Macbook 12 Inch (2015) vs Macbook Pro retina 13 Inch (2015) for Coding and Developing

tommyturner12

Estimable
Apr 30, 2014
45
0
4,590
1
I have an issue on my hands.

TL;DR - I'm interested in learning code and developing apps, as well as game creation.

(I'm 14 years old and am starting to delve deeper into coding, developing, game creation, etc. As of now, I have a custom built desktop computer that I built nearly a year ago. It's running an i5-4690k overclocked to 4.3GHz on a Corsair H100i GTX water cooler alongside 16GB of RAM and a Powercolor PCS+ R9 290, housed in an NZXT H440 case. I love the computer to death and use it for nearly everything, especially gaming.

One of the many websites I use for tech info is WCCFTech. When I was scrolling through their Deals section of the site I noticed a LOT of coding and developing bundles, lessons, teaching, etc. All for a very cheap price that ranged from teaching Java Script, C++, Ruby and Python to iOS and Android game development, Unity Engine lessons, to Cyber Security and hacking and VPN's, and a lot of other things. You get the point.

Well, needless to say it peaked my interest and I want to expand my horizon more, so as of now I want to begin learning coding and developing. I know that it will be very difficult and require lots of patience, but I'm willing to stick it out.)


Alright, to the point. I have both a custom desktop for home usage and a Surface RT for school work through Word and Powerpoint. I'm in need of a laptop for mobile usage and I will use it for research, school work, and you guessed it: coding. What I need out of the laptop specifically is for it to be light, thin, easy to travel with, a nice battery, a great screen and keyboard, and a nice touchpad. Obviously, I'm boiling the decision down to two laptops. The brand new Macbook 12 inch 2015 and the Retina Macbook Pro 13 inch 2015. It's a difficult decision because where one laptop has a flaw, the other alleviates that issue, and vice versa.

What it ABSOLUTELY needs to have is...OS X. I'll be using XCode and Swift for iOS development, so a Mac is a must. Later on I may purchase a gaming grade laptop for the same usage as my desktop, but for when I'm, on the move.

Both laptops have Retina screens, however the Macbook pro has a larger screen. The footprint is also larger which can be good or bad. They both also have the same touchpad and features such as Force Touch. Let's take these into consideration.

Macbook 12 inch:
-65% lighter
-Incredibly thin
-Comes in 3 colors
-Eye catcher; amazing design
-Small enough to fit comfortably in a backpack
-No fan because of Core M
-Comes with 256Gb compared to Pro's 128Gb default config
-Keyboard looks and feels nicer (I've felt it)

Macbook Pro 13 inch:
-Much more powerful
-Cheaper default config ($100)
-Still light, decent portability
-Better keyboard travel
-Bigger screen
-More screen options
-MANY more ports
-Better battery life


So basically, they are going neck and neck right now. I'm leaning towards the 12 inch Macbook however. I have a powerhouse PC for all other needs such as gaming and intensive work, so I only need a laptop for the reasons listed in the beginning of this post. The 12 inch Macbook is one of the lightest laptops in the world, incredibly thin, makes the Macbook pro feel like a brick, has a small enough footprint, and may be powerful enough to meet my needs as they aren't high. However it is a terrible value option. I might miss the Pro's larger screen and powerful specs. I know building a code requires quite a bit of CPU power. If I ever feel the need to play a game on the go, then the Pro would deal much better with a WoW session or DOTA 2. But I also love the Macbook 12 inch aesthetics, and for travel it seems perfect. Oh, the decisions :(

I'm also considering just buying a gaming laptop from XoticPC and dual booting Mac OS X on it however there are a lot of problems with that. I wouldn't try it.

