Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Epic Xbox Revie, May 24, 2011.


Which computer would be better for my situation? READ

  1. 13" MBP low-end

  2. 15" MBP low-end w/ High-Res Screen

  1. Epic Xbox Revie macrumors 6502a

    Epic Xbox Revie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Washington, D.C.

    Let me start by saying "I'm not the richest guy in the world, so I'd like to make a purchase that fits my needs and my budget in a balanced manner."

    I am going off to college in the fall, (YES I AM WAITING FOR BTS deal) and I am going to purchase my second mac, (first laptop), for my computer engineering degree.

    I have an iPhone 4, and an iPad 2 if either of these things influence a buying decision, well...there you go, I have them. :p

    Anyway, I am torn between a 13" MBP low-end vs 15" MBP low-end (with Hi-res). I think I would love the 13"'s increased portability, to relieve a strain on my back...but I am not sure if I can work efficiently on a 13" screen with relatively poor pixel count (iphone 4!!). The 15" has more weight, definitely more power, higher resolution, more screen space, but I am not sure if it justifies $700 more.

    Would I be able to use a 13" or a 15" better over the course of 4 years? Which would fulfill my needs as a computer engineering student? Which is the better value for a college student who has potentially a large amount of loans (waiting on a big scholarship!!)..

    Thanks, please comment your opinion and your experiences.
  2. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    I'd get the 15" if its going to last 4 years, although the majority of the reason for this is that it will be what you want in a personal laptop for video/facebook/whatever. Most things Computer Science/Engineering students need to do could be achieved on a PowerBook 1400 from 1997. (Heck, I managed to stumble through a week of my Computer Science with Mathematics course on my 1400/133 as an experiment - Sure Mathematica was a little slow, but programming and everything else a Computer Science/Engineering student needs - PDFs, email etc were all perfectly fine (This was under Mac OS 9.1)) The main justification for the 15" is that its nearly twice as fast so you should be able to do "anything" with it and it should easily last 4 years (and make it worth the extra cost now).
  3. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    One concern that you might have to worry about is whether all the software for your classes is Mac compatible. Some math/stats programs aren't (at least the license that the school has available). One prime example I had issues with was Microsoft Visual Studio, which was the required package for C++ programming.

    I mention this because you might want to consider the more capable processor and better graphics to possibly run a Windows virtual machine if necessary. Even so, for a college student, your eyes will appreciate the bigger screen with the higher resolution anyway. Especially if many math equations are involved.

    PS - newbie above is a (now-reported) spammer ;)
  4. Epic Xbox Revie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Epic Xbox Revie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Washington, D.C.
    I like the point about that. Thanks!
  5. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
    Since you're going to be a computer engineering student and you plan on having this computer for the next 4 years, I'd go for the 15" with hi-res screen.
  6. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Elyria, Ohio
    I agree. The OP is not over buying, but the next question is whether the software etc is compatible with Mac. I know a few future engineers and one of them has an older MacBook Pro and he does not complain. However, I am not sure if this is engineering rig.
  7. DavidB52 macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2011
    I think you should always go for the monitor that is the biggest and the best resolution.

    That is advice I heard some time ago because the monitor is what you are going to be looking at for the next several years. So be good to your eyes. You can always upgrade your computer and use the same monitor, but give a lot of importance to the quality of your monitor.

    Of course, with a laptop, you are kind of stuck with the monitor that comes with it. Although, I suppose you still have the option of using an external monitor.

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