Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Bye Bye Dream Machine

Mac Pro This evening, I'm shipping back one of my favorite machines of all time. I received a fully-loaded Mac Pro as part of my employment with LinkedIn last June. It was necessary to run the LinkedIn application locally and I thoroughly enjoyed using it for the last 6 months. With 12GB of RAM and two 23" monitors, it was a great employee perk.

When I became a contractor again, they let me take my dream machine home. I promptly plugged in my 30" monitor and I've been loving my home work environment ever since. I could have bought the machine from LinkedIn, but I discovered I can buy a brand new machine with similar specs for less than their asking price.

The good news is I'm now able to answer the question I asked a couple years ago: One 30" monitor or two 23" monitors? IMO, one 30" monitor is definitely better and two 30" monitors would be awesome.

In addition to the Mac Pro, I'll also be shipping back the 15" MacBook Pro they gave me. This leaves me with my 17" MacBook Pro and an old HP Pavilion with Windows XP. I was hoping to plug my 30" into the HP, but I discovered I don't have a DVI card that will handle it. Over the next few months, I do plan on buying a new MacBook Pro (for work) and a Mac Pro (for home). With my running commute, I need to leave one machine downtown and I like to have one at home for the kids + late night hacking.

I'm currently having a hard time deciding if I should buy a MacBook Pro now or make do with what I have and just buy a new DVI card for my Windows box. I'm leaning towards a new 15" MacBook Pro (17" is too big to travel with). If I could get one with a 256GB SSD, I'd definitely be sold.

What would you do?

Posted in Mac OS X at Jan 26 2009, 10:18:33 PM MST 19 Comments
Comments:

All the power you will ever need is in the ZUNE ! Only people in Washington state know this secret ! It only crashes every leap year so you are good till 2013 !

Posted by Billy on January 26, 2009 at 11:41 PM MST #

You may want to consider a 13" MB, it doesn't have the GeForce 9600M GT like the pro, but with 4.5 pounds you can probably bring it on your commute. Or you could buy a new bike with the money you save.

Posted by Romke on January 27, 2009 at 02:37 AM MST #

I agree with Romke. A 13'' one with a huge monitor or a couple of them is what I would go for

Posted by nimeacuerdo on January 27, 2009 at 04:31 AM MST #

Macbook Pro 15" -- Hands down it is the best machine I've ever used. Be gentle with the ethernet port (it is a weak spot in the design and can be jiggled to disfunction) but it is otherwise a cool running, blazing fast, feat of engineering.

Posted by puppetluva on January 27, 2009 at 08:12 AM MST #

Go for the 15" MBP. Its the best combination of portability and oomph. You can retire the HP and run Windows in BootCamp/Parallels/VMWare or Sun's free VirtualBox. Its very easy to replace the disk in MBP's now, so you could buy a 256GB SSD separately. If you want to go crazy on it, Toshiba has a 512GB SSD coming out in Q2, probably very pricey though!

Posted by Chris Herron on January 27, 2009 at 09:18 AM MST #

Hi Matt,

Go for 15" MBP if you really care about performance and need bigger viewable area during mobile. If not then 13" Macbook is enough

Posted by Tjiputra Yapeter on January 27, 2009 at 11:20 AM MST #

Unless you cannot get your work done on the old equipment, I would hold off. All this year contractors are going have a big bulls eye painted on their back. I recommend planning for the worse. Just consider that out of 20,000 people that Caterpillar is laying off 12,000 were said to be consultants and contractors.

This is also prudent from a tech side. As Romke pointed out, there isn't enough bang for your buck right now in the MacBook Pro laptop line. Apple had to release an update, because new MacBooks were better than existing Macbook Pro line at the time. I expect they will get an update around Apple's developer conference to use quad-core chips that will be used in the new high-end iMacs. The new iMacs might also be a reason to hold on a Mac Pro. When they put a quad-core in an iMac, it might be a better value proposition. I doubt this will be the case for you, since you've already have invested in 30in display.

One thing to keep in mind, I'm confident the new MacBook Pro 15 will no longer have a removable battery. They will follow the lead of the 17in. Also you might jump now, if you are concerned about working 1.0 generation of MacBook Pros with quad cores. These concerns could be justification for jumping now, if you have cash to buy now. Do nothing with credit these days!

Posted by Jeff Duska on January 27, 2009 at 11:56 AM MST #

Thanks for the advice everyone, especially the Zune recommendation. ;-) I wish my iPhone had enough CPU and memory power to be a laptop and I could just dock it at home and work. That'd be sweet.

I do plan on getting a MacBook Pro, but would like to wait for the next upgrade - especially if I can get longer battery life, a bigger SSD and more CPU power. In an ideal world, that'll happen before my training class in London. However, I don't think the Apple developer conference is until June.

As a stop-gap, I've ordered a Radeon HD2600XT 512MB for my Windows box. At < $100, it seemed like a good deal.

Posted by Matt Raible on January 27, 2009 at 01:44 PM MST #

Wow, you've got a luxurious setup already. Why complicate it with more hardware? After having 5+ laptops, 2 workstations, and a closet of 1-3 servers for at-home development (custom cooling system, etc), I've cut back everything to 1 windows laptop, and 1 MacBook Pro 17", with 24" monitors for each. This has simplified the amount of auxiliary crap that is needed to support everything. I can actually think about work, rather than what I need to support work. So, the job gets done, rather than worrying about what it takes to do the job.

