What size MBP for daughter?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by G4er?, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. G4er? macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    My daughter will be buying a Macbook Pro this summer. She is undecided on which size, 13 or 15 inch and doesn't care about the Retina display. All she knows is that her current 17 inch Windows laptop is too big to lug around.
    I told her to go with the i7 processor.
    Main question. She knows she will have to use some industry required Windows programs.
    Which Macbook Pro would people here recommend for dual OS use and how is the best way to set up the Mac and best way to run Windows.

    Environmental Engineering Master's with internship this summer. I'm not sure which software titles she will be running.

    Thanks for any suggestions and ideas.
  2. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    If those industry standard programs require a powerful GPU and\or CPU, then seriously consider the rmbp 15" or cmbp 15". Otherwise, a macbook air 13" with 8 gb ram and i7 would be good, based on what sounds like her needs are.

    If those programs can run in OSX, then do that. However, if she needs windows, you can dual boot with bootcamp and windows 7 or 8. However, that means buying a retail copy of windows. Some schools give this out free or cheap, but others have no discounts.
  3. bitfidelity macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2012
    Why does she need a Mac? It sounds like she will just be running Windows programs.

    In any case, I would go with the 15" rMBP. Thin profile with discrete GPU.
  4. locoboi187 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 3, 2012
    Go for the rMBP 15. The display is much easier on the eyes in the long run. Thats what I would be thinking about if I had a daughter, her health! Overprotective me lol. But I'm in college right now and she'll be just fine with a Mac. All colleges have computers that have the necessary programs just in case a student doesn't have their own laptop. She'll be fine.
  5. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    So she needs to run a specific Windows app or two and doesn't care about Retina, and your suggestion is a windows box or a retina MBP? That makes sense...

    OP, I would go for a 15" cMBP for her, will easily be able to handle anything she's going to need at college and won't have a problem running a Windows program here or there. In my experience 13" doesn't provide the screen real estate you'll need in an environment like that (a few word docs open + internet+mail+iTunes and whatever else). I also may suggest, if there's one near you, taking a trip to an Apple store and have her try out a couple models to see what she likes.
  6. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
  7. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Most of the software being used will run fine on the 2core i7 in the 13" MBP or MBA.

    However, it's the CAD software that would do better with the 4core i7 CPU found in the 15" MBP. Assuming she will be using CAD software (pretty sure that it's used in environmental engineering ... got a cousin doing that right now as a matter of fact, and I believe they're using some CAD software for it.)
  8. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Why not a real CAD laptop workstation from Dell, HP, or Lenovo? Plus it will have Windows native...

    They should have labs full of machines she can use. Just get her the 13" Pro or Air.
  9. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    FWIW, I'm pretty confident that the OP's daughter is well aware of lab systems at colleges. She's in a graduate program after all, so she's already done the 4 year undergrad stint.

    The needs have been stated, and suggestions made. At this point, it's up to the OP and their daughter to make the choice.
  10. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    I would recommend the 15" rMBP. She may not realize it, but the screen is leaps and bounds ahead of ANY laptop screen ATM, including the cMBP!

    I'm positive she will appreciate the razor sharp pictures, and text after a few cycles of use!

    The right combo [ IMO ] would be : 2.6 Ghz i7 + 16GB RAM + 512 GB SSD

    Install Windows via BootCamp and run Windows 7/8. So, now, she has the best of both the worlds :D

    If I were to recommend a Windows Laptop, it'd be the Lenovo W or T Series! But, given a choice, rMBP hands down!! :apple:
  11. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2010
    cMBP 15'', the 13'' is a little small imo. Or the 13'' Retina, everyone here always seems to think you need a mega spec laptop to get stuff done. You don't.

    If i had to say a Windows Laptop the new Lenovo X230, best Windows laptop ever made.
  12. blackberrycubed macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2013
  13. G4er? thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    You know kids these days. She has always wanted a Mac lap top. Now that she will be earning some serious money this summer, (just her moving allowance is enough to pay for a 13 inch i7) she is finally going to get it.

    She has gotten scholarships that have paid for half of her college education so spending a little on the lap top she wants isn't an issue for her parents.

    She is going to make time to visit an Apple store and check all the Macbook Pro models closely but I thought I would get some suggestions from the folks here.

