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General Discussion

Jean Malan
Jean Malan
10,781 Points

Is the new 2016 MacBook good enough for programming?

I'm looking at getting a new Mac and I would like to know what people think about running programming applications such as Jshell, Netbeans etc on the new MacBook? I do not wanna go ahead and a year later have to worry about performance. Let me know what you think! Here are some of the specs:

Display Retina display 12-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology 2304x1440 resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colours 16:10 aspect ratio Supported scaled resolutions: 1440x900 1280x800 1024x640

Processor 1.2GHz 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 4MB L3 cache

Memory 8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory

Storage 512GB PCIe-based onboard flash storage

Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515

1 Answer

You may be better off with the cheapest 13" MacBook Pro, and purchasing extra RAM from a third party. The installation of RAM is pretty simple. You'd be looking at about $100 more if you upgraded it to 512GB hard drive. You'd also have a faster processor, and better graphics card. Personally, I don't think the MacBook, or MacBook Air are really made for programming outside of casual web development.

Whatever you decide to get, be sure you can upgrade your RAM. One thing I've learned from having Macs is that your available RAM gets eaten up quickly with the simplest of applications (like Chrome or Safari). You could even look at 2012 MacBook Pro models. They're definitely more than good enough.

Jean Malan
Jean Malan
10,781 Points

Thanks for the reply. I was looking at the new pro but the 512GB is pretty pricey. Would you think that the 256GB MacBook Pro is still better than the 512GB MacBook?

Kevin Korte
Kevin Korte
28,148 Points

I do believe this advice in regards to ram is not accurate. For the past few years my understanding is that the ram is soldered in to the board, making it not upgradable. So however much ram it comes with from apple, is all the more ram it's every going to have.

Yeah, that's right. I'm a few years in the past so don't listen to my RAM advice unless you get an older model or an iMac (which I recently did & did this process).

I have a MacBook Pro 2012 model. Honestly, I wouldn't upgrade to a newer model for anything besides flash storage. If the programs you're building now and in the future don't involve a lot of graphics, then you may be able to skate by with a MacBook. You will experience some lag here and there for sure. The current MacBook Pro models are definitely expensive. If 256GB won't be enough for you, then there's always the option of buying an external in future. Considering the MacBook should come with a Fusion drive, that may make up for the processor.

The thing about Apple is, they build there devices to last a while. That's why I strongly suggest you at least look into an older MacBook Pro model if you're not looking to enroll in something like AppleCare.

There's tons of comparisons out there that can help you make your decision. I just recently bought my new iMac, so I know how hard it can be to decide. I tried a few forums, but simply googling things like "which iMac is best for me" helped more than anything.