Advise me: Developer needs new Laptop & Desktop...

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bah-bah'd, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. bah-bah'd macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    I am in the market for a new mobile and new workstation. (Quite ready to transition over to an all OS X environment, run xxxBSD on my new AMD 64 box and never load windows outside of an emulator again.) While I have been waiting for this 'Intel inside' release before purchasing new Macs, I really have been wanting to get my hands on an OS X machine for years now.

    I love the idea of having apache, tomcat & python running with native access to terminal and samba serving out shares all on the machine I USE daily... The most graphic intensive work I do at the moment is editing web designs and converting video formats, etc. Most of the work I do is web development, but am looking to get into more intensive mapping applications; GIS, CAD...

    Basically, I want my Mac now so bad it hurts and I am not sure what I want to sacrifice between: $$, speed or reliabilty. Of course I want a MacBook. However, I am leaning towards a refurb or new 15in G4 1.67 w/ 128 megs of video ram. For some reason a solid version 4 (or is it 5 now) over a version 1 laptop seems like a good bet. For my workstation, the iMac has had my attention for a while; i love the display. In fact, I almost ordered one like 5 days before macworld. The thing is, I want one of my new machines to be x86 based. Rosetta discussions need not arise unless they have a direct relationship to running 'server applications.'

    What Would Jobs Do? (Pardon the pun, that just popped into my head...)

    Oh that should be between: $$, speed, reliabilty and 3-5 day shiping vs. Febuary XXth. Haha
  2. NeuronBasher macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    I was in almost the same boat as you when I ordered my MacBook Pro. I write code for a living, these days primarily Ruby (on Rails) and to a lessening degree as we move more to Rails, server-side Java. Today, I use Windows for my desktop and have a vmware virtual machine running Linux with my server environment more or less mirroring what we deploy our applications on. I'm a long time Unix user, but I still think that Windows has a better desktop GUI than X11, particularly now that I don't have the time or inclination to spend days on end configuring my desktop.

    I'm thrilled to be going back to a Mac for my primary machine, and I think the MacBook is going to be ideal. I have a 24" Dell LCD that I intend to use as my primary display when the MBP is on my desk, but I'll have the flexibility to take my entire development and deployment environment with me, without having to run a virtual machine to do it. i'm really looking forward to the MBP, it's exactly what the doctor ordered as far as I'm concerned.
  3. shrimpdesign macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    If you try getting one PPC computer, and one Intel, go for the MacBook Pro for the Intel processor, because you don't want a G4. Then maybe a G5 iMac at the cheap? That would give you more overall power than a new Intel iMac and a G4 Powerbook.
  4. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I like this idea. Also, I think that since Intel basically designed the MacBook Pro's internals, it's not likely to have the same problems that some Rev. A machines have had. Besides that, I think Rev. A problems are overblown. They may be slightly more problem prone, but there are plenty of people around these boards using Rev. A products with no problems.

    I think MacBook Pro and iMac G5 sounds like an awesome combination. Use the iMac G5 for desktop work including the ability to run not-yet-universal apps, and use the MacBook Pro when you need to test your software on an Intel Mac.
  5. bah-bah'd thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    So, No G4 it is...

    Excellent, thanks for the advice everyone. (And I even posted this thread in the wrong area!)

    Now my only question is do I want to order the iMac refurbed or not. I don't think I have ever bought a refurbed machine, but it would be cool to get an 20' iMac for $1200. Anyone know if the refurbs coming out now are returned of iMacs with hard drive noise or fautly power supplies?
  6. Arcus macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2004
    of my hand will get me slapped.
    Werent you looking to get the intel Macs? If so I dont think you want the refirb.
  7. mdavey macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005
    For a developer's desktop machine (especially one working with visual elements such as GUIs or web sites) I'd suggest that screen real-estate is the most important factor - more improtant than HDD response, memory and GHz/benchmarks.

    So, I'd suggest waiting for either the Intel PowerBook or (top-of-the-range) Intel Mac mini and combining with a 24", 27" or 30" widescreen display from Apple, Dell or the like. Now, many Mac purists will knock me for suggesting the Intel Mac mini and suggest you go for the 20" iMac instead. I'll concede that the 20" iMac might be an option however you might find that a tricked out Mac mini won't be significantly less powerful and might be offset by that extra screen real-estate of the 30" monitor (if the Mac mini supports it - the current model doesn't).

    For laptop, it is a simple choice between the 15" Intel MacBook Pro now or waiting for the 17" model, which will come out later this year (at some unspecified date).

    One final consideration - would using the 17" MacBook Pro as both your laptop and desktop (perhaps with that 30" screen on your desk) be an option?

    Either way, you'll want at least 2GB or RAM on any machine you choose.
  8. Meyvn macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2005
    I'd recommend getting the previous generation iMac refurb'd, 20". 2.0 GHz. That way, you can get 2 gigs of RAM in it without having to buy that ridiculously expensive 2GB DIMM. Plus, if you're getting an MBP, you'll already have an iSight and FrontRow on that.
  9. jamesi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2005
    Davis CA
    the G4s were a good processor back in the day, but with the advent of intel systems even the G5s are not looking too hot. the imac for a professional system isnt the greatest choice mainly b/c you cant upgrade it. can make it work if you want too. just get an intel imac, the G5s just are not a solid choice. im sure you could snake a cheap powermac G5 refurb once the intel versions come out...but that means playing the waiting game. the G4 powerbook is just not up to snuff, you will wish you had the extra horsepower of the dual core intels.
  10. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I'd get the new Intel iMac now and use that to get aquainted with the new Intel based system and dual binary applications.

