What Macbook Pro would be the best for an architecture student?

I'm looking at purchasing a new laptop in the next coming months. I am a Landscape Architecture student and will be using; AutoCAD, VectorWorks, Adobe Suite, SketchUP, RenderWorks, Land F/X and most likely Maxwell Render. I have a lot of data (almost 450GB on current Macbook Pro and about 850GB externally) but was thinking of going with the SSD and carrying a bus powered external with me.

My questions are:

Is the SSD worth the cost and the reduction in space?
and which processor should I go for? i7 2.2, i7 2.4, or i7 2.5?

Would I benefit from the 2.2 with an SSD more than a 2.5 with a 7200rpm HDD?

I am planning on maxing the ram as 8GB as well.

Thanks for the advise!


1 Answer from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    I'm no pro by any means, but I myself will be an architecture student come next fall, as such, I'm in the market for a new machine as well, and I came across your post here searching for a similar answer. Anyway, my takes:

    Is an SSD worth it? Depends if you want space... You said you have almost 450GB locally on your current Mac, so I'd probably recommend against a SSD. It will be ungodly expensive to a 512GB or even a 768GB SSD installed into any new MBP.

    As far as processors go, again, Apple has huge markups on meaningless jumps. I don't remember where I read it, but approximately each processor you jump up cost equates to a 2-3% performance gain at 9% of cost. Again, not worth it to me... The only thing a bigger processor is going to let you do is render faster in all your software. And my faster, it's a marginal gain... Its still a laptop and it will never fly through anything.

    When you compare the HDD type with the CPU speed, that's a pretty unfair comparison if you ask me. For 95% of individuals, who have used a hard disk drive for years and years, a 7200RPM drive will be a majority of the performance they need. Now if SSD's were a third the price they are today, well I might recommend them instead, but thats not the case.

    Finally, 8GB of RAM is a good bet. If your going for a MBP, (minus the new Retina model) buy the lowest amount of RAM and upgrade yourself... You'll save money and it'll most likely be higher quality RAM.

    Hope that helped.

    • Answered by Ben T from Leawood
    • Jun 14, 2012