new laptop needed for web development/game design/app development

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by olup, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. olup macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    So I decided to go back to school and get a bachelors in media and computing and will be needing a new laptop that gets me through college for the next three years.
    I can wait and see what October brings to the table as far as the mbp is concerned.

    Apart from web development projects, there's a chance that I will need to be able to run 3d modelling software on Windows for my game design class, in case I won't be able to do it in the lab. Also I'll be being some app development along the way.

    I was considering the new air due to its portability and better battery life.
    I5/256gb ssd/8gb ram to be precise.

    However I'm not really sure, if that will suffice, so the rMBP could also be an option, if it's the better option.

    Not sure, if I'll be carrying the laptop with me all the time.

    Like I said I can hold out till the end of the month and see what pops up in the mbp/rmbp department.

    Software that'll be used would be:
    sublime text 2
    Windows 8 in either VM/Parallels
    sdk's for android/ios/windows

    Advice/recommendations are greatly appreciated.
  2. 960design, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013

    960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Yep, do all of that ( and more ) everyday on a 15" spec'd out MacBook Pro.
    I'm undecided if I'll pick up a Haswell upgrade or not. I may just skip to the next.

    You can run Blender on your Mac for the 3D modeling stuff, export it to collada if needed.

    I would never put Windows 8 on any computer. I love computers too much for that. Try running an Ubuntu stack if needed.

    The Airs are pretty snappy and easy to carry around. I needed the extra screen realestate and resolution, but that might not matter to you.

    My pro's battery runs about 6.5 - 7.5 hours each day ( 260 cycles, 89%health ).

    I also recommend CODA for web developement, but if you only have time to learn one IDE it might as well be the one to rule them all - Eclipse.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I would not get a 13" MBP, because it has a resolution of 1280x800. The retina still gives you a working resolution of 1280x800. Running a 13" retina at non-native resolution will lag it, especially while programming.

    I would go for a 13" Macbook Air, or a 15" Macbook Pro. If you'll be running Windows with Visual Studio, you'll want 128gb minimum to dedicate to Windows, so I wouldn't get less than a 256gb SSD.

    If you plan on running any phone emulators instead of using a device, you'll want a minimum of 4gb, 8gb if you plan on having more than 1 emulator up at once. If you plan on running the emulator in a virtual machine, you'll want 8gb of RAM, no questions asked.

    You're looking at a high end 13" MBA or low end 15" MBP, at minimum. I would recommend the 15" Macbook Pro.

    Any computer that you buy, if it costs more than $500, should have a Haswell CPU in it. If it doesn't, don't buy it (this means if you get a MBP, wait for the refresh, if you get a PC, don't buy last year's model that's been discounted. The battery life gains are too great to pass up.)

    Of course you could always pick up a cheap Dell or Lenovo, double the RAM for $100, and spend the $1000 you saved on beer :D
  4. olup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    Thanks for the advice guys!

    I actually had thought that I could cheapskate a bit and use the money that I would save on the i7 on software. :rolleyes:

    So I should be good with this configuration for the new air then?

    i7/256gb/8gb ram

    15" would be nice, but a bit too much weight and I'd rather have more portability and better battery life to be honest. So if the maxed out air would be good enough, I'd lean towards that. I will also check with my professor and see what he would recommend, if there will be any assignments that will be done from home.

    By the way this is the configuration for the game design/visual computing lab:

    21 DELL Precision T1650 (Intel Xeon 3.1 Ghz QuadCore 8 GByte Ram)
  5. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I think the size somewhat depends on what your primary apps will be. I have a 13" MacBook that I use for some web dev and graphics work but I don't like to model/animate on it at all, and even for heavier development the screen area is tight. It sounds like you want an Air and I get that, but if I were buying a machine that was primarily a work machine it would be a 15" Mac Book Pro and not an Air.

    As per portability...dude, it's a laptop. You're looking at a difference of 1.5 pounds between a 13" Air and a 15" MBP.
  6. olup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    You're right, I'll ask what would be recommened/required and base my decision on that of course.
  7. csjcsj macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2011
    Sarasota FL
    The real issue with 3d software isn't the size of the screen but on the video card and how much memory it has. I am running Bryce (lightweight 3d program) under Parrallels/Windows 7 on a 15" rMBP. It runs slower that it did when I could run it directly as a Mac app, but it works. Before making any decision, research the software's tech specs carefully.

    You can run the Adobe apps in the MacOS. What l like about Parallels is the ease of sharing files across OS-es. In my experience, graphics apps run better on the MBP over the Air. I've used them both and found the Air to be too slw.

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