Any devs out there move from the 15 in rMBP to the 12 in MB as their main? How did it go?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by MrEcted, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. MrEcted macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2011
    I have a 2014 15 inch rMBP and it's my favorite computer of all time, no doubt. I'm a developer by trade and I use this machine as my main driver.

    I keep finding myself drawn toward the 12 inch MacBook because on top of traveling all the time, I also cycle to commute probably 80% of the time and I prefer using a backpack to transport stuff. My standard commute is about 25 miles round-trip and every pound really does count (and after feeling the MacBook myself it's unbelievable what the difference in weight feels like, even if it's only a few pounds). I have an iPad that I use for mobile consumption when I'm not going to do any work and I feel like the MB will unify these worlds. The 15 inch also has a very large footprint compared to the 12 inch, and it eats up most of the room in my pack.

    I've also learned that this 15 inch rMBP is probably more power than I need. I can't think of anything I do now (or will be doing in the foreseeable future) that requires very much power as most of my work is developing simple LOB apps. The only issue I can see here is that I use Parallel's into a Windows VM for .NET development fairly often (using Visual Studio 2015) and I'm not sure how well this machine would handle it, though I imagine it would be fine.

    I don't want to have two laptops as I know I will tend to always gravitate toward one, so if I decide to go this route I will be selling my current 15 inch rMBP.

    The biggest downsides for me are that going from 15 inches to 12 inches will be difficult because even though I really love super portability I also love having good screen real estate. I can somewhat makeup for this by scaling to a higher resolution and having about the same desktop space, though smaller.

    Also, after messing with the keyboard it seems like it would be hard to get used to for longer work sessions, though my experience is so limited that I don't know if this is an issue long term.

    Also, I'm not sure how fluid everything will be compared to my current machine. I don't mind that the 12 inch is (far more) underpowered than my current rig if it handles my usage patters just fine, but I don't know if the MacBook is up to handling a VM into Windows, Visual Studio running, etc and remain smooth.

    Any developers out there use this as their main machine? How is it working for you? If you've moved from a larger laptop like the 15 inch to the MB did you find that you regretted your decision in the long run?

    Any help is much appreciated!
  2. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    I have both.

    I'm a beginning comp sci student though, but have virtual box with Windows 10 installed.

    Virtual box works, but can have some UI lag (which it does on my 15" as well..), but parallels is pretty smooth on both (I only had the trial though).

    I use sublime text, and just increased the font size a bit, and it works well.

    Buy it and test it during the return period.

    As for the keyboard - I actually prefer it to my 15" keyboard. It's more controlled and fluid.
  3. MrEcted thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2011

    Thanks for the input. Good point on testing it during the return period. If you could only have one of those machines which would it be?
  4. in Cider macrumors member

    in Cider

    Jan 28, 2016
    Agreed, in my experience virtual machines run well with proper memory configuration. I run my screen at 1680x1050 and its a beautiful display. I also type much faster on the keyboard.

    IMHO its a great machine for small-medium sized development jobs. Plug it into a 34" external display with bluetooth inputs and it handles large projects very well.
  5. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Honestly, I haven't really touched my 15" in awhile...

    If I could only have one, I would keep the 12". The portability trumps the extra CPU, to me.
  6. WickedPorter macrumors regular


    Sep 28, 2012
    TL;DR: I use a 15" and the 12". I could probably make due with just the 12", especially if the 12" ever supports dual external displays. 12" is a little slower with some photo editing tasks, otherwise works just fine as a development machine (for me.)

    I'm a "light" developer.

    My 15" Pro (16GB RAM) is my primary machine. It's docked at my desk 95% of the time with dual 24" 1080 displays / external keyboard/mouse/etc. I'm basically using it as a desktop. Typical dev tasks for me include Visual Studio 2015 projects (ASP.NET MVC/SQL/Web Apps) running on a Windows 10 VM with 8GB allocated, plus Xcode iOS projects on the Mac. Other tools I use regularly would include UNIX/Shell scripting, AquaData Studio, BeyondCompare, and some minor photo editing with Paint.NET (Windows) or Pixelmator (Mac).

    My mobile workhorse is my MacBook (formerly a 2015 MacBook, now a 2016 as of today). The MacBook handles all of the above tasks without issue; only difference is screen real-estate (typically not docked, only using the MB screen) and the Windows VM only has 4GB allocated rather than 8. It still seems to work just fine... some tasks, specifically in photo editing, are a little bit slower but not annoyingly slow.

    If I need more screen real-estate, I'll pull out my iPad and plug it in to the MacBook using the A/V adapter or the single USB adapter and use Duet Display for a quick make-shift second monitor wherever I'm at. I also have a "docking" configuration at my desk for the MacBook using the A/V adapter and an external 24" HD-only display, though I find that I don't use this all that often (especially with the big Mac + dual external displays sitting right next to it.)
  7. recoil80 macrumors 68020

    Jul 16, 2014
    If you can attach an external display at office you're good to go.
    As a developer (iOS and some web development) I find the screen size to be extremely important. I have a 11''MBA at home but it is always connected to a 23'' display when I need to work, so I could buy the rMB and I wouldn't find much of a difference.
    If I couldn't connect to a display I'd go for the 15'', and I'd love to see a 14'' Macbook version with more screen real estate and a couple of ports.
    Performances, in my opinion, are not so important unless you use a virtual machine frequently.
  8. MrEcted thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2011
    I have a couple external displays but I find that I go without a majority of the time. I'd be all over a 14" if it was similar to the MacBook, but perhaps had smaller bezels to keep the footprint small.

    After a couple days thinking about it and after playing around with one at the store a bit more, I've decided to stick it out with my 15 inch MBP for awhile longer and see what Apple brews up in the next year or two.

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