Which Macbook Pro would you recommend for an Engineering student?

Zwikker

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 28, 2012
129
0
Morgantown, WV
Good Morning and happy Memorial day yall!

So here's my question; I am an Engineering student who uses Autocad, Pro Engineering, Solid and many other similar softwares most of the time.

I have never owned a mac before and I wonder which mac would best fit my need?

I know the new macbooks are going to be released most likely at June 11th and I will wait till they come up.
In addition to this, I am not planning on playin games on my future mac.

Thanks in advance!
 

riptideMBP

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2011
260
0
Id say go with a 15". You'll need the screen space for modeling, and if you plan on ever bringing the laptop outside if your room, you wouldn't always have access to an external monitor.

Also, you'll probably want to set your computer up with bootcamp... you might be able to get a free copy of windows 7 through the university
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
Good Morning and happy Memorial day yall!

So here's my question; I am an Engineering student who uses Autocad, Pro Engineering, Solid and many other similar softwares most of the time.

I have never owned a mac before and I wonder which mac would best fit my need?

I know the new macbooks are going to be released most likely at June 11th and I will wait till they come up.
In addition to this, I am not planning on playin games on my future mac.

Thanks in advance!
15 inch with the high-res option, the more pixels the better with CAD.
 

Zwikker

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 28, 2012
129
0
Morgantown, WV
Thank you so much for your answer! You're absolutely right about the screen size but I wonder if a 13" would satisffy me when It comes to performance on those softwares? Like can a 13" i7 processor run autocad as smooth as a 15" macbook?
 

pragmatous

macrumors 65816
May 23, 2012
1,378
99
You'll want the anti-glare screen if you plan to be anywhere near light.

I would also say go to best buy or apple store and check it out.
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Thank you so much for your answer! You're absolutely right about the screen size but I wonder if a 13" would satisffy me when It comes to performance on those softwares? Like can a 13" i7 processor run autocad as smooth as a 15" macbook?
No the resolution on the 13" is hopeless, and you will likely need to spring for an external monitor, 15" or 15: high res, 17" may prove to be too big if you are on the move a lot.

The 15" MBP`s offer quad core i7`s over the present 13" dual core and are considerably more powerful, they also have a discrete GPU & integrated intel graphics versus the 13" sole integrated Intel solution. the 13" is a great machine for basic tasks, however it`s poor resolution, integrated graphics does not make it the best solution for serious work...
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,373
122
15" if you're going to be using it on the go all the time.
13" with a nice big monitor if you'll be doing most of your work at a desk.

13" will be lighter to carry around and a lot cheaper, but the screen is hopeless for CAD if you're going to be using it without an external monitor.

That being said, a monitor wouldn't be a bad idea even with the 15".
 

Zwikker

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 28, 2012
129
0
Morgantown, WV
Very detailed answer, thanks! Any hope that they will improve the new 13 inch's GPU and it's performance? I found out that Apple predicted to discontinue 17 inch macbook pro so maybe they will focus on 13 and 15 more than ever?
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,373
122
Very detailed answer, thanks! Any hope that they will improve the new 13 inch's GPU and it's performance? I found out that Apple predicted to discontinue 17 inch macbook pro so maybe they will focus on 13 and 15 more than ever?
The 13" GPU will likely be stuck as an integrated intel GPU for the foreseeable future. Apple tends to shoot for form over function, opting for a super slim chassis that doesn't accommodate a dedicated GPU. The logic board is also extremely tight in the 13" so there may not even be room for a dedicated GPU.

We'll have to see what they do with the next redesign though.
 

KylePowers

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2011
1,688
197
I'd try out a 13in MBA, since it has the same resolution as the base 15in MBP (1440x900) with a much slimmer, more portable form-factor, and the standard SSD will make it seem much, much faster.

BUT! If you constantly push more than 4GB of RAM and don't mind upgrading your MBP to an SSD along the road (highly recommended), and don't care about extreme portability, then yeah, might want to consider going with a 15in MBP.

Might want to wait for the 2012's though and see what both have to offer.

The 13" GPU will likely be stuck as an integrated intel GPU for the foreseeable future. Apple tends to shoot for form over function, opting for a super slim chassis that doesn't accommodate a dedicated GPU. The logic board is also extremely tight in the 13" so there may not even be room for a dedicated GPU.

We'll have to see what they do with the next redesign though.
Well, when they nix the entire disc drive, that definitely leaves a lot of space for a dedicated GPU. They could also probably fit a second hard drive in that space too. But who knows, maybe they'll just shove more battery there.

