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welcometomutiny

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2021
2
0
Hi! I'm on the fence between choosing a Macbook pro 13" from mid-12, with 2,5 GHz Dual-core Intel core i5 processor, upgraded with 16GB 1600 DDR3 RAM and 1TB SSD - or choosing a Macbook pro late -13, with 2,4GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB 1600 DDR3 RAM and 256GB SSD.

The difference in graphics is the mid-12's Intel HD 4000 1536MB vs the late-13's Inte Iris 1536MB, but that doesn't matter for programming at least.

I'm taking a course that includes having a Virtual Machine with Kali Linux, and Windows 10 as testing environment. It's said to be good on 8GB RAM, and it should run as expected.

I've read that 16GB is supposed to be a better choice for working with Virtual Machine, or is 8GB enough?
I'm currently using a Macbook air from mid-2013 with 4GB of RAM, and yeah you can only imagine what happened when I first booted the Virtual Machine (and I knew beforehand but wanted to test the limit since it cooould work as told by the instructor, but it ate dust)

I don't want to spend a fortune on a second computer (I like the one I already have, for writing and edititng, and have no plans selling it - will be using an extra macbook for programming only), I just want a "work-horse" for programming that can withstand a big amount of RAM being used
 

velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
6,502
3,605
Georgia
Technically you could use the model with 8GB RAM. If your uses of MacOS and the VM is minimal. I'd much rather have 16GB of RAM for that. If you're running both VM's at once. 16GB is a must.

If you already have a Mac and this is just for that class running VM's. Why not just get some used Thinkpad loaded up with 32GB RAM and a quad core CPU. It'll be faster and likely cheaper than those old Macbooks. Some model that still uses a removable battery so it's cheap and easy to get a replacement battery.

It's not like it matters if it's a Mac if it's for running Windows and Linux VM's. Plus you could mess around with a wider range of VM software and Hyper-V.
 
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welcometomutiny

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2021
2
0
I could go for a PC, but I'm a mac-owner since decades and never switched to PC. The price for the 16GB is around 270$ so I think it might be in the same price range as a Lenovo.

So if I understood right, the 16GB mac could do the wider range of VM software?
 

velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
6,502
3,605
Georgia
I could go for a PC, but I'm a mac-owner since decades and never switched to PC. The price for the 16GB is around 270$ so I think it might be in the same price range as a Lenovo.

So if I understood right, the 16GB mac could do the wider range of VM software?
As @Amethyst1 said the PC would. There's just many more VM options to choose from. The Mac will likely do it fine for whatever your class wants. Unless they are focusing on a specific VM not available for Mac.

On the PC you can also try out the differences of running with a Type 1 or Type 2 Hypervisors. I'm not sure how easy or possible it is to implement a Type 1 on a Mac.

Now on the Macbook you could use Bootcamp and try everything out. So, maybe it has an advantage. In that you can run VM's in macOS, in Windows, in Linux or even properly supported macOS VMs within macOS.

Mainly what I like about the PC option. Is that you are on a limited budget for one or a couple classes down the line. You could get some old workstation laptop model with a quad core i7 (8 threads), 32GB RAM and a decent SSD. This'll let you churn through multiple VM's simultaneously.

You could mess around with the likes of FreeNAS, PFSense and so forth in multiple VMs. Having something act as an enterprise grade router. Along with providing various server functions (file, webdav, carddave, web, cloud, &c). Mainly my thought is if you really want to know computers. You need to experiment. College won't teach everything especially building instinct. Employers really like it if you can list your own computer hobby/experiments too. Especially when you're just starting out.

You say you never switched to PC. Then you should really consider the PC for this. Get out of your comfort zone. Knowing macOS, Windows, Linux and even FreeBSD. Just puts another peg higher with employers. If the person you're competing with doesn't know them all.

As a side note. At some point get a Raspberry Pi. There's all sorts of DIY projects you can learn and use a Raspberry Pi for. There's fancy models all the way down to the $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W to experiment with. There's also similar platforms down to the $4/$5 mark to screw around with. Saying I made a homebrew Raspberry Pi video doorbell that offloads video to my FreeNAS server and notifies me through my homekit hub. Sounds a lot more impressive than I installed Ring Doorbell.
 
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