School me on MBP

jkcerda

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Original poster
Jun 10, 2013
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Looking into picking up a13"MBP, upgrading it to the I 7 processor. Trying to keep it in the 1300 area ; PC will be used for programming. Not sure if there are other processors out there, this us my sons Christmas present Thanks

Update. Programs to be used are
Blender3-d
X code
Full Adobe suite
Solid works
 
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glenthompson

macrumors 68020
Apr 27, 2011
2,054
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Florida
As a retired programmer, processor speed is one of he least important things needed. The development process rarely taxes the CPU. The things I consider most important are screen real estate, memory, and disk space & speed. It was always a pain to work with a 14" screen when on call. I always preferred the dual 19" monitors at the office for hard core coding.
 

ohbrilliance

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May 15, 2007
943
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Melbourne, Australia
The last classic MBP is dated. You're better off with the latest MBA. It's much lighter and will run circles around the MBP, largely due to the SSD. Also, the resolution is more suitable for the screen size, and provides more screen real estate for programming.
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
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Montreal, Canada
I suggest not getting the regular (non-Retina) 13" MBP for programming, simply because it has a low resolution (1280x800). Screen real-estate speeds up programming significantly, so having a higher resolution is preferrable.

I suggest either offering a 13" MacBook Air (1440x900 resolution), or if your budget allows it, a 13" Retina MacBook Pro since you can adjust scaling setting to get the desired screen estate.

The major diffenciator between the 13" Retina MacBook Pro and 13" MacBook Air is the screen quality. It's up to you to determine if the better sharpness/color reproduction is worth the premium. The 13" Retina MBP is also better for gaming than the MBA, although it has a slightly lower battery life.

I personally think models that are the most worth it for most users are the ones with the base processor (Core i5), 256GB flash storage, and 8GB RAM. But that's just me though.

If your son is a student, you can also get education pricing (even if it's for a gift) by visiting this page.

Hope that helps!
 
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jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
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At the store, Mac guy mentioned that I can't upgrade memory if I get a SSD with only 4GBs, the specs on the air seem a lot lower compared to the MBP , MBP 2.9 GHZ I7 vs 1.7 I7 on the air. I CAN get the MBP with a SSD
 

ohbrilliance

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May 15, 2007
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Melbourne, Australia
The classic MBP with SSD will cost you more than the rMBP. Really, I would keep far away from the MBP. It's 18 months since it was updated, has a low res screen, and heavy.

The base frequency of the MBAs are considerably lower, but the computational power is similar between the MBAs and the rMBP, so the CPU shouldn't play a large factor in the decision.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
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At the store, Mac guy mentioned that I can't upgrade memory if I get a SSD with only 4GBs, the specs on the air seem a lot lower compared to the MBP , MBP 2.9 GHZ I7 vs 1.7 I7 on the air. I CAN get the MBP with a SSD
The CPU on the Air is still fast enough. It Turbos quite high and most of the time programming doesn't need any speed at all. A smartphone chip could do it. Only sometimes you need to compile which can take a while but the performance difference between the MBP and the Air is rather small subjectively. The 15" makes a more noticeable difference.

If it is only programming I agree with glenthompson screen real estate is the only thng one misses. That is why I don't like 13". It is doable on 13" and many get by but I always preferred 15" screen size and an external screen (can be a really cheap one) whenever possible.
I also agree that 1280x800 is a pain for any IDE to fit enough of the stuff. The Air has for its size at least a more reasonable resolution. Though more is always nice.
8GB is useful for VMs and everything else is fine. The Air CPU is fast enough.
I would get an Air, a retina or a windows notebook with 1920x1080 display of any size.
 

jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
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Sucks not knowing much about macs, rMBP needs to be configured the way I want it from the start, jacking up the price. No way to upgrade after purchase
cMBP Seems it has not been updated in a while , advantage if it is that it CAN be upgraded , configured one with the educational discount at 1324, upgrades include the i7 processor and a 128 SSD

An I7 rMBP would run me $1469 with only 4 GBS or $1559 with 8 GBs
You guys appear to prefer the newer rMBP, even the Air over the older but upgradable cMBP.
 

Jack Sun

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2013
66
4
Sucks not knowing much about macs, rMBP needs to be configured the way I want it from the start, jacking up the price. No way to upgrade after purchase
cMBP Seems it has not been updated in a while , advantage if it is that it CAN be upgraded , configured one with the educational discount at 1324, upgrades include the i7 processor and a 128 SSD

An I7 rMBP would run me $1469 with only 4 GBS or $1559 with 8 GBs
You guys appear to prefer the newer rMBP, even the Air over the older but upgradable cMBP.

How old is your son?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: As a young person, though I'd be pretty happy no matter what, I'd secretly be a little bummed if someone (generously) got me a DISCONTINUED HEAVY SO-FIVE-YEARS-AGO laptop, when for about the same price they could've gotten me one of the sexy sleek ultra light ultra long battery new ones...

You can get an i7/8gb air for $1349. The classic you are considering is as heavy as TWO airs.

You can get a i5/8gb retina pro for $1399. As all the Mac and programmer experts on here keep saying, you do NOT need an i7.

I think you are greatly overvaluing the whole "upgradable" thing...
 

jkcerda

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Original poster
Jun 10, 2013
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That would be because the model is discontinued.

I'm typing on the last generation of the upgradeable MBPs.
coming from windows, it is appealing to have a PC that CAN be upgraded, wonder if I can put more that 8GBs of memory on the cMBP.

