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Help Choosing A New MacBook Pro For College  
User currently offlineKaphias From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 312 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3541 times:

So my nearly six year old MacBook has run it's course, and I'm due for a new laptop for college. I'll need something that can run programs such as Photoshop, Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, Revit, and X-Plane. I also need to be able to install Windows 7/8 and run Windows programs. I will be using the computer outside quite a bit, so something with a glare-resistant screen would be good. I need an ethernet port for television and printing, and I'd like a CD drive. My X-Plane install runs around 120GB, and I have a rapidly growing photography folder. Budget goes up to around $2200USD.

Thanks!


Flown on: C150, C172, C206, Beaver, Otter, Jetstream 32, Q400, CRJ7/9, E135/40/45, A320, B732/4/7/8/9, B744, B752, B763
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7851 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3533 times:

Just get a standard 15 inch and download all your crap from piratebay    (don't do that...just purchase the products. My 15 incher does a wonderful job)


我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 3004 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3520 times:

There are two types of MacBooks as of last Monday: the Next Generation 15" MBP with a Retina display. This is not cheap, and the standard version comes with a small SSD... If you have X-Plane, that won't work. No ethernet (dongle for that) and no drive; you'd need an external SuperDrive. And this is just below your budget.

There are also the old-look new MBPs; these have updated graphics cards and Ivy Bridge. I've got a 13" of these and it is fantastic. With your budget, though, and for your uses, it seems like a 15" MBP would be good. You can go online and configure it with different memory, processors, etc. If you don't care for the latest (which are truly better than the previous generation, running faster, cooler, and quieter) you can look on Apple's online refurbished store. You might be able to find a good deal.



The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 937 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3510 times:

Quoting Kaphias (Thread starter):
So my nearly six year old MacBook has run it's course, and I'm due for a new laptop for college. I'll need something that can run programs such as Photoshop, Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, Revit, and X-Plane. I also need to be able to install Windows 7/8 and run Windows programs. I will be using the computer outside quite a bit, so something with a glare-resistant screen would be good. I need an ethernet port for television and printing, and I'd like a CD drive. My X-Plane install runs around 120GB, and I have a rapidly growing photography folder. Budget goes up to around $2200USD.

US$2200? You can buy about the highest-end Windows laptop for that kind of money...which, when you consider your need to install Windows, you probably should be buying anyways. Don't be a brand whore...buy the most suitable product for your money.



Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7242 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3500 times:

Quoting MrChips (Reply 3):
US$2200? You can buy about the highest-end Windows laptop for that kind of money...which, when you consider your need to install Windows, you probably should be buying anyways. Don't be a brand whore...buy the most suitable product for your money.

Agree 100% get a PC laptop. That is what people in the "real" world use and that is what all the computers in your school will be. You need to run windows programs there is no reason to not buy a PC laptop at that price. You can get the best, fastest, durable PC laptop for $2200. I have a great fast, i5 sony for under $1,000. You do not need to worry about files not working for class and what not.

Get a PC and with the extra money you will probably save buy an i-pad.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineppvra From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8971 posts, RR: 39
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3493 times:

I guess this is the website for you: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/compare/notebooks

Note: they have a link at the top that offers a more detailed comparison between products.


Does your $2200 budget include all the programs you need or is this just for the laptop?

Quoting MrChips (Reply 3):
Don't be a brand whore

It's got nothing to do with the brand, but with a superior product in just about every sense.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3491 times:

It's one of the two 15" models by your requirements.

The "old-style" 15" MBP is available with a matte screen, but it has a rather moderate resolution. It has both Ethernet and an optical drive built in but is somewhat behind the curve even with its new processor and USB3.

The new Retina MacBook Pro is much more advanced. Its screen is much better all around (2880*1800 IPS with enhanced contrast and probably enlarged colour space (I've not seen numerical measurements yet) vs. 1440*900 (1680*1050 matte) TN in the "classic" one); It is glossy (for higher contrast and a clearer image), but has an anti-glare coating which works pretty well.

