Which Macbook Pro for a Computer Science student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by TigerHunter, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. TigerHunter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2012
    Hi everyone, this is my first time to post a new thread here:)

    I have waited for next week's new Macbook Pro for a long time. I cannot wait for the coming Monday:cool:. As the release time is closing, i am thinking about which size model to buy, as well as the customized configurations.

    I prefer the model be as light as possible, so i guess i would buy a 13 or 15 inch one. The main question is do i need a very powerful CPU, GPU, and RAM? I am a university Computer Science student and barely play video games(about one or two times per month).

    I may use my laptop to
    2.Math software: Matlab and Maple
    3.Virtual box
    4.everything most people would do: music, movie, web browsing(may more than 30 tags),etc,..
    All of the above four things may happen simultaneously.

    Anyone have some advice about it? Thanks in advance:D
  2. HardBall macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    As a grad student in CS, I would have to say that the MBP would be a fine choice.

    But you will be best served by installing a distribution of Linux instead of using OS X for most use cases. Linux is a much more reliably supported platform for certain academically supported experimental SW (e.g. if you want to run an experimental syntactic parser or semantic type inference module from a research group from a different university). It is almost a requisite for certain areas like computer architecture, and operating systems (certain microarchitecture simulators, for examples, are exclusively supported on linux).

    Keep these things in mind, try to dual boot your machine.
  3. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I would say CPU and RAM are most important for your usage. Especially with running Virtual Box, you'll probably want at least 8GB of RAM.

    The actual process of programming work (unless you get up to compiling huge codebases for large applications) isn't too taxing on a computer.

    GPU just depends on your video game desires.

    The base 15" MBP will most likey be fine for processor (current gen includes a quad core processor on the base model) and GPU power, although of course nobody knows specifics yet.

    You may just want to order it with whatever RAM it comes with and buy your own since it will most likely be much cheaper that way.
  4. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    I graduated from a pretty decent CS program and never once did I feel I had to use Linux over OSX in undergrad. Maybe in grad school. Anyway you will probably use your personal computer much less than you think you will for CS related courses as a lot of coding are done in labs. That said though I would go with the 15 MBP with the resolution upgrade. Ram you can upgrade yourself. Other specs don't really matter.
  5. HardBall macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Not for most course work;

    but in terms of actual academic research within research groups, many areas (Systems, AI, Data mining, Computer architecture) will often require some recent mainline linux kernel (normally 2.6.26 or later) and other components.

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