Buying two Mac for Development - around $1400 each

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Marcuse, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. Marcuse macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hello people,

    in our small studio we are in need of two new Macs to do some development for iPhone. Until now we worked on old Mac machines to get the hang of Objective-C as we had worked with it more than 2 years ago.

    Now, we have not a huge budget, just around $1400 for each of the machines. One of us will be mostly working on programming, the other on graphics (Blender). Both of us will be running the Unity engine development package. We need to do this purchase within 1 month.

    What do you suggest us? I would have gone for an iMac, but I see that their configuration is a bit outdated right now. About the MacBooks, I am not sure they are powerful enough for what we need to do.

    I was hoping the new iMac with slightly better configuration would come out in January, but that did not happen. So... you Mac gurus, what do you suggest? Should we wait? Or which machine should we get?

    Please note that in our country (Italy) there seems to be no refurbished Mac available...

  2. enochpeng macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    I suggest buying second hand iMacs. One powerful 24" and the other one being entry level 20"

    They should do the job.
  3. gianpan macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2008
    If you can wait, well why not wait as much as you can and if nothing new comes out buy then?

    I would go for 24' iMac not 20'.
  4. ritzuk macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2005
    New iMacs are absolutely imminent - the bottom end iMac should come with a decent GPU - hopefully a 9600GT. I'd wait for a couple of weeks and see if they're out yet. If not, then I'd buy the iMacs - even though the graphics cards are weak, they'll easily handle character modelling in Blender.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    The question is would buying now save you more time than the deprecation of the computers?

    You might want into refurbs. Same warranty as new and looks like new.
  6. Marcuse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hello, thanks for the tips! There seems to be no refurbs for my country (Italy), and eBay prices here are crazy as well (sometimes, older MacBooks cost more than the new ones you get from Apple), so, probably, I'd rather buy the hardware from the Apple store, even if I have to get slightly less powerful stuff.

    I was reading around about the possibility of new iMacs coming... normally I do not care much about this as I buy things when we need them, but if an update is really that close, it might be a good thing to wait - even though I see there is crazy speculation on the subject ;) In any case, we will get the money for the purchase in about 2 weeks, so I can see how things go.

    In any case, it seems that iMacs will be the way to go!
  7. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    Wait on the new iMacs. Buying now would be a mistake.
  8. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    I have the new unibody macbook 2.4ghz.
    It runs the unity engine, and editors just fine.... Though for some reason the sample island level has terrible graphics, but the webplayer shows the graphics fine, so I figure it just how I build the project.
    I get round 30-50 fps in the sample level.
  9. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    First off, I don't know much about iPhone developement, but if the iPhone has to handle it, shouldn't a MacBook as well? :p Two of the white MacBooks for 2,000$ and you have about 800$ for two nice displays.
  10. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  11. Intel Inside macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2008
    BTW you dont need to put Mac all in to capital letters

    Just Mac!
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Development work does not require much in the way of a CPU or graphics speed. Any Mac made in the last two years will work fine. But I find that I can't work effectively at all unless I have a very good and larg screen. Buy a 24" iMac. Get an older one if need be

    I don't understand the low budget. Think in terms of ratios. They can pay two people for a year plux tax, insurance and all. Likely over to $200K in all but can't afford a $2,000 computer?

    Tell your boss that if you were a plumber or a house painter you have far more capital equipment as measured by the ratio of salary to equipment cost. It is reasonable to assign to one developer equipment worth 30% of his yearly pay and to roll that equipment over every three years. To do less is not productive
  13. Marcuse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hello, as I said, we are a very small studio - we are self-employed, so we own this small company and pay everything out of our pockets. We had some offers of being incorporated into bigger companies, but for as long as I can, I prefer to stay free from having a boss.

    Right now, we have an overall budget (read: cash, not money we need to ask from bank) of $5000, and we can spend about $3500 immediately for machines (so $2800 and the extra 700 for additional stuff we might need); we recently bought new software licenses, so this is really the best we can do.

    If things get better, we will obviously be able to get better stuff to develop on (and I see that the second hand market of Mac machines has good resale prices). As a programmer, I know that I do not need a very powerful machine to work on, and I have seen that with specs similar to PCs, Mac machines perform much better than PCs. My main concern is for the graphic artist, which might need additional CPU power to work with Blender, Zbrush, and Unity.

    The tip of getting a MacBook for programming sounds fine - it seems like the entry machines were updated recently? I could get one with a new keyboard/mouse, as my current US keyboard is falling into pieces, and hook it to my current desktop's display.

    Ah, sorry for the caps, and thanks for the link to the refurbished stuff in our country!

    Thanks for the great help everybody!
  14. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    Did you know unity will be coming for windows soon? You could save some money and buy 1 windows PC and 1 mac... Then just install OSX on the PC (with some hacking) :D

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