MBP 17" ... right for development... and when?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ReluctantMac, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. ReluctantMac macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010

    I have been brought kicking and screaming to considering changing my laptop from PC to Mac.

    I am a developer, and love MS development technologies. I will continue to develop on them.

    Here is what I am considering and need some intelligent, insightful, non-fanboy-esque input:

    I will need full HD for my laptop, which immediately brings me to the 17" model.

    Furthermore I will be running Windows7 in parallels or vmware and running SQL Server Express, Visual Studio 2010 (development tools), etc on it. (Any input on which suite is currently better and why would be appreciated).

    I would be upgrading from Adobe CS4 Master Collection (for PC) to CS5 (for Mac) so the native use won't be a problem there.

    I assume that OSX is 64bit and I can run 64bit Windows 7 in VMware...?

    It was recommended to me that I get the non-glare screen.

    I further plan on newegging (its a new verb) 8g of RAM, and a hybrid 500g HDD.

    My main "problem," however, is that currently the Graphics Card is the 330M. From time to time I like gaming and would hate to go "backwards" in graphics card terms. I currently get good framerates in WoW with most graphics turned all the way up and have no problems in FPSs.

    Is there any way of knowing how close to the next "update" we are now that they added a new processor but changed nothing else?

    Also, the external monitor cables... they have one to DVI and another to dual DVI. I know the Dual DVI is for the huge apple monitor, but can it also be used for dual monitors or is it proprietary to the single huge res monitor?

    Any other recommendations for a highly technical person considering the switch? Any gotchas I need to be aware of?

    Thanks for your time and input!
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Why does it have to be Full HD? Wouldn't 15" with hi res screen be sufficient?

    Yes, you can run 64-bit Windows in VM.

    Next update is expected to be in Q1 2011 but nobody knows what that will bring. Likely new CPUs and hopefully new GPUs as well. I wouldn't expected significant increase in performance, maybe the usual ~20%.

    Dual-link DVI is just for huge displays with great resolution. It's not for dual screen, at least without hefty adapters. You're better off with USB video solution
  3. ReluctantMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    Thanks for the input.

    It has to be Full HD because some of the interfaces I develop are for Full HD displays and having a close to 1:1 environment for development makes it WAY easier (less scrolling) and a better to understand what the full picture looks like. It also lets me display the full interface to the client rather than a zoomed out version or some portion of the screen zoomed in at 1:1.

    But that does bring up one thing. I know with Adobe I can master BDRoms... and that Mac has no Blueray drive (*smacks Steve Jobs*) but I assume I can get an external writer to burn Blueray disks...
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Yeah, external burner will be fine. Actually, it'll be better since mobile versions are often very slow so a fast external is much better choice if you burn a lot BRs.
  5. Cathode macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Is someone holding a gun to your head? I just started getting into development too and I switched from Mac to PC. VMWare is a great tool but you would be better off using a non-virtualized environment for development and creative applications.

    I would never recommend getting a Mac to anyone who would be so dependent on using Windows or Windows based programs. Why exactly have you been brought 'kicking and screaming'?

    Yes, you can.

    I would recommend it over the glossy display also.

    You need to know going into this that Apple has historically always been behind the curve in the graphics arena. They prefer slim design with high battery life and this is no exception even on the expensive 'pro' machines such as the 17" MacBook Pro.

    Realistically, don't expect to play new high-demanding games on these computers. World of Warcraft will probably be fine, however.

    Apple is notorious for secrecy. You can refer to the MacRumor's Buyer's Guide for general advice. Your guess is as good as ours if they will change anything else. Sandy Bridge processors and a small update to the graphics card are expected but not confirmed.
  6. ReluctantMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    Heh. Well, I am frankly sick of dealing with hardware. IMO the only reason MS has "issues" is because they don't militantly require only certain hardware and therefore have to write drivers for everything... and 3rd parties write crap drivers, etc.

    So I'd prefer to sacrifice a little upgrade-ability (which is next to nothing on any laptop anyhow) for a "known quantity" environment.

    The other issue is that Apple laptops are relatively light and have HUGE battery life compared to comparable PCs. As a private pilot I sometimes take long flights and it is convenient to have a laptop up there without extra wires to be able to make quick calculations, etc.

    In fact some of the best aviation apps exist for iPhone and iPad.

    Also, it would be interesting to muck about with iPhone development.

    I appreciate the pointed answers and questions... EXACTLY what I am looking for.

    PS - There is supposedly a .net Framework compiler for Macs.. http://www.mono-project.com Though not sure how full featured it is.
  7. mmcc macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    I use a 17" for development. Highly recommended. The non-glare screen would be preferable, but I was able to snag mine for 10% discount from BB as it was an open-box model. I have never had one problem with it, so the return must have been for reasons other than any defect.

    I personally find the Coherence in Parallels (yes the latest version available) quite buggy. It seems to slow my MacBook overall and causes hangs at shutdown, etc. I just got tired of dealing with it. I use VirtualBox and have it open full screen using Spaces. It works better for me.

    If you need ultimate speed, use Bootcamp. I installed (with some pain because of Apple's Win driver installers don't like Win x64) a "System Builder" copy of Win 7 x64 Pro.

    Don't know that answer but I prefer the miniDP-to-HDMI adapter. It is not as bulky and it works very well. Of course my LCDs are all HDMI capable.
  8. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    rather then using parallels or WMvare, I would suggest giving virtualbox a try, its run everything i've thrown at it so far.
  9. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    Yes the MBP 17 is a great choice for development. I wouldn't (and didn't) settle for any less.

    I think you might just be better off running windows under bootcamp rather than a VM.

    Non-glare vs glossy is a matter of preference. I went with the glossy.
  10. tjb1 macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I would stay away from Parallels entirely, coherance is nice if you want to play solitaire but anything else really kills it and its difficult to do anything in that mode because it "hides" everything related to windows. I might try vmware before I upgrade to my ssd because I had to reinstall os x to get rid of parallels 6 because they had yet to release anything to uninstall it completly and there tech support is HORRIBLE. I have foreign teachers and everything and I can understand them, but Parallels tech support is completly unacceptable and the fact you only get 90-days or whatever before you have to pay blows my mind and forget about the fanboy forum they run...if your post doesnt say "Parallels is awesome, go buy it!!!" they dont let it post. If you want things to work right, run bootcamp.
  11. ReluctantMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    Thank you to all of you for your input. It helps to get input from everyone.

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