Help w/ 2018 MBP 15" Options: Linux Application Development / Integration

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
Hello, first time Mac noob here! I'm in the market for a Macbook Pro primarily for coding / Linux application development and integration. Some things I'll be doing also is running multiple applications for learning / testing (Docker apps, Apache Kafka, Ansible provisioning, Web apps, etc).

I've also come to learn that it can replace my primary desktop for 4k gaming which would be great, and has me thinking about bumping up specs (or maxing out) since my current desktop CPU / RAM is from 2012, a 3rd generation ivy bridge i7 w/ DDR3 memory. But 2 1080 SLI video cards (not ti) that I would probably sell or use 1 in an egpu enclosure.

Direct questions that would help me put things in perspective:

1. 16G vs. 32G Decision:
How much memory does Macbook's use in comparison to Windows 10 / Fedora Linux for my situation? Go 32G?

2. Radon Pro 560x vs. Vega 20:
Can the Macbook utilize BOTH the dedicated internal Vega 20 card and the egpu simultaneously while gaming, like an SLI / Crossfire setup?

3. Should I consider buying a used MBP instead for my needs specifically to save money?

Thanks!
Mike
 

robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,199
608
USA
1) how should we know how much memory you will need

2) no

3) yes, but if I were in your situation I would buy a Dell/Lenovo and run Linux on it...
 

iMacDragon

macrumors 68000
Oct 18, 2008
1,928
372
UK
Remember that linux at present at least can only really be run in a VM on the 2018 macs
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,300
5,811
I'm in the market for a Macbook Pro primarily for coding / Linux application development and integration.
If you work with Linux/for Linux primarily, why not getting a machine that runs Linux?

I've also come to learn that it can replace my primary desktop for 4k gaming which would be great
Why would you think it can do that? o_O Vega Pro 20 is a fairly capable card for a thin laptop and yes, you can play pretty much every game at full hd (not necessarily on highest settings) with decent frame rates, but 4k?? Even with an eGPU it is difficult and setting them up in Bootcamp can still be fiddly from what I hear.

1. 16G vs. 32G Decision:
How much memory does Macbook's use in comparison to Windows 10 / Fedora Linux for my situation? Go 32G?
More or less the same? I am pretty confident that you'd be fine with 16GB but if that was too little for your purpose with Win10/Fedora then it will also be too little with macOS.

2. Radon Pro 560x vs. Vega 20:
Can the Macbook utilize BOTH the dedicated internal Vega 20 card and the egpu simultaneously while gaming, like an SLI / Crossfire setup?
Sure, if the game has been explicitly coded to do so. And to answer the follow-up question: no, there is not a single game that does it, because its a) makes graphics programming much more trickier and b) your performance would most likely suffer due to data transfer latency.

3. Should I consider buying a used MBP instead for my needs specifically to save money?
IMO, you should be considering buying a PC workstation and installing Linux on it. As to whether you should buy a used laptop or not to save money its completely up to you and no-one here can make this decision for you.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,947
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Boston
1. 16G vs. 32G Decision:
The vast majority of people don't need 32GB of ram. I didn't see anything in your post to change that assumption, I'd say go with 16GB

2. Radon Pro 560x vs. Vega 20:
In Linux? Do you need a more powerful GPU for coding? I'd say go with the 555x GPU, why bother with a higher end component that you won't fully take advantage of.

3. Should I consider buying a used MBP instead for my needs specifically to save money?
Why not get a computer that is better suited for Linux. I'd say the newer Macs have a number of incompatibilities, like the TouchBar (I have no idea of that works in Linux). I'm not advocating an older mac, but rather a PC that is better suited. I heard Dell and Lenovos are fairly compatible and don't need to many tweaks for any given distro
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,065
3,067
SF Bay Area
If you want to develop and game get a windows gaming laptop. You will have ready access to drivers and many more people that can assist if you run into issues.

Also these laptops are likely to be easier to expand and cheaper, especially on the used market.
 
Last edited:

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
Thanks all for the replies. I realized that I did not clarify that I don't need to run Linux as a VM... But rather simply will develop to run apps locally on the MacOS, and run them on a separate Linux server too!
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
The vast majority of people don't need 32GB of ram. I didn't see anything in your post to change that assumption, I'd say go with 16GB
I'm thinking that I might spin up a few apps at once such as a web app running in docker container, a backend database that it connects to, and monitoring tools such as Prometheus and grafana to see how it's preforming (just a random example). Each one of these apps needs memory allocated and can be gimped, but may run dog slow.

All this with 10+ Chrome tabs open, Slack, email, VS Code, Postman, etc.
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
Why would you think it can do that? o_O Vega Pro 20 is a fairly capable card for a thin laptop and yes, you can play pretty much every game at full hd (not necessarily on highest settings) with decent frame rates, but 4k?? Even with an eGPU it is difficult and setting them up in Bootcamp can still be fiddly from what I hear.
If you want to develop and game get a windows gaming laptop. You will have ready access to drivers and many more people that can assist if you run into issues.

