Retina MacBook Pro the way to go for a CS student/future developer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by .realest, May 7, 2014.

  1. .realest macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2014
    I'm on the fence about getting a new retina MBP or to get a MacBook Air. I'm currently a CS student and I work part time as a web developer. I'm still using a 2009 MBP, which is fine for web browsing and such, but it's slowed down a lot, and has a battery life of only about 4 hours maximum.

    I do also have a very recent desktop I built that I use as my primary machine when I'm at home, so the laptop I'll be purchasing will not be a replacement--it'll only be for use when I work away from home and when I'm on campus. Having said this, the most obvious answer might've been the MacBook Air. However, there's currently a Best Buy promotion where I'm able to get a late-2013, 8/256 rMBP for $1275 (pre-tax), the same price as a rMBP refurbished from Apple. A MacBook Air configured to 8GB RAM (using the education discount on Apple's website, since Best Buy has no 8/256 Air models), costs about $1200 (pre-tax).

    Looking at the pros/cons of both models, I feel like paying $75 more is worth it for a better screen and a faster processor. Another option I considered would be to wait until a rMBP refresh, but it seems like a significant one won't occur until Q4 2014, or even Q1 2015. And even then, I most likely won't be getting as large of a discount as $225 ($75 base discount + $150 student discount).

    I've put some time into doing some research, so let me know what you guys think!
  2. DanGoh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2014
    Retina MacBook Pro the way to go for a CS student/future developer?

    I got that deal at Best Buy 3 weeks ago. Except I paid $1300 tax free for the late 13" MBPr 8GB/256GB model. I was going to wait till the refresh later this year too, but you are right, you won't get a good deal like this on the 2014 refresh until this time next year.

    I'm not sure what I'm majoring in yet, but the my new MB should get me through it all. I would think since your a CS major the MBP would be better choice than the Air. More power. This might sound weird, but when I think of a college student with a MacBook Air, I think of an English major. Just my opinion.
  3. nando4, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014

    nando4 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2009
    13" rMBP has the better retina screen, faster CPU and the Thunderbolt 2 port. The 13" MBA is however lighter/thinner and gets better battery life which may make it more functional for your purposes. Battery life details summarized for each below, copied from Apple's website:

    2013 13" rMBP

    Up to 9 hours wireless web
    Up to 9 hours iTunes movie playback
    Built-in 71.8-watt-hour lithium-polymerbattery

    2013 13" MBA

    Up to 12 hours wireless web
    Up to 12 hours iTunes movie playback
    Built-in 54‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery

    If you need power-on-the-go then the 15" MBP with it's quad-core CPU would be best option. Though it's in a higher price bracket.
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    It needs to be added, that you will get between 2 1/2 and 4 hours on any of those new macbooks if you do somewhat serious, media related work.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Consider a refurbed rMBP from Apple. You can get a refurbed maxed out model for $500 off list price and it comes with full warranty plus you can get AppleCare for it. Also if you can wait until tax free weekend in August or September (varies by state) you can save more than another hundred or more in taxes.
  6. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    FWIW, with respects to battery life, you'll probably find you get better than than 2 1/2 to 4 hours. I recently (2 weeks ago) picked up the 15" rMBP with 16gigs RAM/512 SSD. Using Photoshop CC (including 3D), Lightroom 5, Aperture, etc., with full brightness, I'm getting close to 6-7 hours of battery life.
  7. Meister, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    If you continously use above mentioned apps you will certainly not get 6-7 hours.
    On an air you could get 4 hours if you are lucky.

    If i multitask nonstop lr, ps and safari with full brightness, my rmbp goes down to two hours.

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