MBP v. Mac Pro for programming

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Aniej, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. Aniej macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2006
    Essentially I am trying to decide on what computer would better serve my potential needs should I become more involved in programming. I just don't know what considerations are important for coding and whether the MBP is ample or if we begin to get into some more serious coding work whether the Mac pro would be a better match?

    I am quite familiar with Apple so don't take this as the standard MB v. MBP question. I am in the market for a new comp. soon and recently have been getting more into the programming side of things, nothing to serious yet, but I would like to ensure I have the right system since I have the ability to pick the right option from the start rather than trying to make the machine adapt. The goal is to eventually begin working with designing web based applications that could be reasonably sophisticated, but unlikely to involve heavy amounts of graphic intense operations. Please only answer if you are well versed in this area, I don't need "MBP is not good for gaming," thanks.
  2. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    May 14, 2006
    Roskilde, DK
    I can clear some misconceptions up for you. Web application development is hardly worth a Mac Pro, you can do that sort of thing with an iBook g3 no problems. If you were a developer that needed heavy use of the 4 cores the Mac Pro gives you, then that would make sense.

    One thing I have learned over the years is that in web application development, you NEED screen estate. Anything below 1440 x 900 WILL drive you nuts (I use a macbook and it's annoying).

    My advice: get a MBP and a bigger screen, that will serve you better than a Mac Pro (and be a lot cheaper).
  3. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Or even a Macbook and a bigger screen, in fact that's probably a better bet as it's cheaper and you don't need the graphics card of the MBP.
  4. tomslot macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2005
    A faster HDD in Mac Pro makes a considerable difference in compilation/startup time for large projects and performance of tools such as Java IDEs. Having said that, mobility of a laptop is a great thing and I am personally using MB Pro. I am taking it with me when going to boring meetings or discuss stuff with colleagues based in a different floor.
  5. 2ndPath macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2006
    If you get an external screen anyhow, the Mac Pro is not a lot more expensive than a MacBook Pro and more powerfull in that case.

    If you get an external screen and want to save money it is probably even better to get a MacBook instead as that is much cheaper than the MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro. Then it really depends on what kind of programming you do. For most thing you probably don't need the power of the Mac Pro and even the better graphics chips of the Mac(Book) Pro compared to the MacBook.
  6. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    If mobility is a concern, the MBP would be the obvious choice.
  7. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I'd go with the MBP as you don't need that much CPU power unless you are doing lots of heavy compiling. A MB might suit you but the screen is too small if you don't have an external one plugged in.

    I'd still say to get an external screen as well though.
  8. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2006
    Let me make one big qualification. The programming I am looking to do has the potential to be a part of a start-up company. What I mean by this is while I and my partners are the people who came up with the concept, it relates to programming and I would like to have the potential to be knowledgeable from an operations side with my engineers if that time comes and to have a machine that could be a useful resource for a start-up, that's one of the main pushes towards the Mac pro, but I think I am going to lean towards a high end MBP and slightly down the road purchase an external display.

    Overall, some really good advice. I appreciate it. The only posting I do not agree with is regarding the price differential on a MBP and a Mac Pro, namely with the addition of just about any upgrade other than the jump from 1 to 2GB ram, is very costly and then the addition of wireless and bluetooth, etc.
  9. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006
    [heresy warning]


    Why don't you get the macbook (pro or not) + a custom-built PC with several graphics cards?
    this way you could:
    - use synergy to use the keyboard and mouse on the Mac to take over the PC and its screens
    - get the screen real estate without paying through the nose for a Mac Pro
    - be able to test your product on the 3 major OS platforms
    - can have more choice in peripherals, and use the PC to share them across the LAN

    (hmmm... this might be a good example of where a headless iMac could be handy)
  10. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I'm surprised nobody has yet suggested the Mac Mini with a big external display. :confused: Since all he's doing is coding with little to no heavy graphics work, the processor is going to be the main bottleneck when compiling the code. When comparing the Mini to the MBP, I really doubt there would be a huge time or even noticeable performance difference between a 1.83 Core Duo and a 2.16 ~ 2.33 Core 2 Duo. And at this rate, the OP could get a Mac Mini and a very nice, very big display for HALF the price of the MBP. Getting a MBP and a display would run you the cost of a Mac Pro already. Just my 2c! :D
  11. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC

    You can develop a web app with ease on any of Apple's offerings, be it a mini, macbook, macbook pro, mac pro. Whatever you decide - keep in mind that anything less than 2GB of RAM would be cheating your developers.

    Eventually the fruits of your labor will reside on a server, so it makes much more sense that you wisely spend your energy in determining your server requirements - in house vs hosted, specs, bandwidth, development/staging/production or just production, clustered vs. non-clustered, etc...

    Since this is a startup, it really doesn't make sense to invest a ton of money into the development machine(s). While its nice to see you considering the Mac platform, there's no need to splurge on a Mac Pro unless you have some serious VC funding that insists upon it.

    If you get a portable, you will want an external LCD for long periods of development. Trust me, I do this for a living :)

    PS. Did you ever decide on a technology platform?

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