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

MacBook Pro - IT Programming Student


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bontarest

 
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I am a programing student and I'm in a market for a laptop, at first I was hoping to get a Apple MacBook Pro 17 but it is a little costly (not completely out of the question tho). But very very interested in Macs since I could run OS X and Widows at the same time/same machine (with a little Linux maybe).

The MacBook Pro 17 I was thinking of getting would come out for me to be about $4,600 before about $400 in rebates. This would include 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 256GB solid-state drive (would use external drives for extra space), MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display, iWork, Microsoft Office, Apple Remote, a case, 1 game, Kingston Lock, 3 year warranty and Wireless Printer. Basically its configured to the best MacBook Pro 17 I can get.

I have never owned a Mac, but I feel that they are a bit better than Windows in "most" areas. Although not looking forward to learning the inside and outs like I already know in Windows .


Some basic info about what I would like out of my new laptop:
-I like to play some MMO's which don't normally need a lot of resources compared to a game like Crysis
-I tend to have a fair amount of music/video so need some room for that, right now I have about 200 GB worth
-I like to take laptops with me but I don't think weight is to huge of a issue for me
-I like to play with code/make web sites, organize files, play around with Flash
-I would think that having a 17'' screen for programming is needed, but not sure if I could get away with a smaller one, which would save me a fair amount of money


Some of the classes that I will be taking are:
-Intro Prog with JavaScript
-Website Development-XHTML
-Intro to Database
-SQL Database Programming
-Object-Oriented Design w/UML
-PHP Web with MySQL
-AJAX and JavaScript Web Dev
-Prof PHP Web Applications
-iPhone development
-Also a Internship


So basically I wondering what you guys would recommend for me as a laptop, I know that the Apple is pricey.


Also can you put down the minimum/maximum requirements I should be looking for, for what I like to do/need to do!


If you need anymore info from me, hoping I got it all covered, I will get it to you as fast as a I can!


Thanks to all to respond!
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vansmith

 
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You should be fine with any MBP as long as you can deal with a smaller screen size. You don't need a top of the line machine to do web development.

Also, IMHO, there is no reason to go solid state. They are expensive, smaller and from what I've read, the speed benefits are hardly noticeable. Also, why do you need both Office and iWork? Why not order the Mac without either, install the trials of each and see which you like more. You can then order only the one you want, which will save money.

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Qua Sar

 
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I agree with vansmith. You don't need the solid-state as much, or the iwork or office together. As well any mac would be fine. Even the macbook for web development and the stuff you are doing. A 3 ghz processor as well is not fully necessary. I would say (this would be what i want eventually anyways) maybe get a 13" macbook pro or the 13" white macbook and then buy some ram from crucial or newegg to put it up to 4 gigs. If you want another screen for web development (some like it... one screen for coding another to visualize/watch something while you work if you don't have a tv), then you could get a monitor for home use and connect that. Hopefully that helps
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Square_nothing

 
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imo if you have the money go for the basic 17'' the specs are very good and you will be saving cash that you could spend on a monitor or as your a student... drink
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bontarest

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Also, why do you need both Office and iWork?
I was going to run iWork on the OS X side then Office on the Windows side (sorry if that isn't clear in my post), iWork is more for my personal use while Office would be for work/school plus Excel is much more advanced than Numbers. This way I don't have to reboot to have to type anything up.
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DarkestRitual

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
You should be fine with any MBP as long as you can deal with a smaller screen size. You don't need a top of the line machine to do web development.

Also, IMHO, there is no reason to go solid state. They are expensive, smaller and from what I've read, the speed benefits are hardly noticeable. Also, why do you need both Office and iWork? Why not order the Mac without either, install the trials of each and see which you like more. You can then order only the one you want, which will save money.
Hardly noticeable? Hold read my response to the OP...

OP - Don't ever pay that much for something from apple. Pay for the baseline 17 inch (or if you want the faster processor, add that too, I guess), and lowest RAM and HDD. Buy the SSD (Samsung or Intel) from a 3rd party (newegg or owc maybe?), and the RAM too.

As for speed being hardly noticeable... YouTube - How Fast is Booting from an SSD [Solid State Drive]? and YouTube - Samsung's SSD Hardware is Stupid Fast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkestRitual View Post
Hardly noticeable? Hold read my response to the OP...As for speed being hardly noticeable... YouTube - How Fast is Booting from an SSD [Solid State Drive]? and YouTube - Samsung's SSD Hardware is Stupid Fast
Yes, they can read quite quickly but are much slower than a traditional HD at writing, especially with smaller files. See here for example. That study shows considerably faster write speeds on traditional HDs and in most cases, faster read speeds. To quote the article, "When comparing read performance between hard disks and Flash SSDs the specs are often misleading. Flash SSDs have much better access times, but typically are slower in terms of transfer rates."

There is also this article, which highlights not only on the small, "...advantage at the consumer level" but also highlights the following about quality: "For one thing, it matters whether the SSD drive uses SLC or MLC memory. SLC generally endures up to 100,000 write cycles or writes per cell, while MLC can endure anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 writes before it begins to fail, according to Fujitsu's Hagberg. For its part, Western Digital's laptop hard-disk drive boasts up to 600,000 write cycles."