    Thanks again.
  14. tharitm macrumors member


    Nov 9, 2009
    13inch model with maxed out RAM and all would do but depends on the programs she will be using. I am a university student as well I am using the 13inch Classic MacBook Pro as its really easy to carry around, mostly sleep just in my backback and running around.

    As per running Windows Apps, I'd suggest installing windows to a virtual machine such as VMware Fusion as it will run Windows inside the mac and no need to reboot or anything. Its really convenient and peace of mind compared to boot camp.
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    13'' Air or retina with RAM upgrade (at least 8 GB), decent amount of storage. These are powerful machines yet light and fit into smaller bags than 15'' models.

    If she needs powerful graphics, then there is no way around the 15'' MBPs. Not sure what to recommend there, but probably the Retina.

    Note that she will most likely need an external DVD drive with those machines, because college/industry software is often distributed on DVDs.
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The 13" rMBP would be the best if size and weight are the primary considerations. If she needs the discrete GPU for engineering applications, I'd go with the 15" rMBP. I'd go Retina over Classic since the 15" cMBP weighs 1lb more than the rMBP and so would be closer in weight to a 17" notebook.

    From personal experience, I can say that Windows runs fine even in a virtual machine on a 13" rMBP (I have a 2.5GHz i5). I don't run engineering applications, but I do use Office 2013 on it.
  17. nando4, Mar 20, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    nando4 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2009
    Expanded response in another post below . . . maybe a mod can delete this reply?
  18. G4er? thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    That is why she is willing to go without the retina display so that she can have the built in Superdrive. For her that convenience trumps the better display.
  19. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    13" classic MBP is the best choice by far in that case. There's a minor hit in portability over the retina but nothing anyone over 6 years old can't handle.

    The only reason you'd be considering a 15 over a 13 is if your daughter needs dedicated graphics (for newer 3D games. Bejeweled and Angry Birds will be just fine on a 13) or more than 8GB of RAM (which only power users and professionals need). Otherwise it's much less portable than a 13, it's a huge difference.

    Hopefully you can visit an Apple Store or a reseller to check it out yourself.
  20. nando4, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    nando4 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2009
    There are quite a few variables to consider here:

    - battery life, including Wh capacity of battery. SSD-equipped systems can deliver up to 15% better battery life.
    - screen resolution
    - CPU/GPU performance
    - physical footprint of the system

    If are OK with dual-core CPU and HD4000 iGPU graphics then consider:

    12.5" Lenovo X230^ with IPS LCD (1366x768, 66Wh) or HP 2570P*^ (1366x768, 62Wh)
    12.5/13" Dell XPS 12/13 (1920x1080, 47Wh)
    13" rMBP (retina, 74Wh)
    13" MBA (1440x900, 50Wh)
    13" cMBP* (1280x800, 63Wh)

    If need a quad-core CPU delivering up to double the processing power of a dual-core CPU then consider:

    12.5" HP 2570P*^ + upgrade the CPU to a 35/45W quad-core (1366x768, 62Wh)
    15" rMBP (retina, GT650M, 95Wh)
    15" cMBP* (1680x1050, GT650M, 77Wh)
    15" Asus U500VZ (1920x1080, GT650M, 70Wh)

    * = has optical drive
    ^ = has 93Wh+ 9-cell battery option, internal WWAN/3G capable, touchstyk mouse and onsite warranty

    If your daughter was intending to use the notebook on battery then worth noting points below. I wish Apple would address the Macbook battery life issues under Windows.

    - the rMBP (13/15") has higher battery capacity than the Air/non-Retina pros.

    - the 15" MBP units don't switch over to use the Intel iGPU when running in Windows. They run off the GT650M which will noticably decrease battery life. The 13" units only have an iGPU so they use it exclusively.

    - Macbooks use a internal USB hub to host the inbuilt keyboard+mouse, which sees higher instantaneous power consumption under Windows than PC notebooks. See details.

    Best choice for highest engineering student productivity

    Probably the 15" rMBP or 15" Asus U500VZ would give the most productivity on the go for an engineering student. That's due to their superior CPU+GPU performance, high-res LCD and high capacity batteries. Either system is still relatively light and thin.

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