Which Macbook for college[Air, Pro, or Retina Pro]

lilcorey10

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 5, 2012
39
0
I will start college this fall and go for a CS degree. I have been waiting quite a while for the macbook refresh... and now it's finally here. I have a $2000 budget but would prefer not to spend it all. Below are the configurations I have built on the apple store.

Macbook Air "13
  • 256GB Flash
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1440 x 900 Resolution
  • ~$1500
Air: lightweight, thin, higher resolution

Macbook Pro "13
  • 500GB HDD
  • 256GB SSD (I would buy and install on my own)
  • 8GB RAM(also buy and install myself)
  • 1280 x 800 Resolution
  • ~$1500
Pro: heavier than air and retina, thicker than air and retina, lowest resolution
NOTE: The reason I waited for the refresh was because the Pro "13 has a 1280 x 800 resolution(low, low, low)

Retina Pro "15
  • CRAZY RESOLUTION
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM
  • ~$2000
Retina: lighter than Pro but heavier than Air, about as thin as the Air, Flagship product, best resolution

With the upgrades to the Pro and Air I can get similar specs as far as Storage and RAM go. So now the difference among the three computers is basically just the screen and structure(size and weight). Should I get the Retina Pro? Is the screen worth the $500 increase?
 

lilcorey10

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 5, 2012
39
0
Go for the pro 13' then buy an external monitor of you need more resolution.
Oh sorry I should have mentioned... I am getting an external monitor, external hard drives, keyboard and mouse for desk use in the dorm regardless of which Mac I choose.
 

Fynd

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2010
426
223
Don't bother with the 13 pro.

500$ is actually getting you a larger screen, much sharper and much more real estate, in addition to a quad core cpu(8 threads), a nice dedicated gpu capable of solid gaming if you choose, and longer battery life.

If you have the 500, do it.
 

undies1993

macrumors 6502a
Mar 10, 2011
841
6
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Don't bother with the 13 pro.

500$ is actually getting you a larger screen, much sharper and much more real estate, in addition to a quad core cpu(8 threads), a nice dedicated gpu capable of solid gaming if you choose, and longer battery life.

If you have the 500, do it.
Downside, 256 internal with out a current upgrade option.
 

luked14

macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2010
317
14
I'd say the retina screen is worth the extra $500, but if you'll always be using an external display, then maybe not. The Air is probably the best all-around value though.
 

lilcorey10

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 5, 2012
39
0
I'd say the retina screen is worth the extra $500, but if you'll always be using an external display, then maybe not. The Air is probably the best all-around value though.
I never thought about the Air until yesterday, but with the newly available upgrades it makes it a contender. Lightweight, thin, higher res than Pro, and same basic configuration as the Retina Pro minus the Nvidia 650M and super duper screen
 

Stetrain

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2009
3,548
18
I think the Air is the best value. If you are going to have an external drive anyway, get the $1199 model and bump the ram to 8GB. That's $1299, or $1239 with student discount.
 

luked14

macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2010
317
14
I never thought about the Air until yesterday, but with the newly available upgrades it makes it a contender. Lightweight, thin, higher res than Pro, and same basic configuration as the Retina Pro minus the Nvidia 650M and super duper screen
If discrete graphics aren't important to you (which they possibly could be for a CS major) then the Air is everything you need and then some.
 

xalexx

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
48
0
Chicago
I just bought the entry RMBP yesterday in preparation for college in the fall. I'm intent on being happy with it. It's got great internals that I don't see myself ever needing to upgrade. 8GB ram will be sufficient for years. The processor is fantastic, and I have NO problem opting for an external hard drive if I ever need one. I've had my current laptop for 4 years and I've only used 150 GB of space, even being a HUGE music hog and occasional video/photo editor and gamer.
On top of the good internals, it has retina. That's just fun. AND it's super thin. Sexy.
To me, this is the perfect college macbook.
 

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