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Switching to OS X for web development ?

#1
I'm slowly considering moveing back to Mac and OS X.

How are the iMacs lately ?

I had an iMac for a few years-, it was the late 2009 model. The first big 27 inch screen I'm not sure? I loved it!! I loved how easy it was to install and dual boot with Windows. So I could game decently on it from the Windows partition where I could install tools to overclock the M GPU and fans.

Nowadays though I feel like AAA gaming for me is not important. What I'm eyeing on is:


- stop using a Ubuntu VM. Native Ubuntu / Linux is out of question because I need Photoshop. There is no alternative to it, and only non designers would suggest so. Photoshop is required for pixel precise work and while you can go dome way with Inkscape perhaps it's still hugely cumbersome for me to use. I also couldn't make Photoshop-inside-a-VM work. It just doesn't work. Stuck to old versions, it's slow and even more cumbersome for moving PSD files. Photoshop in Windows + Ubuntu VM is the most usable solution I have atm.

- OS X now has a successor to Photoshop for web design it seems very popular with designers these days called "Sketch".

- OS X has the builtin Terminal, so you can do all the LAMP stuff, mysql, node, php , etc.

The downsides that come to mind:

- iMacs are now stuck with HI DPI screens that means the GPU is even less of a competent solution for current games (I am guessing?) but then again it's not important to me anymore



So hmm.. the main question for me atm is what is the lifetime of the last iMac models? What put me off my last iMac is when I had a problem with the fans and I realized I could'nt tear it apart easily. And when you're a developer, especially looking after a website like I do, to turn your PC to a repair shop for days, likely for a week or two, is CRAZY.

And if I wanted to upgrade I had to basically buy a new one and go through reinstalling everything. At first I thought 'bah it's only every 2-3 years'.. but then when the time comes it's massive PITA.

But .. if it looks like a newer iMac could last me for 4-5 years I am tempted to take the plunge...
Edited: 2017-03-28, 7:53 am
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#2
I'm working on an iMac currently and I can't tell much difference between this and a macPro. I work with a lot of different studios doing high end animation and design work and a surprising number of studios are switching to imacs for production. Of course there are a lot of mac pros and PCs in the shop for 3D work, but designers and even some animators are mostly working on imacs from what I've seen.

Photoshop works just fine as does Cinema 4d and aftereffects. Just make sure to max out the ram especially if you are concerned about lifespan. If you max out the ram, I believe yo should be able to get 4-5 years out of an imac easy. I find that running out of ram slows me down more than a slower processor, so save money on the processor and not on ram. I believe it's easy to replace the ram, so maybe you could go with 3rd party ram and save some money but I haven't tried.

I'm not much of a gamer, so I can't comment on how games run on imacs. If that's one of your worries, you could always build a hackintosh and open yourself up to more graphics card options.
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#3
Thanks yogert

Yeah isn't the RAM one of the few things you can change by opening some drawer somewhere? I have to look into the new model expansion capabilities. I have 16GB on this PC so I could reuse that RAM.

I did build a Hackintosh actually, but it didn't feel the same. I really didn't like the "grub" boot loader. And Photoshop didn't seem to run smooth. It was hard to pin down but I just didn't like it. I actually bought my PC parts for a hackintosh back then. I think you end up fiddling a lot with configuration files and obscure settings to get the hackintosh to work perfectly on your particular set of hardware.

Come to think of it the new Macs can take an external GPU I think, but it's not really gone mainstream afaik.
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#4
(2017-02-09, 2:39 pm)ファブリス Wrote: Thanks yogert

Yeah isn't the RAM one of the few things you can change by opening some drawer somewhere? I have to look into the new model expansion capabilities. I have 16GB on this PC so I could reuse that RAM.

I did build a Hackintosh actually, but it didn't feel the same. I really didn't like the "grub" boot loader. And Photoshop didn't seem to run smooth. It was hard to pin down but I just didn't like it. I actually bought my PC parts for a hackintosh back then. I think you end up fiddling a lot with configuration files and obscure settings to get the hackintosh to work perfectly on your particular set of hardware.

