Base non touchbar Pro 13 - How does it fair for a programmer?

macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
These are the tasks I would be doing with the kaby lake 2017 base 128GB model of the macbook pro:

-Programming - web dev and using Visual Studio
-App development (swift and android with xamarin)
-Final Cut Pro video editing

And I know its low storage, I would be buying a 500gb samsung usb c ssd and storing everything except applications on there.

How does the base 13 inch fair at these tasks? If not very well, would the addition of 16gb ram help?
I cant justify spending any more on a laptop.
 

makdeniss

macrumors regular
Apr 26, 2011
104
17
European Union
I dunno how visual studio is doing, but intellij idea on a 3.3 ghz 16 mb ram with touch bar doesn't run 'fine'. Especially when you have multiple projects open.

I am not sure if it's the mac or intellij or java, but I am a bit surprised that the performance sometimes lacks so much.
 

FineFuturity

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2012
101
65
TX, United States
Have you done any programming on a 13 inch non touchbar 2017 macbook pro?

Why do you suggest the 16GB?
Not the person asking the question, of course, but fwiw, I have the 13" non-TB MacBook Pro (specs: 13" nTB, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM). I ordered the 16GB config, mostly to future proof it.

Based on my usage in the 2, maybe 3, weeks I've owned this machine, I'll say this: I'm glad I upgraded the RAM.

I do Java (and occasionally, some C) programming on the side, and have been able to write and compile in Eclipse without any major hiccups or problems. I'll also have running in the background: a Safari window w/ ~10-20 tabs open, a Twitter client, another Safari window w/ YouTube up (to use for Picture-in-Picture), Facebook Messenger, Discord, iTunes, Skype, Mail, Messages, and Notes. All of these programs running at once, according to Activity Monitor, use up ~7.5 of the 16GB total installed. In my case, had I gone with the default config, this computer would likely be moving at a snail's pace.

I can't say anything about video editing performance, since that's not something I do. Someone else will have to chime in on that.

My two cents, though: The 13" nTB MacBook Pro, I think, is more than good enough for iOS, Android, and web development. I urge you to upgrade the RAM to 16GB if you wanna have lots of apps open, too. Hell, since you do video editing in Final Cut Pro, I think you ought to have 16GB of RAM by default, no matter what model you choose. And maybe consider a processor upgrade, too.

When choosing mine, I knew from the outset that I did not want the Touch Bar. And since the most resource-intensive thing I do is stuff with virtual machines -- something I only mess with on occasion -- I figured a 3-ish GHz processor
would truly be overkill for me. Finally, knowing I'd be stuck with whatever I chose, I figured my config should have much RAM as possible, with as much storage as I could afford. This narrowed it down pretty quickly for me.

Just think hard on whether or not you want the Touch Bar, as your choice here determines what processor configurations you'll get to choose from, as well as how many USB-C ports you get: the most powerful non-Touch Bar configuration comes with a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 and only 2 USB-C ports, whereas the base 13" MBP w/ Touch Bar comes with a 3.1 GHz i5 with 4 USB-C ports. If you really don't want the Touch Bar, and see the higher spec'd Touch Bar models as being overkill for you, go with nTB model w/ 16GB RAM. If at any point, though, you decide you want more processing power, you will have to consider the Touch Bar models -- no ifs, ands, or buts, there.

Hopefully more video editors will post in here. They might be able to help you gauge what you need in terms of processing power. :)

I also hope this post helps a bit.
 
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AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
2,646
1,564
England
Have you done any programming on a 13 inch non touchbar 2017 macbook pro?

Why do you suggest the 16GB?
I've not programmed since 2GL days and i have no intention of going back.. ;)
I do however using video editing, and based across the 4 macs i have the ones with 16GB are just slicker when you want to do multiple things.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,857
2,403
SF Bay Area
These are the tasks I would be doing with the kaby lake 2017 base 128GB model of the macbook pro:

-Programming - web dev and using Visual Studio
-App development (swift and android with xamarin)
-Final Cut Pro video editing

And I know its low storage, I would be buying a 500gb samsung usb c ssd and storing everything except applications on there.

How does the base 13 inch fair at these tasks? If not very well, would the addition of 16gb ram help?
I cant justify spending any more on a laptop.
When you say Visual Studio do you mean VS in a Windows 10 VM? Or are you running the Xamarin native Mac Visual Studio that targets mobile vs Windows applications using the Windows .net framework?

