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Posted by FreezyFrog (83 posts) 5 months, 22 days ago

Poll: Is a macbook pro worth it? (184 votes)

Yeah! 52%
No - get a regular laptop! 26%
No - get a PC! 23%

Hey Giant Bomb community I'm looking for a little advice about whether or not to purchase a new macbook pro in September.

To provide some background I'm about to start university this September and am looking to purchase a new laptop but am not opposed to buying a PC instead.

Provided I pass my current exams I will be studying Computer Science & Mathematics and even if I fail I've got a backup of studying Electronic and Electrical Engineering at a different university so I'm looking for a machine that I can program and code on quite comfortably.

To go to university I'm going to have to move to the city and travel quite a great distance so ideally a laptop would make this process a lot easier. It would also be more convenient should I gain a work placement over summer after my first, second, third year, etc.

Ideally the system will last me 4-5 years and I'm not really interested in gaming on the system as for the most part I'm a console gamer and mainly see myself using the machine for browsing the internet and programming.

Any further advice would be appreciated.

#1 Edited by Poonz (138 posts) -

Your using it for coding and if you feel like your really going to be pushing the machine then yeah sure it's worth it. I had to choose a couple years ago, but I don't really do anything resource heavy so I just bought a macbook air. It's been the best laptop I've ever owned.

#2 Posted by erhard (420 posts) -

It's worth it if you like Macs and a Unix machine seems convenient for what you're doing. They have unmatched build quality which I consider very important, at least.

#3 Posted by Baillie (4247 posts) -

My MacBook Pro is probably the best purchase I've ever made.

#4 Edited by tourgen (4542 posts) -

OSX is a nice Unix environment and comes with Xcode.

Windows 7 gives you access to EE, CAD/CAM, and numerical mathematics & scientific software not available for OSX. There are entire fields of engineering and science that are impossible using OSX.

Certainly if you go EE get a windows machine. There are no reasonable circuit card routing packages for OSX. Leading CAD packages are also non-existent: Catia, NX, Creo.

#5 Edited by therealtakeshi (9 posts) -

Been a PC guy for about 15 years, and owned a MBP (latest and most tricked-out 15" version) for about 6 months. I do gigantic amounts of full-stack webdev, focusing currently more in JS and Python with some server-admin things occasionally. I use Sublime Text with a bunch of plugins, browsers, and Terminal (read: I don't compile, and I don't need Windows-only tools).

I went with the MBP so that I could be on a *NIX environment natively, and for the build quality. I happen to like Win8.1, and I thought I would really dislike OSX. Turns out, there are way fewer free apps for OSX; I was used to how it is on Windows, where someone's built something open-source for pretty much any task. I thought that would be more of an issue though; turns out, it made me really look into the Sublime plugin ecosystem and once I got those plugins, it made developing even easier (because I didn't even have to leave my editor to do the action I needed).

There's more I want to say, but I don't have time. To your point: my MBP is by far the best laptop I've ever had, but only because I had the patience to learn its strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses (for now), but your use case may be different. Full-screen apps are an absolute revelation, the build quality is fantastic, battery life is decent, and both the UI and ecosystem are growing on me. In the end, I'm more productive than on my previous machine, and that's what matters to me.

*edit* One quick addendum: gaming sucks. About 40% of my Steam library is OSX-compatible, and even then performance isn't fantastic. There are some issues natively with graphics drivers, but there are workarounds. Just don't expect to do too much gaming on it.

#6 Posted by audioBusting (1623 posts) -

Sure, it's a pretty good laptop for coding. You might want to look into getting student deals too. Apple usually have pretty good ones.

#7 Edited by Yesiamaduck (1130 posts) -

If you have enough money to consider a Macbook pro you'll have enough money to buy a laptop that has better specs and build quality than a Macbook PRO with more compatibility then a Macbook PRO... that's the way I look at it and as a result I can never justify buying a Macbook Pro.

Also BRO like if you buy a good laptop it'll like totally be like a portable games console (if you get a 360pad) because like HDMI n shit. *I know you said you have no interest in PC gaming, just throwing that in there is all.

#8 Posted by Thedrbrian (66 posts) -
#9 Edited by MB (12741 posts) -

Regardless of the model you choose, make sure you get the high resolution Retina screen. So worth the extra money. I've had several different Airs and now a new 15" Pro Retina, and I now find it difficult to look at "normal" laptop screens. Like therealtakeshi said above, this is the best laptop I have ever owned by far, and I have owned a lot of different laptops. I haven't owned a PC laptop in a few years, I just run Win 8.1 in Bootcamp and run other OS's with VMware when needed.

That being said, consider an Air. The 15" Pros are pretty heavy...the Airs are so thin and light it's sometimes not easy to tell if I remembered to stick it in my bag or not. For me, the Pro is something I have to consciously decide if it's worth toting around each time I do it. Taking my Air along is a no-brainer, it's my constant companion. I really do like having both, even though I know it's overkill. Gaming is fine on the Pro even with the Iris graphics as long as I'm judicious about which games I try to play on it. I have a gaming PC for the heavy lifting. That said, Steam in-home streaming works great with both Air and Pro.

