Mac Mini as a basic developer machine...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by xVeinx, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. xVeinx macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    Hi all,
    I thought I would use folks here as a sounding board to make sure I'm still sane in my thinking :). I've been considering the basic Mac Mini for a simple developer machine. I would be essentially doing 4 things with the machine: writing code (python, perl, C++), running a statistical analysis package on small data sets (R), reading journal articles, and creating figures for journal articles using illustrator. Illustrator is pretty extensively used in my lab (they don't like LaTeX, :( ), and I've been having to switch back and forth between windows and linux, which gets a bit annoying (and also causes more work as we have a fairly old version of illustator on windows). I realize the processing limitations of the mini, and have a more powerful workstation/server that I would push the tough jobs onto, and so be running many things via the terminal. At that level, it would be there to allow me to do the every day stuff and do things more efficiently. Is this likely to overwork the mini? Or drive the fan to oblivion? Thanks for your thoughts :).
  2. JDLang macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2011
    I have the Mac Mini server model (with no use of the server app at all). I write fortran and C++ codes to be run on large parallel super-computers. From my simulations, I routinely post process data files several Giga-bytes in size on my Mini using MatLab, Tecplot, Paraview, Mathematica, etc. This mini has no trouble doing FFT's on data consisting of ~ 3/4 Billion grid points, rendering multi-dimensional contour plots, creating .avi files from my CFD runs. It really has done everything I have asked it to do better than I expected. I will say that I do have 16 GB of RAM and the 256 GB SSD hard drive in my server which doesn't hurt when manipulating all that data.

    I also write journal articles in LaTex (really MacTex) and for my figures, I use Tecplot to create .eps files. This is significantly different than illustrator, however, I don't think the Mini would have any issues with illustrator either.

    I try to check my istat menu periodically throughout the day, and from what I have seen, I am far from "overworking" this mini or "driving the fan into oblivion." However, my office is maintained at about 67 degrees F and my mini sits elevated on an exposed table to allow the best circulation.

    Anyways, from what I've read so far, the Mini is capable of handling your work load.
  3. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Although I've not gotten very far in my programming studies yet, my older 2010 mini seems to compile simple objective-c stuff just fine.
  4. Snips macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2008
    Suffolk, UK
    I'm a iOS app developer and use a 2011 Mac Mini (Server) for Xcode + it doubles as the web server, and it's totally fine.

    I also use an old 2008 Core 2 Duo MacBook for Xcode + Adobe Illustrator, and that's quite bearable too - so, as you can see, the Mac Mini walks it ;)
  5. tums macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2008
    Nothing wrong with it for development. 8gb or 16gb and you should be good to go.
  6. xVeinx thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    Thank you very much for the advice! I took the plunge and purchased a base mac mini and then upgraded the memory to 8 Gb. It's working out better than I hoped, and is generally fun to use :).
  7. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    Yeah, honestly the Mac Mini seems like a pretty solid machine for middle-weight development and data analysis.

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