Macbook Air 13" 2013 for programming?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Rasta4i, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Rasta4i macrumors member

    Rasta4i

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Basically I would like to buy a macbook air and I'm siding towards the 13" one with base specs but I'm considering the 8gb ram upgrade. My main computer is a hackintosh and it's a beast so it can handle everything I can throw at it.

    However I would like a very portable full computer that I can use for the basics browsing and so on but its probably going to be the machine that I end up doing most of my coding on and any website design for the next 4 years.

    I'm a student so I will be getting student discount with it but I'm trying to avoid the steep prices for the upgrade mainly the i7 CPU (which will also end up effecting the battery life negatively) and the 256SSD which is about an extra £180. However I have almost come to terms with the £80 price for the 8GB ram, I will mainly be working with Eclipse, Java, C, C++ and others. Opinions please...
     
  2. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #2
    I am in a similar position to you - I develop with XCode and Netbeans, and run various developer-related tools. Having borrowed a 2011 MBA from work, I found it very capable for the job. Go for the 8GB RAM. 4GB is cutting it a bit tight for a modern machine, especially when you start running resource-hungry IDEs.

    Personally, I'm about to bite the bullet on a 13" rMBP with 8GB or RAM. It will be my primary machine and have similar performance to the current MBAs but with the improved screen.
     
  3. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    People were programming on 2GB 2010 Airs with a C2D, you'll be fine.
     
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #4
    I use a 13" Air, the 2011 version and it's quite capable. I'm actually developing a WP app in VS right now. So the power isn't the issue. However, I do wish I had a larger screen. The higher resolution on the air makes it a better laptop than the 13" Pro, but there's something to be said for a 15" or 17" for programming on. Generally the more screen space, the better.

    But a 13" Air isn't bad to program on.
     
  5. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #5
    I love the Air. I've been developing on a MBP 13" before, and had the 1280x800 resolution, so the MBA screen resolution of 1440x900 is an improvement.

    I've got two styles of programming; when I do iOS development, I run Xcode. When I develop in C or Python, I've got two terminals running next to each other.

    Didn't get the CPU and the SSD upgrade, but did upgrade the memory to 8 GB. Strictly speaking, I think it wouldn't be necessary.
     
  6. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #6
    You need to realize that the battery life is not going to be a big difference in choosing the i5 and i7.

    I went with the 8GB memory (RAM) and 128GB SSD. I kept the i5 because it is really not noticeable in terms of speed for programmers. Maybe if you are rendering video/images or compressions sure.

    Though none of that is a big deal. If your app is so large that it takes forever to compile for you to upgrade to the i7 then you are doing it wrong.

    Go i5/8GB/256GB (512GB if you can, just in case you have to run VM for some apps only run on Windows like my Assembly Language class :( ).
     
  7. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #7
    I do programming on a 11-in air with i7/8GB/256GB plus 24-in monitors. Sometimes you might have to program in Windows or Linux, and then it's very convenient to have Windows and Linux VMs installed. For those, 8GB/256GB is a wise investment. The i7 is not really necessary though good to have.

     
  8. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #8
    This. You've got your apps, your mail, a couple of downloads, your music, your photos, and your documents. Squeezing a small Linux VM in there, that might work. But the 128 GB is just too small for multiple virtual machines.

    On the other hand, if money is tight... I had to stick to 128 GB for budget reasons, so I copy VMs from and to a USB-attached harddrive. Works for now.

    But if it's not for budget reasons but solely based on the fact that you don't have any more money, then better insure and protect that new notebook. Maybe with a casing but always with a thick sleeve in a well-padded bag. And never leave it alone, Apple didn't put a Kensington lock into the newew notebooks.
     
  9. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #9
    Meh, I only have Windows VM for class. Why would I a student need Linux? I have a desktop with Ubuntu server with remote ssh access. There's no need between terminal and remote ssh for bash. I went with 128gb because of money and having an 18TB server and a 1TB WD portable drive (for music and photos). I still recommend 256GB if you can. :/
     

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