Come to think of it the new Macs can take an external GPU I think, but it's not really gone mainstream afaik.

Yeah there's a door on the back where you can upgrade RAM.  Not sure you can put any old ram in there though - it's pretty specific what works.

One thing I just noticed however is there aren't any imacs that came out last year, so even if you bought the latest model, you would already be at least one year into your computer becoming legacy equipment.  Macrumors says don't buy based on previous product cycles suggesting new models soon.  So something to consider if you have time to wait.

Yea, I built a hack earlier this year because I didn't need a macpro for home and mac minis are like 4 years old.   It's like you describe.  I like macs because they "just work" but hunting down configurations and which wifi card will make continuity work was a major PITA and contrary to why I use macs in the first place.  But I still have that operating system, so..
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#5
I think yogert has covered most stuff. I think the only thing that I will add is that if you decide to somehow try a Hackintosh again, make sure you choose one of the builds list on the main site of TonyMacs. This will probably be some kind of system with a Gigabyte board and other things. This way there is less fiddling and its probably closer to "just working." Building a hack has gotten a lot easier over the years with the new Clover bootloader that exists. To the point that its kind of click and install and boot. But there is still likely to be a fair bit of tinkering to get things perfect.
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#6
That's what I did. The build I used was based off Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H , i5-3570K, the Wifi card etc.

It worked. It just didn't feel quite right. I don't think the GPU was working at full capacity. It's things like the fade effects and transitions that were smooth, but not always. Photoshop worked fine, but it didn't seem responsive like it was on my iMac.

I don't want to build another one I think if I switch again I'll just buy an iMac. Might not be the time to buy one though.
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#7
Yeah, yogert909 said pretty much everything. I'd second the "don't buy yet if you can afford waiting" message. Even if the new models are disappointing the old ones are going to have their price lowered.

I'd also second that you should buy as much ram as possible, processors haven't got any additional MHz's in the last decade and brands have resorted to alternative tricks to squeeze the most juice out of them (on the good side, power consumption has seen major improvements), and I think it's going to be like that until new tech (I don't know, maybe graphene?) hits the market.

GPU is another story, and not because of gaming but because of design, engineering and scientific software, among others. They've become the parallel vectorial co-processor companion for our CPUs. But I don't own any Macs, so I'm unsure about your options there.

Personally, I'm a GNU/Linux guy for the time being, and it's going to take a HUGE amount of practical reasons to take me away from the freedom (hey, and the price) I enjoy for my machines anymore. But, on the other hand, I have to admit Apple has made developers one of their primary concerns. Everybody around me seems to have switched recently, and I can tell they're really happy with the decision. Additionally, I'm not a designer, but you're absolutely right about Inkscape: great piece of software with a clumsy GUI not production-ready yet (and, after so many years, I seriously doubt it'll ever be). So, if you are involved in both design and software development tasks, you're right about wanting a Mac.
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#8
Be sure to reference this buyer's guide - new iMac models are expected soon this year. https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac
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#9
Yum yum. Can't wait to see what they come up with!
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#10
(2017-02-10, 9:06 am)ファブリス Wrote: Yum yum. Can't wait to see what they come up with!

FWIW, as I'm not a developer or a gamer: I've been using Mac desktops for 20 years, replacing them every 2-4 years (even after adding RAM), until the last one, which I kept for 9, although it should have been replaced at least a year earlier.
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#11
I don't want to be accused of being a "non-designer", but have you tried GIMP? It's not supposed to be a substitute for Photoshop, but it's very powerful and will certainly let you manipulate pixels.

As a longtime *nix user, I tried to switch to the Mac in the early 2000s, and it was a disaster. I ended up selling my MacBook after just four months for half of what I had paid for it. The Mac has lots of "features" (such as the absence of a Ctrl key on the right-hand side), that are extremely annoying to the typical linux user.
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#12
Show me a single tutorial for GIMP that involves making a pixel grid aligned Material Design UI, for example.

The closest suggestion I got from Cassidy James on the elemntary OS blog was Inkscape.

