I need a new laptop for college this fall, and I've decided to switch over to mac after years of dealing with slow, crappy, unreliable windows PCs. I am having trouble deciding which MacBook to buy, though. I've never owned one, and there seem to be many advantages and disadvantages to each model. After doing some research, I am leaning towards either the standard 15-inch non retina Pro (starting at $1700) or the new Retina base model (starting at $1999). I have heard that the newest Air is also a great computer, but I don't really care about portability or weight, I am used to using a 15" screen, I need the optical drive, and I am concerned that its processing power and storage space won't be enough. With the regular 13 Pro, I've heard that the screen's resolution is too low, and the graphics are insufficient. And I've heard that a new 13" Retina version is coming out, but I don't think I can wait until October. I'd be willing to spend $1500-$2400 on this computer (including AppleCare), so here are some of the models I have looked at: 15" MacBook Pro: 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm, SuperDrive 8x, MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Glossy Widescreen Display, AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro - Auto-enroll - $2,118, or $2,253.00 with 7200-rpm 750GB HDD. 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display: 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB Flash Storage, Apple USB SuperDrive, AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro - Auto-enroll - $2,317 (512GB SSD is too expensive) 13 inch high end Macbook Pro, $1582 with Apple care and the high end 13" Air, for $1891 with i7, 8GB Ram, USB superdrive, and apple care, or $2341 with 512GB SSD. So I'm not sure which of these I should choose. I want the computer to last for the next 4-5 years or so. Some things to consider: -I will be using it for typing papers and assignments, making presentations or projects, and school work -I will be watching movies, browsing internet, putting photos and some music on the computer, downloading some apps, etc. -I will need to run windows via bootcamp or vmware fusion (The engineering program at my university provides Windows 7 and Vmware free to engineering students who have macs, due to programs that only run on windows), and I've heard that for a larger HDD or SSD is recommended for running windows and for engineering programs -I might be doing some gaming if I have time -I will be editing photos -I probably will need the disc drive, whether it's with the retina/air or a Pro -A larger or higher resolution screen would be nice -I might need the computer for some lectures, but probably won't carry it with me everywhere or every day due to risk of theft/damage. I can handle the weight. So which MacBook do you recommend? And which upgrades? Would external monitors or external hard drives be helpful if they were within my budget? Should I be ordering AppleCare with my Mac, or later on? If it helps, I am majoring in environmental engineering, might change major to chemical engineering. If you want to recommend a 13" mac that's fine, I might get one but I'm more used to using a 15" laptop.