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Old Oct 25, 2013, 10:50 AM   #1
hamed90
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which mac to buy for programming

Hi. I've just started studying programming in university. I wanna buy a 2013 MBPR 15 inch but i don't know whether to buy base model (8GB ram, 256GB and no dedicated graphics) or the higher end model. I want it for tasks like programming, and using apps like Maya and Cinema 4D and 3ds max for windows (but not for professional works). I won't upgrade it for three years. So please help me to buy the base model (plus an iphone 5s) or the higher end model without iphone? will the lack of dedicated graphics in base model make problems for me or Iris pro will be enough?
Thanks.
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Old Oct 25, 2013, 04:34 PM   #2
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will the lack of dedicated graphics in base model make problems for me or Iris pro will be enough?
Thanks.
With OpenGL 3d apps, it's always a matter of how many polygons you're pushing across the screen. Obviously if you're playing back animations in your viewport, that takes a lot of power, dependent on scene size, density of your rig, and if you're dealing with any unbaked dynamics simulations (hair, cloth, particles, whatever). If you're set on a notebook, the real question is whether there's a significant difference between the two, because if you built something large enough you could slow either one to a crawl.
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Old Oct 25, 2013, 06:11 PM   #3
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I'd absolutely get the 16GB RAM option at the very least if you want to future proof yourself. If the classic MBP's were still an option this wouldn't be a problem but with the retina you are stuck with what you have.

So get the 16GB RAM. 256GB is enough for system/app storage and code. I'd get an external 1TB USB3 drive for larger files like music, movies, etc; things you don't need 24/7 access to.

You don't really need the best processor -- an extra 300Mhz will not be that noticeable as opposed to having 16GB and rarely (if ever) running out of memory. Just get a quad core with a decent sized cache.

As for graphics? Since you're going to be doing 3D intensive work you definitely want a dedicated video card. Iris is nice but not as good as a dedicated card. Plus with an nVidia card you get Cuda cores (not sure if they are used in 3dsmax, etc. I know they are in Adobe software).
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Old Oct 25, 2013, 09:22 PM   #4
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As for graphics? Since you're going to be doing 3D intensive work you definitely want a dedicated video card. Iris is nice but not as good as a dedicated card. Plus with an nVidia card you get Cuda cores (not sure if they are used in 3dsmax, etc. I know they are in Adobe software).
Only in the iray mode of mental ray. Most people don't use it, yet there are people (example) who have made very effective use of that rendering mode. It wouldn't matter on a notebook anyway. A 2GB card is nothing for that kind of use. If you want to use something like that, you get a big beefy Quadro. People get hung up on the concept of integrated vs discrete, but both of those options can hit the wall. A 750m can't keep up with a 5870 from 3 years ago unless CUDA is involved.
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Old Oct 26, 2013, 11:11 AM   #5
hamed90
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tanx everyone for great helps. So I guess I should go for the higher end model!
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Old Oct 26, 2013, 12:33 PM   #6
theyoda3
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This sounds like a waste of money. A better option would be to get a cheaper laptop, maybe a refurbished 15 inch or a new 13 inch. Then use the rest of the money to build a small desktop computer that you can use for your 3D graphics applications.
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Old Oct 26, 2013, 05:23 PM   #7
thekev
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tanx everyone for great helps. So I guess I should go for the higher end model!
I didn't really insinuate that. I suggested that there may not be much difference and that if they're close enough together, there won't be much you can do on one that you can't do on the other. That is sometimes the case with machines even if others exist in the wild that can do things beyond the capability of either. I've never met anyone who used both maya and max unless they changed jobs.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 11:02 AM   #8
nitromac
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This sounds like a waste of money. A better option would be to get a cheaper laptop, maybe a refurbished 15 inch or a new 13 inch. Then use the rest of the money to build a small desktop computer that you can use for your 3D graphics applications.
They're a college student. I don't think they want to hassle with two separate computers. I know I wouldn't (and don't).
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 12:15 PM   #9
theyoda3
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They're a college student. I don't think they want to hassle with two separate computers. I know I wouldn't (and don't).
Something else to consider is if your school has computer labs with the 3D graphics software you want to use and if they have a render farm. If they have a lab then it is not worth worrying about the graphics card in your laptop, the school probably has something much better. If they have a render farm then that frees up either their workstations for use or, more importantly, your own laptop. Having to use your laptop to render is a greater hassle than using two separate computers.

Also, as far as programming is concerned, any Apple laptop will do. They all have multiple cores and they all have OpenCL capable graphics cards. The only time you would need something specific is if you want to program with CUDA. That only works with an NVIDIA card.

To each their own, but for 3D graphics there are good tradeoffs for having to deal with the "hassle" of two separate computers.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 01:11 PM   #10
nitromac
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Something else to consider is if your school has computer labs with the 3D graphics software you want to use and if they have a render farm. If they have a lab then it is not worth worrying about the graphics card in your laptop, the school probably has something much better. If they have a render farm then that frees up either their workstations for use or, more importantly, your own laptop. Having to use your laptop to render is a greater hassle than using two separate computers.

Also, as far as programming is concerned, any Apple laptop will do. They all have multiple cores and they all have OpenCL capable graphics cards. The only time you would need something specific is if you want to program with CUDA. That only works with an NVIDIA card.

To each their own, but for 3D graphics there are good tradeoffs for having to deal with the "hassle" of two separate computers.
I totally understand, I have a gaming PC at home (not at uni) myself. But since they aren't planning on doing anything professional with 3dsmax/maya then I assume they won't need workstation class performance. People managed 10 years ago with GeForce 4's (NOTHING compared to integrated graphics of today) and were able to do hobbyist 3D work fine.
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