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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 9, 2014
Hi guys. I'm a frontend developer and i've been thinking about getting a Mac for a while. I use VS all the time and i'm connected to SQL server. I thought about Mac mini with 16 GB RAM and M1 processor. Mac mini is cheaper in terms of price. But Mac Studio with M1 Max offers better than the features of Mac mini. Mac Studio is a bit more expensive but the features are very good. I'm also considering a MacBook Pro. A 16-inch Macbook with M1 Pro or a MacBook with M2 could do the work. I work mostly from home, my work is remote and i don't go to the office. Would it make more sense to get a desktop Mac? My mind is very confused. What do you think?


macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2022
Front-end developer? I'd say M2 MacBook Air; it'll have enough power for your needs, and you can hook it up to a monitor if you're at home, or use it on the go if you want to work at a coffee shop for a change of pace.

A Mac Studio or MacBook Pro would obviously be more powerful, but also more expensive; whether you need that much power (and don't mind paying extra for it) is something only you can answer. But personally I think the M2 MacBook Air will be enough for what you've mentioned.
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macrumors 68020
Dec 19, 2009
M2 Air.
Just bought yesterday one for wife and given my 13 inch m2 Air to daughter few months ago. These are marvelous machines. Currently on base 14 inch M3 Macbook Pro. These M chips are extremely powerful and efficient.
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macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
I use VS all the time and i'm connected to SQL server.

Ok - important question: do you mean Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code? Totally different products and if you mean "Visual Studio" forget about getting a Mac unless you're ready to make huge workflow changes: there's no direct Mac equivalent of VS for Windows... there is/was a "Visual Studio for Mac" (now discontinued) but that was something completely different again. Complaints on a postcard to Microsoft for using confusing product names.

VS Code is well supported on Mac - but you should still check around to see if all of the languages, tools and plugins you use are supported and tested on Mac.

Likewise - but maybe not such a big deal breaker - SQL Server doesn't run natively on Mac - sounds like you're connecting to a remote server but if you do need it running locally you'll have to run it in something like Docker (& possibly under x86 emulation, although that's probably fine for testing).

The Mac is a great development machine for modern, platform-agnostic mobile/web technologies, but if there's lingering Windows stuff in your workflow you may be better off sticking to PC.

Would it make more sense to get a desktop Mac? My mind is very confused. What do you think?

With Apple Silicon, everything is using the same range of systems-on-a-chip so there's no night-and-day performance difference between laptops and desktops with the same processor name (the fanless MacBook Airs are slightly slower under heavy load) and most development work isn't CPU heavy anyway. So even an occasional need for mobility would tip the balance in favour of a laptop. If you're likely to do development work on the road then I'd definitely go for a 15" or 16", but if you're mostly going to commute between desks with large displays or just do email etc. on the road a 13" or 14" will be more portable.

If you like a multi-display setup (great for development) be aware that while any desktop Mac will support dual displays, the lower-end MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models with M1 and M2 (not pro or max) processors will only drive a single external display - the M3 MacBook Air/Pro can drive two if you close the lid and turn off the internal display. If you're likely to want a multi-monitor setup I'd go for a "M1/2/3 pro" or "max" chip which supports more displays and have beefier GPUs.
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macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
First, pay attention to what luggage wrote in reply 5 above. Will the Mac work for you?

If after reading that you can still use a Mac, questions:
Do you NEED or WANT portability?
Or will you ALWAYS use the Mac in one location (i.e., on the desk)?

If you want portability, get a MacBook Pro. 14" or 16".

If you want "a desktop", get an m2pro Mini or a Mac Studio.
BE AWARE that new Minis look to be coming later this year, perhaps in October, and likely they will have m4 and m4pro CPUs. A BIG "jump upwards".

Same for the MacBook Pros.

So... it might be worth holding out for these.

Like the saying goes:
If you NEED now, then BUY now.
If you can wait... it's up to you.
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macrumors 6502a
Jun 22, 2012
I work from home, using a MacBook Pro M1 and a 27” external monitor.
I greatly prefer the 27” monitor to using the screen of the MacBook, so I think your decision of MacBook vs Mac Mini/Studio depends on whether you want to take the computer with you when you leave the house or travel. If you don’t travel with the computer, then of course it makes more sense to take the route of an external monitor.
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