    I think for portable needs, you're better off waiting till rev " B " on
    the MacBookPro.

    Honestly this market is so volatile with everything advancing SO quickly,
    I would buy a 12" refurb 1.33 GHz iBook for $799.00 ( Red Tag Sales )

    and the new Intel iMac.

    At full retail that's $1299 for the 17" iMac, plus $799.00 for the iBook,
    plus extra 3rd party RAM
    all for about the same as a decked out MBP or 15" PB

    You cover both needs quite well without going overboard on Rev " A " gear.

    You should also consider Apple's developer program.
  11. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    The (current) solution, that will give you the most power for your money, and the best of both PPC and Intel worlds, IMO (and, apparently that of FFTT ;)), is to get a 20" Intel iMac and a 12" iBook. Then you'd have a nice looking desktop/server and an ultraportable little laptop with low weight and nice durability and batterylife.

    The iMac/iBook combination should cost about the same as one single MacBook...
  12. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    If you can swing the extra $$ for the 20" Intel iMac, by all means you'll be all grins!:D

    The idea is to get your feet wet, covering your needs without going overboard.

    The new iMac and MBP are 32 bit machines.

    Wait to spend your serious money on the server quality 64 bit Core Duo's in about 2 years.
    I'm pretty sure you'll be looking at dual, dual core Quad 64's before too long.

    OR........ since you already have a nice display.

    If you want a truly droolworthy system NOW!

    Go for a G5 Quad (edu) at $2999.00 and the base model MPB. $1799.00
    Figure in 2 GB minimum RAM for the Quad and at least 1 GB for the MBP.
    Obviously way more money, but again you cover both needs in true gearslut form.
  13. bah-bah'd thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I actually decided to go with the G5 iMac for now since it is Rev. 3 and will be ordering a MacBook as soon as I can.

    I am still not convinced that a revision A of either the iMac or MacBook is worth it yet over getting a stable iMac G5.
  14. budugu macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Probably it is. There have been rumblings that code compiles 100% faster on the intel imacs. You mentioned GIS/CAD in your posts. As far as i can think there is no GIS (essentially ARC -GIS or ERDAS) on mac and probably never will be one. I suggest you get a 15" Mac Book pro and a 15" intel Core Duo (non-mac version) with those WUXGA+ screens (~23" display resolution). From what you say a desktop might be a waste. NEVER GET A REV A iMAC G5!!!

    PS: With more software getting released in MSFT/Linux world for free .. (like VMware GSX server, heck even IBM DB2, MSFT SQL2005 EXP, Visual Studio, Sun Studio (for Linux/x86 solaris), and **** load of other crap) it might be a bad time to move from WIN/LIN -intel world for programmers especially.
  15. bah-bah'd thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    > From what you say a desktop might be a waste.

    I am starting to think this myself, but I am going to try out this iMac G5 for a while then sell it if it does not work well for me. (I am even thinking about puting OS X server on it and pretty much use it as such...)

    > I suggest you get a 15" Mac Book pro and a 15" intel Core Duo

    I do still have my new AMD Semp 64 system! So, adding a MacBook will be the final moble that I am missing.

    > PS: With more software getting released in MSFT/Linux world for free..
    > (like VMware GSX server, heck even IBM DB2, MSFT SQL2005 EXP,
    > Visual Studio, Sun Studio (for Linux/x86 solaris), and **** load of
    > other crap) it might be a bad time to move from WIN/LIN -intel world
    > for programmers especially.

    Wow, I need to get my head out of my own stuff. I had no idea that so much was going freeware.
    Really free:
    -IBM DB2?
    -MSFT SQL2005 EXP?
    -Visual Studio?
    -Sun Studio?


    that Semp 64 system is a desktop...
  16. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Just to bring my own experience - my 1.83GHz core duo 17" iMac compiles Java 50% faster than a 2.26GHz single core Windows laptop, and for Java the Windows laptop is a good deal faster than any G5 I've seen.

    For Java at least, you would see a 2x-3x speedup compared to the G5s.
  17. budugu macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Boston, MA
    ALL EXPRESS versions (1-2 processor) of the above products are free!
    Just go to the websites (heck even Oracle DB EXP is also free for windows and linux) . IBM DB2 is probably the hardest to track down i will send you a link i can find it. All require some sort of registration.
  18. bah-bah'd thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2006
    That does sound pretty grand. I am thinking that this new iMac may become more the entertainment computer....

    Ahh, I see what you mean now. I was a little baffled for a second there; I did not realize EXP = express. I thought you actually meant prioduction version were being released for free to gain market share. Thanks for the assistance~!~
  19. shrimpdesign macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    I know someone who only gets refurbished products.

    Refurbs have been completely worked-over to make sure they are in perfect working condition. New models don't (as far as I know) get tested before they come to you. Just a thought.
  20. frankblundt macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2005
    South of the border
    i tried doing web dev on a laptop and it was awful. Anything with a screen running less than 1600 was just unworkable with the multiple windows you end up having open. - which is why i can't see myself going to either the iMac or the MacBook. I use an old G3 running Apache, PHP, QTSS and MySql as a server and do the dev work on a Mini (so i can take it into work when i need too, using their screens).
    Works perfectly for me (and cheap too).

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