Meeting needs & downsizing

8bitjim

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 16, 2017
4
0
Hi guys im after a laptop to replace my desktop PC (kinda).

Basically we dont have the room for my full pc setup with desk/chair/ big old fractal ATX case :)

But i will be keeping the computer headless away so i can use it for a bit of rendering(maybe) and just some windows 10 work via the app to use it headless forgot the name :) I also use quite a few virtual machines for ubuntu/kali & various linux distros.

What im looking for sugestions in is what laptop will meet my needs, Ive tried to love a few windows laptops etc dell xps 15/13 and a few other quality ones but they dont feel good compaired to the mac variants (sadly)

My main uses of computer will be

Web browsing
8 bit game dev (very low powered req)
piping into windows 10
running a few virtual machines but doesnt need to be at same time or intense useage
python programing (again low powered)
general coding

I wont be doing any gaming so that doesnt factor at all.

What im currently hoping is that an updated macbook will fill my needs? Would the current macbook with the m3 cpu do most of what i want above? if so hopefully a spec bump will do it :) If not should i spend extra & get the current macbook pro? Im not that bothered by the touch bar but the speed bump to 2.9ghz touch bar model seems a good idea.

Im not used to osX as of recently but have dipped in a little bit on my wifes laptop/virtual machine. Im not a fan of windows tbh so im looking forward to moving away from it as a main OS & just using it for the apps needed.

Im sure you get loads of threads like this so sorry in advance :) Just looking to downsize my setup but meet my computing needs + headroom.

Thanks in advance :)
 

smallcoffee

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2014
1,575
1,963
North America
Hi guys im after a laptop to replace my desktop PC (kinda).

Basically we dont have the room for my full pc setup with desk/chair/ big old fractal ATX case :)

But i will be keeping the computer headless away so i can use it for a bit of rendering(maybe) and just some windows 10 work via the app to use it headless forgot the name :) I also use quite a few virtual machines for ubuntu/kali & various linux distros.

What im looking for sugestions in is what laptop will meet my needs, Ive tried to love a few windows laptops etc dell xps 15/13 and a few other quality ones but they dont feel good compaired to the mac variants (sadly)

My main uses of computer will be

Web browsing
8 bit game dev (very low powered req)
piping into windows 10
running a few virtual machines but doesnt need to be at same time or intense useage
python programing (again low powered)
general coding

I wont be doing any gaming so that doesnt factor at all.

What im currently hoping is that an updated macbook will fill my needs? Would the current macbook with the m3 cpu do most of what i want above? if so hopefully a spec bump will do it :) If not should i spend extra & get the current macbook pro? Im not that bothered by the touch bar but the speed bump to 2.9ghz touch bar model seems a good idea.

Im not used to osX as of recently but have dipped in a little bit on my wifes laptop/virtual machine. Im not a fan of windows tbh so im looking forward to moving away from it as a main OS & just using it for the apps needed.

Im sure you get loads of threads like this so sorry in advance :) Just looking to downsize my setup but meet my computing needs + headroom.

Thanks in advance :)
Hey there. I owned a 12 inch MacBook and had no issues running VMs, or performing any Python-based programming tasks. I think based on your listed uses a MacBook (either updated or not) would perform adequately. I would wait for the spec bump, though, unless you're seeing a really good deal. I would max out as much RAM as possible.
 

8bitjim

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 16, 2017
4
0
Hey there. I owned a 12 inch MacBook and had no issues running VMs, or performing any Python-based programming tasks. I think based on your listed uses a MacBook (either updated or not) would perform adequately. I would wait for the spec bump, though, unless you're seeing a really good deal. I would max out as much RAM as possible.
Hiya i think i will go with your sugestion, i am in no massive rush to buy so will wait on the spec bump, How do you find the 12inch screen is it big enough for most tasks? I will keep my monitor so i have that option also for the odd occasion :)
 

smallcoffee

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2014
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North America
Hiya i think i will go with your sugestion, i am in no massive rush to buy so will wait on the spec bump, How do you find the 12inch screen is it big enough for most tasks? I will keep my monitor so i have that option also for the odd occasion :)
For doing "work" I'd prefer using a monitor. Having the option is good. It's mostly fine but using something like Xcode was a bit of a pain for performance and real estate.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,368
Boston
Why not get a 15" MBP, or a even a 13" I prefer a quad processor when running VMs, plus the MacBook is a passively cooled, low powered processor, so you will notice a difference in responsiveness with the Macbook vs, the Dell XPS, MBP 13 and 15" models.

I also think the 12" screen (at least for me), is tool small.
 

8bitjim

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 16, 2017
4
0
Hi thanks for the reply, i will test them in store first before i buy, i do like the idea of a smaller 12inch mac but i do fear it wont be enough power for me or the screen size be too small. Think 13" be okish judging by my wifes laptop with extra power of the i5
 

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
1,736
1,309
I have an XPS 15 and the feel of it does take some getting used to as the key travel is not so great, but it's better than the new MacBook Pro's. My advice would be to go into an Apple store and try them out before buying. The older MacBook Pro's had better keyboards, or at least keyboards with more travel. If it's a tactile thing that bothers you then look at a ThinkPad. They have the best keyboards, even on their thinner laptops like the X1 Carbon. Also look at the Surface Pro. For a keyboard cover it's surprisingly good.

