rMBP13 vs MBA13 for development

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Soundcheck, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Soundcheck macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012

    I've seen and read many threads about MBA vs rMBP but haven't found any discussions about using it for software development.

    Im struggling and cannot make up my mind about which macbook to buy.
    Im currently using a Macbook Pro from 2009 with SSD and 8GB of RAM.
    So i guess both will be a good upgrade for me.

    Im making this thread/question to hear about people who is using MBA or rMBP for development software like Xcode/Eclipse etc. I like the 13.3 screen but would like to gain some extra space when developing.

    Portability is important but not a dealbreaker.

    I've recieved a base rMBP 13 but cannot decide wheater to open it and try or return it for a MBA.

    Any of you that are have rMBP and could show some pictures with xcode open?
  2. whiteonline macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2011
    California, USA
    I am using my rMPB 13 for the same reasons.
    Set your display scaling in system preferences to 1440x900 resolution to match what the Air display provides. Should give you a good indication of what you need.
  3. Soundcheck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012

    What resolution are u using ?
    Would u mind sharing a picture of when u run xcode?
  4. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Some info

    In the event you have not, you may wish to read this thread (particularly the given link within). In most of the tests a high end Air actually outperformed the 13" rMBP. Aside from screen real estate, the 15" rMBP easily smoked both of them:

  5. Maczor macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    LU, Switzerland
    I don't have mine yet, but I will be using it for the same thing. At one point in time, I had a Toshiba Satellite M70... I used it for almost 6 years, mainly doing Flex / Air development + Java ( but of course running other stuff whenever needed too and doing some graphic work in Photoshop / Illustrator + random After Effects stuff ). I'm not into XCode and native OSX / iOS development, so I can't comment on that... what I do know, is that if a crappy Centrino M 1.6 Ghz CPU was enough for development, I don't see why a rMBP with i5 / i7 wouldn't be.

    But yeah, that's me...
    1280x800 is enough for my needs and so is a 2.9 Ghz i7 dual core.
  6. thewretched, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    thewretched macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2006
    Not exactly the same situation but I currently use a 2011 MBA 13" (bought it especially because it had a 1440*900 resolution and a SSD). The air is great for software development except for the fans that sometimes start to turn up.

    I want to get one of the retina MacBooks and I'm struggling deciding between getting a rMBP 13" or a rMBP 15" for software development.

    I prefer the size of the 13" but would love the 15" for its higher screen real estate. So I'd be running a 13" at either 1440*900 (which is perfectly fine for me) or 1680*1050.

    So to answer your post, I think I'd keep the rMBP because you can run it on the same resolution than the air or even at 1680*1050.

    Would love to see some screenshots as well...
  7. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    1440x900 is pretty comfortable on a 13". I would go with the MBA.
  8. Soundcheck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012
  9. bill-p, Oct 28, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012

    bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    XCode is best run at 1920 x 1200 scaled mode in 15" rMBP in my opinions. If you can, stretch another $500.

    Or if not, then the general rule of thumb for XCode is "the more pixels you can see, the better".

    Here are some huge screenshots showing the difference in real estate between 1680 x 1050 scaled mode (max on 13") compared to 1920 x 1200 scaled mode (max on 15"):

    1680 x 1050 main window:

    1680 x 1050 iPhone 5 Simulator:

    1680 x 1050 iPad Retina Simulator (bottom part is cut off because Retina iPad has more vertical pixels):

    1920 x 1200 main window:

    1920 x 1200 iPad Retina Simulator at 100% scale:

    Note: it doesn't make any sense for you to view these on a non-Retina screen. Go to an Apple Store or Best Buy and open them up on a Retina display. Then you'll be able to compare real estate.
  10. Maczor macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    LU, Switzerland
    Just my 2 cents regarding the above posted screenshots and reply:

    1) One can always hide the bottom dock to make things fit better.

    2) While having a huge resolution can be nice, it's not the alpha and omega... To be honest, the code in the screenshots is making me kinda sad. An experienced developer would never write such huge comment lines ( same goes for lines of code ). People have been developing applications long before Retina screen were available... even after they appeared, people were still mainly developing their apps ( retina optimized ) on non-retina Macbooks.

