rMBP or Macbook Air (then 2nd gen rMBP) for an Engineering Student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BigZ9, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. BigZ9, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012

    BigZ9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    #1
    Basically, my dillema is that I need a laptop for university. I'm going into computer engineering and will need to run virtual machines and preferably have a bootcamp partition for visual studio and windows development software.

    I can either buy a 2.3GHz with 16GB ram rMBP for $2528.94 now and be done with it.

    Or I can buy one of th following 13" Macbook Air and buy a 2nd gen Retina macbook pro next year and hand off the Macbook Air I buy this year to my dad who is still rocking a 12" Powerbook G4.

    13" Macbook Air 1.8 GHz 128GB 8GB Ram: $1466.74
    13" Macbook Air 1.8 GHz 256GB 8GB Ram: $1805.74
    (Canadian prices with taxes)

    Eitherway, my dad will be upgrading from his Powerbook. So do you guys think it will be less expensive to go for an Air and then get a 2nd Gen rMBP? Or should I just buy a rMBP now.

    Thanks!
     
  2. caligomez macrumors regular

    caligomez

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    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    San Juan, PR
    #2
    Seems to me that the cost of upgrading next year would be less if you buy the rMBP now. The market isn't flooded with them, so if you take good care of it, you should fetch a good price for it next year. And if you have the money now, then why not just go for it?

    Would you still be upgrading next year if buying rMBP now? I'd recommend you stick with it a couple of years, enjoy it, and upgrade when you need to.
     
  3. BigZ9 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2012
    #3
    Naw, I would most likely use it till the end of my program, which is 5 years. But my dad will upgrade from the powerbook in the near future. I was just having doubts over the rMBP because next years might be more refined, with Haswell and maybe a 512GB ssd on the base model… I have a base model with 16GB on order so I think I'll stick with it.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #4
    I don't think a retina MBP is the way to go if you need something to last 5 years.
     
  5. BigZ9 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2012
    #5
    What do you suggest then?
     
  6. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #6
    For your needs you should get a powerful, reliable and upgradeable Windows machine for 2/3 of the price of the rmbp. It will last longer and save you the headaches of using a Mac these days.
     
  7. dljeffery macrumors regular

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    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    Issaquah, WA
    #7
    I can't imagine why a rMBP wouldn't be a great machine for your needs. And certainly better than a non-Mac option, for someone who's already been using Macs. And I also don't think that Windows is a good platform for someone going into your field... OS X and Linux are much better for that.

    As to original question, if you already know you're going to be using VMs, then I would definitely get the rMBP with 16GB instead of the Air with 8GB. Running a VM with 8GB (or even less) RAM is certainly doable, but it's far from ideal. But if you're going to be using VMs anyway, why use Bootcamp for Windows/VS? VS runs fine in a VM, and you save the hassle of allocating a fixed portion of your SSD, and rebooting all the time to switch between the two.
     
  8. BigZ9, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012

    BigZ9 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2012
    #8
    I've been using Mac OSX for 7+ years now so personally going to windows seems like more of a headache for me :p and I've worked on visual studio through VMware fusion so it's not a big deal.
     
  9. BigZ9 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2012
    #9
    Yea, that was my logic for choosing the rMBP w/ 16GB. And I'd like to have a bootcamp partition for casual gaming :p, pretty much the only reason… I definitly plan to use that bootcamp volume through fusion or parallels when I need windows for non-gaming purposes. Thanks for the help!
     
  10. s1lv3r macrumors member

    s1lv3r

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #10
    Get the Air, and then next year get the Retina. That's what i'm doing.

    Next year's Retina will be much better and probably will cost less in comparison to this year one.

    i'm getting a base Air with 8gb and a Time Capsule for my files :D
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #11

    This is more bad information. Apple always introduces the new thing at the top, and they will release refurbished units. Let's say they bring out an $1800 version by bumping the cMBP out of their lineup or offer a 13" version of this. Watch your resale value plummet. It is possible too. You could see something like a 512GB ssd become the standard configuration where the 256 drops to the new lower price level. Then when those start to hit refurbished status or promotions come out on Amazon, you can have a brand new one with newer internals for hundreds cheaper than you bought this one. These things are sunken costs and should be treated as such.

    Keep in mind there's no guarantee either way. Sometimes these things last a long time. Remember the chargers are extremely delicate, and the cords get messed up easily even if you're careful. Batteries sometimes last a long time. Sometimes they require replacement. I've had swelling batteries before. If by some chance your trackpad ever begins to act weird, check the battery. It wouldn't be a bad idea checking it once every 6 months or so anyway. These things are hit and miss. They may or may not last you 5 years due to wear and potentially expensive service/repair costs. If a computer MUST last 5 years to be an acceptable purchase, you may wish to rethink how much you're spending. I would suggest you balance your spending around something more like a 3 year replacement cycle, then if you get more time out of it, enjoy.
     
  12. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #12
    Your right on! IMHO

    the 1st rMBP is most likely to take the harder resell hit once the new model comes out - because most likely the rMBP will become the standard - not the special edition model as it currently is
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #13
    It could be next generation. It could be two years from now. No one really knows how quickly these things will change. By carrying over certain things such as shipping configuration on ram and drive size, they may hit the lower price point or at least something under $2k within a year. Don't be surprised if that happens. Worst case scenario you'll have the $2200 model now down to the $1800s refurbished with a full warranty. That could happen even with a mid ivy spec bump. Right now a late 2011 2.4 ghz option with the high res matte upgrade (so $2200 + $150 for the display upgrade at the time) is $1779 refurbished now. The October 2011 2.2 is $1359. Anyone who thinks they'll only lose a couple hundred on their upgrade is delusional unless they're anticipating an uneducated buyer.

    If the rMBP trickles down to the $1800 mark new, plan on losing nearly 50% on this one. It should just be accepted that you buy it to use it, not for residual value.
     
  14. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #14
    Well, I've been using a Mac since 1999, but I'll be switching with my next purchase. Good luck anyway! :)
     
  15. BigZ9 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    #15
    Yea, I see what your saying, though I don't think I'd want to sell it. Just pass it down to my parents who's computing tasks are much less intensive than mine. That way I'm still free to buy whatever I need later. Though 5 years would've been nice as that's the length of my program. I would love to have an Air
    but for the difference in performance and features the rMBP seems to be more worth it, atleast for my needs, and the screen is amazing. Unfortunetly it seems like it is a horrible time to buy a mac, just cause Apple is in this huge transitional phase.
     
  16. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #16
    If the rMBP benefits you, you should go with that one. You should determine where you get the best deal. Amazon had a promotion going where they were cheaper, but I don't know their return policy. Apple has student discounts and often very nice back to school promotions. I've seen several places carry Applecare down to $250. It can be purchased within the first year. This isn't regarding Applecare, but if you need to change a battery, it's supposedly $200 on that model, so it is doable.

    I was mainly responding on the others to refute the idea that this would show minimal depreciation over time when so many factors say otherwise.

    I forgot to mention, there's nothing wrong with holding it 5 years or more. My point was try not to budget it in a way where you feel required to keep it that long to be a worthwhile purchase.
     

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