One of my Airs is several years old and I just replaced the topcase & keyboard after a water spill, and had them put in a new internal battery while the machine was apart. It's as good as new and should last me at least a few more years. Apple portables hold up better than any other laptop I've ever experienced long-term. They are just a pleasure to use.

If you have the money, get one. If my Pro was lost or stolen, I would go replace it immediately with the same model.

Moderator
#10 Posted by Snail (8617 posts) -

They are the best laptops money can buy, and, considering their hardware and performance, they are actually fairly priced.

Get one!

#11 Edited by buttle826 (123 posts) -

I love my MacBook Pro. I have had it for about 4 years now, it has gone across the country with me, I have dropped it way more times than I'd like to admit, and put it through all kinds of abuse, and the thing works great! I love it to death. It is certainly more durable than any Windows machine I've ever used.

But I have had a hell of a time coding on it. Granted, I'm studying game development, so I'm not sure how well this applies, but in almost every project I've worked on, some portion of the pipeline was incompatible with OSX.

My advice would be to get a windows laptop. You can build a similar machine (probably a better one, if I'm being honest) for the same price you'd pay for a MacBook.

And yeah, gaming isn't great either. It's definitely getting better, but the selection is almost exclusively indie games. You're better off with Windows, where you can get everything.

#12 Posted by T_wester (245 posts) -

Well if you feel like spending money on brand rather than hardware ill say go for it.

That said a MacBook Pro is a nice combination of size, power and battery life. I however would rater spend less money on similar or better hardware with the added bonus of greater compatibility.

#13 Edited by development (2441 posts) -

This seems like a question for an unbiased party. Paging Matt @rorie

#14 Edited by Zidd (1851 posts) -

The MacBook Pro is worth the money. If you want to make apps on iOS a Mac is required even if you are using third party tools. The build quality is fantastic and being able to make an appointment at your local Apple Store's Genius Bar if something goes wrong isn't something you should overlook either. There are a lot of great dev tools that are OS X only like Coda (for web development) and XCode (for iPhone/iPad/OS X apps). If you get a Retina MacBook Pro be sure to pick up the dongles for Ethernet/DVI you never know when you may need them.

#15 Posted by Sergio (2161 posts) -

I'd say go with a MacBook Pro or Air. If you really need Windows, use Bootcamp.

#16 Posted by m4r71n2012 (52 posts) -

The air has just been updated slightly and it has insane battery life. The screen is no where as good as the retina screen on the pro, but its so portable its probably easier to use than an iPad with keyboard attachment

#17 Posted by Jazz_Bcaz (271 posts) -

I bought mine almost 5 years ago because I wanted a unix system with a top DAW and worked intuitively with minimum fuss. It was expensive at the time and that was with student discounts. The price has only gone up since.

I don't know why you'd have one if you didn't want to use Logic Pro personally, unless you just like to spend money on nicely built things, but I've beat this thing to sh*t and it's held its own admirably. I can't imagine any other product lasting in my hands like this has and frankly I'll be gutted when it finally does die on me, but that still seems years off. UI is the zippiest I've ever used as well. I balk at anything I have to use without multi-finger gesture commands.

You can get better specs for your price though, definitely. You just never seem to see anyone with a Macbook Pro regretting it.

#18 Edited by NorthSarge (252 posts) -

If you are looking for a specs machine that can play games - go windows. If you are looking for build quality & something that will last a long time - go with a mac.

The only reason I bought a mac in the first place was because I thought that the windows laptops felt cheaply made (also I wanted a computer for video production - so Final Cut was important to me). I also could never live without the gestures they have on Macs anymore... they are just too damn useful.

I got my Macbook Pro in 2009. It still runs like a champ.

#19 Posted by rye256 (116 posts) -

I have a MB Pro Retina and dual boot OSX and Windows 7. I am a graphic designer and do some I.T. work as well. The versatility this provides has been worth it to me. It is the nicest laptop I have ever owned, but I have had the screen replaced due to ghosting. If you buy an Apple product in this price range, be sure to budget for Apple Care and add the laptop to your insurance coverage specifically to cover theft. I got the three year Apple Care plan and while it was expensive, when the screen started ghosting and I needed it replaced I was glad to have the coverage.

If you get a MB Pro, get the best one you can possibly afford. The Retina model is not upgradable. I went with the i7-3720QM with 16GB of ram and a 256GB SSD. I use an external drive for additional storage when I need it.

Can you check out a MB Air to see if it will meet your programming needs? It may be a better option for weight, battery life and basic computer use. You could still dual boot if you really wanted to have access to Windows when required, if required or desired.

I am very happy with my MB Pro. Despite the first gen screen issues I have had a great experience.