IMHO, the dubious benefits of SSDs over traditional HDs doesn't justify paying the same price, let alone a huge premium. To be fair to my case, the videos you posted are by the same person and very subjective. For all I know, that was a Mac Pro with top of the line specs. Plus, that was a fresh install, so there was little slowing a boot down. OS X screamed on my laptop after I did a fresh install on my new 7,200RPM drive.

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bontarest

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Yes, they can read quite quickly but are much slower than a traditional HD at writing, especially with smaller files. See here for example. That study shows considerably faster write speeds on traditional HDs and in most cases, faster read speeds. To quote the article, "When comparing read performance between hard disks and Flash SSDs the specs are often misleading. Flash SSDs have much better access times, but typically are slower in terms of transfer rates."

There is also this article, which highlights not only on the small, "...advantage at the consumer level" but also highlights the following about quality: "For one thing, it matters whether the SSD drive uses SLC or MLC memory. SLC generally endures up to 100,000 write cycles or writes per cell, while MLC can endure anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 writes before it begins to fail, according to Fujitsu's Hagberg. For its part, Western Digital's laptop hard-disk drive boasts up to 600,000 write cycles."

IMHO, the dubious benefits of SSDs over traditional HDs doesn't justify paying the same price, let alone a huge premium. To be fair to my case, the videos you posted are by the same person and very subjective. For all I know, that was a Mac Pro with top of the line specs. Plus, that was a fresh install, so there was little slowing a boot down. OS X screamed on my laptop after I did a fresh install on my new 7,200RPM drive.

The first links that you provided was about music and "Queens of the Stone Age" (I do like the song "No One Knows", but don't think that has to do with SSD lol), while the other one was from Early-Mid 2008, since then SSD has gained leaps and bounds. Like in the article it stated that a terabyte cost tens of thousands of dollars, when its only around $3,000ish now.
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bontarest

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkestRitual View Post
Buy the SSD (Samsung or Intel) from a 3rd party (newegg or owc maybe?).[/url]
I checked Newegg, as I'm am a fan of theirs, but the cheapest SSD I found was $600 - $800. Whereas if I get it from Apple in the 17'' its $540. I'm checking with Apple tho if their SSD's use MLC or SLC Flash. Since SLC is much better and last longer, but I do completely agree with you on the RAM comment.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bontarest View Post
The first links that you provided was about music and "Queens of the Stone Age" (I do like the song "No One Knows", but don't think that has to do with SSD lol), while the other one was from Early-Mid 2008, since then SSD has gained leaps and bounds. Like in the article it stated that a terabyte cost tens of thousands of dollars, when its only around $3,000ish now.
My bad, I was reading another article at the same time . Here is the link to that article. Here is another one.

Regardless of whether or not they are faster, or better yet noticeably faster to the naked eye, the excessive prices are not worth it. Especially since web development will likely require smaller writes to the disk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bontarest View Post
Like in the article it stated that a terabyte cost tens of thousands of dollars, when its only around $3,000ish now.
Perhaps they are a lot cheaper but I can find a 1TB WD Caviar Black 7200RPM 3.5" drive for $110 CDN. Or, I found this 2TB WD Caviar Green 3.5" drive for $320 CDN. Better yet, let's compare 2.5" drives. Compared to this 2.5" 128GB Patriot SSD for $429 CDN, I can get a 500GB Seagate Momentus 7200RPM 2.5" drive for $140 CDN. Per GB, the SSD is $3.35/GB while the Seagate is $0.28/GB. Can you really justify a HD that is ~12x more expensive per GB that has negligible speed benefits (not to mind the quality issues).

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bontarest

 
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I asked Apple if they use MLC vs SLC, SS Drives and they told me they do not have access to that kind of corporate information. He told me that I should do some internet searches and look/post on some forums to try to find out.
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Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
My bad, I was reading another article at the same time . Here is the link to that article. Here is another one.

Regardless of whether or not they are faster, or better yet noticeably faster to the naked eye, the excessive prices are not worth it. Especially since web development will likely require smaller writes to the disk.

Thanks for your time and effort but both of the posts that you linked to me may have good information within them, but they are so outdated I tend to take the info with a grain of salt. The one post was from 08 and the other one was from 07, in the tech world 2 years it a LONG time, so the info you provided may have been right then but not so much (maybe) now. If you have some current info about them, I would love to take a look at it. All the techies I talk to recommend them, even tho they cost a lot.
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Qua Sar

 
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what would you need really fast write/read times that you would need a ssd type drive for? And have you thought of using parallels for windows that way whatever you do in windows you switch quickly over to os x?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qua Sar View Post
what would you need really fast write/read times that you would need a ssd type drive for? And have you thought of using parallels for windows that way whatever you do in windows you switch quickly over to os x?
I want to be able to run Windows at its native speeds, which Parallels tho fast can't do. I do sometimes do 3-D rendering in my spare time. Also I was going to use a Parallels "like" program, but its free, to run Linux with OS X.
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Provide me a study that shows that SSDs, despite the ridiculous cost, are worthy of the price justification as opposed to providing hearsay as evidence .

This chart here shows some info about SSDs from early 2009 (recent enough?). Aside from the aformentioned issues, look at the warranties. They top out at 3 years and some have a 1 year warranty. How can you justify the ridiculous prices for something that is only guaranteed to work for a year compared to the Seagate that has the 3 year warranty or something like my WD 7200 RPM drive which has a 5 year warranty?

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