What MBP should I get for law school?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by saojd10, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. saojd10 macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    Alright, I need a new MBP for law school upcoming this August. I have been a mac user all the way through college with my 12" ibook G4, I've waited until the MBP's upgraded and now I cant decided between the 13" and 15" model.
    I will use the computer for

    1. all class notes, outlines, etc..
    2. videos, pictures etc just basic stuff
    3. Im not a gamer at all never have been
    4. want something that will run fast and not crap out like my ibook.
    5. have to use windows via bootcamp for exams

    Which model should I get the lower end 13" mbp with the 500 gb hd or the lower end 15" mbp with the i5 in it? The cost would be around $400.00 difference since I have the education discount
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Any current Apple notebook will be more than enough for you. It's just a matter of what screen size you want.
  3. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    If it was me I would go for the cheaper of the two and then purchase an external monitor. Trying to juggle many pdf's and webpages on a small screen can get tiresome.
  4. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Maybe larger screen is good as you can read several documents at the same time.
  5. RaZaK macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2008
    if portability is your concern, go with a MBP 13 or even the MB. You can get good deals on refurb MBP13's right now, and the prices should get even better as people buy the new models.

    if you're more concerned about screen size, go with the 15 or even 17

    any recent MB\MBP will be fine for either Bootcamp'ing Windows or virtualizing it so that you don't have to reboot.
  6. roxygal9 macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2010

    Hey what law school are you going to? Congrats by the way! I also am attending law school in FL. Will this be ur first year? I didnt know we took our exams on computer? Of course I have been out of academics for about 7 years, and then notebooks were a luxury due to price, etc.

    I am personally leaning towards the 13 inch 2.4/256SSD as it will load docs, etc faster. Plus it will be more portable than a 15 inch. I plan on running parallels on it as I heard it was pretty fast and faster than vmware. I am halfway waiting to see if they will do anything with the air, but i think ill get more bang for my buck
  7. Bob1039 macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    I would go for the 13". You'll be carrying around your laptop for every class. You will thus enjoy the portability.
  8. bighouse14 macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Back in the day when I went to LS I had a 12.1 inch thinkpad X31 (don't shoot me) and it was the best decision I could have made (size wise). Friends who bought bigger laptops for classes said they wished they had gone smaller. I was literally at school on my computer 10 hours carrying it between classes etc.

    I'd go as small as possible and then get a large screen for at home where you will work on your papers, memos, etc.
  9. marvlaw macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2010
    I am just wrapping up my first year and trust me when I say go with the 13". Casebooks are incredibly heavy and you will notice the extra weight of the 15". For what you will be doing, notes, outlines, Lexis and Westlaw research, you will not need th extra processor speed and you definitely won't have time for any hobbies like video and photo editing.

    Congrats by the way and good luck!;)
  10. marvlaw macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Also, I think most schools use the same exam software (Exam4) and there is a version for Macs so you won't need to run it in bootcamp
  11. saojd10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    Thanks for all the responses, another question. What is the difference between the 500gb hd and the ssd? I am no computer expert and have no idea what the differences would be between the two (except size)
  12. roxygal9 macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2010
    This is a great thread! I already am learning some things I didnt know about law school. Have a lot of undergrad schools used this exam software as well? Im sorry I feel old now even though Im only 27!

    Anyways the major difference between the HDD and SSD, is the SSD will load apps/programs/etc faster than the HDD. However, they are more expensive and give you less storage, but they are supposed to be more durable than the HDD, though I am not sure about apple and the brand they are using as this will be my first Mac. :D
  13. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    An SSD stands for Solid State Drive and uses solid-state memory to store data.

    Advantages and Disadvantages

    On the other hand a 'hd' is what you are more likely to find in a normal computer that stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating rigid (i.e. hard) platters with magnetic surfaces (i.e . much slower as the disk needs to spin up and find the data)

    If you can afford an SSD I would advise that you purchases one. When I upgrade to an SSD the difference in speed was unbelievable.
  14. JNickyJJ macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2010
    basically any apple product will work for you [​IMG] if moneys tight get a macbook! The i5/i7 would just be if you wanted it to last a little longer
  15. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2010
    I see no advantage of the SSD drives for loading docs. What do you save..a second or two?

