Programing Student

I am a programing student and I'm in a market for a laptop, at first I was hoping to get a Apple MacBook Pro 17 but it is a little costly (not completely out of the question tho). But very very interested in Macs since I could run OS X and Widows at the same time/same machine (with a little Linux maybe).

The MacBook Pro 17 I was thinking of getting would come out for me to be about $4,600 before about $400 in rebates. This would include 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 256GB solid-state drive (would use external drives for extra space), MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display, iWork, Microsoft Office, Apple Remote, a case, 1 game, Kingston Lock, 3 year warranty and Wireless Printer. Basically its configured to the best MacBook Pro 17 I can get.

I have never owned a Mac, but I feel that they are a bit better than Windows in most areas. Although not looking forward to learning the inside and outs like I already know in Windows .

Some basic info about what I would like out of my new laptop:
-I like to play some MMO's which don't normally need a lot of resources compared to a game like Crysis
-I tend to have a fair amount of music/video so need some room for that, right now I have about 200 GB worth
-I like to take laptops with me but I don't think weight is to huge of a issue for me
-I like to play with code/make web sites, organize files, play around with Flash
-I would like to have a 17'' screen but I guess I don't need

Some of the classes that I will be taking are:
-Intro Prog with JavaScript
-Website Development-XHTML
-Intro to Database
-SQL Database Programming
-Object-Oriented Design w/UML
-PHP Web with MySQL
-AJAX and JavaScript Web Dev
-Prof PHP Web Applications
-iPhone development
-Also a Internship

So basically I wondering what you guys would recommend for me as a laptop, I know that the Apple is pricey.

Also can you put down the minimum/maximum requirements I should be looking for, for what I like to do/need to do!

If you need anymore info from me, hoping I got it all, I will get it to you as fast as a I can!

Thanks to all to respond!
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  1. I would love if someone could post a reply with a well thought out answer, I want to buy my laptop within a couple weeks here. I have researched this myself for 2-3 months now spending sleepless nights wondering what I should get, talked to some people I know who work within the IT field and I still not quite sure in what I should get.

    I just looking for multiple persons opinion so that I can make mine.

    So again if you have a thought out opinion about this or an answer I would love to hear it!

    Thanks to all to respond!
  2. well its seems like any midrange gaming laptop would suit your needs nicely...what is your budget exactly?
  3. My budget is around $4,300, but cheaper is always better. I am leaning towards Apple only for the fact that I can run the big 3 OS's a lot easier that with a Windows machine. I'm planing to get the machine later this week and what I have picked out as of right now is the 17'' Macbook Pro 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 256GB solid-state drive. I know this config is pricey but I think of it as $3,498/3 since I would use it as 3 machines in a way then it comes down to $1,166
  4. Everything you want to do with your notebook can be accomplished the best with Windows and Linux. OS X is pretty useless to program on, and is also pretty useless to make web sites on, considering all of your clients and users will (pretty much) be using Windows.

    You can get a nice gaming notebook for much less money and accomplish much more than what the mac can do.
  5. How would I go about running OS X on a Windows machine, with the ease of something like Boot Camp? Also what laptops would you recommend then?
  6. well your budget is definitely not midranged...heck, with that kind of budget, you could even get alienware's top of the line laptop (the M17x) with the works (quad core processor, 4gb DDR3, 256 SSD, Blu-ray burner, a gtx 260m gpu an Microsoft Office) and still have about $900 to burn....and that's using alienware, which are damn pricey notebooks just to begin with...
  7. I know I could get Alienware, but I feel the Apple would be better for ease of use for all 3 of the OS otherwise I was going to get a Alienware/XPS. My plan was to use Virtual Box box for Windows 7 with OS X, then boot camp with Ubuntu and Windows 7. From everything I have read online getting OS X to work good on a Windows machine other than a Hackintosh is nearly impossible (and I'm not in need of a desktop). I talked to my professors who informed me that I would need both Mac and Windows for my courses, if you could direct me to somewhere that can show me how to run OS X on a Windows machine without all the problems that tend to come with it I would love that.
  8. I don't even know why you need OS X. 5% of the world runs it. It's not a good platform to program on. Linux is better, and Windows is more standard. Programming in Windows really isn't as bad as people make it out to be, but Linux is more adapted to doing so from the get-go. For website production, you're going to need Windows, as most of the world runs IE. Safari isn't a big customer in the browser market.

    I don't know what professors told you that you need OS X, but I know of no software engineers and/or engineers in general that use (or prefer) macs for anything.

    Anyway, hackintosh is here:

    Also, if you want a REAL monster of a machine...

    Check those notebooks out. IMO, you should ditch thoughts of OS X and get a Sager.
  9. Thanks for the advice"frozenlead" I checked into what you said and here is what I personally came up with.

    With a roughly equal Sager Laptop compared to the MBP 17'', I would spend a extra $341.00.