Please, help!
 

tommyturner12

Estimable
Apr 30, 2014
45
0
4,590
1


Thank you. I will take that into consideration. However I failed to mention that the Macbook 12 inch also comes with 256GB of SSD storage as default while the Pro comes with only 128GB. Upping that to 256 costs about $200 and that's out of myt price range. For Unity creation (Simple games, nothing big) will that be enough alongside coding and programs required?
 

dudeman509

Estimable
Jan 23, 2015
416
1
5,210
99


It's stupid that they even offer it with 128. That simply isn't enough space to be the only drive in a system for most users today.
 

tommyturner12

Estimable
Apr 30, 2014
45
0
4,590
1


This is really difficult. The power of the Macbook is so nice, but it only comes with 128Gb. Upgrading to 256Gb notches the price to $1500. The Macbook 12 inch at that point would be $200 less. any idea what I should do? There is always other sellers and Amazon/Ebay.
 

It's possible to upgrade the SSD on the Macbook Pros. You're not stuck with what the laptop had when you bought it. You'll still pay about 2x what it costs for a SSD on a PC laptop (Apple uses a proprietary connector), but it's better than the 4x Apple charges.

If you're looking at a new 2014 or 2015 MBP, the company that sells SSD upgrades is still working on making compatible SSDs. But if you want to get the 128GB now, and upgrade it in the future when you have more money, that's an option.
http://blog.macsales.com/29072-owc-tears-down-tests-new-2015-13-macbook-pro-with-retina-display

The flash for the SSD on the 12" Macbook is soldered to the motherboard, and can't be upgraded.

Personally I would go with the 13" MBP. The 12" Macbook was made for people obsessed with size and weight like the Macbook Airs, but who needed the better screen of the MBP (the Air screens suck even compared to most PC laptops). There's nothing preventing Apple from putting a better screen on the MBAs, they just chose to do it this way to extract more money from people. I've used 3 lb and 4 lb laptops for the last 18 years, and you don't really notice the weight difference once it's in your bag. I'd be concerned about 2 lbs vs 3.5 lbs if I had to hold it in my hand to use it like a tablet. But it's a laptop. It'll either be in your bag, or on a desk. Who cares how light it feels when you're holding it? I moved back to 4 pounds this time around (previous laptop was a 2.97 lb Sony Z) for the bigger screen (14") because the weight didn't really matter.

Speaking of which, for programming you will probably want a second display anyway - one to view code while you're debugging, one to run the program you're working on. Since you say you want to program for iOS, I assume you have an iPad. There are several apps which allow you to use it to extend the screen of your laptop. A big honking 27" monitor is best (to maximize the amount of code you can display), but since you're on a budget the iPad is a cheap way to get a second screen.
 

accountswu

Estimable
Dec 11, 2015
1
0
4,510
0


Hi tommyturner12,
I don't know if you made your purchase already. I think if you need it for browsing or even light development the Macbook Air is good. Some full-time developers develop on the Macbook Air 13". The issue there is the resolution is only 1440 x 900 on the recent 13" Airs, for development you need better than that. The Air is still better than a 13" non-retina Macbook Pro (archaic 1280 x 800) and the Macbook Pro Retina is obviously better than the Air. I cannot comment on gaming capability but it's probably average or below average for gaming.

I have been looking at Macbook Air, Pro and Retina models for years and comparing them to PC laptop alternatives. The 11" and 13" lightest laptop category was already dominated by Macbook Air, no competitor offers the speed and battery time that comes close to them. The Macbook Pro (pre-retina, low resolution) really suck; the 2011 13" version only had 1280 x 800 which is pathetic, there is too little vertical space to get anything done. Even the 15" only offered 1440 x 900. Compare that to Lenovo X300 which offered 1440 x 900 in 13.3" back in 2008. Macbook Pro Retina changed all that in 2012 and it offers resolutions that haven't been matched by any other manufacturer as far I know. Apple continues to sell brand new copies of the same old cr@ppy resolution Macbook Pro laptops with rotating disk drives. I would suggest getting the last year's 13" Macbook Pro Retina instead of a new non-retina Pro or even the Macbook Pro 12. You can find a 2013 13" Retina with 256GB SSD for $700-800. If the previous owner had extended Apple Care warranty on it you will be able to use that warranty because apple goes by the serial number, no receipt required.
 

yuteache

Estimable
Dec 14, 2015
2
0
4,510
0
the previous owner had extended Apple Care warranty on it you will be able to use that warranty because apple goes by the serial number, no receipt required.
 
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