Macbook Air or Macbook Pro for programming ?!?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by spinedoc77, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #1
    I'm currently using a Macbook Air from 2008, 2gb memory, 128SSD and it's got the 1.86 core duo proc. I've been programming using xcode on it and it runs like a dog, it's terrible, sometimes I'll go to move an element in interface builder and it will freeze up or stutter for a few seconds, things like that. It's pretty much not usable as a programming machine. To make things worse if I have firefox and/or photoshop or other programs open in the background it gets even worse.

    So I've come to the realization that I need to upgrade. I also still need a laptop versus a desktop as most of my work is done at remote locations, although I can still work at home or my main office at times and get the opportunity to connect to an external monitor most of my work is still on the road.

    I really REALLY like the form factor of the macbook air, I'm in love with it. If I went that route I would max it out, I'd get the 1.8 i7 duo with the 4gb memory and the 256mb ssd. Would this be enough to run smoothly with no hiccups? Ideally, in a perfect world, I'd like to have xcode, photoshop, and firefox with several tabs open at the same time, I know it's asking for a lot but it's really what I'm looking for.

    Alternatively I can give up the form factor and grab a macbook pro for about the same if I max out the 13" one, that would give me 2.7ghz and 8gb memory.

    So what do you guys think? I REALLY really want to get a macbook air, but based on the performance of my 2008 one I'm not sure it could handle what I want. Anyone else out there have a 2011 macbook air that they program with and can relay their experiences?
     
  2. Simon86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #2
    I've been using a 2011 macBook Air 13" to develop iOS apps, and having no issues at all in regards to performance :)
     
  3. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #3
    What else to you have open on the laptop while you program? I'm hoping to get away with xcode, photoshop and firefox with several tabs open. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. jnoxx macrumors 65816

    jnoxx

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Location:
    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    #4
    I have an high end Macbook Pro -2011 and I putted 8 gigs ram in it, and I'm having issues with xcode.. OSX Lion is full of memory leaks. I have nothing against the Air, but for high end iOS Developing you should take the MBP at least.
    but wait, there is a new model coming (that's what the frontpage comes)
     
  5. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #5
    Yeah this was a debate I had in another thread, xcode and firefox for example ran fairly smoothly in snow leopard but seem like complete dogs in Lion. I was hoping the upgrade to 4gb and an i7 proc would be enough to deal with Lion.
     
  6. jnoxx macrumors 65816

    jnoxx

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Location:
    Aartselaar // Antwerp // Belgium
    #6
    I have an I7 (before the sandy bridge), 8 gigs ram, faster RPM, the one with 7200 rpm. and I still can barely hold Xcode/Chrome/mail/Twitter/Adium.
    laptop costed me 2.6 grand euro, which is like 3grand dollars, so i expect it to be nice (and that was with 4 gig ram, just upgraded to 8 cuz i was pulling my hair).
     
  7. Simon86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #7
    Sorry that my last reply was very short, I was heading out of the door to lunch.

    I have the 13" i7 4GB MBA. I usually have Chrome with several tabs open, Spotify, XCode 4.2, several small utilities, and sometimes I have Photoshop or Fireworks running as well. Most of the time I have 1-1.5GB of RAM free, before opening Photoshop.
     
  8. Simon86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #8
    I haven't been suffering from memory leaks in Lion, I hardly ever reboot my MBA and OSX's memory usage is very stable over very long periods. I use iStat Menus - so I keep an eye on the RAM usage.
     
  9. xStep macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Less lost in L.A.
    #9
    A programmer acquaintance posted (on a private list) the following compile numbers for some code he was writing. The i7 seems to give a nice boost. Sorry, I don't have any further information on this.

    Early 2008 MBP (core 2 duo): 2:07
    2011 MBA (i5): 1:56
    2011 MBA (i7): 1:06​
     
  10. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #10
    That's what I'm thinking, plus with the 4gb of memory versus my current 2gb. I'm pretty sure it's a memory issue as if I do a full reboot the machine runs great, but after an hour or so it bogs down terribly. Right now with xcode and only a single tab open on firefox I've got 15mb free memory.

    I'm going to have to go to the store and fondle them both lol, the Pros are pretty thin and light these days. I avoided going to Apple today though since they are probably swamped.
     
  11. xStep macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Less lost in L.A.
    #11
    I just checked out the Apple store near me, Manhattan Beach CA. Not many people there. The only line was a few people who I'm guessing pre-ordered their phone for pick up at the store.
     
  12. VMMan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    #12
    I have the 2011 Sandy Bridge Core i7 quad-core MBP 17" and the 2011 Sandy Bridge Core i5 dual-core 1.6 MBA 11".

    My MBP 17" is a big paper weight now.

    My MBA 11" has unexpectedly become my primary machine.
     
  13. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #13
    Well just to report back I picked up a 13" 1.86 i7 with 4gb ram and 256gb ssd. It's much faster, but I'm only running firefox and xcode so far, I haven't installed photoshop yet. What concerns me is that with firefox and 5 tabs open and xcode open with 4gb of memory I only have about 250mb memory free !!! I'm assuming photoshop will bring it to its knees, oh well it's a huge improvement over my old air and I can always run PS on my home PC.

    Unrelated, but I must say I'm extremely impressed with Apple's migration tool, pretty amazing coming from the windows side.
     
  14. Simon86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #14
    Hmmm, how big is your Xcode project? 250MB free memory doesn't sound right to me, I usually have atleast 1.5GB free when using an internet browser and Xcode.
     
  15. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #15
    I'll take a peek tonight when I get home. Off the top of my head I usually see about 500mb for xcode in activity monitor, but I haven't specifically looked at xcode and what it's using on my new Air.
     
  16. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #16
    Hmm, 384mb free atm, I've got firefox with 2 tabs open, xcode, and the iphone simulator, everything else is just a lot of little background processes eating up memory.
     

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  17. jiminaus macrumors 65816

    jiminaus

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    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    Sydney
    #17
  18. Simon86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #18
    Exactly, when I was talking about free memory I meant free and inactive memory combined.

    Inactive memory is a cache (usually of previously loaded applications), if you start an application that has been cached into inactive memory it will load quicker.

    If you wish to load an application that's not been cached, OSX will unload some of the cache to make way for what you are loading.
     
  19. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #19
    Ahh I see, TY for the info.
     
  20. VMMan macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 29, 2009
    #20
    Photoshop CS5 runs great with Xcode and Safari on my MBA 11" 1.6/4/128.
     

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