Which MacBook Pro for College?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dmac77, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan
    #1
    So I finally got my high school to release me, and allow me to graduate early and enter college (there was a point to taking online classes over the two summers!!!). I'm set to start may 9th at the local community college, and will transfer after 1-2 years there. Anyways, I need advice on which MacBook to get.

    Just some info to preface: I am set to double major in Biology and Russian/Eastern European Studies (yeah I know how completely unrelated they are, but they both fascinate me), I will also be on the pre-med track. I don't foresee any heavy lifting on a computer being done in any of the classes required for my majors. At home I tend to do some light photo editing in Aperture once a week or so, and I occasionally use Final Cut Pro to edit some 5-10 minute shorts that my friends and I put on youtube every few weeks or so. Normally I always have the following open on my iMac: Safari (5-10 tabs), iTunes, Mail, Calendar, an app from my brokerage (thinkorswim from TD Ameritrade), iChat, & Facetime.; and I would do the same on any MBP.

    I currently can't decide between the, the 13" 2.3Ghz dual-core MBP, the 13" 2.7Ghz dual-core MBP, or the 15" 2.0 quad-core MBP. Does anyone have experience carting the 15" around? I've heard some people say they get too heavy, and others say that it's fine. Also if I go with one of the 13" models, will the difference between the 2.3Ghz i5 and the 2.7Ghz i7 be noticeable? Ideally, I'd like this laptop to last me until I graduate (2015) and then I will replace it if/when I go to med school.

    Thanks,

    -Don
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Just get the cheapest machine you feel like paying for. Your situation is pretty boilerplate... nothing you list demands any special attention or special specs.
     
  3. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    The base 13 or 15" will provide plenty of power. I would go with the 15" myself because I strongly prefer more space (I did own a 13"). Yes it is slightly bigger and slightly heavier but very well worth it IMO for the screen size. I would only bother with a 13" if I also had an iMac but in any case you can pick up an external monitor at some point but you will need it less if you have a 15".
     
  4. david boon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    #4
    15-inch. 2.0 GHz or 2.2 GHz

    4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; supports up to 8GB

    500GB Serial ATA; 5400 rpm
     
  5. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
    Actually it supports up to 16GB RAM - extremely expensive today but the price will come down in a year or more
     
  6. zentenk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    #6
    For college with no need for graphics,

    MBP 13" or air

    the MBP 15" is WAY TOO HEAVY and cumbersome to carry around all day. Especially if you have to take long journeys to your college.

    I have a 15" for a year now and I'm getting the ipad 2 when it comes out for school, it's just too heavy.

    You may think "chyeah I'm not weak like you", and that's what I thought at first. As time passes, the weight will just become an annoyance.
     
  7. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    London, ON
    #7
    I would go for the base 13" MBP or 13" ultimate macbook air. You want it to last till 1015 as that's less than 4 years out. If you wanted it to last longer then go with the 15". The thing with the 15" is that it's awkward to place on school desks that I have run into. Slightly heavier which didn't bother me.
     
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    Any new college student with low processing needs (not in engineering, for instance) and with a brokerage account should just get the basic 13" MacBook Pro, and put the extra money into investments!

    Computers make very poor investments.
     
  9. stordoff macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    #9
    I'd go for the 13" (or consider the Air - much nicer to carry around). If you feel like you need the extra screen space, get an external display.
     
  10. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #10
    The cheapest Pro will do you just fine. I'm majoring in Micro Biology and although we obviously go to different universities, I couldn't see my coursework being that much different than yours (granted you're in the united states of course lol).

    But anyway, the baseline MBP should do just fine for you; I have an upgraded BlackBook from 08 and it does a lot more than most PCs being released today; I can't wait to go back home and compare with my friends to see how it holds up to the 2010 pro and the 09 MacBooks.
     
  11. Pingwhen? macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #11
    I would get a 15, because it will LAST YOU. the 13's you will just want something bigger. and the 17's are to big if you are really using it for school.
     
  12. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #12
    Care to qualify? From what I've seen, people generally don't want an increasingly bigger screen as time progresses as opposed to various specs and things of that nature.

    Since he will probably be using the laptop while in class to type notes, having a 15 inch screen will definitely be a bother to the people behind him depending on the size of the room and the way the seats are arranged.

    Of course it's all subjective and I can't tell you that you're wrong, however I see a lot of college students around (I'm at a university myself) and I rarely see a computer that's larger than 13 inches (Referring to Macs and notebook computers).
     
  13. macrominnie macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #13
    I agree with miles01110, talmy and Young Spade. Any MBP would be snappy for the uses described. Unless you are quite wealthy, save the cash and go low end.

    I would recommend, if you have not done it already, to go to an Apple store and look at the screens and see which one you like. You'll be spending a lot of time looking at the screen. Pick one that is pleasing. The resolution (ppi) of the current 13 inch MBP is not as good as the MBA's.

    In terms of portability, I have lugged around the different sizes. Smaller is better. Subjectively (for me), the biggest jumps are 11 to 13 and 15 to 17.

    The 11 inch MBA is a delight (and the power brick is lighter-it makes a difference). The 13 inch is somewhat easier than the 15 inch. The 17 inch is doable but cumbersome.

    For all but the wealthy, going with the lower end also allows for an easier possibility to trade up later and/or getting an external monitor.
     
  14. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #14
    I would get a white macbook personally


    I very much prefer the 13 size over the 15


    Even engineering is not that intensive on a personal machine as most if not all software will be on the lab computers (much faster than a laptop) and wouldn't be affordable on your own machine due to license costs
     
  15. Rothgarr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    #15
    I had to make the same decision earlier this week when deciding on what to get the wife for her b-day.

    I wound up getting her the base 13" Macbook Pro AND a cinema display.

    That way, she has a large workspace while at her desk (she can leave the Macbook Pro closed all the time and use her Apple extended keyboard and mouse) or she can use the portability of the 13" MBP when she needs to take it on the go.

    I think it's a pretty great combination.
     
  16. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #16
    YMMV. Most software is available to students at drastically reduced prices. Very few of my students use the lab computers since they (almost all) have notebook computers of their own. It doesn't help that my 2+ year old Aluminum MacBook outperforms the lab computers here!
     

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