New to Development (MacBook suggestions)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jacarcio, May 13, 2015.

  1. Jacarcio macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Hi All!

    New to the forum really like what I have read so far. I need some help determining which MacBook Pro I want/need. Some context, I would like to start coding webpages (HTML5, ruby) and both android and apple mobile development. Also, potential video editing and animation ( video and animation just a hobby, main focus being coding).I have no plans to use this computer for gaming.

    I am not sure if a dual core (13in) would be sufficient or if I need to go to the quad. If waiting for the potential Broadwell/skylake (15in) makes sense or should I get the haswell saving some cash. Also, if I need the discrete gpu? I am new to development and VM's so I don't really know how powerful a machine I need. When coding in college i used the desktops the university had available so I never had to worry about the specs of the machine.

    Sorry for the long first post. I appreciate any responses!

  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    You don't need a quad for coding. Heck, you don't even need a dual. It really isn't CPU intensive at all. As far as VM's go, they need RAM, not CPU power.

    If you get more into the video editing part of your post, that's where you'll be needing the power.

    My 2 cents.
  3. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    The dual will be fine, discrete graphics would give you very little benefit. If you're running VMs (you don't say how many or which OS) then I'd prioritise RAM and storage over CPU power.

    PS Thread bumping isn't allowed. Suggest you read the forum rules. ;)
  4. whitedragon101 macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2008
    I do a few of the things you describe professionally. I :
    Develop for IOS
    Do web development HTML5, javascript, PHP

    I would go 15" every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    When you do need to be on the move and do some development work the 15" screen will be invaluable. I have a 17" and found my old 15" very frustrating for iPhone development and web development. At 1400x900 you just can't get a decent layout of an IDE for either IOS or web development. Everything is really cramped. I'd recommend 17" but there isn't one however the 15" rMBP can scale a virtual 1080p desktop where the UI is just about big enough to use. This is not possible on the 13".

    I'm not sure about how much difference CPU makes for xCode compilation but my experience has been my quad core laptop compiles faster than my dual core. My results pretty much line up with what this guy got. Also he says xCode does incremental build but generally for me it seems to take a while to compile even if I just changed some text.

    I was about to write that if you want to use an external monitor then I guess the 13" is ok. But if you want a nice high res monitor the 15" will give you a smoother experience as it has more GPU power.

    I am taking Secret option C : Wait for Skylake and pray to the apple gods that apple make a 17" 4K laptop. (Some are saying the 12" Macbook could be the beginning of a 12" MB, 14" rMBP, 16" rMBP line up. That could be very cool.
  5. Jacarcio thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Awesome info thank you!

    Sorry! I had no idea bumping was against the rules. Won't happen again!
  6. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    When I've had work-issued retina Macbooks I would always scale to the largest resolution so I could fit more on the screen.
  7. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Although any current laptop Apple sells would probably suffice for web development/mobile app development, I'd consider the 15" for the screen real estate. I know I like to often have the storyboard and a piece of code side-by-side in Xcode and it does help to have a bit more space.

    It's perfectly doable on a 13" though, especially if you had an external monitor for when you used it at a desk.
  8. SE43, May 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 15, 2015

    SE43 macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2015
    I have a 13" and use it for development (Though mainly in Parallels/VM's) and it works perfectly. I spec'd up to 16gb and also the slightly faster i5. No issues at all. You get good battery life (not far off a Macbook Air) and it's plenty fast enough. The 15" is nice don't get me wrong but I don't think it's worth the price tag (Especially at the moment with the Haswell processor)

    No issues with screen sizes for me personally.

    If you were to go for the 15", wait until Skylake comes out. But you won't be disappointed with the 13".
  9. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    When you do development then you will use external monitors most of the time so you're as well getting the 13" over 15". Make sure it has 16gb as 8gb is not future proofed for OS X Tahoe.
  10. willcodejavafor macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2007
    +1 for previous 15" suggestions

    after that buy the most RAM you can followed by fastest CPU. Storage is meh :)
  11. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2009
    Las Vegas
    I sorta agree. The big reason too is that storage can be worked around, especially with a lot of high speed options that are now available. Can't really work around most of the other features.

    A little long winded, but here goes my opinion:

    If you feel that you don't need a larger screen, or want something more portable, you can still get a good 13 inch that will perform well. I would say that despite a lot of recommendations to people about whether or not they need 8 or 16gb ram, I would say you should make that a priority. It can't be upgraded and I'm not sure what your development workflow is like, but it isn't as difficult to cross over 8gb of used ram as some may suggest.

    Personally, I work with design, now development and coding (IntelliJ and Java right now but working with Swift and Xcode in near future), some video every now and then, photo processing, illustrator, and then some. I always have the following open, OneNote, messages, safari with several tabs, Vox or Spotify, preview and/or ibooks with PDFs. Those apps I listed are always open and consume between 6-8gb ram. That still leaves me a good deal of overhead to actually open apps for my workflow and with my machine, everything is zippy, especially since the cost is mostly RAM not processor speed. That's why I spent what I did on my computer though. I'm not running full capacity all the time, but when I do, I want everything to work smooth and fast. So far so good. I don't game much so the 750m has been adequate for the times I use it. Decided not to wait for WWDC and recently bought because everything works very well for what I need.

    Screen real estate is a must for me, even when working with an external monitor (I don't use clamshell, I prefer multiple screens). Go to Apple and play with one and see for yourself. I used a 13 inch for 3 years, and while I liked it, the screen was always just too small. I became a nag for me every time I used the computer. The feeling has gone away with the 15".

    As far as when to buy, you may be best served by waiting just a little longer regardless if you decide to buy a newly announced machine or not. You'll have a lot of great condition rMBP go to market and a reasonable price drop on last-generation models on the Apple refurb store. Waiting may save you another $150-300 on a machine. That is unless you find a killer deal now anyways (that's what I did).

    Good luck whatever you decide to do.

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