The Xamarin version would be OK. The Windows one might be a bit challenging because you have to run a Windows VM (unless you want to use bootcamp) and then put a powerful and heavy editor into that. My 2015 15" with 16GB and 512 GB ssd runs OK with that, but can get a bit slow.

And I would upgrade to the 256 GB drive no matter what you do.
 
Last edited:

macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
When you say Visual Studio do you mean VS in a Windows 10 VM? Or are you running the Xamarin native Mac Visual Studio that targets mobile vs Windows applications using the Windows .net framework?

The Xamarin version would be OK. The Windows one might be a bit challenging because you have to run a Windows VM (unless you want to use bootcamp) and then put a powerful and heavy editor into that. My 2015 15" with 16GB and 512 GB ssd runs OK with that, but can get a bit slow.

And I would upgrade to the 256 GB drive no matter what you do.

Visual Studio, not VMs. https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/visual-studio-mac/

Is the default 2.3ghz i5 processor an issue?

Why do you suggest 256GB no matter what?
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,985
4,556
If you want to use Visual Studio, yes, go for 16GB. That thing is a memory hog without end.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,857
2,403
SF Bay Area
Visual Studio, not VMs. https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/visual-studio-mac/

Is the default 2.3ghz i5 processor an issue?

Why do you suggest 256GB no matter what?
That is the Xamarin version of VS that is mobile first. Very different from Visual Studio under windows, either in a VM or bootcamp.

The processor should be fine.

The reason for the 256 GB is because in using my mac with 512 GB as a developer I am often pushing the SSD limits. If you have to implement the server side the app that will likely require some sort of database and other IDE. These can eat up quite a bit of space. Also I have a lot of assets for sites and apps, images, video, sound, etc. and they consume space. Add a few tools to edit these assets and more space consumed.
 

macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
That is the Xamarin version of VS that is mobile first. Very different from Visual Studio under windows, either in a VM or bootcamp.

The processor should be fine.

The reason for the 256 GB is because in using my mac with 512 GB as a developer I am often pushing the SSD limits. If you have to implement the server side the app that will likely require some sort of database and other IDE. These can eat up quite a bit of space. Also I have a lot of assets for sites and apps, images, video, sound, etc. and they consume space. Add a few tools to edit these assets and more space consumed.
Surely final cut and visual studio won't take up that much space.

I will be working off a 500gb portable ssd.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
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SF Bay Area
Surely final cut and visual studio won't take up that much space.

I will be working off a 500gb portable ssd.
VS Mac is not the issue. It is everything else you need to make a full fledged application, front end and back end. If you are not worried about the back-end and other resources you might be able to get by 128 GB. Even more so that you have an external drive (I assume Samsung T3).

I have and like, the Samsung T3, (I own 3 of them). But it is an external drive with a cable, and much slower than the internal SSDs (400+ MB/sec vs 2,500 MB/sec).
 

macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
VS Mac is not the issue. It is everything else you need to make a full fledged application, front end and back end. If you are not worried about the back-end and other resources you might be able to get by 128 GB. Even more so that you have an external drive (I assume Samsung T3).

I have and like, the Samsung T3, (I own 3 of them). But it is an external drive with a cable, and much slower than the internal SSDs (400+ MB/sec vs 2,500 MB/sec).
400MB/S is insanely fast... Not sure what the big deal is ?

I'm sure swift/Xcode program isn't that big either. 128gb seems like the perfect size to me but you guys disagree hmmm
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,857
2,403
SF Bay Area
400MB/S is insanely fast... Not sure what the big deal is ?

I'm sure swift/Xcode program isn't that big either. 128gb seems like the perfect size to me but you guys disagree hmmm
It's you money. Spend it as you will. But since there is no upgrade path, other than a credit card, for MacBook Pros, be sure you are happy with your decision.
 
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macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
It's you money. Spend it as you will. But since there is no upgrade path, other than a credit card, for MacBook Pros, be sure you are happy with your decision.
I just read over in the MacBook forum that a 13 inch touchbar has 4100/8000 Geekbench while the 12 inch maxed MacBook has 4400/8000...

Any reason why I shouldnt just get a maxed out MacBook ? The form factor is amazing and it seems more powerful than 13 inch
 
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Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,180
2,072
London
These are the tasks I would be doing with the kaby lake 2017 base 128GB model of the macbook pro:

-Programming - web dev and using Visual Studio
-App development (swift and android with xamarin)
-Final Cut Pro video editing

And I know its low storage, I would be buying a 500gb samsung usb c ssd and storing everything except applications on there.

