Which MBP for college student?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dmd25, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. dmd25 macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    We have been a Mac family for a little over 2 years. We have 2 iMacs and one MBP (eldest dd's). We are ready to buy another MBP for our next child who is heading off to college. In this day of trying to pinch every penny, I am wondering if it is ok to buy #1, or do we not worry about another $250 and get #2.

    He is going to study journalism/broadcasting---I know the field of study can make a difference on what to get.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    1.MACBOOK PRO 15 2.53 4GB 250HD
    2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm, SuperDrive 8X (DVD+-R DL/DVD+-RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
    Backlit Keyboard (English) / User's Guide, Accessory Kit

    2. MACBOOK PRO 15 2.66 4GB 320HD
    2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB, 320GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD+-R DL/DVD+-RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
    Backlit Keyboard (English) / User's Guide, Accessory Kit
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Why not a 13" MBP, its smaller size and weight will definitely be a plus when it comes to lugging it around or taking notes in class.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I'd just get the cheaper model. Based on my scant knowledge of what journalism (writing a lot) and broadcasting (???) involve, even the low-end MBP is borderline overkill.
  4. sriggles macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2008
    13 MBP with an external monitor (dorm use) is probably the best combo. The 15 inch MBP is just too big and heavy for the daily grind around campus.

    If you have to go with the 15 inch MBP get the lower priced model and save the rest for school books :)
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    ...not really. I never had trouble carrying it in a backpack around campus, traveling, or at home.
  6. Atoria macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2009
    I would go with option 2 here. Even though it's $250 more your child might need the extra hard drive space. Sure for journalism you will have to write a lot of papers, but you will also need sound recordings and pictures for broadcasting. Little by little pictures and sound recordings eat up your hard drive. Videos may also have to be made (I had to make one in college) and they definitely eat up hard drive space. Also, it is always good to do as much future proofing as possible.

    The upgraded processor might be a little overkill as none of the things mentioned above require a fast processor. I personally always try to future proof, meaning, try to get the best processor (for the money) at the time of purchase. Just to be safe, because you never know when your child will need to use a program that requires a powerful computer.

    So, in my opinion, go with option 2 and if you want to save a little money go with the processor in option 1 and the hard drive in option 2.
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    External hard drives are cheap.

    The difference between 2.53 GHz and 2.66 GHz is negligible.
  8. maladroit macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2006
    As a recently graduated Journalism student, either will work (and will most likely be overkill). I was under the impression, too, that I would need something capable of doing intense video editing. Truth is, I didn't do a single broadcast project on my personal computer.

    If it's a decent program, they'll have things set up in a lab.

    I did, however, use photoshop, illustrator, etc for some of my journalism classes.

    I'd go with a 13", but since that's not an option, probably the slower of the two machines. After all, you're just assuring that your son/daughter will be able to edit on his/her own time (non-school projects).

    PS--full disclosure, I did all of my undergrad on a 13" Macbook 2GHz w/ 2GB of memory and a 250GB HD.
  9. designed macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2005
    Good suggestions and good arguments in this thread, I must say.

    My two cents, being a media studies major with a dash of creative writing on the side, are that if the only options are those two configurations: #1 will be quite sufficient for journalism use. The only significant question really is that does (s)he play any games? If so, then go for the #2 since it has the better display adapter.

    A 13" Macbook Pro with an external display for dorm use is another good configuration, being nice and portable for lectures/class (and writing on the move, which I'm sure will come up at some point) but offering relaxing screen estate to do some larger projects (and watch stuff) back at the dorm.
  10. ChrisN macrumors 65816


    Aug 27, 2007
    Demarest, NJ
    If they are going to do any gaming or anything that would need more power than the 9400 go for the second option. Even though the difference in processors is negligible I don't think the difference in graphics is.

  11. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Personally, for a student, I would've thought the 13" would be a better buy however since the OP is considering the 15" I would just get the cheaper model. The main difference is the graphics solution being better on the more expensive model. Save the money, either machine is more than capable of what the needs are going to be. In terms of hard drive space, you can always upgrade the hard drive or use an external for more storage space and for backup.
  12. adamk77 macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2008
    Between #1 and #2, I am absolutely confident that #1 will be more than plenty.

    I have the 2.53 GHz with 4 GB version. I am pretty sure I push my machine more than your son will, and it hasn't given me any issues.

    The difference in processor speed is negligible.
  13. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    Another vote for #1. It should be capable in doing everything that s/he will be required to and then some.

    The 13" is also very capable in fulling the hardware spec requirements of the things it'll be used for. I'd just check if s/he has a personal preference for screen size. For example, even though I know it's super overkill, I bought the 15" mbp instead of the mb solely for the screen size.

    I'm a university student and I've had no problem whatsoever taking my mbp from class to class, across country or across international borders. Heck, it's lighter and thinner than 99% of the machines my friends use.
  14. Achiever macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2008
    Option 1 for two reasons:

    1) External HDs are cheap and can hold a lot of content.

    2) If you really want a larger HD inside the MBP, it is easy to swap them out in the unibody MBPs and cheaper to upgrade to a 500gb, for example, than the $250 price difference you are being offered here. The processor speed is negligible. Also, if you decide to swap out the internal HD, you now have the old internal drive as extra storage in an external enclosure. Extra buzz.

    I'm a big proponent of the 15" screen, though. They weigh about the same as the 13" models, but the extra 2 inches of screen real estate and better resolution are definitely noticeable. I'd stay with the 15" model.
  15. Hal1980 macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Couldn't agree more. I really appreciate the screen real estate of the 15" especially for being able to compare two documents side by side.
  16. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
  17. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
  18. dmd25 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2007
    We got dd a 15" and really like it. Ds would like the same size. I don't think dd has found it a problem to carry around.

    I totally understand about the 'future proofing' when it comes to computers! I am very much of the same mindset.

    Good points both.

    Some games, though not that much on the computer. I don't think he needs the better display adapter for games---thank you for the insight.

    We really like the 15". I think we will go with the first model.

    This is exactly the advice I needed!

    He would prefer the 15" if given the choice. Actually, I think the department suggested the bigger screen.

    Great info! Thank you!

    Agreed. Love the 15" dd has.

    I suspect you are right.

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply. You were amazingly helpful!! This is just the kind of info we needed. My husband and I thank you---as does our son! :)

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