Best Mac for programming

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Vignesh Raja, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Vignesh Raja macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
    #1
    Hi,
    I use Xcode, Android studio(java), Photoshop, do some web development and also I'm getting started with Machine learning and deep learning.
    So, what is the best Mac that I can buy? I don't value portability. I was looking at getting the MacBook Pro or iMac 5K. What specs should I choose?
    Thanks!
     
  2. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #2
    i7 iMac, SSD-only + external GPU.
    AFAIK, these days machine learning needs a GPU.
     
  3. Vignesh Raja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
    #3
    Isn't a fusion drive fine? 2TB one? Anyways thanks for your suggestion!
     
  4. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #4
    I also recommend a SSD for a few reasons:
    - Speed. With the fusion, some of your data will be stored on the slow HDD so it will affect the performance. For some more than for others because some report the caching technology to be quite good.
    - Reliability. With a SSD you eliminate one risk of failure in your machine. The fusion has both a SSD and a mechanical drive and both could potentially fail.
    - HDD are old tech.
    - It's a desktop with fast usb3 and tb3 so having an external drive shouldn't be a problem.
    - Gives you the possibility to buy inexpensive drives now and later upgrade to fast external SSD if you need to.
     
  5. jaduff46 macrumors 6502

    jaduff46

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Second star on the right....
    #5
    The 2010 iMac has been a great development machine for me. I don’t need the portability of the MBP, which each of the kids has. Even without Retina the screen real estate is wonderful. Still runs great.

    When I eventually upgrade it will be along the lines @MRrainer suggests.

    Best,
     
  6. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #6
    A 2 Tb Fusion drive would probably run fine for you, most of the time, but you did ask for the best you can buy - and that's SSD-only.

    If you really get into neural nets and that sort of thing, you might want to go for one of the high core count iMac Pro's, as that sort of thing is usually very parallelizable. You wouldn't need it for ordinary development tasks.
     
  7. Vignesh Raja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
  8. 960design macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #8
  9. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #9
    What’s your budget? And do you want a laptop or a desktop?

    Largely for machine learning you won’t be utilizing the GPU for modeling if you’re in the learning stages (it’s just not needed), and if you ever get to the point where you are doing “real machine learning” you’ll run those models on AWS or something like that. High-end Nvidia GPUs used for NN or other machine learning applications run $4,000-$15,000 each - so you’ll be on AWS paying for time instead of a card.

    I work in the ML space and software engineering space if you have any questions.
     
  10. grad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #10
    It is hard to suggest something with a form factor so restricting as iMac or MacBook Pro. I would get a MacPro instead, then invest on proper monitors and external GPUs. Even better, a hackintosh, customly made to be powerful enough, upgradeable, AND quiet.
     
  11. Greene macrumors regular

    Greene

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2015
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    #11
    This. It's always strange to me when people talk about new Macs not being good for ML because of the graphics card, when I don't think any data scientist I've ever worked with is running large production models on their own machine.

    Buy what's reasonable, get 16 gigs of ram, and then use your remaining budget on monitors. Hell, probably a few books on ML would be a better investment of your cash than CPU bumps.

    I've done iOS full time on the 12" macbook, 15" macbook pro, and a new 4.2 Ghz 27" iMac.
    The differences in build times is there, but not a huge deal in real world applications (half the time I'm off to get a cup of coffee while it's chugging anyway). What has made a huge difference is the larger screen real estate on the 15" and 27". That is what I would optimize for.

    P.S. Thank you for actually putting your thread in the buying advice section. It means a lot to some of us.
     
  12. Vignesh Raja, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    Vignesh Raja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
    #12
    Hi!
    I'm actually starting with Andrew Ng's ML and deep learning course, so I'm still in the learning stages. I heard many people say that for ML and deep learning I'll need a good GPU.
    And my budget is around $2199.
    I'm still 15, I'm a student, so I think even a laptop will do. I already have 2012 MBP so I can SSH to an iMac, in case I buy one.
    Thanks a lot for your help!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 24, 2018 ---
    Oh! But I don't prefer a Hackintosh. Thanks for your suggestion!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 24, 2018 ---
    So even a 13" MacBook Pro with touchbar will do the job right? Thanks for your advice.
     
