Cheapest Mac to learner program with?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Bheleu, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Bheleu macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2010
    I love the iPad design and I would like to write some programs for myself and daughters, possibly some things for work too. I do not want to spend a lot of cash and would prefer something portable that I could plug into a larger monitor whenever I wanted to do any real work/programming. I do not mind code taking some time to compile, but I want it to work for any/all programming tools too. What can you recommend? I know CL is an option but would I be missing out on some of the requirements for software? OS version for instance. What should I look out for if I go that route, as I assume used is better than new if on a budget. If I ever develop anything worthwhile I know I will be able to upgrade.

    Thank you!!! ahead of time for any recommendations.
    PS I have some knowledge concerning programming on the PC; therefore, with a medium to work, patience and a stubborn will, I hope to be a success.
  2. jnoxx macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2010
    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    Easy imo, get an old Mac Mini (has to be Intel processor).
    I learned how to program on that, for like 200$, with like 2 gigs 667 mhz ram, and normal iphone apps are no problem on that :)
    or get a busted a macbook (screen broken), and hook it up to the screen.
    Also, there are lots of topics already on this forum about it..
    So the question has been answered like gazillion times too
  3. 1458279 Suspended


    May 1, 2010
    Watch out for CL, there's some real trash out there. I've seen people pawning off stuff with problem to unsuspecting buyers and there's not much you can do about it.
    I'd concider the Mini and use your own monitor.
  4. JustSomeDude macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2010
    You could do a Hackintosh or a virtual machine Hackintosh. It would cost you some time but would save you money. The only thing you would have to buy is snow leopard which is $30. This is not an ideal setup, and may not work depending on your hardware(virtual machine should work on most hw though), but is used by many people.

    I would recommend the mini, like the others have, though.
  5. TastyCocoa macrumors newbie


    Mar 21, 2011
    Dumb question but whats CL?

    As people have already said, programming tools are not particularly processor hungry - so you should be set with any mac with an Intel Chip in it.
  6. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    craigslist or command-line
  7. forum user macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2008
    Just a bit of information, and definitely not a mathematically/scientifically derived number: On a eight-core MacPro early 2008 7500+ lines of code compile in something like eight seconds, maybe ten. On a 13" MacBookPro (can't remember what year, 2009?) it takes something between twenty or thirty seconds.

    So in other words: You will be sitting hours and hours in front of the keyboard anyway, thinking about what to type next. Invest money into a comfortable keyboard, mouse and into a good monitor, not into CPU. 4G of RAM is important, though.

    - Olaf
  8. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    And of course, you hardly ever do full rebuilds while coding. If you split your code up into different files, you're probably rebuilding only 1 or 2 files each time you hit Build & Run, meaning even on the lowliest of Mac Minis from 2006, you'll hardly be able to tell the difference.
  9. silverj87 macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    I just got a regular macbook with 13" screen for $1000... I realize thats a little more than you probably want to spend but having it portable and not having to hook it up to a screen is nice... And the performance is plenty for programming as well as running just about any program you would want to run. Its a little more initial investment but would make a good all-around laptop to boot so you get a bonus there.

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