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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Posts
    19
    Help deciding on MBP for college
    First off let me start by saying I have never owned a Mac and have only used one a few times. I plan on converting due to the reliability and quality of the MBP line and because I need something that will last me through the next 4 years of college. I am an electrical/computer engineering major and will need something that will be able to handle programs such as AutoCAD, MatLab, etc. Besides doing school work, it will be used for word processing, surfing the internet, itunes, photoshop, and possibly fooling around with video editing. I know that I will have to install windows and I'm looking at installing it through Parallels or VMware. I have read that ram will greatly increase performance using a virtual machine so I may possibly spend 100$ and upgrade the RAM to 8 gigs. The part that I can't decide is whether or not I should go for the 13" or the 15" 2011 MBP. I like the portability of the 13" but I think I would need the dedicated graphics card for running programs like AutoCAD and the quad-core CPU couldn't hurt either. (When talking about the 15" MBP I am meaning the lower-end one with the 256mb graphics card. The 1gb is just a little bit out of what I'm willing to spend)

    Any thoughts or experiences? I'm leaning towards the 15" but the only drawbacks are the price and its not as portable as the 13". I know that if price is an issue I should just go for the cheapest one but if I'm going to shell out $1100 for the 13", I would rather spend a little more and get something better if the 13" will hinder my productivity considering I'm going to be using this thing daily for the next 4 years.

    Any insight is appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2

    thurstmw's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 29, 2010
    Location
    BoCo
    Posts
    295
    Specs:
    13inch 2.3 i5 MBP 64gb SSD 320gb HD 8gb 1333
    You will be fine using autocad on a 13inch pro.

    Yes that is a grizzlycorn

  3. #3

    DavidHH's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 28, 2010
    Location
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Posts
    258
    Specs:
    21.5" iMac i5 2.9 Ghz, 15" MBPro i7 2.0 Ghz, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, ATV2, ATV3, iPad2, iPad Mini
    Autocad might work on a 13" MBP but will it be as "productive"?
    That is will it be as fast or will you have more wait time?
    Will you be able to see enough of the screen or will you constantly be zooming re the samller size?

    You are going to using the computer constantly throughout your 4 years and it will be your essential "tool".
    I would lean to the 15" its potential to be more productive and efficient especially with the kind of courses that you will be taking.

    Just my opinion

    DavidH

  4. #4

    bentharbour's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 23, 2011
    Location
    Columbia SC
    Posts
    301
    I have the 15" and I upgraded from the 13".
    Although the 15" is a little bit bigger, it is not that much of a difference. The 15" is still amazingly portable and I do not feel a major difference moving it around.
     15" MBPr (2012): 2.3Ghz i7, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD  24" Apple Cinema Display  iPhone 5 16GB Black  iPad 2 16GB White

  5. #5

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,733
    Specs:
    March 2011 15" MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad Core 8GB Ram | Mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4 GHz i7 16 GB RAM 2 TB HDD
    What do you need autocad for anyway - except for perhaps 1 semester? I would go for the additional horsepower and screen real estate of the 15" - just for general purposes and since you're planning to run some virtualization sw - but you can get by with the 13".

    I would definitely upgrade the RAM - no question.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Posts
    19
    So with the 2.0 i7 and 8gb of ram I should be able to run parallels just fine? Also what do you guys prefer, iwork or msword?

  7. #7

    bentharbour's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 23, 2011
    Location
    Columbia SC
    Posts
    301
    Yes, Parallels will run just fine on that Mac.

    Personally, I like MSword, and I used it every day. A lot of folks like iWork, but its personal preference, both can get the job done.
     15" MBPr (2012): 2.3Ghz i7, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD  24" Apple Cinema Display  iPhone 5 16GB Black  iPad 2 16GB White

  8. #8

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,733
    Specs:
    March 2011 15" MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad Core 8GB Ram | Mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4 GHz i7 16 GB RAM 2 TB HDD
    Quote Originally Posted by LEMike09 View Post
    So with the 2.0 i7 and 8gb of ram I should be able to run parallels just fine? Also what do you guys prefer, iwork or msword?
    I prefer MS Office - Word and Excel - but that's largely a byproduct because it's what I know. I have recently downloaded keynote as a supplement to PowerPoint though - although haven't had time to experiment much yet. I know many folks who feel Keynote is superior. I do think you'll probably need Office - depending on what kind of courses you end up taking.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Posts
    19
    I think I'm going to get the low-end 15" although I still may get the 13" and just use my 23" monitor from my desktop while I'm at my apartment

  10. #10

    BrianLachoreVPI's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,733
    Specs:
    March 2011 15" MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad Core 8GB Ram | Mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4 GHz i7 16 GB RAM 2 TB HDD
    Quote Originally Posted by LEMike09 View Post
    I think I'm going to get the low-end 15" although I still may get the 13" and just use my 23" monitor from my desktop while I'm at my apartment
    I'd really have to recommend you stay with the 15". You're going to spend a lot of your time - at a table, coffee shop, lab, etc... with friends - studying or working on projects - you're going to appreciate the extra screen real estate of the 15" over the 13".

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