  13. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #13
    In that case a 15” MacBook Pro is your best bet. The Andrew Ng course, for example, can be done entirely on a laptop without any issues.
     
  14. Vignesh Raja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
    #14
    The problem with getting the 15" is that at the place where I live 15" MBP starts at 2799 USD (converted price). So the thing is that 13" MBP with touchbar and 27" iMac 5K costs the same. So which one should I pick among iMac 4K, iMac 5K and mbp with touchbar. Please help me choose one!
    Thanks!!
     
  15. Strider64 macrumors 6502a

    Strider64

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Location:
    Suburb of Detroit
    #15
    The ultimate decision is going to have to be yours. I can say I had no problems developing with a 27" iMac 5K, but everyone of those computers will fit your needs. If your job requires mobility then obviously the mbp with touchbar would be the way to go.
     
  16. everythingapplerainbow macrumors regular

    everythingapplerainbow

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2017
    #16
    go for iMac, no HDD or Fusion Drive, max out CPU & SSD if possible (on iMac it is easier to plug USB external SSD so maybe upgrading CPU has higher priority)
     
  17. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #17
    If you don't need portability, the 5k iMac gives you more power for your money:
    + Its got a faster CPU, 4 cores vs. 2, a better GPU (the MBP only has Intel integrated graphics)
    + the large screen will come into its own when you're juggling code and documentation on-screen (if you go for the 13" I'd budget for an external display).
    + The RAM can be easily and economically upgraded with third-party RAM as and when you need it (just get the 8GB version to start) and can go up to 32GB*, whereas with the MBP the only option is to pay Apple for 16GB at purchase.

    - don't get the entry-level iMac with the 1TB Fusion drive - it has a pathetically small SSD component. I think most here would recommend the 256GB SSD-only model, and add external USB-3 hard drives as needed. So it will cost a bit more than the MBP.


    (* Not sure if the entry-level i5 iMac can take 64GB - the better models can)
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #18
    I'd opt for the iMac, avoid the Fusion drive at this point, and go SSD and you'll be much happier imo
     
  19. Vignesh Raja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
  20. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #20
    Well, do you want a laptop or desktop ?
     
  21. Vignesh Raja thread starter macrumors newbie

    Vignesh Raja

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2018
    Location:
    Chennai, India
    #21
    Ha ha, I'm totally confused about that! If I pick a laptop, then I don't want the 13". The touchbar and new MBP design looks amazing!! But then I can only go for the 15" 2016 MBP not the 2017 one. So I thought the Midway would be a 2017 21.5 4K iMac.
     
  22. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #22
    Well, the 2016 is a fine machine. If you can wait a little longer maybe get the 2017?

    Personally I prefer laptops (I have a 2016 15” and a 2015 15” for work), the 2016 provides enough horsepower for whatever I need to do. The good thing about the 13” is that you can hook it up to an external monitor and when you want to do machine learning work you can still just simply connect to something like AWS to train models, but then you also have portability for travel or to go to hackathons.
     
  23. Starfia macrumors 6502a

    Starfia

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #23
    Responding to a few things:

    I would say the SSD is advantageous for longevity and speed, but the Fusion Drive is totally sufficient – the speed really is close to SSD-like speed most of the time, and obviously the capacity is superior. Either will easily get you by for programming.

    When I'm programming, one of the things I value most is the display – I've been on a 2017 5K iMac since the summer and it's just luxurious to have such a fine resolution and so much visible space with my dev environments customized to my preferences. The MacBook Air aside, I would say all Mac displays are beautiful for coding.

    I might want a laptop if I were mobile or loved working in coffee shops or something, but I really love the good old desk station kind of setup for my main work.
     

Share This Page

22 March 16, 2018