Would you recommend Mac mini for computer science student?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ghost31, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. Ghost31 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2015
    Thinking about picking up a new Mac mini before I start school for computer science. Would be great to have at home hooked up to a monitor and to use remotely while I'm out of the house. What do you think? I've already got an apple keyboard so all I would need to buy is a trackpad
  2. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Should be OK.
    Think about getting a 2012 with an i7. It will have advantages running multiple VMs, which I found handy.
    Admittedly, I don't study CS anymore (that was 15 years ago, ahem...). But I believe the point is valid nevertheless;-)
  3. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    Most CompSci universities use Linux so I'd stick with a PC laptop running something like Mint.
  4. Nospig macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2011
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Sound advice, find out what software will be used on your courses. A dual boot Windows / Linux laptop could be a better option than a Mac sitting at home where you can't get to it.
  5. lympero macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2008
    Arta, Greece
    I say go for the mini. I finished my master in Cs by using a MacBook Pro with parallels (Windows + Linux) just make sure you'll have 8gb of ram.
  6. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    I run a VM with Linux Mint. It's more than adequate for compatibility purposes. Remember OS X is a UNIX-compliant system so all of those wonderful Linux CLI commands you learn work on OS X as well. You can learn a ton about your Mac by studying Linux.

    Even the newer Minis are fairly powerful computers as long as you don't need discrete graphics. A dual-core i5 is not an incapable CPU.
  7. mlts22, Dec 26, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015

    mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I have been using VMWare Fusion myself. It isn't cheap (if price is an issue, try VirtualBox), but it works quite well, especially for Web browsing (I use a VM for all web browsing, so a browser-based compromise only hoses the VM until I restore it to a known safe snapshot.)

    I recommend three things with Macs and virtualization:

    1: If at all possible, buy a SSD. Even an external USB 3.0 SSD is useful with its diminished I/O. The main reason for this is that the bare metal OS and the VM guest OS are not fighting for the same physical drive head to do I/O.

    2: VMWare doesn't have as many tricks in its arsenal to do memory swapping as it does in Windows or on ESXi... so max out the RAM. I would highly recommend getting 16 GB, minimum. 8GB will be cramped. 4GB... don't even bother.

    3: A 2014 Mac Mini will have two cores, but with Intel's HT, you can use it as four vCPUs. I tend to just use two vCPUs as standard across all VMs unless there is a reason to do different.

    As for operating systems, Linux and Windows run very well virtualized.
  8. Alexrat1996 macrumors 68030


    Mar 29, 2015
    Lehigh valley PA
    I'm doing computer science also i have a mac mini 2014 and mac book pro 13 2015
  9. Ghost31 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2015
    Is having a desktop (Mac mini) any kind of a obstacle when you're in school? I'm wondering if it will be for me when I start. But I would rather have a Mac mini than a MacBook.

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