Programming on the Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by joshlalonde, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. joshlalonde macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2014
    Recently I posted "Programming on the Air" and have gotten quite a few replies. The general consensus seemed to be that it would be sufficient for my needs. However, I want to be fair and also consider the Pro.

    Background: I'm a college student who will be doing computer programming which will require me to run VMs/Bootcamp to use Visual Studio. However, I want to stay in the Mac side of things as much as possible, so I am dead-set on a macbook.

    Most people generally agreed that I could get by with a 13" i5 256/8 MacBook Air. However, I'm afraid that it won't be sufficient. Should I instead get the MacBook Pro 13" (retina) i5 256/8 that has a significantly higher clock speed?

    Usage: Writing, compiling code for class. Watching youtube, playing Minecraft, browsing, etc. (light tasks).

    I'm sure the Pro will be perfect, however I will miss the additional battery life and smaller, compact feeling.

    So my question for you: Is the Pro overkill? (Be honest, I don't want to pay extra for something I don't need.)

    I will be going away for a week and a half so I'll read your replies when I get back. Thank you so very much for your consideration!
  2. Erphern macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2013
    Minecraft runs way too hot on my late 2013, 2.6GHz/8GB Macbook Pro 13". The fan goes to full speed very quickly, so I just don't play it on my laptop.

    It does the same on my kid's 2013 Air.

    Nothing else (including running VMs, etc.) has that effect... Just a heads up.

    I'm sure the Air would be fine for class, although I'm definitely going to sell my 13" and get a 15" sometime soon - I could really use the extra real estate for coding when I'm not at my iMac.
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You just don't need performance. The Air would be perfectly fine on the performance side. The only reason to the the Pro is to get the 15" and or the higher resolution. IDEs like XCode, Eclipse, VS, Android Studio, ... all have tons of panels and it is often useful to track multiple things at the same time which means screen space is sometimes very useful. The Display can be crap as long as it has enough pixels and size (infinite pixels don't help if everything is so small you cannot read it).

    Performance is a none issue trust me. I programmed on much slower machines and never found me wanting except for the gaming and media consumption after work. Display resolution on the go is the only reason to take something other than the Air. At home you will want to attach an external screen anyway.

    I wanted the 15" because I have no issues carring it around and enjoyed the liberty of not always wanting to go home to my dark room and my external screen as the only viable coding environment. Sitting in a cafe, in the library, on a table outdoors, in a coffee room with friends and being comfortable with the screen space I had was worth a lot for me.
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    You don't need a fast computer for programming. And the 13" Pro does not have significantly higher clock than the Air, the difference are mere 0.2Ghz. Of course, the Pro will usually be able to maintain the higher clocks longer, which is important, say, for heavy numeric computation. The main benefit of the Pro for you is the retina screen, which gives you excellent text quality and more real screen estate — things which are very important for programming.

    I would suggest that you go to the Apple store and try the machines out. It will be quite soon clear for you which one you fancy. Don't even think about performance, you won't need it ;)
  5. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    I dropped a line or two in your other post and I'll do the same here. In my opinion, the pro is not overkill for you. I use a base model pro for "basic tasks," and I don't think it is overkill at all. I will admit that the reason I ended up going from the Air to the pro was solely based on the retina display.

    After using it however, I will also say that the footprint of the 13 rMBP is more compact than the 13 inch Air and as a result, is easily as portable although slightly heavier(half a pound).

    In my opinion, either machine will be plenty of power for your needs. It really comes down to battery life vs display quality. Although prices vary depending on location, let's compare the configurations you are looking at.

    13 Air i5/8/256-$1299 new/Config not on refurb site but I'd imagine $1099 or so when available.
    13 Retina Pro i5/8/256-$1499 new/$1269 refurbished.

    While battery life is better on the Air by 2-3 hours depending on workload, the retina display is more than worth the slightly shorter battery life and higher price.

    My wife has the Air and I think it is a wonderful machine. In fact, I still prefer its wedged design and sliver bezel but at the end of the day, the display is just not on par with the rest of the machine. I can justify the Air's mediocre display for 720 dollars(what we payed for her base model after student discount and such), but I can't recommend someone spending 1200 plus on a machine with that display in 2014.
  6. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    All fold advice and points here. I toggled between the MBA and the rMBP and once I saw them both side by side in the apple store it wasn't even close. The only benefit the MBA has is weight and battery power. However, it isn't like the rMBP has a bad battery or is really heavy.

    rMBP. All day long.
  7. joshlalonde thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2014
    Especially with the recent refresh, the decision is becoming even more difficult. I think I will go with the Air, but I'm not sure still... Ugh.

    Edit: It seems I have no choice BUT to get the Air seeing as 256/8 Pro 13" cost the same as a maxed out Air 13" 256/8 i7.

    Thanks guys! Now I'm going to bump my old thread and decide what Air to get >.<
  8. krabdb macrumors newbie


    Apr 29, 2014
    Think about Air, when for the same money you can buy a Pro with a serious CPU and retina :eek:?
  9. AnonDP macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2014
    Everyone is telling you to get a rMBP yet you choose the air. I think it's clear which you would be happier buying.

    Things to note rMBP (IMO) is superior in almost every way possible, I personally prefer the size and weight, it makes it feel more durable and hardwearing. Only downside is it has less battery life; but is still awesome.

    The added money to get a rMBP is a very small price to pay. But sounds like you're set on getting an air.

    Once again, only my opinion.

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