Macbook air for physics, math, and computer science degree?

Hey guys, so I'm in desperate need for a new laptop soon- I'm running an old AMD-based HP Dv6. I'm a physics and math major along with a computer science minor but I'm a bit unsure on how much power I actually need and what would be suitable. I know I'll need to run simple things like Eclipse, Netbeans, and Code::Blocks but are there any programs that will require THAT much power? I would like it as lightweight as possible because I have a bad back and knee and I'm trying to keep it under $1000. Would these be beefy enough or should I be looking at stronger laptops rather than lightweight?

I'm currently looking at the current laptops:

Apple Macbook Air 13" i5 4gb

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 13.3" i7-4500U 1.80Ghz (3.00Ghz Turbo), 8GB DDR3L RAM, 256GB SSD

Asus UX302LA-BHI5T08 i5 4gb (Best Buy specific)

Lenovo U530 15.6"

Asus Q301LA-BSI5T17

SAMSUNG ATIV Book 2 NP270E5J-K01US NotebookIntel Core i5 4200U (1.60GHz) 8GB Memory 1TB HDD Intel HD Graphics 4400 15.6"

I also included the "beefier" laptops that I found. If you could, could you include your history with the brand, ie: reliability, customer service, etc...? Thanks guys!
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  1. I've been using a Macbook Air 13" i5 (Mid-2013) for school and I haven't had any problems with it. It's very light and portable, and I love it for that.

    The only problem with it that you might run into is program compatibility. Just check online to see if your programs are availible for Mac/OSX. Also, check the system requirements while you're at it to make sure you can run everything the way you need to. (Click here for specs)
    (I know my Intel Core i5 is a bit underpowered on paper; however I haven't had any problems with it at all while using the computer; I was even able to edit/render HD video with the in-built GPU [Intel HD 5000 1024MB] with no issues at all.)

    Just check to see if your programs are availible for Mac/OSX and also check for any programs you might need in the future. Also, keep hard disk capacity in mind. If your programs or file plans take up a lot of disk space, the standard Mac Air 128 GB SSD may not be enough for you. You can opt to have 256GB or even 512GB but it will cost you a pretty penny.

    Apple is very good about customer support. I had a friend whose 2007 Macbook Pro gave out for reasons unknown and they upgraded him to a new 2012 Macbook Pro for free; they even recovered his files from the hard disk and transferred them to the new laptop.
    (I'm not sure if this is true, but I've heard that Apple Customer Support keeps logs on you for things like how nice you are and that sorta thing. True or not, be sure sure to be pleasant and polite if you ever need to call them ;) )

    Happy Laptop Hunting! :)
  2. Thanks Alex!

    Also, to all of the tech-experts out there, do you believe that 4gb of RAM will be feasible in the next 3 years or so? Will that be enough for a few years to come or is investing a little bit more for the 8gb be necessary? I believe that the i5 processor will hold up for at least 3-4 years or so solidly as I've been running an old i3-AMD equivalent for 3 years now and it's working fine. Any thoughts? thanks! :)
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