Hardware Suggestions for the Beginner?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Meezermouzer, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. Meezermouzer macrumors member

    Meezermouzer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #1
    I was hoping to get into iOS development but I didn't want to make a major investment before I was sure I would stay committed. I already have an iPad Pro and a desktop.

    Several people have suggested getting MBPs with at least 8GB of RAM, preferably 16GB, and a SSD if at all possible. But this gets into the crazy expensive terroritory real quick...

    So I had a few questions:
    • Is the baseline Mac Mini (2014) sufficient for Xcode and programming smaller apps and games?
    • How much of a difference will 8GB or a SSD really make for a beginner?
    • Do you code with a mobile device on your lap to make the MacBook Pro worth it?
    • Is the MacBook 2017 good for programming?
    I appreciate any suggestions or input.
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    • Is the baseline Mac Mini (2014) sufficient for Xcode and programming smaller apps and games?
    Yes, in that it'll work. It'll feel quite slow though due to the mechanical HDD. 1 minute boot time, a little time to load applications, etc.
    • How much of a difference will 8GB or a SSD really make for a beginner?
    SSD is pretty much the single best upgrade you can do to almost any computer. So a big difference.
    • Do you code with a mobile device on your lap to make the MacBook Pro worth it?
    What do you mean? A phone? What do you mean by "to make it worth it"?
    • Is the MacBook 2017 good for programming?
    Oh yes.

    Personally I'd get any MacBook/MBP/MBA Apple are currently selling. They'll have super quick SSDs as standard, 8GB RAM standard, have great battery life, and they'll be portable so you won't need to be chained to your desk. That way you needn't worry about BTO'ing to a certain spec and you'll know you're getting a great computer out of it.

    You'll find some real reasonable deals on the used market for those models too, especially seeing as the 2016 models will be much cheaper.
     
  3. Meezermouzer thread starter macrumors member

    Meezermouzer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #3
    Sorry, I worded this question poorly. What I meant to ask is how do you prefer to program? Do you program and use your notebook while sitting on the couch often?

    Do you think a Mac Mini with 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe Flash Storage would work well?
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #4
    It's a good option to have. Different strokes for different folks. If you can see yourself doing that, there's no reason why you couldn't.

    Yeah that'd be fine. But I'd probably suggest a portable for the obvious reasons stated above. Also the Mac Mini hasn't been updated for some time so you'll get a little more for your money with a notebook with regards to hardware and pricing. Especially the Retina models (MacBook, MacBook Pro). Screen is gorgeous. Real joy to work on.
     
  5. deadworlds macrumors 6502a

    deadworlds

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Location:
    Citrus Heights,CA
    #5
    I think that if you are just trying to get your feet wet with iOS programming then you should get a Mac mini. It will work just fine for Xcode and programming of any sort really. The only time you're going to see the mac mini struggle with programming is if you're running a complicated program in the iOS simulator.

    I understand that you want to get something affordable especially since you're not sure if you'll stick to iOS programming.

    As for your questions about programming on a laptop, I bought a MBP w/TB in 2016 because I'm a computer science student and spend hrs at a time typing away. That being said, I really prefer a desktop setup, thats why I have an external mouse/display/keyboard for when I am at home. The MBP can function as both a mobile device and as a decent desktop replacement. I like the desktop setup because using a laptop for a long time starts to hurt my wrists, maybe its just the way I type.
     
  6. jord22 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
    #6
    Im planning to get the MBP2017 13" nTB with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM for learning Xcode. I did some research and saw most people recommend to go for 16GB RAM. As it is a huge investment to me, I wish to know more about RAM requirements on the mac machine.

    Is there any significant difference between a 8GB and 16GB RAM machine while using Xcode?
    Does each new macOS become more RAM demanding than the previous one?
    If I don't do video editing and VM, is 8GB RAM enough for Xcode in the coming 5 years?

    Thanks!
     
  7. Meezermouzer thread starter macrumors member

    Meezermouzer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #7
    Which Mac Mini would you recommend?
     
  8. deadworlds macrumors 6502a

    deadworlds

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Location:
    Citrus Heights,CA
    #8
    I would recommend the $699.00 model with 8GB ram. Simply because more ram will be more useful than a CPU upgrade.
     
  9. Meezermouzer thread starter macrumors member

    Meezermouzer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #9
    Do you think a Fusion Drive or SSD is necessary?
     
  10. deadworlds macrumors 6502a

    deadworlds

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Location:
    Citrus Heights,CA
    #10
    As others have said, an SSD is going to give you amazing speed when reading/writing files, this includes booting up. Hard disk drives have been around for many decades now and have been considered acceptable for as long. Upgrading to a SSD is great but not necessary or always practical when it comes to cost.

    If you can live waiting a little longer with tasks to complete like opening applications and booting up, then just go with the standard HD. If waiting a few extra moments is unacceptable then get the SSD or fusion drive.
     
  11. Meezermouzer thread starter macrumors member

    Meezermouzer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2017
    #11
    Do you think a iMac is better for programming then at MacBook Pro?
     
  12. Zazoh macrumors 6502a

    Zazoh

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Location:
    Mico, Texas
    #12
    Everyone is different. If you are only going to program at home, it's cheaper. I plug my rMB into monitor when at home, but lime the freedom of being able to build away from home when I need to.
     
  13. pbird macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    #13
    Do you already have a Windows pc? I am learning xcode/swift running a virtual machine on a haswell i7 pc. It works really well and even compile times are pretty similar to real macs.
     
  14. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #14
    If you're looking to get into iOS development. Don't go with a mechanical HDD (pick one with an SSD), don't pick one with less than 8GB of RAM and don't pick the MacBook. Now the MacBook Pros are a different story and they are great.

    Why SSD over HDD? Having an SSD will make Xcode load much more quickly. And yes, sometimes you have to open Xcode a few times a day because it crashes. That's just one reason to have an SSD over an HDD.

    Why 8GB or more of RAM? Because Xcode is a memory hog. Same with most modern browsers after you have 3+ tabs open researching how to solve problems you'll come across while writing code.

    Why not the MacBook? Because the processor for compiling purposes will bottleneck after doing simple applications like a calculator or a to do list. You'll see your build times increase as your app becomes more complex. Also you start throwing in cocoa pods or carthage and you'll really start to feel some pain with less than 8GB RAM and an HDD.

    I've been doing iOS development off and on for almost 3 years professionally. I also did iOS dev in college on a 2012 MacBook Air i5 8GB RAM. It was decent but my build times did start to increase towards the end of both projects. I've also done iOS development on a 2014 15" Retina MacBook Pro i7 16GB RAM, 2015 13" Retina MacBook Pro i7 16GB RAM, and 2016 Retina MacBook Pro with TouchBar i7 16GB RAM.

    I've spanned 7 iOS apps with those computers. I hope that gives you a good idea of Mac's you can use. Any of the iMacs should be fine from the last few years.

    EDIT: Also, don't build on the device until you're ready to test with a device, otherwise your builds will take longer vs. just using the simulator.
     

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