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

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lmike6453, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. lmike6453 macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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?

  2. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    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...
  3. iMacDragon macrumors 68000


    Oct 18, 2008
    Remember that linux at present at least can only really be run in a VM on the 2018 macs
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    If you work with Linux/for Linux primarily, why not getting a machine that runs Linux?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    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

    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.

    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
  6. jerryk, Jan 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019

    jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    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.
  7. lmike6453 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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!
  8. lmike6453 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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.
  9. lmike6453 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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?
  10. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    From what I’ve heard, setting up eGPU with Windows on Mac is still hit and miss. And you won’t get acceleration on internal display.
  11. lmike6453, Jan 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019

    lmike6453 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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:
    - 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 w/ APINSIDER coupon code for: $2924
  12. Alameda macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2012
    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.
  13. lmike6453 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 23, 2019 ---
    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.
  14. Qaulity macrumors member


    Jul 23, 2018
    If you install home brew and install the gnu-coreutils package you can compile in macOS and run in Linux.
  15. lmike6453 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2019
    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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