New 13" Macbook Pro for developing

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Torgis, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Torgis macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2013
    #1
    Hey,

    Recently I started working as an software engineer and I decided to buy myself a new laptop for it.
    All my co-workers are working on a macbook pros, since we mainly develop in Unix based environments.

    So I calculated how much I could spend (1500 EUR ~ 2000 dollar) and I decided to go for the 13 inch Macbook Pro retina, since I will be on the road alot.
    I was looking at the basic 256GB flash model, until someone told me I had to stay away from the 13" retinas, because there is no dedicated GPU and the CPU hardly can handle the screen resolution. So I had to go for the 15 inch if I wanted a retina, but thats way out of my budget.

    So then I was looking at the normal Pros, but then the same person said to me I had to wait because they are going to update pretty soon...

    So I have no idea what to do now :(

    Thx
     
  2. B..., Apr 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013

    B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #2
    The part about the 13" not being able to handle the resolution is nonsensical. GPU mostly handles the screen, and while it is not the best GPU, it can definitely handle 2560x1600. The UI was not perfectly smooth at first, but 10.8.3 has made things better, which shows that it is a software problem.

    Also, the 13" cMBP is probably not going to see a significant upgrade this year. Apple will either do just a little spec bump, not update it at all, or discontinue it. If they discontinue it, you will be able to get it right after online for a good discount. And you do not HAVE to wait. If you need a computer now, you should buy it now. But if you can wait until August- October, you should do so because there will be updates, even if they are not significant.
     
  3. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    So which one would you recommend?
     
  4. mslide macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Waiting is stupid. If you need a new laptop for work, then go get it. It's not like any minor speed bump you see in the new models will really make a difference for you at work. Unless you're compiling huge amounts of code all the time, you'll never notice a difference. Even then, it'll probably only shave a few minutes off.

    I'm also a software engineer and went with a 13" cMBP a few months ago and put in an SSD. I just don't see the value of having a fancy display when the most common application I use, by far, is Terminal. In full screen mode, it's more than enough screen real estate. I also tend to be plugged into wired networks a lot and having a built-in ethernet port is sort of a big deal for me.
     
  5. joec1101 macrumors 6502

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    So Cal, USA
    #5
    I have a 15" rMBP and it very rarely ever switches to the dedicated nvidia graphics. The Intel HD4000 seems to handle just about everything I can throw at it. I really don't think you will have any problems with the 13" unless you have some *really* graphics intense work to throw at it.

    And like the above user said, ever since the 10.8.3 OSX release, everything has become really smooth.

    My suggestion is try the 13" rMBP for a week or so and if it doesn't work for you, simply return it and get the 15" rMBP which has the dedicated card.
     
  6. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #6
    What software will you be using? It depends on how demanding the software is. If it required a quad core processor and discrete GPU, the choice is clear.
     
  7. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    We mainly program in Ruby, Javascript and C++.
    I pretty much have a Rails server running in the background all the time.
     
  8. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #8
    How does it run on your old computer and what are the specs? (How much RAM and what are the processor and GPU?)
     
  9. mslide macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Just like me. Pretty much any Mac made within the past 5 years will be more than powerful enough. Really, any MacBook that apple sells will be more than enough for your needs. It all comes down to what form factor do you want, do you want the fancy display, etc. Up until a few months ago, I was using a 2006 MB to do exactly that and it was still more than enough. The main reason I even upgraded was because I started to need to have virtual machines running all the time. Seriously, Terminal, Safari/Chrome, rails and vi/emacs requires hardly any CPU power.
     
  10. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Ill be using VM's too, dualbooting in Linux will also be needed I think.

    ----------

    Right now I'm using an 6 year old windows laptop(2GB RAM, 1.6ghz duocore). I run Ubuntu in VM and debugging the rails in chrome is really slow.
     
  11. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #11
    From that, I gather than any computer with 4 GB RAM (you would upgrade to 8 GB or 16 GB, right?) and a 2.5 GHz processor would be a huge increase, as well as OSX. But if you do want that extra power, I would encourage you to get the 15", which comes with a quad-core processor and discrete GPU, which will help when you are doing intense work on your computer. But is portability an issue? Will you be toting it to work every day? In that case, the 15" cMBP is Apple's least portable laptop computer.
     
  12. chrisrosemusic1 macrumors 6502a

    chrisrosemusic1

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    #12
    13" retina is fine running multiple vst's and audio channels for me in Ableton. It will be absolutely fine - you still get 768mb of graphics memory with the HD4000
     
  13. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Yes I will take it to work <-> home daily. And will have to take it to clients when our product is ready for demo.
     
  14. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #14
    In that case, I would recommend the 13" Retina. It is a very capable machine and the weight (for its power) and screen are unbeatable by any other Apple machine and most Windows ones.
     
  15. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    You're almost certainly constrained by memory more than anything. If you're running VMs, load up on as much RAM as you can afford.

