What to buy (macbook or macbook pro for university architecture student)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Lazyh, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Lazyh macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2006
    I am planning on buying a laptop for university. I am going into architecture and therefore will need to be running CAD programs and the like. I do not do any gaming, so that doesn't factor into my decision.
    I am looking at buying either the macbook or the macbook pro (15 inch). I am leaning towards the macbook because of affordability and size, but I was wondering with the macbook what kind of hard drive size and ram should I get (upgrade through apple or buy eleswhere) and if I buy and install more ram myself does that void the warranty.
    Also is the 15 inch macbook too big to be carrying all over campus. I will buy an external monitor regardless so the small screen size of the macbook isn't a problem. Any advice
    I don't know what exact programs I will end up running (depends on what university I get into) but will be (hopefully) Installing auto cad on laptop soon after purchase (via bootcamp)
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I would go with a large hard drive since you will likely be working with large files and will also likely be partitioning part of it for Windows so that you can use all the architectural programs that aren't available for Mac.

    You can certainly install your own RAM and not worry about your warranty...it's also much cheaper than getting it through Apple. OWC and DMS are two highly recommended places for RAM in the US...not sure about international options if you're located elsewhere.

    My 15" PowerBook has no portability issues...I can carry it everywhere I go.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Before anyone even attempts to answer the question, you need to research
    1) which exact programs that the Uni will require you to use
    2) go to each company and investigate the minimum requirements for those programs in terms of: OS, screen resolution, graphic card, hard drive and RAM. You will probably be looking at a BootCamp scenario.
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    If you're not concerned about gaming, the MB should be fine for most people. However, you need to take into account what software you'll be running. Since you'll be running CAD, does the program you need run in OS X? If AutoCAD, then we know the answer is no. So you would need to use Parallels or Boot Camp which would add $100-150 for Windows if you go OEM (but your school might have it for cheaper) plus $40 for Parallels if you pre-order. Do the CAD apps require a 3D card? In that case you would need the MBP.

    Does your school give recommended specs for laptops?
    How much can you afford to spend? Spend up to that limit. Both the HD and RAM are user changeable on the MacBook. RAM is probably easier to install, but if I were you I would get the 1GB straightaway. You won't get it third party for much less than the discounted edu price of $90. If you need 2GB however, getting third party is the much better choice. And you won't void any warranty.
  5. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    architecture students seem to want to do 3D modeling and rendering these days so you might be better off with the MBP because of the better graphics card situation
  6. Kaiser Phoenix macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2005
    As for the portability issue. If you look carefully, the MBP15 and MB is not that hugely different in weight. Its about 2.3 VS 2.5 (kg). That is quite marginal especially in the MBP you will be getting a dedicated GPU, + larger screen, faster HD for just a slight increase in weight.

    I would go MBP.
  7. BigMacUser macrumors member

    May 26, 2006
    I got the MBP 17" it was actually recommended to me from one of my soon to be professors...I am taking Civil engineering and construstion management...he said the large screen would help to see all of your work in a bit bigger so you dont have to zoom in, zoom out, ect.. also for the windows compatibility...the graphics card, and the RAM and hard drive...he also suggested the matte screen because we work in very lighted conditions...he recommended a MAC because he said you could multitask without slowing down like on a normal PC...

    so i got what is in my sig...directly reccommended from my civil engineering professor...

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