#20 Posted by mosespippy (4286 posts) -

I used mine for 8 years. It was a great purchase, though I probably should have replaced it much sooner.

#21 Posted by Lashe (1254 posts) -

Used Macs for development since '08. Have not regretted it. Go for it!

#22 Posted by MB (12741 posts) -

But I have had a hell of a time coding on it. Granted, I'm studying game development, so I'm not sure how well this applies, but in almost every project I've worked on, some portion of the pipeline was incompatible with OSX.

Is there a reason you aren't running Windows in Bootcamp, Parallels, or VMware? All three solutions work great on Intel-based Macs.

Moderator
#23 Posted by EXTomar (4849 posts) -

I love my MacBook Pro but I also readily admit it isn't something I would recommend for everyone. I got this thing for a set of reasons where if I didn't need too I would probably get a laptop that was half as expensive.

#24 Edited by RonGalaxy (3223 posts) -

I would say yes; macs are the best when it comes to production type stuff. I kind of wish I had a mac so I could use logic pro, but I'm stuck with whats on windows (none of which I really like all that much).

#25 Posted by Butano (1746 posts) -

@skrunch It all depends on the languages you'll be using at the university, honestly.

I've been using a PC (Surface Pro 1) with Ubuntu installed on an external hard drive for coding majority of the time, and the only downfall I've had has been iOS development, since you can only develop iOS apps on a Mac. If your classes are based in studying C/C++ and using gcc/g++ as a compiler, you'll have an easier time just installing Ubuntu on your machine rather than trying to code natively in OSX due to Mavericks changing the way XCode compiles C/C++ code. It can be changed, sure, but it's a pain in the ass to get working right, according to my fellow OSX-bound classmates.

I think the Surface Pro 2 with 256GB would actually be a better option, as it's got the included digitized stylus and is absolutely perfect with OneNote for classes. It's super lightweight, though I would understand if you want a larger screen than 10.6". If the first Pro had more than 128GB I would've just dual booted instead of using the external, but it works fine.

#26 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@mb said:

@buttle826 said:

But I have had a hell of a time coding on it. Granted, I'm studying game development, so I'm not sure how well this applies, but in almost every project I've worked on, some portion of the pipeline was incompatible with OSX.

Is there a reason you aren't running Windows in Bootcamp, Parallels, or VMware? All three solutions work great on Intel-based Macs.

Why would you not simply buy a Windows based laptop rather than running bootcamp?

#27 Edited by MB (12741 posts) -

@humanity: Because of all the reasons previously listed in this thread...and a Macbook with Windows running in bootcamp or parallels is far more versatile and useful than just OS X or Windows on their own.

It's a little hard to believe that was a serious question. Unless you didn't read the whole thread through before replying?

Moderator
#28 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@mb said:

@humanity: Because of all the reasons previously listed in this thread...and a Macbook with Windows running in bootcamp or parallels is far more versatile and useful than just OS X or Windows on their own.

It's a little hard to believe that was a serious question. Unless you didn't read the whole thread through before replying?

Well I apologize to throw you into such disbelief at my paramount ignorance but believe it for it is true! I've read the thread and I still can't quite understand what a MacBook Pro does so much better than a comparative Windows based laptop. Surely, surely not all Windows laptops are shoddy pieces of trash are they? I ask because I've never owned a Mac product and have not seen the appeal so I was interested to read this thread and find out what the pro's are - and I'm still not quite seeing them. Sturdy, decent battery life, good performance - I'm certain these are all qualities that can be found elsewhere. What I have seen is several people quoting that there are various programs that are simply unattainable on OSX.

#29 Edited by Triumvir (488 posts) -

I can't speak to a MBP, but I have a 2013 Air, currently, and will simply echo various statements above as to the quality of the OS, the build, and the ecosystem. I used to be a die-hard PC user (though I still am for desktop/gaming), but this thing has really turned me around on Apple computing products (I liked their phones beforehand). I use it daily for my work --- non-technical but lots of writing and dealing with large amounts of data and notes --- and have found that OSX and the portability of the Air combined with various cloud services have increased my productivity immensely. The recent update of OSX also makes using a second screen STUPID simple for presentations, watching internet videos like Giantbomb, or just workflow stuff; it's basically plug and play.

Frankly, the thing was a gift, so I didn't spend any money on it, but I would spend the money twice over knowing now the benefits. It's a very solid purchase.

EDIT: Plus some less-taxing indie games do run pretty okay on it, and most indies seem to aim for Mac compatibility nowadays, too. I play FTL on the Air all the time. The extra power of an MBP would allow you to do a little more, but nothing crazy.

#30 Edited by tourgen (4542 posts) -

@humanity said:

@mb said:

@humanity: Because of all the reasons previously listed in this thread...and a Macbook with Windows running in bootcamp or parallels is far more versatile and useful than just OS X or Windows on their own.

It's a little hard to believe that was a serious question. Unless you didn't read the whole thread through before replying?

