What hardware would you recommend?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by nixiemaiden, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #1
    I am going to first start this off by saying that I don't really know anything about Macs. I am a back end web programmer and just trying to make myself more well rounded. I am looking into a new development machine and was looking into a Mac so I can add iOS development to my portfolio. I am also looking into messing around with some more front end development.

    I like to use dual screens however, my current monitor is on its last leg. I would also need a new keyboard and mouse...so basically starting from scratch equipment wise.

    I am leaning towards an entry level iMac and just buying a second monitor to go with it

    Or is it better to get a Mac mini with two monitors and a new keyboard and mouse?

    It just seems like when I have the Mac mini with similar specs to the iMac it ends up being close to the same price so I am hoping for a more expert opinion on what would be better. Also, I would rather buy from Amazon if possible (rewards points) so would prefer something that doesn't need customization if at all possible.
     
  2. bennibeef macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    #2
    Thats pretty much your own choice. If you like the iMac display, go with it and buy a second monitor, or if you want to have 2 similar monitors which look nice side by side go with the mac mini. For this kind of programming we dont really need to talk in specs and graphic cards. (SSD may be good for the workflow)

    For the keyboard, well thats the developers preference. If you like a clicky keyboard like a cherry (which is nice for programming in my opinion) you can use it with either a iMac or a MacMini (I think the standard apple keyboard is included with the iMac)

    I worked a long time with a clicky keyboard connected to my Macbook but currently only using the built in keyboard of the macbook with an external monitor. I also dont use a mouse anymore. Just the trackpad which was a transition at the beginning you may not be so fast to get the mouse to the exact character you want to edit.


    Hope this helps
    Benjamin
     
  3. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #3
    First off, I would wait until after Apple's announcements tomorrow before buying. Macs probably won't be the main focus of the event, but it's not uncommon for Apple to give them slight spec bumps or slight price reductions when announcing new iOS products.

    Next... I love the iMac because I hate wires. I don't have much desk space, and I don't want wires for displays and speakers and the like taking it up.

    But at the same time, a MacMini is nice for it's portability. But if you're really concerned about portability, why are you getting a desktop instead of a laptop?

    Personally, I've always bought iMacs... and everyone I know who has ever gotten a MacMini has later replaced it with an iMac. I think people generally go for the MacMini just because of its lower price.
     
  4. Duncan C macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #4
    For people who are cost-consious I usually recommend a mini because they are cheaper, especially if you already have a display. Any HD TV makes a wonderful display for a Mac.

    I don't like iMacs because the display is an integral part of the system. When you want to upgrade the CPU, you have to replace the whole thing with an iMac, which just seems wasteful.

    It's true that the display is an integral part of a laptop as well, but that's the price you pay for portability.

    If you're willing to spend the extra money, Apple's laptops are very well designed and built. They are a pleasure to use. However, that's the most expensive option of all.

    You could go used if you want to, and save quite a bit of money. I would suggest getting at least an i5 machine however. Newer Core II duo machines will run the latest OS and development tools, but not very quickly (My 2008 8-core Mac Pro is an exception to this, but it was a top-of-the line machine in it's day.)
     
  5. nixiemaiden thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #5
    My only reason for not including a laptop is because they are more expensive and I don't really need the portability although to be honest it wouldn't be horrible to have.

    I also have a work issued laptop for work development. It is a PC but the reason that I am concerned about specs is because especially with FireFox, I get a few things open and after a few hours, FireFox just gets so slow. I also use Eclipse and some other Java applications that seem to use up a lot of memory and slow things down after you have been using them for an hour or so.

    I am leaning towards the $799 Mac Mini at the moment. But still looking at some of the refurbished laptops...lol
     
  6. bennibeef macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    #6
    I would just look to put a SSD in there. The most performance increase you can get by a SSD not a 0,3 ghz faster processor. SSD is helping even if you have problems with firefox or your IDE if those are filling the RAM too fast it can put data on the SSD which is faster than your Harddisk.
     
  7. Duncan C macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #7
    I second the recommendation for an SSD. The difference it makes in system performance is mind-boggling.

    It takes your boot time from almost a minute to less than 10 second, apps launch dramatically faster, and many disk-based tasks are also greatly sped up.

    Compiling and linking really benefits because it is very disk-intensive.

    Make sure you make the SSD your boot drive, and that you get a big enough drive to be able to run Xcode and your most important apps from it. I would not get an SSD smaller than 128 GB, and 512 GB would be ideal (although SSDs that big are still pretty pricey.)

    Note that you can always move an SSD between computers (Mac or PC), so it's an investment that can outlive the computer in which its installed.

    Another benefit for SSDs in laptops is that they are DRAMATICALLY less sensitive to bumps and drops than mechanical drives. You can drop a laptop with a running SSD in it from waist height to the floor and the SSD will be completely unharmed. (No such promises about the laptop itself, but that's a different story...)
     
  8. nixiemaiden thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #8
    Is this easy to replace on the Mac Mini? In the past I have always built my computers but the cases have been pretty big. I'm usually very bad at putting things back in packages to the point that the package can close so it makes me very nervous about doing this. But $300 from Apple?!

    I might hold off on this for a little bit. I have been doing some research and came across Xaramin so I might just try out the starter version for a bit. It wouldn't hurt to learn C#. I don't want that to be a long term solution though since their yearly prices are pretty high considering I am just looking to expand my portfolio.

    I am definitely going to look into getting a Mac but might just wait until I have some more money saved up.
     
  9. Duncan C macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #9
    I don't know for sure. When we first started our company we bought a last-generation Mac Mini to use as a server, and it was NOT easy to get into. (We bought 3rd party memory to save money, since Apple's memory is absurdly overpriced.) I am generally very good at that sort of thing, but I broke off the IR transceiver inside the case in trying to get it closed. It wasn't a big deal since the machine was an office server and the Apple remote was not important, but I did feel bad about damaging a newly bought machine.

    I'm told that the newer Mac Minis are easier to get into. Lately Apple seems to make the memory chips and hard disk easy to get to, but the rest of it is all but impossible.

    Has anybody else reading this cracked the case on a newer Mac mini to replace the hard drive or upgrade memory?
     

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