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Should I get a Macbook Air for college? - Page 2

post #11 of 16
I wouldn't get an Macbook Air.. I dual booted OSX and Windows 8. I had one and sold it for Acer S7 and I had Sony Pro 13 before that.

I had some minor problems with Windows 8

1. Bluetooth Mouse dropping the connection
2. Slow Transfers to my NAS and Work NAS
3. Waking up from Sleep it would take few minutes to recognize the touchpad and keyboard.
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post #12 of 16
NO!!!!! Never buy Apple! You can ALWAYS buy a comparable PC for alot less money.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComradeNF View Post

So I am going into my second year of college as an engineering major (currently deciding between Electrical and Mechanical, would love some help if any of you guys have input actually!) and I need a new laptop. For EE I believe we only need MATLAB, but for MechE I think we use Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, Solidworks, and some other software. That isn't a problem though, I can dual boot Windows 8.

I am looking at the $1400 Macbook Air with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. I am thinking about switching to the Macbook Air because of the battery life (I use my notebook a lot and I have classes from morning until night), and the software. Mac OSX seems like it is very interesting and very user friendly.

Do you guys think the $1400 13 inch Macbook Air would be a good fit for a college student? What are your thoughts on the notebook?

Thanks!

I think first you have to consider your work flow and needs. Then you have to consider your closest alternatives.

Mac OSX does indeed have great battery life but mainly for a coffee shop workload of light browsing and taking notes. If you do anything intensive like compile, it has the exact same battery life as last gen notebooks. This is true for all haswell notebooks. You can legitimately get all-day battery life. OSX is very useful friendly and intuitive. If you need to dual boot windows though, also have to remind you that the battery life will be more or less the same as any windows ultrabook. The optimizations for battery are for OSX only.

Macbook airs are great for notetaking workloads that last all day. They are also good enough to use while plugged in for computational tasks as they still have i5's/i7's. My friend is the chief engineer at a big data company and uses one and it handles the workload he has.

Remember a comparable macbook air costs significantly more than a windows ultrabook. You are paying for the more refined user experience, better battery life, and higher resale value.


Now secondly you need to consider your alternatives. You might want to wait to see what apple has in-store with the new macbook pro with retina line. The 13" version will likely retail for around $1499 and have similar stats to your macbook air only with a mobile haswell CPU (instead of the ultra-low voltage haswells found in Macbook Airs) and possibly a dedicated GPU (it is rumoured that they might go for an intel IGP solution instead though). Last year's versions had 6-hour advertised battery life (in my case I normally get around 4-5). This year's version is rumoured to be getting 8-9 hour battery life.

You pay a little bit more to get the more powerful CPU (more useful when plugged in), better GPU, and higher resolution screen (big deal).

Then you should consider your windows alternatives. There are the new Asus ultrabooks coming out with 2560x1440 resolution and MBA form factor. I consider these the best ultrabooks though some might tell you to get a Samsung or Lenovo instead. They are all very similar but will have less battery life than the mac. Windows 8 and 8.1 also still handles high DPI displays really really badly too so your experience won't be as good as the mac. The price for a similarly specced ultrabook will be a few hundred dollars less. You get a higher DPI Screen and slightly cheaper price; but wonkier hardware integration (probably no new ultrabook will have PCI-E SSD's like the MBA has) and a poorer operating system in windows 8.1.

If I were you, I would wait to see what the new macbook pros are like. They are about to come out and might offer the extra power you would need as an engineering student. It would be nice to be able to run stuff like autocad on a more powerful rig.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes5 View Post

I think first you have to consider your work flow and needs. Then you have to consider your closest alternatives.

Mac OSX does indeed have great battery life but mainly for a coffee shop workload of light browsing and taking notes. If you do anything intensive like compile, it has the exact same battery life as last gen notebooks. This is true for all haswell notebooks. You can legitimately get all-day battery life. OSX is very useful friendly and intuitive. If you need to dual boot windows though, also have to remind you that the battery life will be more or less the same as any windows ultrabook. The optimizations for battery are for OSX only.

Macbook airs are great for notetaking workloads that last all day. They are also good enough to use while plugged in for computational tasks as they still have i5's/i7's. My friend is the chief engineer at a big data company and uses one and it handles the workload he has.

Remember a comparable macbook air costs significantly more than a windows ultrabook. You are paying for the more refined user experience, better battery life, and higher resale value.