Well I apologize to throw you into such disbelief at my paramount ignorance but believe it for it is true! I've read the thread and I still can't quite understand what a MacBook Pro does so much better than a comparative Windows based laptop. Surely, surely not all Windows laptops are shoddy pieces of trash are they? I ask because I've never owned a Mac product and have not seen the appeal so I was interested to read this thread and find out what the pro's are - and I'm still not quite seeing them. Sturdy, decent battery life, good performance - I'm certain these are all qualities that can be found elsewhere. What I have seen is several people quoting that there are various programs that are simply unattainable on OSX.

no, your question was completely reasonable. People use computers for a very wide range of activities. Some people can get by running Windows in a virtual machine because they don't ever do any heavy lifting. The mistake they make though is abstracting their experience to everyone else and then providing bad advice.

Also when most people say Windows laptop they are thinking of the $500 garbage littering TigerDirect and NewEgg front pages. There are many very good Windows laptops around it's just harder to pick them out amongst the junk that's getting sold alongside them.

Macs are nice because you pretty much know you'll be getting good hardware and a useable OS install without crapware and half-working drivers. There's also some decent Mac-only software for video and audio production. It also comes with XCode with GCC and LLVM compilers. But someone like the OP talking about potentially going into engineering should really get a Windows system. OSX just doesn't have the engineering or scientific tools and running real engineering tools in a virutal machine on a laptop is ridiculous.

#31 Edited by MB (12741 posts) -

@tourgen said:

... OSX just doesn't have the engineering or scientific tools and running real engineering tools in a virutal machine on a laptop is ridiculous.

To be fair, I'm not sure many people would opt to run Windows in VM on OS X unless it's for extremely light lifting, considering that Bootcamp is built into the OS and provides direct access to hardware.

Currently on my 15" Pro I have a Bootcamp installation of 8.1 and run VMWare instances of Win 7 and various linux distros when needed. Linux driver support for things like the mic and trackpad can be a little iffy depending on the build, but everything else works. Especially in Windows. I'm sure there are applications I don't use that may have issues running in Bootcamp, but so far this machine can run everything I throw at it.

Moderator
#32 Posted by Aegon (5706 posts) -

@mb: Kind of off-topic, but what do you use Linux for?

And kind of on-topic, I just got a MBP mostly for web development purposes, since this seems like a widely used environment in the professional realm. I think I'll use it for learning ruby / rails.

#33 Edited by Aegon (5706 posts) -
#34 Edited by StarFoxA (5161 posts) -

For CompSci or EE, personally I'd go with a Windows machine (as a fellow CompSci student, Visual Studio is what I use most of the time for coding. I also use g++ by SSH'ing into a UNIX machine at my university, though, which is totally possible in OS X). You can always do Hackintosh if you want to mess around with OS X, and you can always set up a partition for Linux as well.

#35 Edited by Mirado (1014 posts) -

@tourgen said:

@humanity said:

@mb said:

@humanity: Because of all the reasons previously listed in this thread...and a Macbook with Windows running in bootcamp or parallels is far more versatile and useful than just OS X or Windows on their own.

It's a little hard to believe that was a serious question. Unless you didn't read the whole thread through before replying?

Well I apologize to throw you into such disbelief at my paramount ignorance but believe it for it is true! I've read the thread and I still can't quite understand what a MacBook Pro does so much better than a comparative Windows based laptop. Surely, surely not all Windows laptops are shoddy pieces of trash are they? I ask because I've never owned a Mac product and have not seen the appeal so I was interested to read this thread and find out what the pro's are - and I'm still not quite seeing them. Sturdy, decent battery life, good performance - I'm certain these are all qualities that can be found elsewhere. What I have seen is several people quoting that there are various programs that are simply unattainable on OSX.

no, your question was completely reasonable. People use computers for a very wide range of activities. Some people can get by running Windows in a virtual machine because they don't ever do any heavy lifting. The mistake they make though is abstracting their experience to everyone else and then providing bad advice.

But Bootcamp isn't a virtual machine. It's literally dual-booting OS X and Windows. You get the absolute best of both worlds.

I've yet to find a Windows laptop that offers the same package of build quality, screen quality, battery life, and a non-shitty trackpad at the same price. Sure, it's not a brilliant gaming machine, and I know there must be semi-comparable Windows laptops out there, but then I just go back to my second point: if you have any desire to use OS X, you can only do so on a Macbook. No Windows laptop can provide that out of the box, but you can easily slap Windows onto a Mac without difficulty.

The only way I can see a person reasonably turn down a MBP is if they have some (misguided) desire to use it as their main dedicated gaming platform. Even the top end Pro won't have the grunt for that; no SLI options to be found or anything like that. But outside of that specific wish, the Pro will accommodate just about anybody whose workload can fit onto a Windows laptop, while providing the extra utility of OS X.

MBPs won't provide the best bang for your buck, but as it does something that only it can do, I think they are well worth it.