    3) If someone is really serious about iOS development ( better said: "Mobile / Tablet development" ), then he'll usually have the devices he is expecting his application to run on ( maybe not all, all devices, but at least the main ones ). Meaning: Stuff is usually debugged and tested directly on the device... Although the simulator is a decent tool, it's not something you want to use too often and it's definitely not something you want to rely on ( mainly because it uses your system's resources and the readings it gives / experience can be - and it is most of the time - completely different from the experience on the actual device ).

    A common good practice is to test your application on "the device(s)" as soon as possible. In the end, people will be using it on their devices and not within a simulator...

    4) The following is quite silly ( no need to explain why ):

  11. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Doesn't help. The Simulator needs more than 2048 vertical pixels to display in 100% scale. That's after factoring in the borders and the menu bar on top.

    Those "huge comments" are auto-generated by XCode. If you have written anything in XCode at all, you should know that.

    Simulator is better for debugging things and eliminating memory leaks before actually pushing to the device.

    If you test something without checking for memory leaks before you push it to your device, then the only thing you can do to eliminate the leak after testing is restart the device.

    You clearly don't know what you are talking about. (or not seeing)
  12. Maczor, Oct 28, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012

    Maczor macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    LU, Switzerland
    1) You can scale the simulator to fit you know... You're just being more silly.
    "Oooh, nooo... but I can't work if the simulator is not 100% scaled!" ... give me a break.

    2) I know it's generated code... my point remains: One doesn't need Full HD resolution to write code. The code never is the problem ( because normally / ideally, people don't write code / comments that require a minimum Full HD resolution to be viewed )... it's about the widgets / windows / panels one has a fetish for having around that need space. Yet again, people were using the same tools long before retina, on smaller resolutions without problems.

    This is more a problem about "personal likes"... it's far from a "real" issue.
    Don't bother replying to this point... I see no point in debating with your fanatic view on this anymore...

    3) If you write code that instantaneously eats up all available memory and crashes the devices, then your employer must be really proud of having you. Memory leaks, 99.9% of the time, eat up memory in time... Seriously now, you've never profiled on a device directly before have you? Same for debugging...

    As a note: profiling and looking for memory leaks is not something one does all day ( or at least, it shouldn't be such a common task ) when one knows what he is doing. Sure, problems appear down the road ( no code is perfect - memory leaks can happen ) and sure, the simulator can be a handy little tool when the problem can be actually reproduced in the simulator... but let's not exaggerate.

    Again: Ideally, one should test / debug his application on the real device as soon and as often as possible.

    4) What is not to see? That you're "fanboyism" is telling us to not even bother looking at those things without a retina? Grow up... or continue amusing us.
  13. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    1) Never said it's absolutely necessary that you have to use the Simulator at 100%. But it's a good thing that you can.

    2) And I never said anyone "needed" full HD resolution to write codes. I said that it's "best" if you can stretch your budget to the rMBP 15", and that it's better that you have more screen real estate and pixels to work with.

    3) The thing is that... you can "contain" memory leaks and problems within the Simulator, so you don't have to worry about crashing your device. Even if I can write codes that work without leaks or problems, it's still better to double check in a contained environment before pushing to the device. Certain features absolutely require an actual device to test. No denying that. But it's still best to double-check. Or are you 100% certain that every single line of code you write will be bug-free and won't introduce memory leaks? I can't make that claim. I'm human, and I make mistakes, too. If it makes me a bad developer, then so be it. I'd rather be called a bad developer than push out an app that does something bad.

    4) No. You're being unnecessarily hostile. If you "look" at the screenshot on a non-Retina screen, you'll either see just a very large image, or a scaled down representation of what you'd see on a Retina screen. That doesn't mean your screen is bad. It just means you won't be able to tell what "Retina" is.

    You seem to think I'm trying to imply that Retina is absolutely necessary, but that's not the case. I'm simply saying Retina is better.

    Does it mean that you should not bother looking at other screens? No. If you are on a budget, then by all means, non-Retina MacBooks are much better values for your money. However, if you can stretch your budget, then you can enjoy the improvements that Retina brings.

    Or did anything I write offend you in any way?
  14. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    I've got a 13.3" MacBook right now, with a 15" RMBP in the post.