Alternatively, find me a beautiful useri nterface on dribble where the designer works with GIMP.

mercury Wrote:I ended up selling my MacBook after just four months for half of what I had paid for it

I sold my late 2009 iMac I think two years later for 2/3 of the price. Macs easily sell for 70% of the buying price when they are still under warranty.

Anyway, a long time passed since 2000 o_O
Edited: 2017-02-11, 5:11 am
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#13
No need to be aggressive. It was just a suggestion, based on the fact that your initial post did not mention GIMP, the standard Photoshop alternative for a linux user. A simple, "GIMP does not have the features I need" would have sufficed.

It's also completely irrelevant that you sold your Mac for more than I sold mine. One or two data points mean nothing, even in the same market. I could have sold my MacBook for more if I had wanted to, but I was disgusted with it, wanted to get rid of it as quickly as possible, and didn't think it would be moral to sell something so annoying to a fellow grad student for any more than $1000. The moral of the story was not that used Macs are difficult to sell but that a switch to the Mac can be extremely annoying and costly (not only in terms of money but also in terms of time) for a programmer who is used to Linux.

That being said, it's clear that you're not interested in the opinions or experiences of anyone who doesn't already agree with you. Good luck, and enjoy your new Mac.
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#14
(2017-02-11, 3:41 pm)mercury Wrote: No need to be aggressive.  It was just a suggestion, based on the fact that your initial post did not mention GIMP, the standard Photoshop alternative for a linux user.

The moral of the story was not that used Macs are difficult to sell but that a switch to the Mac can be extremely annoying and costly (not only in terms of money but also in terms of time) for a programmer who is used to Linux.

That being said, it's clear that you're not interested in the opinions or experiences of anyone who doesn't already agree with you.  Good luck, and enjoy your new Mac.

Wow your post pissed me off. You come into a thread about someone wanting to move back to Mac and suggest Linux w/ GIMP, and then when the person explains again why they need Mac/Windows (ie: professional designer tools), you say he's being aggressive, act the victim, and then walk out snarkily like he's chosen an inferior option when your option doesn't even meet the requirements.

Nothing about Faburisu's post was aggressive. Maybe he posted a detailed post because he wanted to cut off a potential follow up post about "Oh, are you sure GIMP doesn't have your features? I've heard its gotten a lot better in recent years, maybe you should research it more or give it a try again." His bit on you reselling your Mac for 1/2 price was just surprise.

This post is far more aggressive than his.
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#15
About the only disadvantage I see is that you need to get a 27" iMac if you want to have a 1TB SSD from the start. The only other way to get it is to void your warranty by replacing your HD with an SSD or adding one.

I have a 21.5" 2012 iMac at work and put in an SSD a few months ago. Great investment. Looks like I'll get quite a few more years out of the machine that way. My needs are different from yours though, I just require a lot of processing power and RAM to run statistical simulations. No need for a retina display.
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#16
Someone started a thread about operating systems on the Internet. What did you think it was gonna get, advice?
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#17
vix86 Wrote:Maybe he posted a detailed post because he wanted to cut off a potential follow up post about "Oh, are you sure GIMP doesn't have your features? I've heard its gotten a lot better in recent years, maybe you should research it more or give it a try again."

That was the intention. Just meant to avoid thread turning into Apple vs Linux / closed vs open kind of thing, although practical considerations one way or another are interesting.

It certainly can be useful to have some free alternatives to Photoshop for example. Inkscape sounds like something I could use in place of Illustrator, as I don't need to do very complex SVGs.

GIMP won't replace Photoshop, but that is even besides the point because OS X now has Sketch which seems pretty popular with designers nowadays and seems even better than Photoshop for web design. There have been other good alternatives to Photoshop for that for some time. One of the main features you'd want when designing UX is to be able to have many screens so you can simulate what it feels like going from one screen to another. Other useful things are being able to edit text fields and have elements adapt, whereas in Photoshop you have to adjust all the layers which is cumbersome.

mercury Wrote:No need to be aggressive. It was just a suggestion, based on the fact that your initial post did not mention GIMP, the standard Photoshop alternative for a linux user. A simple, "GIMP does not have the features I need" would have sufficed.

