A better Mac for a Programmer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by cfthomas, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. cfthomas macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2005
    Hi there!

    I'm doing A LOT of programming (Java with Intellij IDEA, XML with Oxygen, other stuff with java-based-clients) and I am currently using a PB 12" (G4 1.33GHz) with 768MB RAM. I use an external 17" screen.
    I really enjoy working on the mac, as you can guess as I have a Centrino 1.6GHz NB (XP) next to me in standbymode.
    But .. my PB is WAY to slow for all the apps I'm using in parallel, so I'm looking forward for an upgrade ..
    The system of my choice is 20" iMac G5 with hm 1GB-2GB RAM.
    The question I'm struggling with is: will the iMac fast enough for my needs?
    At home I use an Athlon XP 3200+ with 1GB RAM and Windows XP. I'm very satisfied with the speed, but don't like .. well really hate this damn Windows OS, so would the iMac system be comparable to my PC?

    Tell me your opinions, and please consider my heavy use of Java programs.

  2. maclamb macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2002
    Northern California
    Hate to say it , but my experice is that PCs beat the pants off macs for speed of sw dev for java
    I was using Eclispe and PCs were just MUCH faster - by like 30% and more responsive and snappier too.
    I no longer code, so macs work great for me - but I still have a PC...
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Agreed - PCs are faster for Java development, either because of better compilers or, likely, because of faster CPUs. My Macintel dev platform outperforms my dual-2.0 PM by a fair margin when compiling Java, so I suspect it's raw CPU speed that makes up most of the difference.

    However, honestly - and I say this as the owner of a 12" PB - it's also likely due to your 4200 RPM drive (at least I think that's the speed in your PB). My slightly newer 12" (5400 RPM drive, 1.5GHz) is not bad at all. Not as fast as the PM or Macintel, not as fast as my PC at work, but really not bad at all. Also, the 1.25 GB RAM is probably helpful to me.

    As far as an iMac is concerned: it'll be fine. Not as fast as the PC, but it has a fast chip and a good drive (and, I see, enough RAM), so you won't have any problems.
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    For Java dev, think about dual booting your home PC into Linux. Use it as a server rather than a desktop. I VNC into a headless Linux box at home, using WindowMaker as my desktop. I compile with ant and makefiles via the cmd line almost exclusively, using Eclipse only if I need to do major refactoring. I don't use Linux for anything else - it's just too awkward for an everyday computer.

    However, I've also found that my 1.6GHz P-M laptop isn't that much faster at compiling than a 1.67GHz PowerBook, mainly because I MUST run a virus checker on my laptop in order to connect to my employer's network. The virus checker they require checks every file as it is written to the HD. Without the virus checker and after tweaking the background services, the PC is close to 2x faster than the PB, but ordinarily the difference isn't noticeable.
  5. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    I use IntelliJ on a 3 GHz Pentium with 1 GB RAM running XP Pro at work, and it doesn't feel as fast to me as Visual C++ 5 on my Pentium 200 back in the day.

    So, I think you might have to accept, that no matter how fast of a machine you get, IntelliJ will still feel slow at times.

    I think I'll load IntelliJ on my iBook G3 700 and see how that flies :)
  6. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    I second the notion to get out of the IDE and use javac and make. However, I also want to point out that the G5 is much faster than the G4 and will feel much snappier.

    You might want to try burning a disk with some sample stuff and taking it to an Apple Store.

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