    13.3" is too small for XCode. These are just my experiences, but I can't stand to do anything on it. You constantly need to toggle bars in and out, adjust the console/debug panel just so you can see a reasonable amount of code.

    The retina models can simulate larger desktops (IIRC, so even the 13.3" could appear to have 1920x1200 pixels). I don't think that would help: the text would be too small.

    Writing code involves dealing with lots of massive long text files; you'll love the extra space.

    Creating apps in general involves more than just writing code: it involves using graphics tools like photoshop, too. All of these tools are much more usable with a larger display, in my opinion.
  15. fabriciom macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2008
    Madrid, España
    How about 2 vs 4 core cpus? No one is using this much horse power? Im on a 8 core 2009 mac pro and need something for software dev that I can take with me. I m afraid of going down to 4 cores not even considering 2...
  16. Maczor macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    LU, Switzerland
    If you're a software engineer, I'm Queen Elisabeth II.

    Are you really expecting us to buy your story? You have a computer with 8 cores ( out of which - based on your reply - you're most likely using half of a single core 99.9% of the time ), and you have no freaking idea how 4 or 2 cores would handle stuff? What? You can't create banners on anything less than 8 cores?!

    Seriously?! Who are you trying to troll? Go to bed child...
  17. fabriciom macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2008
    Madrid, España

    Just so you can feel special. http://fnhmvc.codeplex.com its a framework I've made for my company http://www.inomba.com. You can see my nic as the creator. If you need to verify the owner of the company to feel extra special its registered in florida. Look up who owns it.

    Thanks you and have a nice day hater.
  18. Maczor macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    LU, Switzerland
    Troll off... Try selling your story to kids like yourself on your own block. You're telling me that you're a mega-engineer who can write mega-frameworks and is also incompetent enough to not be able to determine if anything lower than "8 mighty cores" is enough to get your job done? Hahahahah

    Grab a banana, a glass of milk and go to bed.
    You're just a pathetic troll... How can I be a hater when I'm laughing my *** off at your reply? :)))))

    You cracked me up... Hahahahah
    ... and your disperate attempt to clear your ****ups just makes you look even more pathetic =)))
  19. fabriciom macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2008
    Madrid, España
    What are you 10?
    Where have I stated Im a "mega-engineer" who writes "mega-frameworks".
  20. iScreamSanWitch macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2012
    LOL, testy atmosphere in here..

    Personally as a developer, I'd choose the 15 inch retina for development if portability is not an issue. I have a dell 15 inch dev company machine for work (Visual Studio IDE) and a 13 inch macbook for personal use. I tried coding on the 13 inch screen just for fun and found it to be too small, but that could be because I'm used to the 15 inch. It also doesn't have retina res so that could improve things. I'll know more when I receive the 13 inch retina I ordered (for personal use), but I'm guessing you can't wait that long. ;)
  21. fabriciom macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2008
    Madrid, España
    Hey, Im really not in a hurry. I just went over by the apple store and saw the retina in person and was very impressed. I'm just afraid of the hit I would get of going from 8 cores to 4. I also do my dev work in VS2010 and PostgresSQL/MSSQL. So I may have a couple of VMs running at the same time. Not to mention the problem with the screen. Any who, as far I can tell there is no other laptop that can compare.
  22. dilutedq macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2010
    ... an experienced developer can see it's just auto generated code. The purpose of the screenshot is just to show what it looks like in the editor window.
  23. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    I totally agree. In regards to iOS development anyway. I run Xcode on my 22" 1920x1080 display and even there I'm constantly toggling toolbars on and off.

    Since xCode introduced storyboards it's a real screen space hog. With storyboards you'll often have to drag from one view controller to another to set relationships or segues, and while you can zoom out, you can't actually click everything if you're not at 100%. At least you CAN zoom now, unlike the old interface builder :)

    I use it sometimes now on my plastic MacBook at 1280x800 and it's really hard to do anything other than writing code. But the workflow has changed significantly now so it's not that simple anymore.
  24. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2010
    Sure, it's POSSIBLE to code in an 80x26 console window. For that matter, who needs the display? Just get your deck of punch cards in order and code that way.

    Can you view a browser window and xcode side by side on a 13" rmbp?

Share This Page