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Wretrop 07-06-2013 03:35 AM

Suggestions for a new Macbook?
 
Hi Guys!

I'm off to college and I need a mobile computing station. I don't need it to be too fancy, but I do need it to effective.

Its main purpose in life will be to:
* Run SolidWorks (And sadly it must therefore run Windows)
* Compute in MATLAB
* Coding
* Possibly other CAD or computational software in the future (I'm a Mechanical Engineering major)
* Possibly run Starcraft 2 (Don't judge me).
* Then of course the usual web surfing, movie watching, email reading, blah blah blah...

Right now I'm doing all of this (except the SolidWorks/CAD) on a 2006 iMac 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo with 3 GB of RAM in OSX 10.6.8 and for the most part this thing still runs like a champ. Unfortunately, my iPad1 just isn't cutting it anymore and I need something to carry with me these days.

I'm looking at the new 13", 1.7 GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD Macbook Air. It's shiny.

But I'm wondering if this will support my needs. Will it be good enough? Should I wait for the new MBP? Should I just go with the current model of MBP?

Thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
-Will

chscag 07-06-2013 02:30 PM

Quote:

I'm looking at the new 13", 1.7 GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD Macbook Air. It's shiny.

But I'm wondering if this will support my needs. Will it be good enough? Should I wait for the new MBP? Should I just go with the current model of MBP?
The new MBA that you mentioned above will more than support your needs. You could also wait to see what the new MacBook Pro machines will have, however, it's certain that Apple will equip them with the new Haswell chipset and the Intel HD 5000 GPU. The choice is yours. But keep in mind that we don't know when Apple will announce the new MacBook Pros.

jt1968 07-07-2013 04:39 PM

A MacBook Pro 15" with Retina display will do everything you want to do, and do it fast and beautifully! They are quite expensive, though, at $2,200 (256GB SSD, 8GB RAM), but I bought mine refurbished on Apple's online store (mid-2012 model), and got $500 off. For you, if your parents are buying it for you, and can afford it, you're set. Apple also has 0% financing if you pay it all off within a year and make payments on time (this is what I did).

I would also recommend using Boot Camp to install Windows 7 on its own partition. I had to do this on my Mac because I have old synthesizer and MIDI control programs that only run on Windoze, as well as a few old games I still like to play. To help with this (and also allow you to play Blu-Ray movies on your MacBook if you buy a model without an optical drive), I recommend the Asus SBC-06D2X-U external USB Blu-Ray player (which also works as a CD/DVD reader/writer) - it's slim, comes with a stand, and works well, and you can use it to install Win 7 using Boot Camp. Apple's external USB optical drive does NOT support Blu-Ray.

The above drive comes with a USB cable that has 2 USB connections, presumably because it needs extra power. Rather than using both USB 3 ports for this, I plug one USB connector into a USB port, and the other into a USB extension cable that is then plugged into a 120VAC-to-5VDC USB converter.

Wretrop 07-19-2013 02:12 PM

Hey guys,

Thanks for your responses!

I'd really like the new MBP, but I just can't wait anymore. Plus it might be a little pricey (I'm paying for it myself).

Chscag mentioned that the new MBA would be more than sufficient for smooth operation of all the things I listed. Can anyone provide a second opinion on the subject before I commit to this investment?


Thanks!

pigoo3 07-19-2013 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wretrop (Post 1527106)
Plus it might be a little pricey (I'm paying for it myself).

Yes...not an uncommon situation. Most of us pay for our own computers.

That's called "Welcome to being an adult!";)

- Nick

Wretrop 07-19-2013 11:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pigoo3 (Post 1527121)
That's called "Welcome to being an adult!";)

Ohhhhh is that what being an adult is about? And this whole time they've been saying that the military made a man out of me... :P

I only mentioned it because one of the commenters mentioned my parent's possibly paying for the laptop.

But while I have your attention... Could I get your expert opinion on the subject? :D

pigoo3 07-19-2013 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wretrop (Post 1527178)
I only mentioned it because one of the commenters mentioned my parent's possibly paying for the laptop.

Ok...point taken...didn't see that!;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wretrop (Post 1527178)
But while I have your attention... Could I get your expert opinion on the subject? :D

Firstly...if you're doing most of your computing tasks on a 2006 iMac...ANY new Macintosh computer you purchase will be light years better. So you almost can't make an error with any computer you choose!:)

You mentioned gaming (StarCraft 2). We usually say that Mac's (or the Mac OS) aren't the best machines for gaming...but they do ok. With this said...as you may or may not know...dedicated graphics hardware (separate video hardware) is better than integrated graphics hardware.

The ONLY new Apple laptops currently being sold that have dedicated graphics hardware iare the 15" MacBook Pro's (retina and non-retina models). This may or may not work for you...just wanted you to know.

Beyond this...all other Apple laptops (13" MacBook Pros & MacBook Airs) either have Intel HD 4000 or Intel HD 5000 graphics (5000 being newer/better).

Beyond all this...it really comes down to...ANY 2012/2013 computer is going to be a lot better than a 2006 computer!:)

- Nick

Voodoofreak 07-20-2013 10:46 AM

I would recommend the 15" rMBP/cMBP as well ...only because you listed a little bit of gaming needs (and I'm assuming you will want to do some more light gaming down the road). Otherwise, the 13" will do more than what are you asking for.

chscag 07-20-2013 04:41 PM

I still contend that the MBA you chose will do just fine for what you described your needs are. The retina MBPs are nice but pricey, besides for light gaming the new Air has a robust graphics processor which does well in benchmarks. Keep in mind that both the MBA models and the retina models are not easily upgraded. (memory is not upgradeable and a flash drive upgrade is expensive) Order the maximum amount of memory that you can afford and a large enough flash drive to serve future needs would be my advice.

rustyk123 07-22-2013 04:42 PM

I have the15" rMBP w/16GB RAM, I love it, it handles everything without any troubles. I would recommend this as well, but yes it is pricey. If it is too pricey for you I recommend the 15" MBP. The 13" MBP are cheaper, but doing CAD work the Intel video card will have trouble keeping up, the nVidia and AMD video cards are better because they can do their calculations on their own, where the Intel cards relay on the CPU and RAM to do the calculations on top of the work they already have to do.

timeandspace 07-24-2013 07:28 AM

MacBook Air
 
I would suggest seriously considering the Macbook Air. I upgraded from my 15.4 inch Macbook Pro earlier this year to a 13 inch Macbook Air and don't regret it. It is so much more portable, lighter and extremely fast, especially starting up applications, which I put down to the Solid State Drive. And now it comes with 12hr battery life (according to Apple: See Here)


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