#36 Edited by Evilsbane (4649 posts) -

I'm a 100% Windows user and ill be the first to say that it can be a Nightmare to work on and use. But I can do whatever I want on a Windows computer, I don't like having to play by apples rules and no Bootcamp doesn't cut it for everything. Also your going to pay 1200 dollars for one of the lower end models that is Starting price, you know what kind of Windows laptop I can get for that kind of money and beyond? Though it really depends on what your doing, I like my devices to cover multiple applications including games so that rules Macs out for me almost completely. I'd rather spend that money on an something like a Razor laptop which is around the same price and build quality as a Starter Pro and it plays games. I absolutely cannot force myself to like OSX and now that iOS 7 went even further into a direction I want no part of I don't see myself switching anytime soon. Your phone choice makes a big difference to, if you have an iPhone you should get a mac computer if you have Android/Windows Phone you should get a PC cutting your ecosystem in half is just a hassle.

@yesiamaduck said:

If you have enough money to consider a Macbook pro you'll have enough money to buy a laptop that has better specs and build quality than a Macbook PRO with more compatibility then a Macbook PRO... that's the way I look at it and as a result I can never justify buying a Macbook Pro.

Also BRO like if you buy a good laptop it'll like totally be like a portable games console (if you get a 360pad) because like HDMI n shit. *I know you said you have no interest in PC gaming, just throwing that in there is all.

This guy right here said it better than I did. The cost for a nice Pro is not comparable it is hard to justify.

#37 Edited by Ben_H (3384 posts) -

@butano said:

I've been using a PC (Surface Pro 1) with Ubuntu installed on an external hard drive for coding majority of the time, and the only downfall I've had has been iOS development, since you can only develop iOS apps on a Mac. If your classes are based in studying C/C++ and using gcc/g++ as a compiler, you'll have an easier time just installing Ubuntu on your machine rather than trying to code natively in OSX due to Mavericks changing the way XCode compiles C/C++ code. It can be changed, sure, but it's a pain in the ass to get working right, according to my fellow OSX-bound classmates.

It's actually fairly trivial. They just have to get Homebrew from their website (which they are in CS so they should get anyway), which is a Mac package manager (which functions much like apt-get, yum, zypper, pacman, or the other Linux package managers) then get whatever flavour of GCC they want (or they can just use the default "brew install gcc" and get the newest stable version. Right now it is 4.8.2. You can get 4.9 experimental versions though), then set an alias in Terminal so that gcc and g++ go to whatever whatever version of GCC you want to use rather than the default clang 5.0 version used by OS X. Say "alias gcc="gcc-47"" or something like that. It takes a tiny amount of time. It is almost as easily on MacPorts too. They don't have to use Xcode for C/C++. Heck, I don't recommend it. Xcode has always been finicky for command line C/C++ development, even back in the day when they used GNU GCC 4.2. If they absolutely must use an IDE for C++, they can use Eclipse, which can be configured to use GNU GCC. They should be using a text editor and terminal anyway. We were forced to after first term. IDEs are only used for Java and are optional for certain other things. Becoming too reliant on IDEs can be very damaging in the long run.

Oh I guess for the OP, my answer is absolutely. I find them so much more pleasant to work on than either Windows or Linux (I can configure Linux so that it is almost as pleasant, but it still has a ways to go. Windows is awful. Just dreadful). I have access to Windows and Linux if I need in the form of VMs, but 99% of my work is done in OS X. Homebrew makes installing most major platforms one would use trivial. The Mac implementation of workspaces, called Spaces, is so much smoother to use than any other versions (just enable 4 finger swipe and you can hop between spaces crazy fast. I also hotkey each Space in the keyboard menu. Also, on Macs you can set a ton of keyboard shortcuts very easily).

They may appear expensive at first, but the up front cost is worth it. They last a long time, and are insanely dependable. I still use my first Mac on a daily basis, and it is over 4 years old now. It still feels as fast, if not faster than when I bought it.

#38 Posted by freakin9 (1154 posts) -

From experience, if you want consistent speed you get a PC, laptops have their limits as far as getting work done without issues. For laptops though, Mac makes some of the best feeling laptops out there, I love using my Macbook Air. But... it will always be my travel computer, I can't imagine actually being stuck with the thing for real work on a daily basis.

#39 Posted by Butano (1746 posts) -

@ben_h said:

@butano said:

I've been using a PC (Surface Pro 1) with Ubuntu installed on an external hard drive for coding majority of the time, and the only downfall I've had has been iOS development, since you can only develop iOS apps on a Mac. If your classes are based in studying C/C++ and using gcc/g++ as a compiler, you'll have an easier time just installing Ubuntu on your machine rather than trying to code natively in OSX due to Mavericks changing the way XCode compiles C/C++ code. It can be changed, sure, but it's a pain in the ass to get working right, according to my fellow OSX-bound classmates.