    The benefits of the Sager NP5797 would be:
    -A bit Better Video Card (which I don't game much on computers other than MMO's; I like my consoles better)
    -HDMI ports (would be nice to have, but wouldn't use them most likely)
    -Fingerprint reader (I don't like them my current laptop that I have)

    The things that I would lose by getting a Sager NP5797 would be:
    -Anti Glare Screen
    -96GB of SSD Space
    -And the ease of Boot Camp running multiple OS
    -Student Discount on warranty and a % off the computer
    -iPod Touch (I know its not needed at all, but they are nice especially for college)

    So basically I would pay a extra $341 for less SSD space, a non-matte screen, Boot Camp. I'm not trying to argue to get a Mac, I have never owned one, but been thinking about this for about 2-3 months now and I keep ending up on Mac. I have always been a Windows fan since I was 5 (16 years now). I'm just not sure if I want to deal with getting a Windows machine running OS X and troubleshooting it, which is why I like Boot Camp a lot.

    Also if it matters I would like my degree in Animation after I finish my Computer Programing degree and most tend to agree that Macs are better for that.

    P.S. I looked at the Sager NP7752 it would be a lot cheaper ($1619.00) but I would lose a lot of features

    P.S.S. I looked at the Sager NP9280 it would cost $714.00 more and would lose the same things as the Sager NP5797
  10. ^how did you end up configuring the laptop to come out more expensive?

    I went to Sager and configured a laptop with:
    - Display: 17" Wide Viewing Angles WUXGA LCD with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1200)
    - Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-920 Processor ( 8MB L3 Cache, 2.66GHz, 4.8GT/sec QPI )
    - Video & Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M Graphics with 1GB DDR3 Video Memory
    - Operating System: Genuine MS Windows® VISTA Home Premium 64-Bit Edition with Upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Coupon [+$20.00]
    - Memory: 6GB Triple Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 3 X 2GB[+$90.00]
    - RAID Storage Options: Non-RAID Storage
    - Primary Hard Disk Drive: 160GB Intel SATA2 Solid State Disk Drive[+$690.00]
    - 2nd Hard Disk Drive: 500GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Secondary Hard Disk Drive[+$155.00]
    - 3rd Hard Disk Drive: 500GB 7200rpm SATA 300 3rd Hard Disk Drive[+$155.00]
    - Optical Drive: 2X BD-R Blu-ray Burner/8X DVD±R/2.4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software[+$425.00]
    - Wireless Network Card: Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300AGN - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
    - Bluetooth: Internal Bluetooth V2.1 Module
    - Primary Battery: Smart Li-ION Battery Pack (12 Cells)
    - Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office 2007 Basic Edition[+$190.00]
    - Warranty: Sager 3 Year Limited Parts and Labor Warranty[+$269.00]
    - Carrying Bag: Standard Carrying Bag

    and that still comes out $200 cheaper than the MBP

    note: the processor is beefier, the gpu is beefier, you have more ram, you have more storage space, and you have a blue-ray BURNER
  11. ahslan this is how I configured the NP5797 (which looks like the closest to MBP 17)

    Base Price - $1899

    *If I didn't list all the upgradeable parts its because the ones I didn't change were left default*

    45nm Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T9900 / 6MB L2 Cache, 3.06GHz, 1066MHz FSB +355
    (or there is the 45nm Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme Processor X9100 / 6MB L2 Cache, 3.06GHz, 1066MHz FSB which is +715 I will go with the cheaper one)
    Total thus far $2254

    4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 2 X 2GB +55
    Total thus far $2309

    160GB Intel SATA2 Solid State Disk Drive +690 (Smaller than the MBP)
    Total thus far $2999

    Intel 4GB TurboMemory Module +85 (I wont include this in the total price, but I picked it since Windows isn't nearly memory efficient as Mac)

    Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business Edition +255
    Total thus far $3254

    Sager 3 Year Limited Parts & Labor Warranty + 30 days No Dead Pixel Insurance +349 (I will even take off the dead pixel insurance, which I would want)
    Total thus far $3503

    Genuine MS Windows® VISTA ULTIMATE 64-Bit Edition with Upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Coupon +110 (I want Windows 7 Ultimate when it comes out but for this example I would pick Genuine MS Windows® VISTA Home Premium 64-Bit Edition with Upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Coupon which is +20 then)
    Total thus far $3523

    So the total price of the cheapest Sager I can configure to match the MBP 17 is $3523 and IF I add TurboMemory, Vista Ultimate, the Faster 3.06 processor, and the Dead Pixel Insurance then it comes to $4158

    The Apple MBP that I thinking of getting is $3498 thats a difference of $25 (Sager costing more)
    For the pricer Sager config its a $660 more

    So either way I cut it the Sager with the closest config setup to the MBP 17'' that I can come with with is more costly
  12. oh...thought you were spending like $4200 or something....well you definitely don't need to add that intel turbomemory crap nor the small business editon of office (damn thats expensive)...sorta surprised they dont offer student edition (which would be cheaper of course) have to realize that the system you configured with Sager also has the single fastest mobile gpu on the market, so you are definitely paying a premium for that...maybe you should look at multimedia systems rather than gaming rigs that end up costing a lot because of the beefy mobile GPU's they have...

