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Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: goosegunner
Date: July 07, 2016 01:25PM
Youngest is starting college in the fall, which 13" Macbook pro or air would you recommend for a basic school computer.

She currently has a 2011 13" macbook air but I am thinking we should sell and start with a fresh computer to last 4 years or so.

gg
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: July 07, 2016 01:28PM
I'd totally wait until the new Macbook Pro 13" comes out this fall--assuming it has a Skylake CPU, it will be the bomb, IMHO--light, efficient, powerful, Retina screen.

If you must buy something now, I'd go for a cheap MacBook Air--Best Buy has had them for maybe $800 with an EDU discount.
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: TheTominator
Date: July 07, 2016 01:36PM
Quote
goosegunner
She currently has a 2011 13" macbook air but I am thinking we should sell and start with a fresh computer to last 4 years or so.

What does she think?
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 07, 2016 01:39PM
IMHO, stick with what she has until she has a need for better. Courseware and expectations will drive what she needs. In the mean time, focus on automatic backup (cloud, etc..) and peripherals like a nice B&W laser for proofing.....
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: July 07, 2016 01:54PM
Just went through this last year.

The first two years are primarily general ed courses. The main thing the computer will be used for is word documents, and research. Once she gets in upper division, depending on her major she might need more computing power.

My son is a liberal arts major, he writes papers. For him I got a 2012 13" MBP ($800), up'ed the Ram to 16GB ($50), swapped out the HD to a 500GB SSD ($120).. it does everything he needs. A comparable new MBP would have cost an additional $750+. He used that money for books, and groceries.

So from my experience I suggest you look at her major - check to see if her college has any specific requirements (some majors require a PC, others a Mac, most don't care). If she is a STEM major then maybe she will need the extra power WHEN she gets to those classes - in that case wait until she is there and then get her what she needs.

Don't just assume she needs the latest, greatest, or even needs a Mac. Do your research first (or better yet, have her do it).

And then whatever you get, get it insured (along with her phone, etc) through NSSI Student Personal Property Insurance, it is very affordable and geared to students. If she gets a Mac, purchase and install Undercover theft protection software. It is like Find My Mac on steroids.

Make sure she understands that roommates are not instant friends. Don't trust them until she really knows them.

Finally, tell her to have the best time of her life, but do so responsibly. Tell her you know she will experiment with alcohol, drugs, and sex - but she needs to be smart and safe about it. She is taking a huge step, she may stumble but let her know your there to help her get up.

sorry to preach, my dad mode kicked in.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: goosegunner
Date: July 07, 2016 02:10PM
Thanks for the fast response!

I have fell out of the current Mac's and specs.

She is just taking General ed classes at this point so her needs will be very basic. The upgrade from current is more than anything an insurance that I won't have to deal with computer problems, battery life, low drive space, low ram.

I would either sell her current air to upgrade or sell my 2009 Macbook pro and take the 2011 air for my use for internet appliance.

Some of you did make a very good point of don't replace what doesn't need replacing.


gg
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: July 07, 2016 02:32PM
oh, and get a airport with a 1TB (or larger) hard drive plugged in as a time capsule. Set it for automatic backups.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: raz
Date: July 07, 2016 02:38PM
As with the above. Her 2011 will do her just fine until it breaks/get stolen/needs to render video.

Backups are critical. Something I drilled into the kids in High School. Each only screwed up once in college.



--------------

Embarassing myself on the Internet since 1978.
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 07, 2016 02:56PM
Goose,

You left out an important detail. What are the specs of your daughter's existing machine? How much RAM and storage does it have? If I remember correctly, the RAM in the 2011 MBA 13" maxed at 4 gigs and it could be coupled with a 128GB or 256GB SSD.

An '09 Macbook Pro 13" with 4 gigs of RAM and an SSD is definitely suitable for general purpose college computing tasks. No doubt about it. If that machine can do the job, a 2011 Macbook Air will be dandy, especially since it is a faster machine. My guess is the most likely problem will be storage.

Insufficient storage is easily resolved. The internal SSD of a 2011 Macbook Air is easy to replace. Drives are pricey, though. More cost effective options for additional storage are a low-profile USB 3.0 flash drive such as a Samsung Fit or a low-profile microSD adapter and microSD card.

Personally, I wouldn't rush out and purchase a replacement machine. See how she does with the current computer. Make sure she has an easy way to backup the data on it. If the machine does the job, great. If not, then worry about replacing it.

Robert
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 07, 2016 03:13PM
Quote
Ombligo
oh, and get a airport with a 1TB (or larger) hard drive plugged in as a time capsule. Set it for automatic backups.

FWIW... lots of schools do not allow personal wifi base stations. Check first.
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: July 07, 2016 04:51PM
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
Ombligo
oh, and get a airport with a 1TB (or larger) hard drive plugged in as a time capsule. Set it for automatic backups.

FWIW... lots of schools do not allow personal wifi base stations. Check first.

True, I wasn't thinking of living on campus. I meant if she is off campus in an apartment or home.

Final bit of advice -- get all of her passwords for when she forgets one.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: Buzz
Date: July 07, 2016 06:30PM
Baby Buzz is almost thru w/ college and also has a 2011 MBA i7/4GB/256SSD that has been plenty ample for college duty. I would think she oughta get thru at least the first couple of years w/o any issues.
Good luck.
==
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: goosegunner
Date: July 07, 2016 08:29PM
Thanks for all the info, We will discuss and decide what to do.

gg
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: JoeH
Date: July 07, 2016 11:29PM
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
Ombligo
oh, and get a airport with a 1TB (or larger) hard drive plugged in as a time capsule. Set it for automatic backups.

FWIW... lots of schools do not allow personal wifi base stations. Check first.

Most, if not all, of the larger schools don't. They would interfere with the schools' own wifi setups. Here they will block any found transmitting on the campus and require they be shut down.
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: raz
Date: July 08, 2016 08:23AM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
Ombligo
oh, and get a airport with a 1TB (or larger) hard drive plugged in as a time capsule. Set it for automatic backups.

FWIW... lots of schools do not allow personal wifi base stations. Check first.

Most, if not all, of the larger schools don't. They would interfere with the schools' own wifi setups. Here they will block any found transmitting on the campus and require they be shut down.

On that note ...

The campus wi-fi for both my kids was severely overused (no surprise). Both decided they needed ethernet cables to get any work done. The younger one needed the thunderbolt to ethernet dongle as well. The OP's laptop will not.



--------------

Embarassing myself on the Internet since 1978.
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: JoeH
Date: July 08, 2016 02:41PM
Quote
raz
The campus wi-fi for both my kids was severely overused (no surprise). Both decided they needed ethernet cables to get any work done.

Unfortunately using an ethernet cable here is not an option for the students here. The campus IT management and campus officials decided to go wi-fi only for the dorms and most other places accessible to students. Reason - most of the campus was wired around 1990 with Cat 3 or 4 cable that would not support more than 10 Mbps connections. They did not want to go to the expense of replacing it in the dorms with Cat 5e cable or better. Worse, even in some newer dorms that were wired with Cat 5e, they disconnected the ethernet ports in the rooms.
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Re: Which 13" macbook pro or Macbook air for college freshman
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 08, 2016 05:39PM
Get her a Core2Duo 24" iMac. Fairly cheap to buy and easy to upgrade with an SSD. She will appreciate the large display. Let her use her current laptop until it dies or is stolen. Having two computers is nice when one becomes unusable.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2016 05:40PM by Speedy.
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