It's actually fairly trivial. They just have to get Homebrew from their website (which they are in CS so they should get anyway), which is a Mac package manager (which functions much like apt-get, yum, zypper, pacman, or the other Linux package managers) then get whatever flavour of GCC they want (or they can just use the default "brew install gcc" and get the newest stable version. Right now it is 4.8.2. You can get 4.9 experimental versions though), then set an alias in Terminal so that gcc and g++ go to whatever whatever version of GCC you want to use rather than the default clang 5.0 version used by OS X. Say "alias gcc="gcc-47"" or something like that. It takes a tiny amount of time. It is almost as easily on MacPorts too. They don't have to use Xcode for C/C++. Heck, I don't recommend it. Xcode has always been finicky for command line C/C++ development, even back in the day when they used GNU GCC 4.2. If they absolutely must use an IDE for C++, they can use Eclipse, which can be configured to use GNU GCC. They should be using a text editor and terminal anyway. We were forced to after first term. IDEs are only used for Java and are optional for certain other things. Becoming too reliant on IDEs can be very damaging in the long run.

Oh I guess for the OP, my answer is absolutely. I find them so much more pleasant to work on than either Windows or Linux (I can configure Linux so that it is almost as pleasant, but it still has a ways to go. Windows is awful. Just dreadful). I have access to Windows and Linux if I need in the form of VMs, but 99% of my work is done in OS X. Homebrew makes installing most major platforms one would use trivial. The Mac implementation of workspaces, called Spaces, is so much smoother to use than any other versions (just enable 4 finger swipe and you can hop between spaces crazy fast. I also hotkey each Space in the keyboard menu. Also, on Macs you can set a ton of keyboard shortcuts very easily).

They may appear expensive at first, but the up front cost is worth it. They last a long time, and are insanely dependable. I still use my first Mac on a daily basis, and it is over 4 years old now. It still feels as fast, if not faster than when I bought it.

Oh God no, I wouldn't ever recommend using XCode (or any IDE really) for C/C++, but it was a helluvalot easier to get the compiler for it pre-Mavericks by just installing XCode, since it came bundled with gcc/g++, and then just use your favorite text editor (mine's Sublime) to write code and compile using the terminal. The only reason to really use an IDE is for making visual applications or phone apps, but you'll need to learn the basic coding fundamentals before moving on to using Eclipse/Visual Studio/XCode/etc.

#40 Edited by Mirado (1014 posts) -

@evilsbane said:

I'm a 100% Windows user and ill be the first to say that it can be a Nightmare to work on and use. But I can do whatever I want on a Windows computer, I don't like having to play by apples rules and no Bootcamp doesn't cut it for everything. Also your going to pay 1200 dollars for one of the lower end models that is Starting price, you know what kind of Windows laptop I can get for that kind of money and beyond? Though it really depends on what your doing, I like my devices to cover multiple applications including games so that rules Macs out for me almost completely. I'd rather spend that money on an something like a Razor laptop which is around the same price and build quality as a Starter Pro and it plays games. I absolutely cannot force myself to like OSX and now that iOS 7 went even further into a direction I want no part of I don't see myself switching anytime soon. Your phone choice makes a big difference to, if you have an iPhone you should get a mac computer if you have Android/Windows Phone you should get a PC cutting your ecosystem in half is just a hassle.

Could you explain to me what Bootcamp wouldn't cover? What can't Bootcamp handle that a normal Windows laptop of the same specs could?

As for Razer, you do realize that their starting laptop, the Blade, has a base price of $1800, right? And that's the old one, the new Blade is $2100, nearly double the price of a base MBP. Not exactly the same kind of money. I'll never argue that the MBP was meant as a gaming machine, but you aren't being very fair.

Finally, if you don't like OS X, then you obviously have no need for a MBP. There's no arguing that. But for an individual with a neutral or positive opinion of it, I cannot see a reason to buy any other laptop. Taking the price of the Blade Pro ($2300), you can easily get yourself a $1000 PC that'd be comparable if not better, and have enough leftover to pick up the laptop. If I was working on that kind of budget, that's exactly what I'd do.

#41 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@tourgen said:

@humanity said:

@mb said:

@humanity: Because of all the reasons previously listed in this thread...and a Macbook with Windows running in bootcamp or parallels is far more versatile and useful than just OS X or Windows on their own.

It's a little hard to believe that was a serious question. Unless you didn't read the whole thread through before replying?

Well I apologize to throw you into such disbelief at my paramount ignorance but believe it for it is true! I've read the thread and I still can't quite understand what a MacBook Pro does so much better than a comparative Windows based laptop. Surely, surely not all Windows laptops are shoddy pieces of trash are they? I ask because I've never owned a Mac product and have not seen the appeal so I was interested to read this thread and find out what the pro's are - and I'm still not quite seeing them. Sturdy, decent battery life, good performance - I'm certain these are all qualities that can be found elsewhere. What I have seen is several people quoting that there are various programs that are simply unattainable on OSX.

no, your question was completely reasonable. People use computers for a very wide range of activities. Some people can get by running Windows in a virtual machine because they don't ever do any heavy lifting. The mistake they make though is abstracting their experience to everyone else and then providing bad advice.