    Like a multimedia laptop from HP would be cheaper and still decently equipped....

    Operating system Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit) edit
    Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor T9900 (3.06 GHz, 6 MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB) edit
    Memory FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) - For 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics edit
    Hard drive 660GB 5400RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (Solid State Drive 160GB + 500GB 5400RPM) edit
    Graphics card 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT - For DDR2 Memory edit
    Display 18.4" diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1920x1080p) edit
    Primary optical drive Blu-Ray +/-R/RW with SuperMulti edit
    Personalization Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid) edit
    Networking Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card with Bluetooth edit
    Keyboard Full Size Backlit Keyboard edit
    Primary battery HP Long Life Battery edit
    OS and recovery media System Recovery DVD with Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit) edit
    Productivity software 50% OFF! Microsoft(R) Office Home and Student 2007 edit
    HP extended service plans 3-year Total One with Accidental Damage Protection edit

    and that adds up to be $2745...that was just something I took a quick look at...there are definitely other options to go with....

    edit:just noticed that the format i pasted doesnt look too good here...sorry about that....

    I just wanted to throw in my opinion when it comes to getting a laptop for school...I personally like having a desktop AND a laptop for school....I have a tablet for taking handwritten notes in some classes like math and engineering classes, which I can also use as a regular laptop...and I have my desktop for all gaming/heavy processing needs....I'm a big fan of tablets for school so I just wanted to let you know, just in case you havent considered them at all...
  13. Why do you want an SSD? They really don't improve your battery life, and they are low-capacity. Traditional HDDs are the better deal all around these days - SSDs have a while to come yet.
  14. I don't need the SSD, its more of a want. I like the fact that its lighter, faster, data is protected better, 5-10% gain on battery life, up to 30% faster in some tests.

    I willing to go with a HDD but its like do I want the BMW, or the KIA. BMW would be a tighter fit, but I can go fast. KIA I can fit into and it gets me from A to B, but that BMW looks sexy.
  15. I think you'll find the battery increase isn't that great. You've got a 17" notebook on your hands - the difference in weight of the disks is negligible. Your notebook is going to be heavy.

    Also, BMWs aren't really fast cars anymore. They're more about luxury now. They used to be a decent performance brand..

    But, IMO, the traditional hard disk is better.
  16. Replace BMW with a Lambo, doesn't matter the car, it was a metaphor.

    I'm just trying to figure out what would be best, I NEED both Windows and Mac OS. You can Put Leopard on a Windows machine, yes, but there tends to be lots of problems and you have to have the right hardware to get it to work well, from what I understand.

    So as much as I would like to have a gaming PC or a cheap PC to save some money. I need Mac for somethings, so if there is a PC out there that works great with OS X with a legal copy of it great (I don't know of one)! If not looks like I need to get a Mac

    I'm looking for help in picking a laptop for school, but it needs to run OS X as well as Windows. We don't need to debate SSD, its a luxury. I just would like some recomandtions of what laptop will work well for school for programing, if its a Windows machine that I would run OS X on great if not thats cool to, and cheaper is better. If I pick the 17'' Mac the lowest price would be $2200 with student discount and 1 year warranty not 3.

    I'm have always been a Windows guy and these look like Windows dominated forums, I don't want to turn this into a Windows vs Mac thing either.

    Basically what I'm looking for here is things like:
    -You will be fine working on a 15'', or you need a 17'' to make programing easier
    -These are the minimum requirements you should get, it will lasts you 3-4 years so you don't need another during school
    -Here is a Windows laptop that works great with OS X and its cheaper
  17. well, im really curious as to what programs your are going to be needing that require you to be using a senior computer engineering major and all of my programming classes have used either a windows IDE program or linux...I do have some professors that use Macs but I easily have just as many professors using Thinkpads with Linux and Windows
  18. I emailed one of my professor last night, waiting for a reply still, but in a previous email he stated "Some of the software you'll use is PC compatible only so if you get a Mac, you'll either dual boot to Windows or run Windows as a virtual machine. There are classes that use software independent of the operating system, and others that require a Mac. It really depends upon your day-to-day use and what you prefer." I will post, if I remember, once he emails me back with the classes that I need to have a Mac for.

    I the college I went to before my current one, used Windows almost 100% in the IT area. I know there are some colleges that are IT only that use Macs only. There are some like Full Sail in FL, that even give you a Mac, or Universities like UW Stout that give you a Mac to use while you attending school there, that every software that you use if excepted to be ran on that laptop they give you.

    So the reason why I leaning towards Mac is because as far as I know, I NEED it for some of my classes and seems like it would be much more convenient to have one machine run both and had all your files accessible on that one machine. Otherwise I could get a cheaper laptop.
  19. interesting...well if you need it, then you need it...i think that sorta
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