Used MacBook | Entry Level Programming

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by DiggityBiggity, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. DiggityBiggity macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #1
    Hi all! I currently do some limited Python/HTML/JavaScript on my HP laptop but wanted to start basic app development for iOS. I don't have a ton of discretionary income as my wife and I are expecting our first child in January, but would love a portable/space saving solution that I can start learning objective C with.

    What should I search Craigslist/eBay for that will be sufficient for coding? I don't plan on doing ANYTHING aside from coding on the laptop.

    Thanks for the help and sorry if I've left anything out you may need to know to help answer the question.
     
  2. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #2
    Running Xcode (the programming environment you'd most likely want to use for Objective-C) doesn't take much, if that's all you want to do. It runs acceptably on my 7 year old iMac (I bought it Halloween 2007) with 4 GB RAM, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 1 TB HHD.

    It's kind of slow at compiling - that would be improved if I had more cores. It's slow swapping between a lot of files. That would be improved if I had more RAM. But it does work. So I would say you want at least what I have, and you probably want better than what I have (keep in mind that although I'm putting up with it now, I plan on replacing it sometime next year.)

    The biggest thing that you'll want is a big screen. My iMac has 24" and it still feels cramped. I've heard people with 27" iMacs say the same thing. Perhaps you'd want an external screen to use in addition to the built in screen.
     
  3. DiggityBiggity thread starter macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #3

    Incredibly helpful post, thanks! Yeah, I would run dual monitors for sure!!!

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Boris-VTR macrumors regular

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    Apr 18, 2013
    #4
    If you can find some 2012 era macbook pro it would be perfect. Why you might ask? Because on those machines you can add up to 16G RAM (on apple site it says max 8G, but it does take 16G no problem) and easily install SSD whenever you find some extra money or just to speed up computer.
    It also have onboard graphic card which is super reliable. And is enough for coding (even for making 2D games). It runs photoshop or pixelmator with no problem.
    My ultimate coding cheap mac proposition would be 2012 mac mini. Same reason: buy it cheap and add RAM and SSd when you feel like it or have some extra money in your pocket. No need to buy 2.5k $ iMac just for coding and then abandoning idea.
    I am using 2012 i5 8G RAM dual core macbook air and is working like charm. Fast to compile and not showing any sign of barely doing this stuff. It will be good for min of 2 more years. I also run pixelmatr and is performing very well. But is not user upgradable (RAM department).
    But Apple is really week this year on software stability. Last Xcode version 6.0.1 is god awful. Jerky and bug fest (adding particle class will crash your app-perfect). I am making some 2D game and adding particle is nightmare).
     
  5. DiggityBiggity thread starter macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #5

    Thanks for the advice!!!
     
  6. iizmoo macrumors 6502

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    Jan 8, 2014
    #6
    Anything with a more recent i5 or i7 will be fine. The minor lag between some CPUs will probably be small enough you may not notice it and would be the tradeoff for getting an older used mac.

    Do make sure it has at least 8GB of RAM though. Up until 2013, I was using a 2010 Core2 Duo Macbook Pro with 4GB, and running the IOS 6 & 7 version simulator was the only significantly slow process in my development. It was a little painful, took about 15-20 seconds for simulator launch and compile. When I moved over to the 2013 MB Air with i7 CPU, went down to about 5 seconds for simulator launch, and 3-10 seconds for compile once the simulator's running. The simulator does suck up quite a bit of RAM when it's running (considering also that you'll probably also have Xcode, mail, browser, and whatever else running at the same time as well).
     
  7. DiggityBiggity thread starter macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #7
    All of your replies are incredibly helpful, I really appreciate it!
     
  8. f77coder macrumors newbie

    f77coder

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    #8
    if you want the latest apps and functionality, you need something from at least 2011.
     
  9. DiggityBiggity thread starter macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #9
    That's an incredibly helpful answer!!! I don't have a ton of discretionary "play" money, so I want to be sure I buy the right thing the first time!
     
  10. kage207 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #10
    I do not recommend Core 2 Duo family. I would go with the iSeries. Much better as I've seen issues with Xcode and Chrome on the Core 2 Duo family.
     
  11. f77coder macrumors newbie

    f77coder

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    #11
    i've never had issues but i don't use a 32-bit browser on a 64-bit platform.
     
  12. kage207 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #12
    Meh. I don't have the Core 2 Duo but my buddies do and they see some bad results when the are running Xcode and Chrome.

    I only use Chrome when doing web development.
     
  13. DiggityBiggity thread starter macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #13
    So it's not portable, and it's a little over what I was considering spending, but I am assuming a new Mac Mini would absolutely work.

    I'm a bit of N00B when it comes to Mac as I've always had a PC, are the minis upgradable?
     
  14. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #14
    I would consider a couple things that haven't been mentioned much. Depending on your goals you may want to consider something recent enough to run the latest versions of OSX. That way you maintain access to the latest Xcode. When deciding on options, you should look at what models have known problems. For example I wouldn't recommend a 2011 15" or 17" due to gpu issues with that generation. The 2010 15" had some problems as well. You should factor in any potential service costs. By that I mean look at the charger cord for signs of kinks and extensive wear. Look at the number of battery cycles. Test the trackpad. I know at least the pre-rmbp batteries can swell toward the end of their lifespans. In many models you will notice this first around the trackpad, which becomes more difficult to click. I don't mean you have to avoid these, but if it is likely to require a new battery or charger in the near future, you want to factor that into your offer.
     
  15. DiggityBiggity thread starter macrumors 6502

    DiggityBiggity

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    #15

    All excellent advice!!! Thank you so much for your reply!!!
     
  16. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #16
    No problem. I wanted to help ensure against a used machine becoming a false economy.
     
  17. f77coder macrumors newbie

    f77coder

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    #17
    the 2011 17" MBP does have issues with the GPU but if you get one like I did off eBay with a new motherboard you'll be ok. upgraded to 16GB of ram, 500GB of SSD main drive sweetness with 750GB in the superdrive slot. boots in 5 seconds
     
  18. grandM macrumors 6502a

    grandM

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #18
    The advises of my colleagues are made of gold (mini 2012 is a cash saver)
    Mine is one of platinum
    Make sure you still have some cash to buy your wife a new pair of shoes
    I recommend Gary's store in LA
    Make sure getting Al Bundy as your shoes salesman
    You can't go wrong on that one!
     

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