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Is the M1 Macbook Pro 13-Inch a good choice for programming for college?

I'm going to college and would need a laptop for notes and for programming and wasn't sure what I should get. Is the Macbook Pro a good choice or would a cheaper laptop be a better option?

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Would a Macbook Air get the job done or would the MacBook Pro's price be worth the cost?

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I have a 13 m1 macbook pro. Pretty good laptop, should do most of what you need in college(and if it doesn't, you can use a vm/colleges computers)

 

Id get the air though, your not giving up much in the air.

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38 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

I have a 13 m1 macbook pro. Pretty good laptop, should do most of what you need in college(and if it doesn't, you can use a vm/colleges computers)

 

Id get the air though, your not giving up much in the air.

Alright. Are there any major trade offs between the two and would it be simple to program and code in Java on the Mac?

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An M1 MacBook Air with 16GB of RAM is the same price as a base M1 MacBook Pro. Not to mention that they're pretty much as fast as each other (and if you use the hack LTT shows to use the back panel as a heatsink, it's even faster than the Pro). And the Air is most likely going to last longer since it has less moving parts and has a lesser chance for dust to get into the computer. Get the Air unless you're planning to spend upwards of $2000USD on a MacBook, then I recommend you wait until later this year for M1X. I see no point in purchasing a 13" MacBook Pro right now.

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3 hours ago, KadenCooks said:

Alright. Are there any major trade offs between the two and would it be simple to program and code in Java on the Mac?

Macbook Pro has mainly 2-3 things:
- Touchbar (Love it or hate it)

- more battery life due to 18%~ larger battery (let's say, 20 hours instead of 15? Either will be a CHAMP through the day, don't worry. But if you want as much as possible...)

- 500 nits over 400 nits.
These are the 2-3 main aspects. 2, if 400 nits is more than plenty for you, then you obviously don't benefit from having 500.

 

Some smaller Aspects, which can be ignored:
- better speakers (on paper. MaxTech finds the Air speakers better)

- "3 array studio microphones" for slightly better voice quality. Noone will probably care or notive in real world

- every so lightly larger Trackpad. You can ignore that either.

- Fan, that lets the M1 hold maximum performance for as long you need. M1 Air does throttle under Benchmark load, rendering etc by around 15%~, and that even quite late.

 

so it comes down to Touchbar, a bit more additional Battery life, maybe a bit brighter.

For most (90-95%+) out there, the Air is the smarter choice. Give it free 16gb Ram (or free 512gb SSD) compared to base Pro, and you will benefit more i think.

 

for simple coding, you won't need pretty much any performance, so both M1 machines will be silent and very efficient. And i don't see you ever getting the M1 chip to the limit from coding, unless all you do is building large Applications all the time.

 

 

Or let me rephrase it: The M1 Air is like 90-95% a M1 Pro.

If those things above are worth 250-300 bucks more for you, you might go for it. But if you want the best value, and not spend unneccessary money, i (even as someone who got the Pro) highly suggest the M1 Air. Maybe give it 16gb Ram for the next years, and you're good to go.
 

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4 hours ago, Darkseth said:

Macbook Pro has mainly 2-3 things:
- Touchbar (Love it or hate it)

- more battery life due to 18%~ larger battery (let's say, 20 hours instead of 15? Either will be a CHAMP through the day, don't worry. But if you want as much as possible...)

- 500 nits over 400 nits.
These are the 2-3 main aspects. 2, if 400 nits is more than plenty for you, then you obviously don't benefit from having 500.

 

Some smaller Aspects, which can be ignored:
- better speakers (on paper. MaxTech finds the Air speakers better)

- "3 array studio microphones" for slightly better voice quality. Noone will probably care or notive in real world

- every so lightly larger Trackpad. You can ignore that either.

- Fan, that lets the M1 hold maximum performance for as long you need. M1 Air does throttle under Benchmark load, rendering etc by around 15%~, and that even quite late.

 

so it comes down to Touchbar, a bit more additional Battery life, maybe a bit brighter.

For most (90-95%+) out there, the Air is the smarter choice. Give it free 16gb Ram (or free 512gb SSD) compared to base Pro, and you will benefit more i think.

 

for simple coding, you won't need pretty much any performance, so both M1 machines will be silent and very efficient. And i don't see you ever getting the M1 chip to the limit from coding, unless all you do is building large Applications all the time.

 

 

Or let me rephrase it: The M1 Air is like 90-95% a M1 Pro.

If those things above are worth 250-300 bucks more for you, you might go for it. But if you want the best value, and not spend unneccessary money, i (even as someone who got the Pro) highly suggest the M1 Air. Maybe give it 16gb Ram for the next years, and you're good to go.
 