Now secondly you need to consider your alternatives. You might want to wait to see what apple has in-store with the new macbook pro with retina line. The 13" version will likely retail for around $1499 and have similar stats to your macbook air only with a mobile haswell CPU (instead of the ultra-low voltage haswells found in Macbook Airs) and possibly a dedicated GPU (it is rumoured that they might go for an intel IGP solution instead though). Last year's versions had 6-hour advertised battery life (in my case I normally get around 4-5). This year's version is rumoured to be getting 8-9 hour battery life.

You pay a little bit more to get the more powerful CPU (more useful when plugged in), better GPU, and higher resolution screen (big deal).

Then you should consider your windows alternatives. There are the new Asus ultrabooks coming out with 2560x1440 resolution and MBA form factor. I consider these the best ultrabooks though some might tell you to get a Samsung or Lenovo instead. They are all very similar but will have less battery life than the mac. Windows 8 and 8.1 also still handles high DPI displays really really badly too so your experience won't be as good as the mac. The price for a similarly specced ultrabook will be a few hundred dollars less. You get a higher DPI Screen and slightly cheaper price; but wonkier hardware integration (probably no new ultrabook will have PCI-E SSD's like the MBA has) and a poorer operating system in windows 8.1.

If I were you, I would wait to see what the new macbook pros are like. They are about to come out and might offer the extra power you would need as an engineering student. It would be nice to be able to run stuff like autocad on a more powerful rig.

sony pro 13.. and autocad is single threaded application
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post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cthulhucometh View Post

NO!!!!! Never buy Apple! You can ALWAYS buy a comparable PC for alot less money.

I love how every time someone says that, they never give any examples.
A comparable windows equivalent costs the same give or take a few dollars.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComradeNF View Post

So I am going into my second year of college as an engineering major (currently deciding between Electrical and Mechanical, would love some help if any of you guys have input actually!) and I need a new laptop. For EE I believe we only need MATLAB, but for MechE I think we use Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, Solidworks, and some other software. That isn't a problem though, I can dual boot Windows 8.

I am looking at the $1400 Macbook Air with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. I am thinking about switching to the Macbook Air because of the battery life (I use my notebook a lot and I have classes from morning until night), and the software. Mac OSX seems like it is very interesting and very user friendly.

Do you guys think the $1400 13 inch Macbook Air would be a good fit for a college student? What are your thoughts on the notebook?

Thanks!


Firstly I nice avatar, those guys are awesome :3

Now, I'm studying Mechanical Engineering at the moment (feel free to ask me any questions about it smile.gif ), during your degree I can tell you you'll be using a myriad of programs...like a tonne of different ones most of which only run on Windows (both electrical and mech, you'll be using circuit design software in electrical too not just matlab), I do see you're dual booting you'll rarely be using the mac side when you are doing uni work, the problem with dualbooting is many of these programs are fairly large, you'll need plenty of space for both the program and part/texture libraries which can get quite large I've used nearly 100GB on my PC with all my engineering software(I do have a fair few). You will definitly want more space for installations, If you want to dual boot I would say you should have 500GB storage to be comfortable. You'll also be really grateful for it in the long run if you get a computer with a more powerful CPU and GPU, if you're going to be using the mechanical engieering software the more grunt you can afford the better (for electrical stuff though the air should be able to handle it fairly well). However If you do have a desktop I can gaurantee you'll find youself using that much more than your laptop.

lastly, this is not relevant to your hardware selection but I would strongly recommend you use windows 7 not windows 8 as quite a few cad programs have a tantrum if you try and put them on a W8 machine, they are buggy as hell. Usually the first update or two of CAD software made to run on a new OS almost never works well without having issues, wait until the OS is more mature, which is why I stick with windows 7 for the time being, hardly any issues so far. Also on that note, Autodesk make OSX versions of some of their programs, I haven't used them recently but back in 2011 their OSX versions had too many issues, I was back on a windows platform before you could blink, Even my mate who is an avid mac user wouldn't go near OSX for his CAD work. Newer OSX apps by autodesk may be more stable now and have had the bugs ironed out but I would still be wary. Also in the industry windows is the main platform too.

So in conclusion, if you can live without OSX I would highly suggest a powerful windows laptop, if you can't live without OSX then I would go for a Macbook Pro with at least 500GB storage

Remember to get your free 3 year licence for absolutely any Autodesk software (all full versions too) with your student email on Autodesks' website if you haven't already wink.gif
Lastly I pray for your sake that your university doesn't use the program PTC CREO ... otherwise you're going to have a very bad time tongue.gif
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