So, I'd hold-off for as long as possible, and sell everything that wasn't immediately needed. Good luck.

Posted by Jason Thrasher on January 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM MST #

I got two PowerMac 2xG5 towers way back when, and put a 30" on one and a 24" on the other. Although it is nice having such huge real estate, the Mac UI just isn't suited to it (apart from video production or such). The "one true menu bar" means waaay too much mouse mileage.

I quickly got the idea for the #4 and #5 mouse buttons that they would "swap" cursor locations so that I could switch among several "hot" areas (content, dock/left menu bar, menu bar tray), but never implemented it. Perhaps someone else has but I haven't seen it yet.

At the moment I'm using the 24" and I find it quite comfortable. Multiple 24s would be nice, as many as 3, especially if I had that cursor switching extension.

Folks who use more key commands and fewer mouse clicks will naturally have less of a problem with this aspect (mouse mileage).

Posted by Jim White on January 29, 2009 at 06:27 PM MST #

Go for the new 15" MacBook Pro and wait a while for the new spec Mac Pro when it arrives. Currently I have upgraded to the late 2008 spec MBP, much better quality feeling, I think the 17" is just to big..

/Sigmund

Posted by Sigmund Lundgren on January 30, 2009 at 04:29 AM MST #

Oh, I know I'm gonna get hurt for posting this, but it seems like an appropriate place to ask since Matt brought it up.

What's the deal with the love affair with Macs?

Before you throw tomatoes at me, understand I'm asking to learn, not to troll.

My needs are probably similar to Matt's. (maybe?) I'm on the lookout for a nice dev laptop and currently use a Dell XPS Gen2. It burns my thighs to no end. Anyway, yes, it's Windows based but I'm not religious on that. The server I spend a lot of time on is CentOS5 so I do spend some time in a Linux environment, but for day to day dev, it's all Java (IntelliJ).

I've had co-workers who swore by their Mac laptops, but I just didn't get the crucial feature/factor that makes me want to get one. I could go either way, but to hear Matt salivate over his Mac, I had to ask.

Please tell me what I'm missing.

Thanks...

Michael.

Posted by Michael on February 01, 2009 at 01:22 AM MST #

I think Mac is growing into a cult. Or maybe its already a cult :D I also purchased my macbook last month. I wanted to get VAIO. But Linux doesn't have ITunes or something that can synchronize IPod or IPhone naturally... Thats why I decided to go Mac-ish -_-

Posted by Donny on February 01, 2009 at 02:15 AM MST #

I like the mac as it's a well thought out posix compliant machine, which requires little to no administration. My 15 inch mbp is coming up 3 years old in a month or so, and I've never had to reinstall the OS. Everything has just run since day one.

That said, I can't understand why people would buy a Mac Pro, you get better gaming performance for far less money from a generic desktop, and for everything else, a laptop is powerful enough.

Posted by Nimai on February 02, 2009 at 11:34 PM MST #

HI THERE I WONT BE TRAVELING WITH MY LAP TOP I LIKE TOO PLAY HARD CORE GAMES SOO I WILL GO FOR ANY SSD MACBOOKS DONT CARE IF IT THE 13 INCH OR THE 17 INCH MACBOOK MACBOOK PRO I LIKE THE 17 INCH MACBOOK PRO A LOT BECUASE IT HAS A 256 GB SSD IN IT TELL APPLE PUT THE 256 GB SSD IN THE 24 INCH MAC THE DESK TOP

Posted by james braselton on February 05, 2009 at 01:36 PM MST #

hi. There. I. Noticed. That. Exper.com. Offers. Too. Up. Grade. Any. Macbook. With. A. 256. Gb. Ssd. For. $550. Soo. If. I. Can. Get. A. 13. Inch. MacBook. Pro. For. Less. Then. $3,000. I. Would. Sold. With. The. 256. Gb. Ssd. Drive

Posted by James. Braselton on February 09, 2009 at 08:59 PM MST #

HI THERE THINK I AM STUCK WITH THE 17 INCH MACBOOK PRO FIIGURING OUT HOW HUCH 2.93 GHZ 256 GB SSD DRIVE 4 OR 8 GB OF RAM LOOKING AT $4,000 OR $5,200

Posted by james braselton on February 11, 2009 at 07:50 PM MST #

HI THERE GOODY APPLE LOWERED THE PRICE ON THE 128 AND 256 GB SSD THE 256 GB SSD WILL COST $750 NOT $900 AND THE 128 GB WILL COST YOU $350 NOT $500

Posted by james braselton on February 21, 2009 at 09:22 PM MST #

HI THERE WOW SAY HALO TOO MY DEAM MACHINE 13 INCH MACBOOK PRO 2.53 GHZ INTEL DUO CPU 8 GB OF DDR 3 RAM AND A WHOPPING 256 GB SSD ALL FOR ABOUT $3,300

Posted by james braselton on June 18, 2009 at 02:37 PM MDT #

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