Programming beginner - which Mac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Riley2802, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. Riley2802 macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2014
    Hi all

    As someone completely new to programming I'm looking to buy an imac to help progress myself on what's sure to be a very long road ahead.

    My question is should I go all out and get the retina Mac with updated GPU, CPU 16gb ram or should I save some money and go for a spec'd 2013 iMac?

    Machine will primarily be used for programming, photography, video and general day to day use - no gaming.

    Whilst there is an obvious price difference I do want a machine which will last, Will the 2013 do what I need for the next 3-5 years? or is the extra screen real estate and sharpness worth the extra money when I'm going to be looking at code all day?
  2. RyanJWilliams macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2014
    What kind of programming? I've never really considered programming something that needs beefy hardware, in fact when doing much of my web development (including PHP) I've often used little more than text editors. Unless you're using some IDE that uses craploads of resources, you shouldn't need anything too monumental.

    I'd say that any of the iMacs will be more than sufficient. The GPU will make no difference whatsoever, RAM will be fine if 8GB or above, and any of the CPUs will do the job.

    Photography and video will probably benefit from a bit more power, especially in terms of CPU and RAM as things like Photoshop do a lot of crunching and caching with those. Again though, the GPU isn't particularly important.
  3. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    A larger screen will be nice for programming but yeah generally programming doesn't need to be beefy. If you are doing some AI or data analysis on your own system, then a better CPU such as in the 5k iMac would be better. Otherwise, it doesn't matter.
  4. Riley2802 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2014
    Sorry should have said iOS development (swift and Xcode).

    Stock 2013 comes in at £1600 in the UK whereas stock retina is £2000. Cpu/gpu upgrade brings the difference to around £1000.
  5. EnderTW macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2007

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