Also when most people say Windows laptop they are thinking of the $500 garbage littering TigerDirect and NewEgg front pages. There are many very good Windows laptops around it's just harder to pick them out amongst the junk that's getting sold alongside them.

Macs are nice because you pretty much know you'll be getting good hardware and a useable OS install without crapware and half-working drivers. There's also some decent Mac-only software for video and audio production. It also comes with XCode with GCC and LLVM compilers. But someone like the OP talking about potentially going into engineering should really get a Windows system. OSX just doesn't have the engineering or scientific tools and running real engineering tools in a virutal machine on a laptop is ridiculous.

Thanks I thought I made some crazy faux-pas asking or something. I've used an iPhone for a while now and I enjoy the iOS on that specifically because it's a hermetically sealed operating system which benefits the performance of the phone. I don't know if I would want exactly something like that on a personal computer, although maybe OSX is not like that at all, I'm not sure as I lack the experience with the system.

From everything I read it seems that unless you want to have access to both OSX and Windows, then for the same price you can get quite a beefy Windows based laptop instead. I'm not even talking about gaming here because the idea of gaming laptops seems a little ridiculous to me unless it's very light gaming. As someone that studied architecture in my "younger" days I think a good school laptop would need to handle things like CAD, Maya, 3D studio and Photoshop reasonably well - perhaps running simultaneously at times, as well as the usual assortment of Word, Excel etc. If those programs ran significantly better on a MacBook Pro rather than a Windows based laptop for the same price then I suppose I'd consider making the switch.

#42 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1622 posts) -

MacBooks are life. MacBooks are love.

#43 Edited by xyzygy (10032 posts) -
@yesiamaduck said:

If you have enough money to consider a Macbook pro you'll have enough money to buy a laptop that has better specs and build quality than a Macbook PRO with more compatibility then a Macbook PRO... that's the way I look at it and as a result I can never justify buying a Macbook Pro.

Also BRO like if you buy a good laptop it'll like totally be like a portable games console (if you get a 360pad) because like HDMI n shit. *I know you said you have no interest in PC gaming, just throwing that in there is all.

Quoting for truth. I was in the market last year for laptops, and ended up buying a Lenovo Yoga 13 laptop. It has the exact same specs of the MacBook Airs (of both fo their times), except that it's a hybrid tablet/PC that can fold backwards with a touchscreen. If I had wanted a laptop that wasn't a hybrid, I would have been able to get one for much better specs at the same price range ($1200 CAD). I actually think that the Air was a little more expensive in CAD, and only had 4GB RAM while my Yoga has 8. While there I was also looking at the MBPs and the the Windows PCs in the same price range, and I remember thinking to myself that I'd be a fool to buy a MBP at that price with such crazy good competition from the Windows side. I do not get the appeal, and yes, I've used plenty of Macs. Pretty much all my trendy friends have one.

I'm always told by people, that if they're doing designing or anything similar on their computers, Macs are the way to go. Can anyone tell me why this is the case? Windows can run all those programs just as well, I see no reason for this bias. In fact I studied game design for a year and we were told (if we were buying new PCs) not to get a Mac as our computers because we can get extra rendering juice out of a Windows based PC for the same price (for when we had to render things at home).

#44 Posted by Evilsbane (4649 posts) -

@mirado said:

@evilsbane said:

I'm a 100% Windows user and ill be the first to say that it can be a Nightmare to work on and use. But I can do whatever I want on a Windows computer, I don't like having to play by apples rules and no Bootcamp doesn't cut it for everything. Also your going to pay 1200 dollars for one of the lower end models that is Starting price, you know what kind of Windows laptop I can get for that kind of money and beyond? Though it really depends on what your doing, I like my devices to cover multiple applications including games so that rules Macs out for me almost completely. I'd rather spend that money on an something like a Razor laptop which is around the same price and build quality as a Starter Pro and it plays games. I absolutely cannot force myself to like OSX and now that iOS 7 went even further into a direction I want no part of I don't see myself switching anytime soon. Your phone choice makes a big difference to, if you have an iPhone you should get a mac computer if you have Android/Windows Phone you should get a PC cutting your ecosystem in half is just a hassle.

Could you explain to me what Bootcamp wouldn't cover? What can't Bootcamp handle that a normal Windows laptop of the same specs could?

As for Razer, you do realize that their starting laptop, the Blade, has a base price of $1800, right? And that's the old one, the new Blade is $2100, nearly double the price of a base MBP. Not exactly the same kind of money. I'll never argue that the MBP was meant as a gaming machine, but you aren't being very fair.

