iMac 21" for web (PHP) development?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by macaso, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. macaso macrumors newbie


    Apr 15, 2014

    I want to renew my 5 year old PC, and I'm thinking in buying a 21" late-2015 iMac, the 1,6GHz one with 8GB RAM and the 1TB HDD.

    My current OS is Windows 10, and I use this computer for surfing the web, sharing files with eMule, storing/organizing photos, doing some documents with Word and Excel and, the most important thing: doing non professional PHP development.

    Currently, for the PHP development I'm working with a virtual machine with Linux (Lubuntu), Apache, PostgreSQL and Netbeans (I'm not using Vagrant), but I want to work running Netbeans native (in the "host" OS) and using a small virtual machine to host the Apache Server and the PostgreSQL server (a simple 512Mb Linux VM with Vagrant).

    Anyone here is using an iMac with a setup like this? What cons and pros are there when moving from Windows 10 to Mac for web development? Is this iMac (the MK142XX/A with 8GB) enough for this work for the next 5-6 years?
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Oct 24, 2013
    It's not what I would reccomend.

    The CPU is from a macbook air, it's fine but not what you want in a desktop.

    I wouldn't buy any computer without some sort of SSD involved in this day and age the speed advantages are just to nice to miss out on.

    If you are using multiple VM's then RAM is a priority and the 21.5 inch iMac is non-upgradeable.

    I'm not syaing that an iMac is not what you want just not that one mid tier with a desktop CPU and 16Gb of RAM (unusual for me I usually say stick with 8GB but I think you may need more in a few years time) and at least a 1TB fusion drive (although with only 24Gb of SSD the 2TB is a much better option with 128GB SSD).

    Of course this may be way beyond your budget in which case a new windows desktop is probably a better bet.
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Orbiting a G-type Main Sequence Star
    I'd get something with a little more power. Especially if you're thinking about running vm's. 16 GB of RAM would be good and an SSD, or a fusion drive. That will go a long way to make things run smooth for a long time.
  4. macaso thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 15, 2014
    Wow, I didn't know that this iMac is so underpowered... I did some comparisions between this iMac's CPU and my current CPU, and the iMac is really faster than mine... Also I was thinking that 8Gb are enough for MacOSX + Netbeans + 1 (or 2) virtual machines (with 512Mb of RAM each)...

    This iMac isn't cheap (near 1300€ in Spain), and the next iMac with 16Gb it's even expensiver (~1800€)... Well, I'll think about this...

    Thanks for your advice! :)
  5. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Look at the refurbished section of your local apple store website. Models come and go so just keep an eye on what the prices are and don't rush. Sometimes you will find a 27" model for a similar price than the 21" retail and you would be able to upgrade the memory yourself when needed.

    For a computer you wish to keep 3+ years, I would avoid buying the new base 21" model. It's really just for light use. Between low fixed memory, slow HDD it would be frustrating to use.

    I have a 2010 model: (16gb ram self installed), i5 3.6GHz, 256GB SSD (self installed) and it's coming on 6 years old and honestly would do what you need and not miss a beat. You should look into buying a used iMac 2010-2012 off a local for sale site. Since it's your first step into OS X usage maybe it's a good idea to buy a well maintained home model from someone for 50% or less.
  6. bigrell486 macrumors 6502


    Jul 10, 2006
    Is there any reason why you had to use a VM to do PHP development? Apache, PostgreSQL and Netbeans are all available natively for Windows but you aren't using them. I am not tryint to discourage you from purchasing a Mac but you stated that running those programs natively was one of the reasons you wanted to upgrade.

    As far as the iMac is concerned, do not buy the cheapest model. I would say that you get what you pay for but performance wise, you don't even get that.
  7. macaso thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 15, 2014
    There is a reason to use a VM for PHP development: to develop using the same packages and versions as the production server.

    The "thing" that I'm doing wrong is using Netbeans inside the VM; in an ideal setup the virtual machine only needs the servers (Apache, PHP, PostgreSQL), a shared folder to the host OS that is where the source code must be, and all the development is done in "native" mode. This is how Vagrant work.

    What I'm looking for is a new and cleaner computer than a typical PC and, also, I want to move to another OS, because I don't like Windows 10, and I don't feel Linux is mature enough as a desktop machine (for me, Linux is the king in the server area...).

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