How does the base 13 inch fair at these tasks? If not very well, would the addition of 16gb ram help?
I cant justify spending any more on a laptop.
Performance wise, no issues. 8GB ram is enough (even with VM's, I used Visual Studio/SQL Server stack), but maybe more than 128GB space for a developmen/Final Cut machine is advisable.

I however, returned mine, as I didn't find the keyboard great for programming. It gets stuck/misses presses too often. Nothing permanently became stuck, but it was a problem I didn't have on my 2014 rMBP or my XPS 13, and it affected my productivity.
 

macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
Performance wise, no issues. 8GB ram is enough (even with VM's, I used Visual Studio/SQL Server stack), but maybe more than 128GB space for a developmen/Final Cut machine is advisable.

I however, returned mine, as I didn't find the keyboard great for programming. It gets stuck/misses presses too often. Nothing permanently became stuck, but it was a problem I didn't have on my 2014 rMBP or my XPS 13, and it affected my productivity.
What are the tell sale signs of this keyboard issue ? Is it immediately noticeable ?
 

erichui84

macrumors member
Nov 23, 2016
30
24
Software developer here.
I would definitely go 256GB storage and if possible 16GB RAM.

If I have to choose I would go for the 256GB storage over 16GB ram if budget doesn't allow for both.

Even without using Virtual Machine some applications will eat up the 128GB storage in no time.
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,180
2,072
London
What are the tell sale signs of this keyboard issue ? Is it immediately noticeable ?
It is just the nature of the keyboard imo that it can from time to time get stuck or not register. Waiting to see what butterfly v3 has to offer.
 

macSimuz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 10, 2017
9
1
It is just the nature of the keyboard imo that it can from time to time get stuck or not register. Waiting to see what butterfly v3 has to offer.
You think if it occurs to me it would happen within the 14 day trial period? Or does this keyboard issue occur over a more long term period of time ?
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
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London
You think if it occurs to me it would happen within the 14 day trial period? Or does this keyboard issue occur over a more long term period of time ?
I think you'll feel it in the first 14 days, although some say they found it happening maybe after a months use. If you program however, you probably will type a lot so I'd say you'll either be fine with it or decide it's not for you. Doesn't hurt to try it.
 

rominronin

macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2015
3
0
Vienna
I have the 13" non-TB MacBook Pro (specs are in my sig).
Hey, this reply is useful since I plan on doing web development with the nTB model.

But the specs are not in your sig ;)

Mind posting them? I mean, the pertinent thing is whether or not you went for the i7 CPU or not.

PS. What's the fan noise like when you are running all of those apps?

Thanks!

Edit: views page on desktop, sees sig ;)
 

FineFuturity

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2012
101
65
TX, United States
Hey, this reply is useful since I plan on doing web development with the nTB model.

But the specs are not in your sig ;)

Mind posting them? I mean, the pertinent thing is whether or not you went for the i7 CPU or not.

PS. What's the fan noise like when you are running all of those apps?

Thanks!

Edit: views page on desktop, sees sig ;)
I went ahead and put them into the original post. didn't realize sigs don't show up on mobile. heh.

Running everything above, it's usually pretty quiet. The computer rarely ever gets warm unless I'm doing anything more powerful than running a VM. Can't say too much more than that. But I have the i5 version, though, so take this as you will.
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G4
Oct 1, 2007
10,847
7,698
if you're programming you'll be typing a lot

id make sure you're ok with the keyboard/ like the keyboard

I really like it but its one of those polarizing things

and the reliability over time seems, shoddy.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
I just read over in the MacBook forum that a 13 inch touchbar has 4100/8000 Geekbench while the 12 inch maxed MacBook has 4400/8000...

Any reason why I shouldnt just get a maxed out MacBook ? The form factor is amazing and it seems more powerful than 13 inch
Sustained performance, the MacBook has a 5w processor and no active cooling it can only sustain that performance for a few minutes at a time. It’s similar with the non touchbar vs the touchbar mbp’s as well the ntb mbp has a 15w chip only one fan, it can throttle fairly fast under load and heat up quite a lot with a fair amount of fan noise. The touchbar has a 28w chip and 2 fans is cooler quieter quicker and can sustain performance without throttling for much longer.