Is there any main difference between the 7 core gpu and 8 core gpu for the M1 Air? It’s a $70 difference with my student discount if I upgraded the base M1 Air’s storage and memory or chose to get the M1 Air that already has 512Gb and chose to upgrade the memory. Is it worth the extra $70 or not?

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22 minutes ago, KadenCooks said:

Is there any main difference between the 7 core gpu and 8 core gpu for the M1 Air? It’s a $70 difference with my student discount if I upgraded the base M1 Air’s storage and memory or chose to get the M1 Air that already has 512Gb and chose to upgrade the memory. Is it worth the extra $70 or not?

Not really unless you think you're going to do something GPU-intensive (for integrated graphics, anyway). I'd only really get the 8-core GPU model for the 512GB of storage. If you're fine with 256GB, roll the money into 16GB of RAM instead.

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5 minutes ago, Commodus said:

Not really unless you think you're going to do something GPU-intensive (for integrated graphics, anyway). I'd only really get the 8-core GPU model for the 512GB of storage. If you're fine with 256GB, roll the money into 16GB of RAM instead.

I would mostly be using the Mac for coding, taking notes, and pretty much just using it anytime I wouldn't be using my PC. Would the 256gb be fine or would the 512gb be better? Would the MacBook Air be a good choice or should I opt out for a cheaper laptop instead if these would be my uses?

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- 7 vs. 8 core GPU is mostly irrelevant, unless you really do GPU stuff (Gaming etc).

 

- Well, only you can decide, if 256gb is enough for you. In my Opinion: Upgrading to 16gb Ram is more important in the long run, because you will never be able to upgrade Ram. While you can always connect an external SSD, even if it's not the most elegant thing.
Or: 256gb/16gb > 512gb/8gb.

But all will be fine, even the 256/8gb base model will be fine for College-level-stuff.

 

- Yes, there are cheaper Windows Notebooks, that will also do the job. Like a Lenovo Ideapad 5 (Pro), Thinkpad E14/E15 series, HP ProBook, HP Envy series, some Acer models Asus Zenbook/Vivobook, Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (pro)

The thing with the Apple Macbook Air M1 isn't, that you "need it" to do something. It's more like, you pay a bit more, but you also gain good things like Fanless operation, great performance, trackpad, display, battery life etc.

And if you'd prefer  macOS in general.

 

Which programming languages and IDEs will you use? Do you need any special applications?

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2 hours ago, KadenCooks said:

I would mostly be using the Mac for coding, taking notes, and pretty much just using it anytime I wouldn't be using my PC. Would the 256gb be fine or would the 512gb be better? Would the MacBook Air be a good choice or should I opt out for a cheaper laptop instead if these would be my uses?

If you don't really store local media on your laptop, 256GB is fine. I know code can consume a lot of space at times, but there is always the option of an external drive if you want some place to store the rest when you're not working on them. If you're unsure, 512GB is a good insurance policy of sorts.

 

There are lower-priced laptops that might be enough. The Air, to me, is the "no real complaints" laptop you get if you can swing it. It's fast, silent, well-built, lasts ages on battery and has a great keyboard and trackpad. The only real catches are the two ports and, of course, needing Mac-friendly apps (which is a non-issue for Java, I believe).

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4 hours ago, Darkseth said:

- 7 vs. 8 core GPU is mostly irrelevant, unless you really do GPU stuff (Gaming etc).

 

- Well, only you can decide, if 256gb is enough for you. In my Opinion: Upgrading to 16gb Ram is more important in the long run, because you will never be able to upgrade Ram. While you can always connect an external SSD, even if it's not the most elegant thing.
Or: 256gb/16gb > 512gb/8gb.

But all will be fine, even the 256/8gb base model will be fine for College-level-stuff.

 

- Yes, there are cheaper Windows Notebooks, that will also do the job. Like a Lenovo Ideapad 5 (Pro), Thinkpad E14/E15 series, HP ProBook, HP Envy series, some Acer models Asus Zenbook/Vivobook, Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 (pro)

The thing with the Apple Macbook Air M1 isn't, that you "need it" to do something. It's more like, you pay a bit more, but you also gain good things like Fanless operation, great performance, trackpad, display, battery life etc.

And if you'd prefer  macOS in general.

 

Which programming languages and IDEs will you use? Do you need any special applications?

As of now, the only one I am certain of is Java. There may be more but that's the only one I know of right now since I will be starting in the fall.

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9 minutes ago, KadenCooks said:

As of now, the only one I am certain of is Java. There may be more but that's the only one I know of right now since I will be starting in the fall.

https://isapplesiliconready.com/for/developer

IntelliJ Idea at least is fully optimized for Apple Silicon already, in case you're gonna use that..
Netbeans and Eclipse run through Rosetta

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