Finally, if you don't like OS X, then you obviously have no need for a MBP. There's no arguing that. But for an individual with a neutral or positive opinion of it, I cannot see a reason to buy any other laptop. Taking the price of the Blade Pro ($2300), you can easily get yourself a $1000 PC that'd be comparable if not better, and have enough leftover to pick up the laptop. If I was working on that kind of budget, that's exactly what I'd do.

That is the beautiful thing about PCs so many choices you can go find the last round of Razors for 1200-1400 yes the brand new models are expensive but there are many other choices, I was not referencing the brand new models But if you getting one of the nicer Mac Book Pros which run the exact same price range it is still a fair alternative. Also they are more expensive because they cover work and games if you not playing games you have even better options with a Windows Laptop.

I don't like OS X but that doesn't mean I can't recommend it to people it is a fine OS just not my cup of tea and it is more with a lack of choice on software than the OS itself. And Bootcamp is great but again I am speaking using this device to not just work on but game and do it well, if your not a graphics whore or even that concerned about general performance on games than it loses all reasoning to do a laptop like a Razor and you can squeak by with a lower end Pro. But I would still say you can get a more powerful Windows Laptop for what you pay for Pros I spent $1299 on the laptop I own and it is a Mobile desktop with amazing build quality and the best cooling setup I have ever seen on a laptop of its type.

#45 Edited by Snail (8617 posts) -

@humanity: Windows laptops with equivalent hardware to Macbook Pros tend to be at least as expensive, and often pricier, in my experience. OSX is a fantastic OS, and Macbooks are fantastic pieces of hardware. Put those two together and you get the best consumer-level computing experience money can buy.

Also, Macbook Pros are the best computers at running Windows. This has been proven. Let that sink in for a second.

#46 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@snail: Wow a 13" MacBook Pro is $1300 ??

#47 Posted by Evilsbane (4649 posts) -

@snail said:

Also, Macbook Pros are the best computers at running Windows. This has been proven. Let that sink in for a second.

That article is a little confusing why is there a more recent 15" Retina in that list that is far worse than a 400 dollar laptop?

#48 Edited by Snail (8617 posts) -

@humanity said:

@snail: Wow a 13" MacBook Pro is $1300 ??

I don't know if you expected it to be more or less, but you can check all the prices right here. If you're a college student you might be able to shave ~100$ off that price.

@evilsbane: I don't know what exactly made the mid-2013 Macbook Pro so good at running Windows, nor why that changed in the subsequent Retina models - but that's besides the point of that article, which is that the two most recent Macbook Pro models are at the top of the list of laptops that best run Windows, a task they weren't even built for.

#49 Posted by Crysack (327 posts) -

@snail said:

@humanity: Windows laptops with equivalent hardware to Macbook Pros tend to be at least as expensive, and often pricier, in my experience. OSX is a fantastic OS, and Macbooks are fantastic pieces of hardware. Put those two together and you get the best consumer-level computing experience money can buy.

Also, Macbook Pros are the best computers at running Windows. This has been proven. Let that sink in for a second.

You didn't read what that article says, did you? It has nothing to do with the laptop itself - it has to do with the fact that laptop manufacturers load their laptops with tons of bloatware, a problem that can be rectified if you dedicate about 20 minutes of your time to it.

@humanity said:

@mb said:

@humanity: Because of all the reasons previously listed in this thread...and a Macbook with Windows running in bootcamp or parallels is far more versatile and useful than just OS X or Windows on their own.

It's a little hard to believe that was a serious question. Unless you didn't read the whole thread through before replying?

Well I apologize to throw you into such disbelief at my paramount ignorance but believe it for it is true! I've read the thread and I still can't quite understand what a MacBook Pro does so much better than a comparative Windows based laptop. Surely, surely not all Windows laptops are shoddy pieces of trash are they? I ask because I've never owned a Mac product and have not seen the appeal so I was interested to read this thread and find out what the pro's are - and I'm still not quite seeing them. Sturdy, decent battery life, good performance - I'm certain these are all qualities that can be found elsewhere. What I have seen is several people quoting that there are various programs that are simply unattainable on OSX.

Newsflash: it does nothing better. At the end of the day, it's the same hardware in a shiny aluminium case with a mark-up. The real answer to the OP's question is to research the software he will be using during his course and check if its OSX compatible and/or if it works properly in Bootcamp. If he desperately wants to use OSX, then a macbook is the way to go. Otherwise, Thinkpads and the like are a perfectly reasonable alternative.

#50 Edited by spilledmilkfactory (1888 posts) -

In terms of pure durability and reliability, I've found Apple products to be far superior to Windows laptops (although obviously that varies based on brand). My MacBook Pro lasted me a little over 4 years before it died. My new HP laptop feels like it could fall apart at any time, and I've only had it for 4 months. My friend had a similar experience where her MacBook lasted her 5 years, and her Toshiba laptop only lasted 2.

However, if you need WIndows for courses, your mileage may vary. I ran Bootcamp on my MacBook and found it to be very unreliable, even with software that was supposed to run on it.