Urgent! College Student here. Need to purchase a laptop.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jack2wai2, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. jack2wai2, Nov 15, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012

    jack2wai2 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Hi all. It is the 3rd post I have here since I join macrumors forum. Days after days, I read other post regarding macbook pro and macbook pro with retina display. Since I already own a macbook air for portability, now I need a real estate. I have a windows desktop and i will give it to my brother for gaming.

    Now, here are my usage on this to-be-purchased computer.
    - Browse the internet, especially facebook and databases
    - Movies
    - Music
    - Store some of my photos
    - Download (perhaps overnight)
    - Read pdf (most of the time I read in on screen, not printing to save paper)

    I have dilemma to choose over retina model or non-retina 15 inch model. Non-retina seems to have less problem, larger hard drive to store my data, a CD drive .

    The bad is it has no retina and no ssd.

    Retina model? IT has a great display, ssd for speed and that's it.

    I can always upgrade the non-retina to ssd but I can only afford to have a 128gb one, since 256 gb one costs me alot.

    I ran over many review and still cannot make my decision. Can anyone here help me to decide? And, is it retina display makes my eyes more comfortable staring at screen for more than 8 hours a day?

    Note: I wish to go for 17 inch model, but currently not available.

    **** Added. Felt so sorry because I missed out 2 features that I used quite frequently too. 1) Video editing. Because I am a social science student, I usually do kind of awareness video. 2) Gaming like dota 2 under boot camp to free myself from those stress. Also, my MBA mid 2011 does not seem to be able to cater these needs
  2. gngan macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2009
    Go for a non retina 15'' and buy a 128GB SSD then set it up as dual drive. All you will lose is the retina display which you can always get a better screen when you have the cash.


    Get an Mac Mini cause you have a MBA for portability.
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Why not just use the Air (which you already have)? Its got the portability, the same real screen estate as the 15" non-retina (provided we are talking about the 13" model) and more then enough performance for the tasks you describe. Especially if you have to move a lot or carry the machine in your bag, even the slight weight difference will be very noticeable.

    Bottomline: if does not matter what you get, everything will work for your purpose. Personally, I recommend a 13" MBA with 256Gb SSD.
  4. WillFisher macrumors 6502


    Feb 19, 2011
    The Mac Mini would be the best bet.
    I have a 13" MBP and decided to get a Mac Mini, best idea. Its powerful and hook it up to a decent monitor/tv for a student its perfect.
  5. satchow macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2011
    You'll be fine with a nonretina since price seems to be a concern for you. Just get a regular HDD now and when you can afford it get an SSD. SSDs are plummeting in price.
  6. takeshi74, Nov 15, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Your requirements list doesn't narrow it down. Nearly any laptop out there will meet your listed requirements so it's no wonder that you can't choose.

    List out your needs/wants as well and prioritize them. And/or prioritize the features of the options you're considering. You'll have your answer once you've done that.

    Subjective matter. Yes for some, no for others. If you don't know then go and check one out in person. If you haven't assessed the retina display for yourself in person then how do you know it's a "great display"?

    All this seems like pretty basic shopping skills that really apply to any purchase decision out there. Don't just rely reviews. Reviews are just a tool. You need to use them in conjunction with your needs/wants/preferences/priorities/budget to reach your decision. We can't help you to decide unless you post information that indicates where you draw the line on various points.
  7. noodile macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2012
    I was in the same position as you.

    I ended up with a regular 15". with the upgraded 750gb 7200rpm drive, and Antiglare Hi-res screen.

    2 month later, i snapped a good deal on a samsung 830 SSD. Paid $160 for 256GB. Now i have SSD as my primary drive, and 750gb as a secondary in an optibay.

    Got the best of both worlds: Speed and 1TB of storage
  8. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    I too don't understand the need to dump the MBA you have now. To me... 13" is the optimum machine for "portability" and combined with an external monitor when deskbound gives you all the real estate you need.

    People will argue with me but the footprint of the 15" for a college student on-the-move is still too big.
  9. switon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 10, 2012
    RE: I concur...