    I would go fo rthe 13" w/o doubt if it a computer u will be taking to school everyday
  16. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2010
    Do you thinkthe C2D 13" will stop running docs and test programs before the i5/i7'S

    Of course not.
  17. lamina macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2006
    I say go for the high-end 15". It will last you forever, and it's the most futureproof, while being a good portability option between the 13 and the 17. It would be my ultimate choice if I were to be investing in a new portable.
  18. Scylax macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Congratulations, although I am insanely jealous; you are living my dream! I say go with the 13" and an external monitor, but DO, DO, DO get the SSD. I have a MBA and a MBP. The MBA has a slower processor and half the RAM, but the SSD makes it feel so much faster than the MBP, and although I thought I would use the MBP far more than the MBA it's the Air I find myself using for all my writing etc. I have sworn in future I will only ever buy a laptop with SSD. It costs more, but for daily usage (and enjoying that usage) it is worth every penny. You might want to consider getting an external HDD and transferring files off as SSDs tend to be smaller capacity than HDD, but if you can afford it go 512GB SSD and never look back. If you do that you shouldn't need more than the lower end 13", so make use of the student discount for as big an SSD as you can afford. Good luck!
  19. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Being able to have Safari/PDFs open on one side of your screen and Microsoft Word on the other side is golden.

    Cinch helps out a lot.
  20. Apple-Man23 macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2007
    15" i5 mbp. You don't need it, as others have said you would be fine with any of the current apple notebooks, but I think you will appreciate the screen real estate and the i5 will serve you well for a good long while! Absolutely no wrong choice though!
  21. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    THe 13" will blow you away compared to the old iBook. Far faster. 15" is just more baggage to carry. At home base use an external (and large) monitor.

    I'm not a student now (in fact I actually teach part time and when I was a student I carried a slide rule and paper) but almost all my Mac-toting students have the 13". The first notebook computer I bought was a 16" Dell with every imaginable option at the time. Turned out to be a boat anchor. Going minimalist makes for a better experience. I went to a 12" iBook (might be like yours) and even though it was slower it was enjoyable.
  22. MoncoZero macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2007
    tv land
    I am in law school now and my school uses ExamSoft by SofTest. For my first 3 semesters I used bootcamp.

    Here is the process...
    1. Look at notes on your computer while waiting for the exam to begin.
    2. Reset your computer into windows mode.
    3. Reset your computer using the ExamSoft software.

    I'll admit that when I type it out into 3 sentences it doesn't look too bad. But doing it over and over and having to stop looking at your notes before everybody else... well... I ended up uninstalling windows and buying a netbook that I only use for taking tests.*

    Some people do print their notes and some make flash cards, but for me I like to look at the same screen in which I will be taking the test.

    Just something to consider.;)

    *Though, I happen to be using it now because Mom needed a laptop and I used that as an excuse to give her my June 2007 MBP and upgrade to a 15" 2.66 i7 with 8GB RAM!.
  23. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Actually a Mac isn't really the way to go here at all unless something changed with law school. Their required test taking software only runs on windows and as the above poster mentioned, the process becomes tideous. If a Mac is a must then the base 13" would be fine.
  24. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
    I graduated law school in 2008 and after my first year we used exam software that was native on os x. Don't remember which one, I think it was exam4. Check with your school to see what they use. Almost all of our IT workers used macs, so it wasn't a hard sell to get the mac software...

    edit-- same software for the ky bar- make sure and check that too.
  25. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Go with the base 13", and if you need more screen space when you aren't on the go, get a monitor. they are a lot cheaper and bigger than upgrading sizes of MBP. The 13" will be perfect, especially since it sounds like you need to be pretty mobile, and it has killer battery life. You won't see any difference with the i5 for what you are doing, and there is no need to bother with an SSD, especially if you are going for size, as they get very pricey. If you want to save $200 more and don't mind the plastic, go for the MB, although they don't have quite as good battery life. Either way you won't go wrong, and installing Windows on Boot Camp is a breeze.

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