Software Development on an Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hvgotcodes, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. hvgotcodes macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    #1
    Anyone have an Air and use it primarily for software development? If so, would you recommend it?

    I have a 2010 17" MBP. I love the 1920x1200 res; allows me to comfortably put two editors next to each other (e.g. class and its test, js and css, etc). I use Intellij as my IDE.

    I'm thinking Im going to wait for Haswell to get a rMBP. If I look at the benchmarks correctly, I think a decked out 2012 Air is faster than my early 2010 MBP. Is that correct?

    Currently I have one cinema display and another external display. I use a LOT of pixels for work. IDE, browsers, debuggers, mail, issue tracking software, gitx, keynote/word, colloquy etc. My typical ram usage is around 8GB. When I do get a uMBP, 16GB all the way.

    If I did get an Air, I would get 2 cinema displays (the 2012s can drive 2 right?) and work primarily off that. Im primarily concerned about how it would go when I do some light work in front of the TV; right now the 17" display works ok, I'm worried that a 13" screen wouldn't cut it.

    Anyone with similar workflows use an Air?

    My 17" is fine; I think I'm just looking for a reason to get a new computer ;).

    Oh, and is diablo3 ok on an Air? I'm happy with the way it plays on my 2010.
     
  2. titanflyer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #2
    I think the Air can only run one external display.. but someone will undoubtedly correct me if I am wrong.

    I was in a similar boat, but with a twist. My company is all windows PC's, and I have had mine for 2 years... its a little long in the tooth and not fullfilling my everyday needs, even for my job. I bought a MBA 11 inch to replace my iPad as it just didn't cut it for me, and ran a VM image of my PC laptop on it. I am pushing the limits on the MBA for sure (4GB/128SSD i5) but it works well enough.

    To your question, the 11 inch, and even the 13 inch Air will work for you, but from your requirements I would suggest something with more screen real estate if you ever do this stuff remotely as I do. The stuff you will be doing will require staring at that screen for long periods and I can tell you from the 11 inch aspect, it SUCKS. Wonderful machine that does what its designed for, which I don't believe is development.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. photosaurus macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    #3
    An 8 gig 2012 air would get the job done, I think. For now.

    But so would the 17 inch pro you already have, and with more screen real-estate to work with, which is important for dev work. If I were in your shoes, I'd just wait another year before upgrading. An air is barely passable as a dev machine, and the only reason I'd ever want to use one is if ultra-portability was my absolute top priority.

    The Retina seems to have enough of both worlds (portability / power and desktop real-estate), but I don't think you've played your 17 out as long as I would.
     
  4. hvgotcodes thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    #4
    Yeah, I'm not considering an 11" at all. And yep, it seems screen real estate is definitely the biggest sacrifice here.

    ----------

    Yes this is the most logical thing to do. I do like my current computer. I just want to buy something. As you said, a decked out 13" will "get the job done, for now".

    One benefit I can see, from here http://www.primatelabs.com/blog/2012/06/macbook-air-pro-benchmarks/

    is that the new airs seems to be about 50% faster than my computer.

    given that while Im sure things would be nicer if they were faster, the speed of my computer is completely fine. I really am just looking for excuses here.

    Another, bigger benefit would be that the air can drive 2 cinemas, which would result in net increase in the number of pixels i have on my desktop. Of course, I would be sacrificing pixels when I'm mobile....
     
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #5
    The 2012s can power 2 external displays, plus the internal display. The 2011 was limited to 1 external display because of the HD 3000 chip. The HD 4000 is more powerful.
     
  6. titanflyer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #6
    Good to know... I run mine (2011) into a 42 inch 1080p LCD monitor. It runs at max 1080p, which works much better than the 11 inch air screen...lol.
     

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