----------

How old is your son?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: As a young person, though I'd be pretty happy no matter what, I'd secretly be a little bummed if someone (generously) got me a DISCONTINUED HEAVY SO-FIVE-YEARS-AGO laptop, when for about the same price they could've gotten me one of the sexy sleek ultra light ultra long battery new ones...

You can get an i7/8gb air for $1349. The classic you are considering is as heavy as TWO airs.

You can get a i5/8gb retina pro for $1399. As all the Mac and programmer experts on here keep saying, you do NOT need an i7.

I think you are greatly overvaluing the whole "upgradable" thing...
he is 19. he is currently using my toshiba I7 with a 1GB video card, but I cant run X-code on it.

I'll see if I can pinch pennies for the retina MBP
 

jkcerda

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Jun 10, 2013
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Are refurbished laptops a good deal? Seems they carry the same warranty. Found a decent model
15" retina MBP, feb 2013 release date 256 SSD, quad core i7 2.4 GHZ , but it only has 8 GBSand those are NOT upgradable
 

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,973
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Are refurbished laptops a good deal?
Some people figure those are among the best deals you can get (at least directly from Apple). I have purchased some refurb devices myself and so far all were in perfect condition. They also look like new (I think Apple routinely replaces the outer shells) - only the package might be a simple white generic one instead of the standard ones with pictures on them.

TL;DR: Yes, good deal! Clear recommendation!

it only has 8 GBSand those are NOT upgradable
If you plan on running a virtual machine or other, very memory hungry applications, 8GB is tight. Otherwise you can get along just fine with 8GB.
 
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jkcerda

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 10, 2013
874
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Criminal Mexi Midget
Some people figure those are among the best deals you can get (at least directly from Apple). I have purchased some refurb devices myself and so far all were in perfect condition. They also look like new (I think Apple routinely replaces the outer shells) - only the package might be a simple white generic one instead of the standard ones with pictures on them.

TL;DR: Yes, good deal! Clear recommendation!


If you plan on running a virtual machine or other, very memory hungry applications, 8GB is tight. Otherwise you can get along just fine with 8GB (especially with Mavericks being nicely optimized in terms of memory usage).
Thanks. The one draw back on the retina models is that they are not upgradable, the model with 16GBs is wayyyyyy out of budget, add to they the fact the warrant will only extend to 3 years total, something goes bad after those 3 years ill have a very expensive paper weight , for now, all the programs that will run on t will be Xcode, blender 3-d, maya and adobes suite. If I buy the classic MBP , it only comes in 13" and the memory once again will be the bottleneck at 8GBS
 

ls1dreams

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2009
558
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Thanks. The one draw back on the retina models is that they are not upgradable, the model with 16GBs is wayyyyyy out of budget, add to they the fact the warrant will only extend to 3 years total, something goes bad after those 3 years ill have a very expensive paper weight , for now, all the programs that will run on t will be Xcode, blender 3-d, maya and adobes suite. If I buy the classic MBP , it only comes in 13" and the memory once again will be the bottleneck at 8GBS
This is the biggest problem with current macbooks. If you need 16gb of RAM they are insanely overpriced.

Otherwise, OP should just get a MBP 13" 8gb/256gb SSD and add a 20-22" monitor on the side.
 

scbond

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2010
259
2
Nottingham, UK
The last classic MBP is dated. You're better off with the latest MBA. It's much lighter and will run circles around the MBP, largely due to the SSD. Also, the resolution is more suitable for the screen size, and provides more screen real estate for programming.
Funny that, I'm pretty sure my 2012 MBP will run circles around the MB Air.

----------

This is the biggest problem with current macbooks. If you need 16gb of RAM they are insanely overpriced.

Otherwise, OP should just get a MBP 13" 8gb/256gb SSD and add a 20-22" monitor on the side.
Yeah, but who actually needs 16GB in a laptop?! Most of the people that go with 16GB never need anywhere near that much.
 

ohbrilliance

macrumors 6502a
May 15, 2007
943
217
Melbourne, Australia
Funny that, I'm pretty sure my 2012 MBP will run circles around the MB Air.


Not if your MBP is running a regular hard drive. My point is the MBA ships with a very fast SSD, whereas the comparibly priced MBP does not. The SSD gives a much greater boost to overall performance than the slightly more capable CPU of the MBP.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
coming from windows, it is appealing to have a PC that CAN be upgraded, wonder if I can put more that 8GBs of memory on the cMBP.
Yes. It can take 16GB no problem. The chipset supports 32GB, but no 16GB SO-DIMMS exist on the market.
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68020
Apr 27, 2011
2,054
178
Florida
He is going to use a 27" monitor on the side
With that size monitor, a 13" will work nicely.

One thing not mentioned is whether his school offers any special deals. Some universities offer 4 year walk-in service agreements with machines purchased through their bookstore or computer store. Covers you the entire time. A colleague's daughter got that when she went to college. I know the University of Virginia offers accident protection (spills, drops, etc.) and provides loaners while being repaired.
 

nateo200

macrumors 68030
Feb 4, 2009
2,857
6
Northern District NY
Just get him the 13" retina MacBook Pro with 8-16GB's of RAM...its expensive (well not that bad) but me and my friends that use things like the Adobe Suite or program value the proper tools for the job and it will last. I just got back from a get together and a bunch of us had our laptops and those with the right tools did not even mention anything about the computers but those with cheaper computers were getting frustrated with Photoshop or whatever not working well. The 15" is really the sweet spot but 13" with 8-16 of RAM is nice too.
 

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