Which one for College?

Casey01

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 28, 2010
96
0
Wisconsin
So I'm going into my first year of college this fall as a CompSci major, and I decided I want to get a Mac computer because I loved my old MacBook Pro (First Gen.) and it lasted me a damn long time. The thing is though that I'm somewhat torn. I made a post on reddit's r/Applehelp subreddit and someone who claimed he was a CompSci major said that I would benefit greatly if I got the 13' MacBook Air with a 256GB SSD. The thing is though that I feel the price is cost for the configuration + AppleCare is not worth it compared to a 13' MacBook Pro with a 500GB HDD and 8GB of RAM + AppleCare.

Basically, which one should I get for the most bang for my buck, and I'm trying not to spend too much on these.

Option 1:
MacBook Air
1.3 Ghz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Frouth Gen)
8GB 1600MHz RAM
256GB SSD
AppleCare

TOTAL: $1,522.00

Option 2:
MacBook Pro
2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
8GB 1600MHz RAM
500GB HDD @ 5400 rpm
AppleCare

TOTAL: $1,272.00

All prices are based on the education discount for my college.
Also note that I will also have to by Office for Mac (or should I get iWork) and Adobe Lightroom as well.
 

Casey01

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 28, 2010
96
0
Wisconsin
Option 2 for sure, u can't even considerate a 1.3Ghz processor...
The money you save you can take a SSD
That would be great, though I don't think I could install an SSD without voiding the warranty, correct? and is it the same with RAM?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,614
5,754
"That would be great, though I don't think I could install an SSD without voiding the warranty, correct? and is it the same with RAM?"

Not sure about the latest MacBooks, but on earlier ones, the hard drive should be easily "change-able".

I'd suggest keeping the old drive around (for backups, and if you ever have to re-install for a warranty service). You might look for a USB3/SATA "dock" to connect it to the MacBook (go to amazon.com, and in the search box enter "USB3 SATA dock").

Buy the "minimum configuration" for RAM and install more yourself, if needed. But give the "base configuration" a try first, it may work "well enough" for you, for now.
 

Stooby Mcdoobie

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
796
20
As already suggested, get the base configuration MBP and upgrade the RAM/HDD yourself. It will not void your warranty.

As for which office suite - if you were just using it for personal use, iWork would probably be fine; however, Office for Mac is better suited for an academic environment. Your school probably has an education discount on this too. (As an alumni, I was able to purchase Office for Mac 2011 for ~$30 a couple years ago.)
 

Dark Dragoon

macrumors 6502a
Jul 28, 2006
843
3
UK
I'd suggest keeping the old drive around (for backups, and if you ever have to re-install for a warranty service). You might look for a USB3/SATA "dock" to connect it to the MacBook (go to amazon.com, and in the search box enter "USB3 SATA dock").
An alternative would be to buy an optibay (if you don't need the built in optical drive), so you can keep both the SSD and HDD inside. That way you could buy a smaller cheaper SSD if the budget is tight.

Though you would still want an external drive to backup to if you don't already have one.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,575
4,005
I've used a 2006 MBA and will be graduating in about 10 months. It has 128 GB storage, 2 GB RAM, and the CPU is 1.6 GHz... dual core duo, I think, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

It is SOOOO SLOW and the battery dies in about 2 hours, but it has served me well. I broke the hinge a year ago, but I took it to the Apple store and they sent it out and fixed it for me for free. Obviously the warranty ended a long time ago, but they didn't seem to care.

My point here is: you don't need cutting edge stuff to do school work on. Even if you're going into computer science, you really don't need it. Writing code isn't that taxing on your computer - it's nothing like running a game or streaming a movie.
 

AppleMacNerd

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2013
155
4
United Kingdom
I've used a 2006 MBA and will be graduating in about 10 months. It has 128 GB storage, 2 GB RAM, and the CPU is 1.6 GHz... dual core duo, I think, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

It is SOOOO SLOW and the battery dies in about 2 hours, but it has served me well. I broke the hinge a year ago, but I took it to the Apple store and they sent it out and fixed it for me for free. Obviously the warranty ended a long time ago, but they didn't seem to care.

My point here is: you don't need cutting edge stuff to do school work on. Even if you're going into computer science, you really don't need it. Writing code isn't that taxing on your computer - it's nothing like running a game or streaming a movie.
Just so you know it's not writing the code that requires computer power.
When you come to debug and run this is where a higher spec computer can help if you have a few hundred lines of coding:)
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,575
4,005
Just so you know it's not writing the code that requires computer power.
When you come to debug and run this is where a higher spec computer can help if you have a few hundred lines of coding:)
It's not going to fail on account of running slow, though. If you're demanding real time performance because you're playing a game or editting a movie or something, then yes, you need a spec'd out machine. If all you're doing is writing code, doing some research, writing a paper, and debugging some code, then you can afford waiting. It'll teach you patience and to appreciate the better things when you can get them.