    Hi future college student,

    I concur with most of the above posts...my take on your uses/issues is to take your display currently on your desktop with you to college (your brother can always get a cheaper screen to replace it) and use it as an external display for your 13" MBA for the additional "real estate" that you wish to have. The MBA 13" has the same "real estate" as the 15" cMBP, so you will not be gaining "real estate", just a slightly larger screen by going to the 15" cMBP. The MBA also already has an SSD for speed which will cost you more for the cMBP, and the MBA is about as portable as it gets. The MBA, at least the latest version, is plenty powerful for all of the tasks that you list, including running the external monitor. If you need additional storage than is available on the MBA, an external disk is an inexpensive option.

    The rMBPs are very powerful machines and correspondingly more expensive. The 15" rMBP actually gives you no more "real estate" at its Best for Retina display settings than the 13" MBA (both are 1440x900). Sure, the retina display at its Best for Retina 1440x900 looks better than either the 15" cMBP or the 13" MBA, also at 1440x900, because of the way the rMBP does scaling for retina-ready apps, but the rMBP still has the same "real estate". Of course, you can set the rMBP screen to gain "real estate", but at the expense of the UI becoming smaller. I hear some people like the 1920x1080 setting as a compromise between more "real estate", UI size, and resolution.

    For your listed uses, a retina machine is not necessary, and you already own the necessary equipment to satisfy your uses and give you added "real estate" by using an external display.

    ...just my two cents...

    Good luck at school,
  10. Cassadian macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2012
    As a college student I have the Retina and although it is quite nice I don't fully use its equipment unless I'm playing a video game and those occasions are becoming more and more rare so unless you major in something that requires major computational power you will not need to purchase this laptop.
  11. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Your MBA seems to be fine for now. So first step...get a thunderbolt display to give you tons of screen real estate when you are at home. Even a great 15" screen, like Retina, is only a 15" screen.

    Second step when the budget allows....get a new laptop....but put that off at least one year.
  12. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
  13. TC400 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2010
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    The first thing I am going to recommend to you is go refurbished with either a 17 inch or a 15 inch MBP. While the retina is nice all I see on here is people with countless numbers of issues with the display! Isn't that the mail reason why you bought it in the first place? You can always upgrade the 17 and 15 inch. But not the retina MBP so you would have to get it BTO if you want so its future proof. I personally plan on getting a 15 inch for college. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro/17
  14. WarrenFields Guest

    I agree, I think you should just use your Macbook Air. Maybe you could spend a little money on some upgrades and then you'll have a perfect machine for your needs. It's really all about preference though, as I love using my 15" Retina for school, while others will argue that it's too large a machine for college.
  15. Laco macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
    Buy an external monitor to use with your Macbook Air. It is probably the best and cheapest solution.
  16. jack2wai2 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Cant use dual drive

    I am in Malaysia, if you know this country. The sort of equipment to do the dual boot and optibay are hard to get here. And, I worry about the warranty.


    I want it too. Bu, just be sad, no 17'' in M'sia
  17. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I totally agree.

    OP, I didn't see much by way of actual college work. I'd stick with what you own now.;)
  18. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    social science student video editing = basic cuts and fades. the MBA is fine for that.

    as for gaming? i have no idea what DOTA 2 is but if you seriously think you need to spend $2500+ just for a gaming laptop then go for it. that seems to be pretty much the only reason you want the retina machine anyway.

    overall it just sounds like you want the 'best of the best' for absolutely no logical reason besides bragging rights.
  19. SchuettS macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    I'm taking online classes and have a retina 15". I think a retina would be overkill but if you can afford it go ahead. I use my laptop along w a 22" monitor for extra real estate.
  20. jack2wai2 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2012
    I don't mean that. What I mean is that, if I stick with my MBA mid 2011 base model, I would miss my game. Thought of going for a windows laptop before, but, spoilt by apple laptop quality. Windows laptop just feel too plastic
  21. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    What relevance does you being a student have on this need to buy then?

    Play your game somewhere else. I don't get why you need to buy something but if you have the money then go for it. Who are we to tell you how to spend your money?
  22. Hpye macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
  23. pasadena macrumors 6502a


    Sep 12, 2012
    I agree with most. You don't need a rMBP for what you intend to do with it. I would go with a Mac Mini, a killer monitor, and a flush savings account !
  24. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

    Jan 7, 2012
    Don't go the Mac Mini route. If you do you would need to keep the air for some classes/work outside of your dorm. If that were the case you would be MUCH better off with a beefed up Macbook Pro.
  25. jack2wai2 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2012

    Beefed up in terms of?

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