Mac Mini for iOS Dev?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by CritKlepka, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. CritKlepka macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2018
    North Carolina
    Hi guys, I'm looking into getting a Mac Mini to supplement my MacBook Pro for development. I really want a machine that I can have at a desk and use easily with my monitors I already have for my gaming computer. I really want to know if the following specs are good/how they compare with the current 6-core i7 MacBook Pro 15" with 16GB of RAM. I know about hackintoshes and I know the Mac Mini is a little dated, but I'm willing to pay a little for the ease of use.

    The seller says its a 2014 and has a 2.6GHZ i5 processor and 16GB of RAM.

    Does that sound good enough?
  2. mjohnson1212 macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2007
    With the rumored Mac mini upgrade in the wings for sometime this year I'd wait if you can. That mini will run Xcode fine but remember that all the current Mac mini processors are dual core so it will take longer to build than on your laptop.
    If it has a hard drive instead of an ssd it might be painful to use compared to your MBP as well. It all depends on what you are building.
  3. CritKlepka thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2018
    North Carolina

    What about a Mac Pro?
    found one on eBay with a 3.2GHz Ceon Quad Core, 14GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GT120. Will this be able to run Xcode, as well as be supported in Mojave (AND Dark Mode)? It’s about $600
  4. dantastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2011
    My main dev machine is a MacBook Pro 15" but I also have a MacBook for when I travel. I love the size of it for traveling.
    You know it's not going to win any races but it's fine for a bit of development. I wouldn't want to use it as my main machine but a few weeks every year is no problem.

    That mini in your first post will be fine for development. As long as you have 16GB RAM you don't really need that much CPU power.
  5. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    You'd have to buy a new graphics card to use that computer with Mojave. Mac Pros are huge, hot, and very power hungry in addition to being old. If the Mini is cheap enough, I'd probably buy that. I would not think the Mini should sell for much more than $350 or so, but I'm not really up on their value these days.
  6. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Anything that runs High Sierra and Mohave will work just fine for basic development. Plenty of developers use Macs slower and with less memory than that Mac Mini.
  7. PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2008
    Why can't you use your MacBookPro with the desktop monitors?
  8. abhibeckert, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018

    abhibeckert macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2007
    Cairns, Australia
    Any Mac will "be able to" run Xcode, since it's based on Project Builder which was originally released over 30 years ago, and the fundamental system requirements haven't changed much. Just make sure it's new enough to run macOS Mojave.

    However, event the fastest Mac money can buy still won't be as fast as you'd like it to be for some common tasks.

    To have good performance, most people would agree the minimum is 16 GB of RAM (so that you can run code that hasn't got properly optimised memory management) and a modern PCIe SSD drive (which has a huge impact on compiler performance). Also, ideally you want an Intel CPU with hyper-threading - a quad core i7 will compile 8 files at once, while a dual core i5 will compile 2 files at once - even at the same clock speed an i7 is almost 4x faster for compilation (if you have a fast SSD).

    The Mac Mini you're looking at doesn't meet those specs, while any MacBook Pro from the last few years does meet them.

    Apple has allowed their desktop Mac lineup to languish, there aren't really any good choices right now:

    * the regular iMac is a consumer Mac more suited to offices and schools than programming — I was given one of these at work and it's noticeably slower than the MacBook Pro I bought for myself.
    * the iMac Pro has a high end GPU and display that make it ideal for video production bu unnecessarily expensive for programming.
    * the Mac Pro is even more heavily tailored to video production, and it also tends to have heat related failures.
    * the Mac Mini was updated in 2014 to make it *even slower* than the 2012 models. And the 2012 models were already unfortunately slow.

    They've promised they're working on something better, but haven't said much about what it is or when it's coming. Personally if I had to buy a new Mac right now I'd get a 2015 year MacBook Pro with an i7 CPU (if you want performance) or an i5 CPU (if you want battery life).

    You can run two external monitors on a MacBook Pro. And you can close the lid while a monitor/keyboard/mouse are attached to shut off the laptop monitor (I usually place a fridge magnet where the lid sensor is so I can shut off the monitor while still allowing hot air to vent out the keyboard).
  9. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    The i5 in the Mac Mini supports hyperthreading.
  10. CritKlepka thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2018
    North Carolina
    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    Do you think running the 2018 MacBook Pro 15" will run into heat issues running a separate monitor @ 4K? I really won't be using the laptop monitor so I can close it or turn it off if necessary. I just want to have a way a desktop setup at home.
  11. CritKlepka thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2018
    North Carolina
    Secondary question: if I do go through with a Mac Mini, will a Late 2012 run Mojave alright? Specifically the Dark Mode part.

    I've found a few on eBay with 16GB of RAM, and I have an SSD I will upgrade it with. Or is it a safer bet to do the 2014 model?
  12. lloyddean macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2009
    Des Moines, WA

  13. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013
    local mac dealers are holding a sale on ssd upgrades so there probably will be a new mini
    high sierra runs with xcode on late 2012 with 16 ram even with the 5400 rpm
    get a ssd though
  14. TokMok3 macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2015
    Yes sir! that machine is good enough if you want to program normal stuff, but if you want to program machine learning stuff you will need something more powerful that has a fast gpu. Just make sure you install a SDD drive in that machine for speed.
  15. StellarVixen macrumors 68000


    Mar 1, 2018
    If you want a Mac Mini, wait, just please wait, this is what I am doing as well, I am convinced that one is just around the corner. This is the reason why I won't be buying any of these new iPhones as well, I am saving for Mac Mini.

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