I'll admit, I cheat. I have a 2007 iMac which performs much better than the 2006 Air, but even it is starting to show its age. Still waiting for the day I can afford to buy myself newer computers.
 

AppleMacNerd

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2013
155
4
United Kingdom
It's not going to fail on account of running slow, though. If you're demanding real time performance because you're playing a game or editting a movie or something, then yes, you need a spec'd out machine. If all you're doing is writing code, doing some research, writing a paper, and debugging some code, then you can afford waiting. It'll teach you patience and to appreciate the better things when you can get them.

I'll admit, I cheat. I have a 2007 iMac which performs much better than the 2006 Air, but even it is starting to show its age. Still waiting for the day I can afford to buy myself newer computers.
I agree with this, but when things need to be completed quickly having a machine with a better spec is a much better option!
Some people can't and won't want to wait for code to debug and run. In a day to day running of a business that deals with coding. Time is Money. In this case it isn't but could still help! :)
 

ohbrilliance

macrumors 6502a
May 15, 2007
938
210
Melbourne, Australia
Nobody should be buying a laptop in 2013 with a HDD. Hard drives are by far the biggest bottleneck for performance. If you do go down that path, I suggest immediately replacing the HDD with an SSD.

Unless you're attending a course with exceptional hardware requirements, any new mac that has an SSD will be fast enough for programming. I completed a Computing degree with a Pentium 1 PC, and currently develop software on a 2007 MBP.
 

mitchellkraus

macrumors newbie
Jun 23, 2013
1
0
So I'm going into my first year of college this fall as a CompSci major, and I decided I want to get a Mac computer because I loved my old MacBook Pro (First Gen.) and it lasted me a damn long time. The thing is though that I'm somewhat torn. I made a post on reddit's r/Applehelp subreddit and someone who claimed he was a CompSci major said that I would benefit greatly if I got the 13' MacBook Air with a 256GB SSD. The thing is though that I feel the price is cost for the configuration + AppleCare is not worth it compared to a 13' MacBook Pro with a 500GB HDD and 8GB of RAM + AppleCare.

Basically, which one should I get for the most bang for my buck, and I'm trying not to spend too much on these.

Option 1:
MacBook Air
1.3 Ghz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Frouth Gen)
8GB 1600MHz RAM
256GB SSD
AppleCare

TOTAL: $1,522.00

Option 2:
MacBook Pro
2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
8GB 1600MHz RAM
500GB HDD @ 5400 rpm
AppleCare

TOTAL: $1,272.00

All prices are based on the education discount for my college.
Also note that I will also have to by Office for Mac (or should I get iWork) and Adobe Lightroom as well.
I know what you mean. I'm have am going to college at the Ranken and need to have all the adobe creative cloud, and Lightroom, including ALL of their other products in relative to Internet and Web-based Technologies. Then after this bachelors, I'm getting one in Network Architecture and Design. It's the most expensive college in Missouri, and I don't have much money. But 90-95% of students once they graduate, find a job within 6 months. I plan on running a business or working for google. Google sent me an email saying I'd fit into their algorithmic sequencing and Engineering department, which what I'm gunna be is a Software Engineer or Software Developer. Haven't made up my mind yet. So I would get the MacBook Pro if I were you. I own newest MacBook Air secondary to the Retina Display one, and it has a short battery life, and the pro can o and hold a lot more storage. It's a hassle to use an external hard drive when you need your material on the mobile. You can't do it! Lol. So there's a lot of freeing up space and emptying space. I have a 123GB one. Storage runs out fast. I have the 1.7GHz and 4GB of memory. It's a really professional computer, and it's still the thinnest computer or laptop ever built. It is well built. I'd go with the PRO if I were you. It will be more useful to you in the future. Trust me.
 

Casey01

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 28, 2010
96
0
Wisconsin
SSDs are still a bit spendy, and I don't quiet trust myself with going that deep into a MacBook Pro just yet, I'm more accustomed to opening and tinkering with the insides of desktops which are easier by a long shot. I'm thinking after the AppleCare warranty is up I'll invest into decent sides SSD. Plus by then there price would have gone down.

But I have another question, does Apple still do that thing where if you buy one of their laptops before they release an update to their OS (Lion to Mountain Lion, Mountain Lion > Mavericks)? And if so, what is the cut off date? A month before? a few weeks before?
 
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