(The Retina Display doesn't make things appear smaller – they just become clearer and more detailed, as on the iPhone and iPad.)

With the Retina model both Ethernet and optical drive are external, but still fully functional. You can also use an optical drive of another computer via WiFi if that's enough for your needs.

The classic model is actually more expensive if you spec out both with an SSD (you'll have to add the Ethernet adapter and the external optical drive to the Retina model, though, but also $100 for the matte display on the classic one), and only the Retina one supports 16GB of RAM (which I would urge you to get right away, since it's fixed).

It may be a good idea to compare the two directly:
http://store.apple.com/us/compare/mac?page=macbook-pro

And, of course, to look at both side by side in a store if possible. Given that your budget is pretty much there anyway, I'd recommend the new model. I'm pretty sure you'll be satisfied.

Quoting MrChips (Reply 3):
US$2200? You can buy about the highest-end Windows laptop for that kind of money...

Not even close. Real high-end PCs go at least to the same price range, just not the cheap consumer models.

A MacBook Pro is about the equivalent of a real high-end business PC, which will cost you about the same (still without really matching the Mac in its strong features).

Quoting flymia (Reply 4):
Agree 100% get a PC laptop. That is what people in the "real" world use and that is what all the computers in your school will be.

You're very much mistaken. Particularly in education Macs have been ramping up in recent years. In many cases you'd be in a minority with a PC.

This may still be an extreme case, however...

http://giroplus.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/acer_apple_mac_laptops_auditorium.jpg
 


[Edited 2012-06-17 14:13:53]

User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3342 posts, RR: 45
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3465 times:

Quoting flymia (Reply 4):
buy an i-pad

Or even better, an Asus Transformer Prime!

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineKaphias From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 312 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3459 times:

Don't even dare start the Mac vs. PC argument here; I have my reasons for buying a Mac and there's no use trying to talk me out of it. Thank you.

Quoting ppvra (Reply 5):
Does your $2200 budget include all the programs you need or is this just for the laptop?

Just the laptop. I get a $100 gift card with the purchase which I'll use for a couple programs such as Pages; I get lots of software free (Windows 7/8) or reduced price (Microsoft office) from my school.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
You're very much mistaken. Particularly in education Macs have been ramping up in recent years. In many cases you'd be in a minority with a PC.

The school I'm going to is about 1/4-1/3 Mac, which I'm fine with.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
And, of course, to look at both side by side in a store if possible. Given that your budget is pretty much there anyway, I'd recommend the new model. I'm pretty sure you'll be satisfied.

Thanks Klaus. I've already looked at both side by side in a store, and while the new screen is certainly amazing, it's just not enough of a difference from the hi-res 1680x1050 to overcome the small HD and lack of an included CD drive, both of which are pretty much deal-breakers for me.

These are the specs of the one I've been looking at:

2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display
Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide (English)

I figure that the 2.7GHz processor isn't worth the extra price, but I'm wondering if the 7200 rpm HD upgrade would be worthwhile. How much of a speed increase is it, and would there be decreased reliability? I'm a very frugal person so I'm hesitant to get AppleCare (especially considering I've never had a problem in 15+ years of Mac ownership), what are your thoughts?



Flown on: C150, C172, C206, Beaver, Otter, Jetstream 32, Q400, CRJ7/9, E135/40/45, A320, B732/4/7/8/9, B744, B752, B763
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3124 times:

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 8):
Thanks Klaus. I've already looked at both side by side in a store, and while the new screen is certainly amazing, it's just not enough of a difference from the hi-res 1680x1050 to overcome the small HD and lack of an included CD drive, both of which are pretty much deal-breakers for me.

Optical drives are available for external connection as well – do you really use optical disks frequently enough, and will you keep doing that over the years to come? It could be, but I would have preferred my 2006 MBP without an internal one already.

The drive space argument is relevant, but it's effectively a tradeoff: The new SSDs are massively faster than a mechanical harddisk and much more robust on the move; also silent. But they are relatively pricey.

Mechanical harddisks are cheap and they have rather high capacities, but they are the primary bottleneck in a modern computer, and the impact on total system performance can be huge.

