Advice on first mac(book) purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 007p, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. 007p macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2012
    I am struggling to decide on what to purchase for my first mac. The main reason to do so is for ios development – I have a fairly decent (windows) desktop for gaming and any other ‘heavy lifting’ I need to do, so the main thing I’m looking to do with it would be ios development.

    At first I was looking at the Mac Mini, but given the lack of updates and (imo) how close macbooks can be in price, I’m thinking I might prefer to get a macbook and gain the mobility advantage over being tied to a desk. I think I’m looking at three options atm;

    • 13 inch MBA – maxed out.
    • 13 inch MBP – 256/8gb ram.
    • Stretching to a base 15 inch MBP if needs be

    I wouldn’t say I was a beginner at xcode but also not at a high level yet either. These are the main things I'm concerned about atm;

    How is the 13 inch MBP screen in terms of xcode?

    I have read mixed opinions on it. Possibly have to change the resolution? I plan on hooking it up to a proper monitor for any long sessions so I’m not too worried if its not the most ideal screen for long every day sessions, but rather better than the air for the intermittent session away from a monitor.

    How hot do these things run?

    Understandably, if you were to start getting the processor up to 100% then its going to get hot, so probably a better way of putting it is, how hot do these things get whilst doing light/’average’ coding? I worry about heat, not because it will damage the components just because I don’t like it, but I’m not completely sure how much stess xcode projects can be on the processor (obviously it varies). It seemed alright in my VM tests but way too sluggish for anything major (expected). For anyone that has used both, does the 13 inch MBP run cooler than the 15 inch or vice versa?

    How important is quad core and/or 16gb ram for the average xcode project?

    Nothing too simple, but nothing massive either. I am planning on at least 8gb ram, I was in the frame of mind of “I must get 16gb” bit I think that’s a bit overkill and I’m wondering if quad-core would also be a bit overkill, after all its really just for hobby ‘work’.

    What about the graphics chip?

    How much of an effect does the graphics chip have on the simulator? Is there much difference between these when it comes to ‘average/hobby’ development alone? I think this is one of the reason I started to look at the retina MBP over the MBA.

    I’m currently leaning towards the MBP, mainly due to the screen. I like the idea of a 13 inch, it’s a bit lighter / more ‘portable’. I already have an ‘okish’ 15 inch (windows/Linux) laptop so I feel like a 13 inch macbook wouldn’t completely replace it unlike a 15 inch MBP might. I have a feeling that the 15 inch might be overkill for what I want to do as well (I'm not really looking for a desktop replacement etc), though I am worried about how hard it is to develop on the 13 inch for short sessions and the decrease in power/graphics that may or may not need.
  2. gochi macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    I have used both the 13 and 15" models, not air though.

    the 15" def feels like an upgrade, if you are gonna be running some code just get the bigger screen it will be better -- try to get the hires screen.

    its about $300-$600 more expensive, but worth it, more power, larger real estate.
  3. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I find my 15" screen a little tight for coding. I use a 23" display at home which is much easier for my aging eyes.

    8gb is plenty for Xcode. If you ever run virtual machines like Parallels or VM Fusion, 16 is better. Xcode development is not that processor intensive so quad core isn't important. Same for the DGPU. Graphics or video work can benefit from it but not needed for coding.

    Some MBP models can run fairly warm depending on the task. I rarely use mine on my lap and when I do I use a lap desk that provides some ventilation.

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