You'll know which one you want when you've used them. It's the only way to really choose a laptop once you've narrowed down your selection by reading reviews.
 

smallcoffee

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2014
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RE: keyboard

It is preference. I have a 2015 and 2016 pro -> I prefer the 2016 keyboard, but the 2015 keyboard is good too. You would get used to either one
 

8bitjim

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 16, 2017
4
0
I have an XPS 15 and the feel of it does take some getting used to as the key travel is not so great, but it's better than the new MacBook Pro's. My advice would be to go into an Apple store and try them out before buying. The older MacBook Pro's had better keyboards, or at least keyboards with more travel. If it's a tactile thing that bothers you then look at a ThinkPad. They have the best keyboards, even on their thinner laptops like the X1 Carbon. Also look at the Surface Pro. For a keyboard cover it's surprisingly good.

You'll know which one you want when you've used them. It's the only way to really choose a laptop once you've narrowed down your selection by reading reviews.
Ive tried a dell xps 15 & while the specs are undoubtly better than the macbook & price much lower in the uk, i dont feel pulled in by it as much as the macbook pro. Its a shame because i would be saving £600-700 quids :(
 

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
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Ive tried a dell xps 15 & while the specs are undoubtly better than the macbook & price much lower in the uk, i dont feel pulled in by it as much as the macbook pro. Its a shame because i would be saving £600-700 quids :(
I know what you mean. The only reason I went for it was support for 32GB RAM. I got it as a refurb so it was cheap - i7, 4K screen, 32GB RAM upgrade from Crucial and a 500GB PCI-E SSD all for under £1500.

In hindsight it I was doing it again I'd go for the Lenovo P50 as it has a much better keyboard and supports 64GB RAM. I'm not so bothered about the weight as this would be a second machine that I only take with me when I need a mobile VM lab. The rest of the time I can work on a Surface Pro.
 

smallcoffee

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2014
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I know what you mean. The only reason I went for it was support for 32GB RAM. I got it as a refurb so it was cheap - i7, 4K screen, 32GB RAM upgrade from Crucial and a 500GB PCI-E SSD all for under £1500.

In hindsight it I was doing it again I'd go for the Lenovo P50 as it has a much better keyboard and supports 64GB RAM. I'm not so bothered about the weight as this would be a second machine that I only take with me when I need a mobile VM lab. The rest of the time I can work on a Surface Pro.
If you're not bothered by weight/size I wouldn't get the MacBook. That's the best feature....
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
And now we have to question whether or not the experience is worth the premium given the poor hardware choices.
Agreed, that's where I'm at, though I'm hoping we'll see some nice improvements to the next version of OS X.
 

smallcoffee

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2014
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Actually the best feature is Mac OS and iCloud integration. That's the main reason to buy Apple these days.
That's not what I meant - I was commenting based on choosing between Mac devices. If you're choosing between then, then the main benefit of the MacBook is indeed the size and thinness. If that's not something you care about, then I'd suggest looking at alternatives.
[doublepost=1492606282][/doublepost]
And now we have to question whether or not the experience is worth the premium given the poor hardware choices.
So this is a common thing I hear but ultimately it falls short. The components are only one piece of the equation - how well they integrate into the system as a whole is the other half. Having a bad trackpad, or inefficient performance because of the hardware and operating system, can perform more poorly compared to lesser spec'd machines.
 

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
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That's not what I meant - I was commenting based on choosing between Mac devices. If you're choosing between then, then the main benefit of the MacBook is indeed the size and thinness. If that's not something you care about, then I'd suggest looking at alternatives.
[doublepost=1492606282][/doublepost]

So this is a common thing I hear but ultimately it falls short. The components are only one piece of the equation - how well they integrate into the system as a whole is the other half. Having a bad trackpad, or inefficient performance because of the hardware and operating system, can perform more poorly compared to lesser spec'd machines.

I know what you meant mate, just playing devil's advocate. I'll be probably getting a Lenovo P50 or P70 later this year as my mobile VM lab, and using a Surface Pro 5 (when they come out) as my daily laptop. The Apple experience isn't what it used to be - I've been running of a PC for a couple of months and powered up the family MacBook Pro the other day after not touching Mac OS for a while and it looks dated. Personal preference and perspective sure, but I'm now happy with Windows 10, I just miss the Messages app.
 

BanjoBanker

macrumors 6502
Aug 10, 2006
354
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Mt Brook, AL
I work all day on a Lenovo P70. The keyboard is nice I'll grant, but Windows 10! Crap on a stick. I would drop back to Vista given the option. I help a 5601(c)3 with their books and I keep them on a MacBook Air, 2015 11.5", and I am very happy with the performance. I also run Creative Suite on the Air with no issues. The gap in performance of OS X machines vs Windows is not what it used to be, but it is still there. The absolute total integration of the hardware and software is still a tough act to follow. My wife has a 2016 15" macBook Pro and i have no issues with the keyboard. The only real keyboard issues I have ever had have been switching from a laptop to desktop keyboard. The long keystroke is quite off putting to me.