rMBP 13 or 15 for CS student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jonjon03, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. jonjon03 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    #1
    Currently I'm trying to pick and choose between the 13" and 15", so far I can't make up on my mind which to choose.

    I currently have a Lennovo y410p. Overall it's a good notebook, but I have some annoyances about it
    -Build Quality, I usually thought Lennovo build quality was solid, but this laptop feels a bit flimsy
    -Weight, it weighs around 5.3 pounds. Usually just the laptop by itself isn't too bad to carry around, but I would almost always have to carry the power adapter which is kind of a pain to walk around the campus for the whole day.
    -Battery life, it only lasts me half of a day use (3~5 hours) and even shorter if I run Ubuntu.
    -Screen

    Due to these reasons I am considering of purchasing a new rMBP, but I'm not sure which to pick. I would like to pick the 13" for it recently had the update, lighter, and longer battery life but at the same time I am concerned about the processing power and screen size. So far none of my computer science assignment/project demanded a great deal of processing power, but I am concerned if I would need more oomph later on (especially when I take operating systems course). Since I be mostly coding on this notebook the screen real estate becomes important, I would like to hear from other users how feasible it is to code on a 13".

    This is a bit of an aside, but do the Best Buy's movers coupon and student discount stack? Also I was able to get a coupon, but it's dated from 4/1/15 to 5/1/15. Will I be still able to use this coupon?
     
  2. Pootan macrumors member

    Pootan

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    #2
    for CS processing power will not be an issue since most of the degree will be reversing strings and flipping bits. Generally development requires very little processing power, anything with a keyboard will do. At most you'd want to spin off a separate virtual machine for a clean dev environment and another for a clean testing environment. A 13" rMBP will kill that. The advantage of the 15" is the bigger screen space, but really compared to using an external monitor, they are a wash.

    I would choose the smaller one so I can do work on the bus/corners of crowded rooms/closets in parties.

    ----------

    also it'll play less games so you'll study more :p
     
  3. jonjon03 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    #3
    Thanks Pootan, yea I really did want the 13 inch but couldn't commit. Too bad there isn't an option to have a discrete gpu with the 13 inch though. Now I just need to figure how to get the best deal as possible.


    ----
    Yea it's a shame that there isn't a discrete graphics card on it...but it's not like I should have the time to do anything else. Maybe with that price difference I just get a 3ds or something (really shouldn't though).
     
  4. boast, Mar 27, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015

    boast macrumors 65816

    boast

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    Nov 12, 2007
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    Phoenix
  5. Trahearne, Mar 27, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015

    Trahearne macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2014
    #5
    The core question is your work pattern. If you usually work at a fixed location that is of your own AND do not really work seriously at random locations outside your private room, 13-inch models with an external display might be a better choice.

    Though I am not studying CS, I do have a couple of programming courses and I use 13-inch rMBP for everything, at home and at school. The battery life of it (7-9 hours of light workloads) is more than enough for all my mobile needs of a full desktop environment, and the retina display is so great that it outweighed in my mind the extra battery life Air might have brought to me. On the other hand, sometimes at home (in warrior mode, you know) I will also plug in my external monitor if I need more real estates, like showing reference docs, or all the helper windows (like debugger output, call stack, etc).

    Frankly, unless there are courses about stuff like advanced 3D graphics, I don't think there is any stuff that the dual-core chip with Iris graphics cannot handle. Even you get some of those, the Iris graphics is a pretty strong entry GPU that can run DirectX 9 games smoothly. Mine runs Guild Wars 2 sometimes, but of course at "Best Performance" (ugh) profile & in Bootcamp. YMMV.
     
  6. jonjon03 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    #6
    @Trahearne

    Lately, I've been using the computer out more so portability is essential. Also, yea I only need to take one computer graphics course, but I suspect it won't be that extensive (a sample of a project that I would need to do is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRKxVtX7R7k ). I think I am pretty much set on the 13 inch now, but thanks for the input.
     
  7. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #7
    rMBP 13 or 15 for CS student

    I think the discrete gpu thing is overrated. I'm running Xcom, Civ V, Beyond Earth, Empire at War, C&C and several other games with zero issues.
     
  8. bits macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    #8
    I recommend 15". 13" does not fit all the tools. On 13" you have to often close/open tools. Weight is little heavier, but bigger screen gives more pleasure.
    Maybe look at it this way - more time you spend in the classroom rather than walking with it. Good backpack and you will not feel it. Unless you have the ability to connect it to an external monitor.
     
  9. Pootan macrumors member

    Pootan

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    #9
    an additional thing I want to mention is some classes have really tiny desks. It's real. And some times you'll need to find places to work and it might be a crowded cafe or a desk shared with 8 other people. And if you transit, being able to work in a bus is an epic advantage.
     
  10. bits macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    #10
    That's why you have a 11" Macbook Air ;)
    I have three MBP 15" from 2008 (first alu), the last one from 2011 - more than 800 cycle count...
     
  11. Pootan macrumors member

    Pootan

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    #11
    I would have loved to have the 11" air during my degree, I used a compaq 700 7 lb 14" laptop that barely last a one and half hour class :p it was called "ultra portable" in the marketing.
     
  12. jonjon03 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    #12
    I appreciate at everyone's comments and in the end I went for the 13" model (2.9 ghz and 512 ssd). This is the first time running a mac os so everything is a bit weird, and had an easier time navigating the system via terminal. Debating on whether using safari or going with firefox. Also, feels a bit strange not installing any type of antivirus/antimalware software. So far happy with the purchase. I can't tell if my screen has problems yet, but I doubt I will look into it (cause ignorance is bliss).

    Just wanted to say thanks.
     

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