Cheapest option Mac for Web and ios Development needs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dafodeu, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. dafodeu macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2016
    I'm a Web Developer who has always used Windows until my last freelance Job where I was provided an iMac 27 inch at the company's office for a month. I now prefer to do development on a Mac and would also like the option of doing ios apps.

    So I need a Mac that can run photoshop, dreamweaver ect and be fast enough to multitask. What would be the cheapest option for a Mac laptop or Desktop that can accomplish this? If it is a laptop I would want it to be capable of hooking up external monitor (1440p) and mouse and keyboard so it has to be powerful enough for that. I also would want whatever I buy to last at least 4 years.
  2. Starfia macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2011

    If you don't need to do anything on the processor-demand level of audio or video editing (and even if you did), you could go at least a couple of years into the past with Macs and probably feel as though you were getting by just fine. Add another year or two into the past, and you might start to feel the occasional delay, still without being blocked from accomplishing your tasks.

    And, Macs do sometimes glitch or fail (usually one component, as with any machine) within the first few years, but on the whole they have a tradition of fame for longevity, and Apple's tended to improve on that over time. (e.g. The latest release of OS X from 2015 is supported on some Macs sold in 2007.)

    If I was going for a nice compromise between cost, performance and longevity, then I'd start by looking at their refurbished current-generation Mac mini ( If that's within your price range, then go up from there. The Mac mini is probably the least performant desktop they sell, but I was able to produce fairly complex multi-track audio and motion graphics on the 2012 version of the thing.
  3. dafodeu thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2016
    Well what's my best option for between $800-$1200? A refurb unit?
  4. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    Id look at the mac min for the cheapest option (a mac min will need a display and speakers or headphones) if not the imacs are what most users want good display, seekers and plenty fast for most work.
    referbs are fine, be shore to get them from the official apple site.

    Id skip the 1.6GHz imac seems a tad limp and your not saving much it's the 2.8ghz one you want (thats the 21.5" 1080p model)
    If you see a refurb there good you tend to save something like 10-17% which is nice and get the full one year warranty with the option to buy apple care.

    if you want to buy new, not referb some shops will sell a mac with a 3 year warranty for free (not apple care), here in the uk john lewis give a 3 year warranty with all macs.
    john lewis is a big shop in the uk that you can trust, im not so shore about the ebay shops that offer a warranty never can trust they will still be there in a year never mind 3.
  5. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    The old Mac Pro may be a good option for you. The oldest Mac Pro 1,1, cost less than $100 now, but you may need some upgrade (e.g. GPU, SSD etc) to make it suit your need.

    The base 4,1 cost about $400 (single CPU model), with another $70 to get 4x8G ECC RAM, that can handle everything you said easily.
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    As noted, consider a Mini. They are small, somewhat configurable, and should be fine for your stated needs. My wife uses her 2012 MBA (with 8GB and a processor bump) every day in her job as a web developer. She uses a down-rev version of PS for personal use. As mentioned above, an older MP may work, but the 4,1 is circa 2009, and has only USB2, poor (or unusable) bluetooth, and a 6-year old power supply that sucks electricity just sitting there. I know - I have one!
  7. dafodeu thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2016
    Mac mini is in my price range. Really disappointed that the 2012 Mac Mini's had a quad core and the current 2014 ones are only dual core. I don't think the current ones are worth the money. When will new Mac Mini's be released and do you think they will be quad core?
  8. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    That's true. Anyway, USB 3.0 PCIe card only cost $20. USB BT dongle may be $5, which can effectively fix the BT issue, and avoid further interference from USB 3.0 (applicable for all machines that have USB 3.0).

    However, it is power hunger (especially compare to the mini). This beast can idle at >100W, and draw 300-400W under full load (depends on config).
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    That will depend on wether Intel put the quad core mobile processors on the same pin configuration. The 2012 chips all fitted the same motherboard that was why they could give a quad ore version without having to develop a new logic board etc to accommodate it. I personally think it's unlikely whatever happens though.

    Just get an iMac and spend some cash on it, this sounds like a business purchase (correct me if I'm wrong) and as such you can get tax rebates and any money spent is an investment. So buy the best and newest your business can afford it will pay off in the medium-long term, increased performance= increased productivity = increased profits.
  10. SuperMatt macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2002
  11. dafodeu thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2016
  12. DesertSurfer macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2014
    Between the Sonoran Desert and the Pacific Ocean
    See "The New Mac Mini is almost certainly coming" for 259 pages of discussion on this subject.
  13. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    I would not buy a system without a Fusion or SSD. The performance difference is rediculious, and any dollars spent to a system without it is not a solid investment.
  14. adib, Mar 29, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016

    adib macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2010
    The cheapest option would be to rent a Mac and use it only when you need to create a build for your iOS app. You can use the pay-as-you-go plan from MacInCloud costing $1/hour. If you only need to do a "release" every two weeks or so, that would probably be around $4/month. This is possible if you use cross-platform tools such as Cordova to write/debug your app using a non-Mac computer.

    If you really need to use Xcode to write code, you could use the $20/month plan. That would only be $960 for four years.

    Moreover if the size of your app is small and you use Cordova to make your iOS app, you can use Adobe PhoneGap's build service for free to create the builds for your iOS app.

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