Also these laptops are likely to be easier to expand and cheaper, especially on the used market.
For my gaming aspect of things, I have a coupon code for $225 any Vega MacBook only and it's $350 extra for the Vega 20 = only $125 more for the GPU upgrade as a no brainier if it may help with other tasks as well.

But I thought that an egpu would be able to handle gaming all the same as if it were in a Windows desktop PC.

Am I missing something?
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
I've been learning a lot more as I keep reading non stop, and am almost at a decision here after deciding this so far...

- 2.2ghz i7 instead of the 2.6ghz i7 or 2.9ghz i9 because it doesn't seem to be worth spending more according to benchmarks. One Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/1...ok-pro-compared---which-upgrades-are-worth-it
- 16GB rather than 32GB after calculating my usage / needs w/ Docker Desktop for Mac using only 8GB.

And that leaves me with the last option, GPU selection:

- Base AMD 555x w/ i7 2.2ghz for $2199 from Amazon, plus $132 tax, minus 5% back with Amazon credit card for: $2221
-
560X w/ i7 2.6ghz for $2499
- Or 2.6ghz i7 cpu, Vega 20 w/ $225 off from adorama.com w/ APINSIDER coupon code for: $2924
 
Last edited:

Alameda

macrumors 6502a
Jun 22, 2012
623
110
Thanks all for the replies. I realized that I did not clarify that I don't need to run Linux as a VM... But rather simply will develop to run apps locally on the MacOS, and run them on a separate Linux server too!
I sometimes write Linux code on my Mac. I use VMWare so that I can code with a Mac editor and compile/test in Linux. It works well once it’s set up. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crash. I have a directory I share between the two OS’ and it works very nicely. You can’t compile binaries on MacOS and run them on Linux; you have to either compile in a Linux VM or SSH into a Linux box and compile it remotely.
VMWaew only costs about $50, but it takes a lot of RAM while it’s running. I don’t use much RAM for my Linux work, though. I just run gcc and run apps on the Bash Shell.
 
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lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
I sometimes write Linux code on my Mac. I use VMWare so that I can code with a Mac editor and compile/test in Linux. It works well once it’s set up. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crash. I have a directory I share between the two OS’ and it works very nicely. You can’t compile binaries on MacOS and run them on Linux; you have to either compile in a Linux VM or SSH into a Linux box and compile it remotely.
VMWaew only costs about $50, but it takes a lot of RAM while it’s running. I don’t use much RAM for my Linux work, though. I just run gcc and run apps on the Bash Shell.
This is helpful...I wasn't sure what the proper workflow is to develop and test quickly from MacOS.
Although I won't be compiling from source much compared to just writing custom Python or Golang code, and then running it to make sure it works.

I imagine that it will work the same on MacOS as it will on Linux since it uses the Python binary all the same?
[doublepost=1548287441][/doublepost]
I've been learning a lot more as I keep reading non stop, and am almost at a decision here after deciding this so far...

- 2.2ghz i7 instead of the 2.6ghz i7 or 2.9ghz i9 because it doesn't seem to be worth spending more according to benchmarks. One Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/1...ok-pro-compared---which-upgrades-are-worth-it
- 16GB rather than 32GB after calculating my usage / needs w/ Docker Desktop for Mac using only 8GB.

And that leaves me with the last option, GPU selection:

- Base AMD 555x w/ i7 2.2ghz for $2199 from Amazon, plus $132 tax, minus 5% back with Amazon credit card for: $2221
-
560X w/ i7 2.6ghz for $2499
- Or 2.6ghz i7 cpu, Vega 20 w/ $225 off from adorama.com w/ APINSIDER coupon code for: $2924
I am now leaning toward the 2.6ghz/560X model since it also comes with 512GB SSD vs 256GB SSD in the 2.2ghz/555X configuration.
 

Qaulity

macrumors regular
Jul 23, 2018
102
48
I sometimes write Linux code on my Mac. I use VMWare so that I can code with a Mac editor and compile/test in Linux. It works well once it’s set up. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crash. I have a directory I share between the two OS’ and it works very nicely. You can’t compile binaries on MacOS and run them on Linux; you have to either compile in a Linux VM or SSH into a Linux box and compile it remotely.
VMWaew only costs about $50, but it takes a lot of RAM while it’s running. I don’t use much RAM for my Linux work, though. I just run gcc and run apps on the Bash Shell.
If you install home brew and install the gnu-coreutils package you can compile in macOS and run in Linux.
 

lmike6453

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 19, 2019
20
1
Just bought one used!
I went for the base 2018 configuration because it was a great deal and will fit my needs.

Thank you all for the help, really appreciate all of the responses.
 
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