At least at this point you can't have both at the same time, unfortunately, but the gap has started to narrow.

(And the display can really make a big difference, particularly when reading text.)

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 8):
I figure that the 2.7GHz processor isn't worth the extra price

Depends on what you're doing, but an SSD would likely have a much larger impact on total performance.

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 8):
but I'm wondering if the 7200 rpm HD upgrade would be worthwhile. How much of a speed increase is it, and would there be decreased reliability?

Reliability should be similar, and speed can be somewhat improved over the slower mechanical drives (far removed from a comparison to the SSDs, however).

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 8):
I'm a very frugal person so I'm hesitant to get AppleCare (especially considering I've never had a problem in 15+ years of Mac ownership), what are your thoughts?

In the (very!) long run, it should more or less even out. Having extended support can be a boon. Otherwise it's effectively an insurance: You pay a moderate amount and you're cushioned against rare but still expensive repairs. If nothing happens, you'll be ahead if you don't take the warranty extension; If you get it and you have a major failure, it can save you a lot of money.

Effectively it depends on your appetite for taking the risk yourself. You can feel lucky or screwed either way.

You might also want to check if you can cheaply attach the machine to an already existing insurance you or your parents may already have. Some dealers also offer separate protection plans, but how well they're honouring them can be hit or miss.


User currently offlineKaphias From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 312 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2932 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
The drive space argument is relevant, but it's effectively a tradeoff: The new SSDs are massively faster than a mechanical harddisk and much more robust on the move; also silent. But they are relatively pricey.

Mechanical harddisks are cheap and they have rather high capacities, but they are the primary bottleneck in a modern computer, and the impact on total system performance can be huge.

At least at this point you can't have both at the same time, unfortunately, but the gap has started to narrow.

I would be able to replace the hard drive with a SSD at a later point in time if I find the need and the prices drop, correct?

Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
You might also want to check if you can cheaply attach the machine to an already existing insurance you or your parents may already have. Some dealers also offer separate protection plans, but how well they're honouring them can be hit or miss.

I forgot about this, thanks. We will be attaching it to an insurance plan, but I'll have to look into what that covers (lost item only, or broken parts also). And I guess I can get AppleCare within a year(?) of purchase if I don't get it now.



Flown on: C150, C172, C206, Beaver, Otter, Jetstream 32, Q400, CRJ7/9, E135/40/45, A320, B732/4/7/8/9, B744, B752, B763
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2931 times:

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 10):
I would be able to replace the hard drive with a SSD at a later point in time if I find the need and the prices drop, correct?

Yes. The current "classic" MacBook Pros have the same fast SATA ports.

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 10):
I forgot about this, thanks. We will be attaching it to an insurance plan, but I'll have to look into what that covers (lost item only, or broken parts also).

Extended phone support is only available from Apple directly, but with an Apple Store in reach you can go there as well. Most of the rest you can tailor to your needs.

Quoting Kaphias (Reply 10):
And I guess I can get AppleCare within a year(?) of purchase if I don't get it now.

Indeed.


User currently offlineKaphias From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 312 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2928 times:

Great. Thanks so much for all your help, I really appreciate it.  


Flown on: C150, C172, C206, Beaver, Otter, Jetstream 32, Q400, CRJ7/9, E135/40/45, A320, B732/4/7/8/9, B744, B752, B763
User currently offlineNW747400 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2897 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
You're very much mistaken. Particularly in education Macs have been ramping up in recent years. In many cases you'd be in a minority with a PC.

This may still be an extreme case, however...


I can testify to that being the case. I start medical school in August and well over half my class uses apple products (either the iPad or the Macbook Pro/Air). Something else I noticed while in undergrad was that when I started (in 2007) macs were very much the minority, however, by the time I graduated macs comprised around half of laptops used by students. I myself started college with a PC and switched to a Macbook Pro last year. I now see why they have taken over a large share of the PC market. My computer is reliable and fast. Also IMHO OSX is much more user friendly when compared to Windows.
NW747400


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