MacBook Air + Xcode

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by HiRez, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Anyone get one of the new MacBook Airs yet? It seems like it could be the ultimate road coding machine (considering size and weight, obviously). I'm curious to know how Xcode runs, if the screen feels too cramped, and if you found any development-related issues with it. It seems like the CPU should be fast enough, battery life looks good (5-6+ hours), and the SSD/flash storage could potentially help performance a lot, especially during compiles.
  2. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030


    Sep 13, 2001
    Portland, OR
    I can't speak for the 11.6" model, but I code a good bit on my 13" MacBook + SSD, which is basically similar to the 13" air but lower res and heavier. Works fine for me.
  3. dborja macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    Northern California
    I have a first-gen MBAir and XCode runs just fine. It is usable with the 13" screen although I do enjoy the 27" on my iMac when coding.
  4. Jill-Jênn macrumors newbie


    Oct 30, 2010
    Just got a MacBook Air 11″ and don't feel cramped yet with the editors I use (argh, I have to DOWNLOAD XCode, as I didn't get any installation disc…).
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Works great for me. I have the 13 inch, 2.14ghz, 4 gigs ram. MBA
  6. BillTheConqeror macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2010
    Have you tried it with an external monitor yet?

    I'm torn between the 11" and 13". In either case, I would use it with an external monitor for Xcode but I'm more curious about it from a power standpoint.
  7. tomacintosh macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2005
    I think either machine will run it fine. Once the app is actually open it won't make all that much difference. I've run Xcode on a Core Solo Mac mini in the past, and it worked fine.
  8. BillTheConqeror macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks for your input. I'm still beside myself which one to pick though, haha.
  9. BillTheConqeror macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2010
    Last question, Would Xcode benefit from the 4GB RAM upgrade? Otherwise my uses for this laptop will be very light: Web, iTunes, tweetdeck, and the occasional small spreadsheet or word document.
  10. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    on the Western Slopes, with E. A. Poe
    If you use Xcode mostly by itself, 2 GB should be fine. My Mac mini with 2 GB is more than enough to run Xcode and a few other apps at once.

    If you're the type of person who always leaves all their apps running, especially in Spaces, then 2 GB may be inadequate. On the up side, SSD swapping will be fast. On the down side, swapping is swapping, and exacts a cost.

    One other thing to consider: I bought my mini and intentionally upgraded its RAM myself. That's not possible with the Air. I would personally max out the RAM, even if it costs me more, because I think it would extend the useful lifetime of the computer. Max RAM is one less obstacle to hit later.
  11. BillTheConqeror macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks. I think I am going to go with the stock 2GB model to save some cash. I would probably only have a web browser with 4-5 tabs open while running Xcode, and for general usage, just a browser, iTunes, Tweetdeck, and occasionally Microsoft Office.

    I know I can't upgrade it, but another consideration is that I am thinking about going back to school next fall and would be eligible for a student discount if I want to upgrade in a year or two.
  12. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    on the Western Slopes, with E. A. Poe
    If that's your typical workspace, then you should at least run Activity and have it tell you the memory usage with that setup. It could be close to the edge of swapping with 2 GB, but you won't know it unless you measure it.
  13. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Seems like the 11" Air would fit nicely right below the 27" Apple monitor and allow a nice vertical dual monitor set-up for iOS/iPad development. Has anyone tried this?
  14. jozero macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2009
    I did a rough hand measurement and I believe the 11" would cover the bottom part of the 27" screen. I'm looking at the same combo myself. I wish the Apple screens were height adjustable.
  15. lee1210 macrumors 68040


    Jan 10, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    They are!

  16. wakka092 macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2007
    I would do the 13" if you mainly code on the road. I had a 13" and found even it limiting in terms of screen real estate. YMMV.
  17. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Different screens = different DPI and different brightness. Yuck.
  18. teaneedz macrumors member


    Dec 8, 2009
    xcode download experience

    During a painful download process due to home network I experienced the following:

    - During download RAM usage topped at 800MB. CPU stayed well under 50%.

    - During actual install RAM peaked at 1.1GB and CPU pegged at 100%

    The actual install was quite fast for this 3GB file. My bottleneck was the network. I wish Apple provided x-code on the install flash stick but it does not.

    Xcode runs fine on an MBA 11.6 1.4Ghz/4GB/128GB machine.

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