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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro - Engineering Student Looking for a laptop


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breakfast

 
Member Since: Jun 16, 2009
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Hey,

I've been looking for a laptop for school in the fall and I'm really liking the idea of a Macbook Pro (the 13 inch version ideally).

I will be doing schoolwork on it, possibly some MATLAB... possibly some CAD work next year. Also I would probably be doing a little bit of gaming... CS:S, TF:2, maybe WoW? Possibly Diablo III, Starcraft 2. Can/will these run well on a Mac? I would also be interested in running Windows (XP most likely... I hate Vista) on Bootcamp or Parallels/VMWare Fusion (Which one is better??)

First of all, would you honestly recommend me a Mac?
Secondly, which version of the 13 inch Macbook Pro would you recommend me?

Lastly, thanks for donating me some of your time... and putting up with all my questions.

Cheers,
Ryan

Edit: I'll also be doing a little bit of home recording most likely via Pro Tools or Cubase or Freeware recording software.
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iPod Nano

 
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I don't know anything about gaming, sorry. As far as running Windows, depends on what you want. If you want to boot into windows and turn your mac into a PC, you should use Bootcamp. If you want to run Windows and Mac OS X side-by-side, use a virtualization solution. VirtualBox will do what you want for free. It's not quite as advanced as Parallels, but it will get the job done.

Welcome to Mac and the forums! You'll have a great time!

Chris K.
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CArmstrong

 
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Gaming effectively on a Mac means you'll be using BootCamp to install XP and dual-boot into it.

The graphics card on the 13" MacBook Pro is only a GeForce 9400M, so don't expect a ton of newer games to perform very well. CS:S may be alright, but Orange Box-based games like TF2 will likely perform poorly (if at all). WoW should run fine, but newer games are going to have issues.

EDIT: I found a few threads on MacRumors where people got TF2 running on CrossOver or BootCamp, but there were multiple issues and it played buggy. Also, many of the effects had to be disabled due to the poor graphics capabilities, so don't expect the same experience.

As for StarCraft II and Diablo III, nobody has any idea what the system specs will be for those. SC2 is just nearing beta, and D3 has just been announced. Blizzard in the past has released games simultaneously on both PCs and Macs, so I'd say it's a safe bet to assume you'll be able to run them on A Mac.

"Excuse me, does this effectively hide my thunder?" - Tobias Fünke, Arrested Development
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breakfast

 
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Okay, I edited my post to add that I'll also likely be doing some home recording. How well will this work on the Macbook Pro? I'd likely be using a USB or Firewire Mixer to Pro Tools or Cubase or another Freeware recording software.

Also, is it possible to quickly switch from Windows to Mac? Or will the process be a full restart?

My HP Pavilion DV5 runs CS:S and TF2 both pretty well. I'll have to check on the exact model but I'm pretty sure it doesn't have the greatest video card either.
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traded

 
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"little bit of gaming"
I think your choices are defendant on exactly how much you mean by "little bit" and how pretty you want things to look.
Matlab should be fine but its such a powerful package, you can do extremely taxing work with it.
I'm afraid you may need a dual GPU MBP. You will be absolutely fine with a used unibody MBP. These should become more available as people start to slowly change up to the new, longer battery life version.
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traded

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breakfast View Post
Also, is it possible to quickly switch from Windows to Mac? Or will the process be a full restart?
Boot Camp requires a restart, Parallels etc run the two OS's in....well "parallel". I have had bad experiences with parallels and the like as they cannot seem to take full advantage of the system resources since OSX is still running and taking up resources.

But really think about, what you will be doing and whether your work requires such rapid and frequent switching between the two OS's?
I found that this was never the case for me. Given the relative stability of the Boot Camp method, I ended up nixing parallels.
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breakfast

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traded View Post
"little bit of gaming"
I think your choices are defendant on exactly how much you mean by "little bit" and how pretty you want things to look.
Matlab should be fine but its such a powerful package, you can do extremely taxing work with it.
I'm afraid you may need a dual GPU MBP. You will be absolutely fine with a used unibody MBP. These should become more available as people start to slowly change up to the new, longer battery life version.
Alright, I honestly doubt I'll be doing much gaming at all. I haven't bought a new game in a while and I've not really been interested in much gaming as of late.

I'm not looking for amazing instant performance for MATLAB but more a smooth performance having a ton of browser tabs open while working on a few assignments while on MSN and Facebook probably. Lots of Flash games probably. And if I'm using MATLAB at all, it will be just MATLAB.
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CrimsonRequiem

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breakfast View Post
Alright, I honestly doubt I'll be doing much gaming at all. I haven't bought a new game in a while and I've not really been interested in much gaming as of late.

I'm not looking for amazing instant performance for MATLAB but more a smooth performance having a ton of browser tabs open while working on a few assignments while on MSN and Facebook probably. Lots of Flash games probably. And if I'm using MATLAB at all, it will be just MATLAB.
You will be fine with any Mac that you buy. I'm on my MB and I have 60+ tabs open a lot of them being flash. I need to watch my Korean dramas. >_<"

Plus I have itunes, Adium and 3 of the Adobe design applications open and running. No lagging what so ever.
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oilersrock99

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2009
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If I were you, I would buy a 13 inch from a local futureshop or bestbuy and try it out for two weeks. Put all the games/programs/software you can on it, and try running it. See how you like. If you don't like the way it works you can easily return it and maybe try the middle of the line 15 inch, which is way way way better - graphically anyways - and can handle so much more. It'll also do the job quieter.
However, if you're on a budget, then you might have to look at other options. Also look at some other forums and see what people are saying about those specific programs you'll be running.
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