Yet another computer question.

<p>So my mom mentioned to me today that I should probably start looking for a laptop for college (seeing as how there seems to be good deals around this time on them). I'm thinking about getting a mac book pro 13''. Problem is (and this is embarrassing considering I am going to MIT next year) I know nothing about computers.... What is hard drive memory even used for? Because I have to pick between having 750 GB, 500 GB, 320 GB, 256 GB, and 128 GB of hard drive memory. Not to mention i5 and i7 processors. Money isn't really an issue with these. It would be great if someone could explain hard drive memory and processors to me :) Also any recommendations as to what specifics I should get with the mac book that would be helpful. I've never had a mac before, we only have a desktop PC and I have a windows os netbook. </p>

<p>I'm thinking about majoring in mech e or environmental engineering if that factors in to what kind of computer I should bring (and if I need a PC for some reason for those majors, please let me know)</p>

<p>Any advice/comments appreciated :)</p>

<p>Hard drives and memory are two different components. The numbers you quoted make me suspect you're talking about the hard drive ;) Basically, the hard drive size dictates how much stuff (documents, movie files, pictures, etc) you can store on the computer. I have 500GB and it serves me fine. I'm guessing you don't download a whole lot if you've never had to deal with hard drive size, so it's probably fine for you. The 320GB, 256GB, and 128GB drives are solid-state drives, which tend to be a lot more expensive and less likely to fail -- but really, the normal hard drives are good enough in general that I would just get the 500GB and save yourself the cash instead of buying a solid-state.</p>

<p>I have heard that Solidworks, the 3D CAD software, doesn't run on Macs but you should verify that statement before deciding against a Mac.</p>

<p>You can use bootcamp or Parallels or Vmware fusion to run Windows programs on a Mac. And I think you can a discount on Parallels/Vmware and Windows (which you need for any of those programs/options) from MIT (at least you can at other academic institutions so I assume you can at MIT as well).</p>

<p>You can actually get VMWare and Windows for free as an MIT student.</p>

<p>I think Macs are terribly overpriced for what you get, especially if you want to run computationally-intensive Windows software like Solidworks. I personally have a Thinkpad (the T420 / 520 just came out) and it was a great purchase - super reliable and still runs like new after about a year and a half, for about half the price of a comparable Macbook. The vast majority of MIT students have either Lenovos or Macs, though.</p>