC. At least for the 15". I know for a fact that the 850m GPUs will be ready by then, and I am quite confident that the Haswell refresh that would fit the 15" rMBPs will be ready by then as well. Anyhow, I think the OP should just go with what you suggested, it seems the smartest.
     
  13. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #13
    Fair enough. You had a right to call me out though, some of the things I asserted weren't true. I personally think the rMBP won't get a major cpu/gpu update until q3/q4 just because of broadwell, and Apple doesn't typically upgrade graphics unless they upgrade CPU as well, but this year may be different because of Broadwell delays. Also, apple has released the rMBP during the fall for the past few years, so it would be unexpected for sure. Anyways, we've beaten this thread to death :p. I'm pretty sure if the OP tries to respond, it will be a little overwhelming..
     
  14. dukeblue219 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #14
    Can I ask when you went to college? I ask because when I was in school 2004-2008 virtually every dorm room had some form of game console -- it's not some obscure thing you might be lucky to find in a student union. There was no obvious correlation between playing video games and being successful, either. It just comes down to time management, whether it's frat parties, clubs, sports, or video games that competes with your studies.
     
  15. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Location:
    Detroit
    #15
    [​IMG]

    Let's just say computers still used paper tape and punch cards. Video game consoles were not invented yet. Multiplayer online gaming? Star Trek on the mainframe. The guys with HP calculators would always win because we had Polar->Rectangular conversion on a single key. Navigation was Cartesian but phaser and photon torpodoes required angles. The first damage your ship took in an attack was your targeting computer. After we killed off all the Klingons and Romulans we would attack each other. Deathmath. Woohoo! You can play it yourself here.

    My kids are in the dorms now and while one of them is on the dean's list, one of them is on the dean's "other" list because he decided his Xbox was more important than deadlines one semester. I speak from experience, mine and my kids.
     
  16. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #16
    Since anecdotal evidence is so relevant, one of my friends plays league of legends over 8 hours a day, and during highscool was one of the top ranked players in runescape, putting in over 1000 hours of play time. He had the second highest GPA in our school, got a Regent's scholarship to UCLA, and is on track to go to medical school after 3 years of undergraduate studies. I am a student at UC Davis, have a 3.7, and play videogames almost every day. My point is, I speak from experience, mine and my friends. It doesn't hold any substance, and I doubt you really care what my friend does in his spare time.
     
  17. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Detroit
    #17
    We had a guy in our dorm who smoked a certain substance all year long. All four years. He graduated with a 4.0. So you're right anecdotal evidence is worthless to someone else. Still, since I've known more than a few dozen college students and their study habits, I do see a strong statistical correlation between study habits, distractions and GPA.

    One of the interesting sayings I heard over the years was "Pre med to Special Ed" to describe the aspirations of a certain young man who couldn't leave the ganga alone. He turned out just fine in his newly chosen profession but sometimes I can't help but wonder if he'd have been happier if he'd walked away from some of those distractions and temptations.

    And no it doesn't really affect me if your friend flunks out of school or wins the Nobel prize, I'm just offering my opinion. Your Mileage May Vary.
     
  18. mizzouxc macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    #18
    Just a note, development doesn't require a robust machine at all. A nice screen and text editor will be your best friends. Not that I doubt you, but I can almost guarantee you that you won't be able to make anything useful code-wise that will max out even iris graphics your first 3 years of college. Graphics development for games can be compute intensive, but you have to play the game of how much $ am I willing to part for a 6 second faster render.

    I'd recommend a nice iMac, Fusion drive and a nice GPU. This will allow you to play most games out there and have a big screen to code/test on.

    Everyone's different, but back in college, I couldn't write papers with other people around. To do them, and code, I had to lock myself away in my room. A desktop was perfect for me.

    Also, the most important part, is your first 2 years of college will be nothing but pre-requisite courses like math, english, liberal arts, misc sciences, and introductory "major' courses. Your Jr and Sr year you'll really get into the interesting courses.

    That being said, a VERY nice computer can be had for 1500-2000. Make sure you buy a backup drive for time machine and a couple of accessories and a couple of pieces of software you might want. I recommend sublime text or textmate for coding (provided you're not using some IDE).

    Save the rest, you're going to need that money!


     

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