Sorry if my post came off more aggressive than I meant to. It was a little irritation, but you kind of set yourself up with how you started your post me in a position of calling someone a "non designer" as if it meant anything derogatory. Funny how psychology works.

mercury Wrote:(...) a switch to the Mac can be extremely annoying and costly (not only in terms of money but also in terms of time) for a programmer who is used to Linux.

Change is always difficult. That said you mentioned a simple keyboard key. Guess what I'm using the Apple Aluminium Keyboard because I like the "chiclet" keys it's very light and comfortable, and I am typing in Windows atm. Everybody had to adapt to Microsoft deciding we need a Windows key. I'll bet your keyboard also has a Windows key unless you are a die hard Microsoft hater.

In fact many developers find themselves right at home on OS X since as soon as you open Terminal you're into familiar territory and you can install pretty much all the tools you're used to. In fact my Bash and VIM configurations need few changes between Ubuntu and OS X. But OS X has MacVIM for example, which is much nicer (imho). But then again i'm not a hardcore "vi in terminal" user.
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#18
(2017-02-11, 10:10 pm)Irixmark Wrote: About the only disadvantage I see is that you need to get a 27" iMac if you want to have a 1TB SSD from the start. The only other way to get it is to void your warranty by replacing your HD with an SSD or adding one.

I have a 21.5" 2012 iMac at work and put in an SSD a few months ago. Great investment. Looks like I'll get quite a few more years out of the machine that way. My needs are different from yours though, I just require a lot of processing power and RAM to run statistical simulations. No need for a retina display.

Wow, they still ship HDDs ? Well I guess that's understandable for the base models. Although it's annoying they always put the better "innards" with a 27 inch screen.

I don't actually need a Retina display. I'm on a LED Cinema atm. It was part of my attempt at building a Hackintosh when I moved back to Windows somewhere around 2011. So I'll have to sell it as wlel if I move back to an iMac.

I can see the pixels if I squint, and it's actually useful in Photoshop...  I wonder what Retina feels like.. I hope you don't see blurry images all over the web?

But on the other hand it could be very useful. Typically when I do the mobile device preview in Google Chrome Dev Tools, or the Opera Mobile simulator, I have to set "50%" size or the window is too large. Retina seems useful for previewing and debugging what your site / images look like on mobile devices.

SSDs are awesome. I use only SSDs with this PC I built in 2012. The most noticable change to me was opening Google Docs... I think browsers benefit a lot from SSD because they are always writing and reading tons of tiny files, to and from the cache. I don't store a lot of data like movies and misc. downloads so I'm doing good with a 128 GB and a 256 GB SSDs.

Well if I end up switching again I 'll go for the 27 inch model I guess. I wish they had something between 21 and 27 inch.. I feel that would bethe right size for me.
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#19
I don't know how I feel about the 1TB SSD though. Wow, that is a big SSD. Ah, but i see it is a "Fusion" drive. I think that means it can use a HDD and SSD and it appears as a single drive to the user.

One advantage of having multiple smaller SSDs as I have now, is that it is safer. I've read some bad stories about SSDs.. when it fails it can fail pretty hard and give no recovery option at all.. So right now, eg. if I backup my Virtual machine, I know backups go to a separate drive / SSD. Also my backup scritps in the Ubuntu VM create archives in a shared folder. That shared folder is not the same drive as the VM. That's great because even if I forgot to backup to external or cloud, I have my data in two drives.

So that is another thing to keep in mind.... if I switch I guess I'll need to figure out a better solid cloud / external backup solution so I do backups religiously.
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#20
As a backup solution I would recommend Amazon Glacier. There is no UI or anything so it does mean you have to create a simple script to do your backup for you, but at $0.004 per gigabyte per month, the price cannot be beat. I just dump everything I have on there, and it only costs me just a bit over a buck. Offsite backup also has the obvious benefit of still being around in case your house burns or something.

