Windows Developer MBP Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by c1phr, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. c1phr, Jan 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011

    c1phr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    #1
    I'm coming from an entirely Windows and Linux background. I have never owned a Mac, and rarely used one. However, for my next laptop, I have been seriously considering a Mac Book Pro. I will be going into college next year in Computer Science as a programmer, focusing on Java and Windows .net programming. I plan on having my Windows desktop with me (custom built gaming rig) for whenever I feel like gaming or using Windows heavily.

    Here is what I had planned to do:

    Buy a Sandy Bridge 13in MBP when the refresh happens
    Running Eclipse and Adobe CS5 (DW, PS and AI) under OSX
    Install Windows 7 under Bootcamp (Visual Studio and Zune)
    Eventually, before starting school, putting in a hybrid drive and another 4 gigs of ram

    Under Windows, I really would only be running Visual Studio and Zune, games would be very limited. Most of the games I play are cross platform anyway (thank you Steam).

    Money is somewhat tight, and the 13 inch is all I will be able to afford right now. Hence, my choice on 13 over 15 is based on cost, not due to weight or form factor. The upgrades I've listed are only proposed and may not happen.

    My questions are:

    Will the 13in be suitable for what I need? When I'm not in class, I will have an external monitor (21.5" 1920x1080) to connect to, but only if I need it. Would it actually be worth it for me to go with the 15" model? I felt that I would probably be fine, as my old laptop was 1280x800 across a 15" panel, so no matter I'm getting the same or more pixels, but I realize that the size is still a factor.

    For my needs, would I be better off just using Win7 under VM Ware/Parallels/Virtual Box?

    If I were only able to afford one of those upgrades, is the hybrid drive really as big of a performance boost as I've read? I've heard very mixed reviews on those drives in Mac's, so I'm wondering how my upgrades should be prioritized.

    One last footnote: While I do state a few times that I won't be gaming very much, the GPU is still important to me. If the rumors that apple will be relying only on Sandy Bridge's graphics for the 13in model are true, can anyone speculate on the 3d performance of it? Compared to the 320m? I'd like to still be able to play some games at med-high settings and playable framerates on this machine for a while. Nothing crazy, and even if they kept with the 320m I would be fine, but hearing Intel and graphics together worries me a bit.

    I know this type of "what should I do" thread is posted every 30 sec, but after reading over many of them I still haven't been able to find the answers to some of my questions. Thank you to all of you who are able to help, it really will have helped me.
     
  2. willieva macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    #2
    Since you don't need a computer until next year, you might as well wait until then to worry about it. Once you get to school you'll have a better idea of what you need/want. And a better idea of what is available.

    The current 13" would be fine for what you want to do. The screen is a bit small for a programmer, but that doesn't seem to bother you. Personally I wouldn't go less than 15" if it were my only laptop to be programming on. You might find the portability of the 13" coupled with an external monitor fits your lifestyle best.
     
  3. c1phr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for the input!

    I do want to get this years model, since I do use my laptop heavily and I might be doing a web design internship this year where I will want the machine. I'm fine with it being a bit dated by college, as it only has to last me through the first year or so (which is all java anyway, nothing really on the Windows side). I was considering the portability as being a very large factor, though I've read in other threads that the 15" is fairly portable itself.
     
  4. c1phr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    #4
    I know bumps are often frowned upon, and I apologize for this, but does anyone have any other recommendations on virtual machines/hybird drives? Or any information on how viable sandy bridge graphics will actually be?

    I think I'll probably be going with the 13in and just using my external monitor I already have, but if anyone has a different side of the argument for or against the 15" model, I would love to hear it.

    Thank again!
     
  5. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #5
    As far as virtual machines go, I can report success on keeping Visual Studio 2010 Pro in a Vista VM on my White MacBook (a Early 2008 Model), I used VirtualBox as it was free. I can also report Eclipse works brilliantly on it, however since Im doing Java I prefer to code in TextWrangler, but Eclipse does work well on the screen. I would argue get the 13" over the 15" if you have an external monitor whenever you need it, or access to a larger screen on a different machine with the same applications, as the 13" is just so portable. (For instance I love my 13" in conjunction with a 27" Cinema on a Mac Pro - it means I can get stuff done on the move without much weight penalty).
     
  6. c1phr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    #6
    This sounds good! The mobility was a key factor in the decision to me, but I figured the 15" was still quite portable. Knowing that Visual Studio and Eclipse both work well is very good. I've used Aptana Studio on my netbook (very similar interface since it was built on eclipse) and while it wasn't comfortable, it was usable. Thank you very much for your insight!
     
  7. admwright macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    I can also confirm that VS words fine in virtual machines. I use VMWare Fusion on my iMac and MS Virtual PC on my Windows box. I really like having multiple VM's as I can keep different developments totally separate. It is also great for testing as you can have multiple test environments - snap shots work great here as you can have a clean machine every time you do a test run if you want.

    All the best
    Andrew W.
     
  8. c1phr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    #8
    Awesome, I was hoping that this would be easy to implement, and it seems that it will be. Thank you so much for your input!
     

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