    My 3 year old MBP runs Rails like butter, so anything you buy now should be plenty powerful for that. Heavy JavaScript is another matter entirely, but if it won't run smoothly on a powerful new Mac laptop, you probably need to optimize or reconsider anyway for the sake of website end users who have older hardware.
     
  16. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    My only concern now is the RAM...
    Will 8gb be enough for like 3 years?
     
  17. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #17
    Do you like updating the OS every year? If so, the memory requirements will get larger to the point where 8 GB might be the minimum to run, for example, 10.12-13 or 11.2. Also, do you download the newest software as new ones come out? If so, the CPU, GPU and RAM requirements will also grow.
     
  18. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Yes I prefer using the latest versions of the software and OS I use.
     
  19. IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502

    IlikeMacsSoMuch

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    #19
    I plan on starting developing soon and currently I'm an IT consultant so a lot of my work is on the road. I have the 2012 15 inches cmbp. With virtual environment, a quad core is a lot more capable. I did upgrade the hdd for an ssd and upgraded the ram to 16gb as well.

    Do you need a lot of computing power?

    Besides, the 15 inches is not that heavy to carry around and you get the dvd drive, i/o ports, so you wouldn't need to carry any adaptor and external dvd drive.

    When I'm at the office, I plug it into my 27 inches iMac as an external monitor so the higher resolution of the retina is useless to me. But a lot of people on this forum like their retina.

    My 3 cents: 15 inches and quad core, retina or not, 16 gb
     
  20. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #20
    You can't upgrade the RAM in the 13" to 16 GB, unfortunately. I think the best choice, if you need it now, is to get the 13" or 15" cMBP which you can upgrade to 16 GB whenever you want. But the Mountain Lion OS requires 2 GB of RAM, so 8 GB should be ok for at least 3 more years for the OS. But third party software is another story.
     
  21. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Im thinking more and more of getting the 15" after all... I think the quadcore will pay off in the end...
     
  22. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Depends. I think about it this way:

    - Set aside 1GB now for the kernel; probably 2GB 3 years from now.
    - Set aside 2GB each for every VM you want to run simultaneously
    - Set aside 1-1.5GB now for your primary browser if you tend to keep a lot of tabs open; expect that to double in 3 years
    - Set aside .5-1GB now for each additional browser you run simultaneously for testing purposes; expect that to double in 3 years
    - Set aside what you need for other software you tend to always have open (in my case, that's Mail, Adium (chat), iTunes, an RDBMS GUI, GitX, and a text editor, which together usually take up around 1.5GB); expect that to increase by 50% in 3 years

    Figure out what of the above you'll want to be able to run at once, and add another 1.5-4GB of overhead for additional apps, background processes, your Rails server, things you run occasionally but not constantly (for me, that's Photoshop and MS Office) etc. That's the minimum amount of memory you'll need in 3 years.

    So in my case, I typically use right now:

    a) 0.40 GB (Snow Leopard kernel)
    b) 1.25 GB (Firefox with a ton of tabs)
    c) 0.75 GB (Secondary browser for testing)
    d) 1.50 GB (always-on applications)
    e) 0.75 GB (background processes, System utilities, Dropbox, MySQL, Apache, WSGI server and applications, etc, etc)
    f) 1.00 GB (Overhead reserved for frequent but not constant software - FTP client, PDF viewer, MS Word or Excel, Third browser for testing [typically I'll have 2-3 of these open at once, but rarely all of them])
    g) 2.00GB (Overhead needed on occasion for Photoshop or a VM)

    I need to be able to run (a)-(f) at the same time, continuously. That adds up to just over 6GB (which is what my laptop had until about 6 months ago, when I was starting to see page-outs all the time.). So 8GB is comfortable for me now. I sometimes have to close a few things out if I want to run a VM, but that's infrequent enough to be a minor inconvenience.

    Upgrading to Mountain Lion, with its higher memory usage for the kernel, would still be comfortable most of the time, but a little tight with Photoshop/VMs.

    For my particular use patterns, what makes me most nervous about staying with 8GB is the rate at which browser memory usage is growing (just a few years ago, a browser with 30 tabs open was a giant hog if it ate 400MB of memory). In a couple more years, memory for just a primary and testing browser could easily eat up all the reserved overhead. My guess is that I could get by with 8GB for two more years, but not 3 without a lot of memory-management frustration. To that end, I'm actually currently considering buying a computer with 8GB but otherwise lower-specced and just planning on upgrading in 2 years instead of 3.

    Everyone's use patterns are different, though, so you should make some calculations based on how you (want to) use your computer.
     
  23. IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502

    IlikeMacsSoMuch

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    #23
    That's why I bought it too, and it is futureproof.
     
  24. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
    did you go for the retina or non retina?
     
  25. Torgis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 13, 2013
    #25
    So I decided to go for this:

    basic 15" macbook pro (non-retina), with 8gigs of RAM and anti glare screen.
    With the option to upgrade my HD to an SSD later on.

    Sounds good?
     

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