MacBook specs for XCode iOS development

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by snw, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. snw macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2014
    I'm developing a mobile app in Unity and I am looking for a budget MacBook in order to be able to port it to iOS.

    I have found a MacBook Aluminum late 2008 with the following specs:
    • 2,4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
    • SSD OCZ-AGILITY3 (240GB)
    • OS X 10.9.3 (Mavericks)

    Will this suffice for Xcode building? Also, I've read some complaints about restarts due to overheating during build with some old MacBooks, is this a common issue?
  2. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    2008? Almost 7 years old? Isn't that exactly 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 in computer years?

    suffice = capable, meet or satisfy need​
    No, it will not suffice.

    Overheating is possible! Mostly because you are running hard code ( Unity ) on an old computer. You'd be much better served by getting a refurbished MacBook Air or Mac Mini.
  3. snw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2014

    I appreciate both the sarcasm and the hints, thank you :)

    My problem is that, considering my budget, if I go for an i5 machine I'll have to settle with a non-SSD hard drive and 2 or 4 GB RAM. So, since these are the two viable alternatives, which one would you suggest?
  4. jdiamond macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    You have to watch the OS requirements...

    You need the latest OS in order to (legally) program for iOS, and these old machines aren't rated for the newest OS. The 2007 machine can only handle Snow Leopard well - Mountain Lion is possible but slow, and the hardware doesn't support modern gestures.

    You should *ABSOLUTELY NOT* be worrying about an SSD if your budget is so low! This is NOT a critical requirement for programming or performance. I have both SSD and non-SSD systems, and the only time it's even noticeable is when I need to transfer/back up large files AND the place I'm transferring them from/to is also an SSD. What you need for development is hard drive capacity more than speed. Put $1,000 towards your computer FIRST, then another $1,000 on the SSD if you can afford it.

    I'd recommend at least 4 GB of DRAM. 8 GB is nice, but it only comes into play when you're running very bloated apps like Office.

    If you can afford $700, you can buy a used 2010 Macbook Pro that I'd consider the minimum. If you like to buy new, I'd recommend the 2012 Macbook Pro (with real hard drive), possibly refurbished, for around $900. Budgetwise, the Retina machines are the worst deal, precisely because of the SSDs.
  5. ArtOfWarfare, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014

    ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    That'll work. I'm currently using an iMac that's a year older and only has half as much RAM - otherwise the Specs are identical.

    I had been planning on replacing it with a brand new rMBP but with Intel's chip delays, I think I'll hold off for another year.

    Edit: Oh, not sure about that video card. Mine has a Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256 MB. Same size of VRAM for it but an entirely different brand so I'm not sure how comparable those are.
  6. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    Or the Xcode project I'm working with which often can't b compiled on a 4GB machine, and is challenged with 8GB. Had to upgrade o 16GB of RAM to have productive days.

    What ever snw buys, snw should ensure it can run Yosemite to get some extra life out of it. Here are the current specs from the developer preview. I suppose it could change upon general release but I don't expect that to happen.

    The OS X Yosemite Developer Preview supports the following Macs:
    - iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
    - MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
    - MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
    - Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
    - MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
    - Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
    - Xserve (Early 2009)

    Since you're buying used, don't be concerned about getting an SSD. Their nice, but more RAM is even better.
  7. jdiamond macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    Agreed. One more approach he could try...

    I agree - you definitely want the latest OS, and RAM is more important than an SSD. Plus if you have a LOT of RAM (like 16GB), you can use some of it as a temporary RAMDISK, which puts SSDs to shame. :)

    Since snw is on a budget, one great advantage to getting a pre-retina machine is it's easily upgradeable. Down the line, he could drop in 16 GB DRAM, a larger 1-2 TB drive, replace the DVD-ROM with a second 1-2TB drive in RAID 0, or ... even ... drop in an SSD or two so he feels complete. :) Then having the money up front isn't such an issue, and he knows his needs.
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Yes, a C2D Mac with 8 GB of memory and an SSD will more than suffice. It might run a bit hot, so don't plan on using it on bare knees or without decent ventilation.

    I developed several large iOS/iPad apps on an even slower MBA 11 with only 4GB of RAM. Sure, my newer i5 MBA is a bit faster. But most of Xcode's time doing big builds is accessing the SSD, not being CPU bound.

    So go with the Mac you found until your budget is higher. Then trade-up if needed.
  9. AxoNeuron macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2012
    The Left Coast
    Yeah for a while back I was using Xcode with an HDD just fine. I have since updated my Mavericks hackintosh to an SSD and while it does make a big difference with most things (boot times, opening software like Photoshop) it doesn't make a huge difference in Xcode.


    This is very true. Besides, even a C2D is more than equipped to run iPhone apps, although don't plan on rendering large 4K videos with the 2008 machine :p
  10. snw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2014
    Thank you all for your help. I got the MacBook I mentioned in the first post after all, for $600. Seems great :)
  11. jdiamond macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    I made a big error regarding 8 GB DRAM...

    You have my apologies. I overlooked a big factor: I've been doing most of my development on a Snow Leopard machine (OS-X 10.6.8). On that machine I very rarely ever break the 4 GB barrier. We have machines with more modern versions of the OS, but just for sandbox testing, not for serious use.

    I just tried out a Macbook Pro with Yosemite, and apparently, the OS has become so bloated that it now uses up most of 8 GB without doing anything. So I revise my earlier statement to say that for development using a modern Mac OS would indeed require 16 GB DRAM to be safe. This is probably why Apple upgraded the base DRAM on 15" Macbook Pros to 16GB.
  12. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007

    That doesn't sound like it can be right. Yosemite supports the mid 2007 iMac, which according to Apple maxed out at 4 GB. I've heard it can actually support 6 GB and I'll probably try that as a stopgap this year while I wait for Apple's MBP update next year with Intel's next generation of chips.
  13. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    I've been told that this project I'm working on compiled just fine with Xcode 4.x and 4GB of ram.
  14. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    It's letting un-used memory be used for a disk cache - it's not really being used, per se.

Share This Page