EDIT- I'm an engineering student myself and use plenty of Windows-only software. They all work just splendidly on my 13in MBA using VirtualBox. I might change to a 13in MBP this year if they up the resolution and add a dedicated GPU though, especially if they keep the RAM user-upgradeable. No particular rhyme or reason for me doing so, but the HD FaceTime camera and better screen quality (along with the fact I find the mockups more attractive) appeal to me. Also, if it came with a second hard drive (like 500GB), that'd be nice. Since right now I'm only rockin' 128GB, which means most of my files I keep on my iMac or an external.
 
Last edited:

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,373
122
Well, when they nix the entire disc drive, that definitely leaves a lot of space for a dedicated GPU. They could also probably fit a second hard drive in that space too. But who knows, maybe they'll just shove more battery there.
Sure, as long as they don't slim it down at the same time. Then poof, there goes your extra space. Form over function :(
 

KylePowers

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2011
1,688
197
Sure, as long as they don't slim it down at the same time. Then poof, there goes your extra space. Form over function :(
Definitely debatable. If all things stay equal, a ton space still exists for added chips/hard drives/etc


Even if the battery and motherboard get stretched out a little bit to make its height smaller (and that really only makes sense for the battery), I think there's definitely still some space to throw in a dedicated GPU. And if the MBP moves to the blade-style SSD that the MBA has, that's even more space :D
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,135
1,446
5045 feet above sea level
Thank you so much for your answer! You're absolutely right about the screen size but I wonder if a 13" would satisffy me when It comes to performance on those softwares? Like can a 13" i7 processor run autocad as smooth as a 15" macbook?
I would be surprised if you will have a license to run it on your machine.....

Speaking as an ex engineering student
 

Zwikker

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 28, 2012
129
0
Morgantown, WV
What do you mean? l have so many friends that are using CAD and other softwares with their macs. I don't think that'd be an issue at all.
I would be surprised if you will have a license to run it on your machine.....

Speaking as an ex engineering student
 

Callumbear845

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2011
85
0
I don't know about autocad, but when I am running very large project simulations through SolidWorks, I am constantly limited by the 8GB of RAM I have. When I get a new 15" when it is released, I will definitely be getting 16GB through a third party. Therefore, the Air doesn't make much sense because you are stuck at a paltry 4GB.
 

Zwikker

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 28, 2012
129
0
Morgantown, WV
Thanks for your answer! I am definitely not looking for an Air. I am aware that it just won't fit my needs. Although it is a great lookin device tho.
It sounds like it's better to wait till mid June and see what Apple comes up with. I am just hoping that they will do some great improvements on 13" so I won't have to carry a 15" around.
I don't know about autocad, but when I am running very large project simulations through SolidWorks, I am constantly limited by the 8GB of RAM I have. When I get a new 15" when it is released, I will definitely be getting 16GB through a third party. Therefore, the Air doesn't make much sense because you are stuck at a paltry 4GB.
 

ivoruest

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2010
398
28
Guatemala
I have used mine (15" 1440x900 pixels) for Rhinoceros and I would definitely recomend a 15" Hi-Resolution or a 17" because the more pixels the more comfortable it is for this type of work.

Specs are not very important since any Macbook Pro will handle pretty well Autocad.

Get a good mouse and maybe 8Gbs of RAM for modeling and rendering.
 

Ccrew

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2011
2,035
3
Good Morning and happy Memorial day yall!

So here's my question; I am an Engineering student who uses Autocad, Pro Engineering, Solid and many other similar softwares most of the time.
Well, don't go anywhere near UVA Engineering with that Mac as they require Windows machines in their engineering curriculums. Might want to check with your school of choice.
 

dallas112678

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2008
797
525
It depends on how much you actually use the modeling programs you mentioned, and if your school has a good computer lab.

I'm a aerospace major at the University of Texas and outside of a required modeling course, most of the software classes use is for programming. So at least for me, modeling ability isn't all that important. I suppose you could be one of your schools engineering clubs working on projects that need to be modeled, but again that is just me.

Also if you don't do extensive modeling every day and your school has a good computer lab, I would just use that. Our computer lab in the aerospace building have higher end GPU's in them compared to the macbook pros so they are better suited for that type of task. Plus the monitors already have a significantly larger screen size.

Pretty much everyone in my department has 13" MBP's which is enough for the programming (again, we do much more programming than modeling) and just use the school computers for the modeling.

Just something to think about to see if the extra money is worth it.
 
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