You can use s3cmd to upload and download files and restic for encrypted incremental backups.
Edited: 2017-02-12, 1:54 pm
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#21
(2017-02-12, 6:17 am)ファブリス Wrote: I don't know how I feel about the 1TB SSD though. Wow, that is a big SSD. Ah, but i see it is a "Fusion" drive. I think that means it can use a HDD and SSD and it appears as a single drive to the user.

The fusion drivers are a combo HDD and SSD. The drive has some logic onboard the controller that watches read/write requests going through it and will over time move the more heavily accessed data onto the SSD portion for quicker access. The intended result is that your OS stuff should be on the SSD portion but there isn't ever any guarantee on that I don't think. Maybe its possible with tools to specify files that should be SSD access, but I've never looked into it.

FooSoft Wrote:As a backup solution I would recommend Amazon Glacier. There is no UI or anything so it does mean you have to create a simple script to do your backup for you, but at $0.004 per gigabyte per month, the price cannot be beat.
That is surprisingly affordable and quite tempting, but it would be a pain in the ass to get all my data moved over. It'd be worth it though if I could ever get 100Mbps or 1Gbps internet.

Other benefit of offsite access in the cloud is that generally speaking, you know its probably RAID'ed which is probably cheaper for them to do vs if you did it your self.
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#22
I personally don't place much faith in the Fusion drives, I would rather have a smaller SSD (preferably 500, 250 would be absolute minimum) and an external HD to max out passive storage. But to each his own. I don't actually own a Fusion drive, so I can only say that the reviews I've heard have been mixed.

I have been putting off getting a new Mac for years because I'm not very happy with their current lineup. My working mac laptop is, no kidding, 5 years old, albeit heavily upgraded (extra RAM + 500G SSD). But, I'm old and cranky, I miss when it was easier to upgrade all the internal components yourself. Good luck finding the best machine for your needs!
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#23
Yes. For graphics editing, Mac OS X would be better.
Many desktop versions of Photoshop are known to work well in WINE on Linux.
But for guaranteed compatibility, it's probably better to run a native version.

Adobe moved to the cloud a few years ago.
I think Adobe Creative Cloud doesn't work on Linux.

As for desktop keyboards, I never really liked Apple's chiclet keys.
Instead, I use a $30 keyboard (Kensington Advance Fit™ Full-Size Slim Keyboard).
The keyboard uses scissor switches, which are the switches that most laptop keyboards use.
So it's a laptop keyboard for your desktop computer.

Here's a link:
https://www.kensington.com/us/us/4489/k7...d-keyboard
Edited: 2017-02-12, 11:55 pm
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#24
tanaquil Wrote:I personally don't place much faith in the Fusion drives, I would rather have a smaller SSD (preferably 500, 250 would be absolute minimum) and an external HD to max out passive storage.

Ditto. Can you get an iMac without HDD though?

This reminds me one of the issues I had with the late 2009 iMac is that I could hear the HDD churning! For that reason my current PC has SSDs only. I remember I returned one HDD when building this PC after I realized I didn't want them anymore. It was so loud!!

There are details like that you don't see in a store! Same as my iPad Air 2 vibration from the speakers. In a store there is too much noise and agitation. But once you're home, it's late evening and you're chill and relaxing and now all you hear is the damn HDD churning inside, even on top of the music.

But even putting the noise issue aside, I also would rather know my OS is not spending time moving files, and have control over what's on the SSD. So hmm.

Basically this ties into your next point...

tanaquil Wrote:I have been putting off getting a new Mac for years because I'm not very happy with their current lineup.

I feel like that too. The newer models are so thin.

Ok; great. But another issue with my 2009 iMac that they don't tell you in the store, and again you don't notice in a store.. is that they get SO HOT !!! In fact when I was gaming on Skyrim the aluminium shell at the top was so hot that I couldn't keep my hand on it.

I stopped worrying about this eventually as it can be argued it's how the iMacs are meant to dissipate their heat. And fair enough it didn't seem to affect the screen or anything else...

I haven't looked into the current specs very much. I think I'll wait to see what comes up in March?

chamcham Wrote:