Macbook, or Macbook Pro for a programmer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by madman1887, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. madman1887 macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2017
    Hello, and happy new year! I'm a newbie reg to the forums, but I've been reading MacRumours for years. I would kindly appreciate some advice for my current situation.

    I use my laptop as a programmer (full stack JS web developer), as well as general web browsing and emails and music streaming. I don't believe I need a very powerful graphics card, but I may be wrong. I use programs like Sublime Text, Microsoft Visual Studio Code, and Google chrome (developer tools), and of course, Terminal. I do require dual boot to Ubuntu Linux every now and then (perhaps 10% of the time) but there it'd be similar programs, I just require the Linux bash rather than Apple's terminal for certain servers/etc.

    I currently have an April 2010 15 MacBook Pro (2.66 i7 8gb ram OCZ SSD Antiglare screen), and a 2015 MacBook 12 (base spec). I just purchased a Dell UP3216Q 4K 32" monitor, and I want to use this with a laptop in 'clamshell' mode? My MacBook Pro's GT330M does not output 4K, I think it's limited to 2560x1440, and my MacBook 12 gives me 4K 30hz via the USB C multi port HDMI adapter.

    I love the little 12" MacBook because it's amazingly small, light, the battery life is actually really good, and, the OS is actually VERY fluid (on the laptop screen) in terms of the UI and responsiveness considering the low specs of the laptop. I feel there is nothing my 15" can do that my 12" can't do. It's great. I've been extremely happy up until I got my Dell 4K screen.

    So, here's my question. Will the latest (2016) 12" MacBook be able to give me the same fluid experience, but on my Dell 4K screen? Will it be laggy? Or, will it be just as fluid as the screen on the laptop itself? This is of course, based on the programs I've mentioned above being in use. I'll likely need all them to be open at the same time too, so I don't know if 8gb ram will be enough although I understand if that's a silly question.
    Or.... Do I have to go with the newer MacBook Pro to get the performance I'm expecting?

    If the latest 12" MacBook will be perfectly fine for 4k @ 60hz, is it worth going for the higher end processor, or would the base model be fine?

    I also have a second 2560x1440 display which 'would be nice' to have working too (i'd expect the Pro to be able to run this as well as the 4K without issue) would the MacBook be able to run this monitor too? (perhaps the higher spec MacBook if necessary) I would want it running at 60hz. I do feel that this is asking a lot from a tiny laptop, but it would be nice.

    Thank you for reading and I look forward to your answers.
  2. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    As a programmer I would recommend going for the MacBook Pro. I've had a MacBook Air for a while and while it works and the portability is nice. I find myself switching to my Quad core iMac often for better performance. If you just want one machine with an external display I'd go for a loaded 13" MBP that will give you good performance plus good portability.

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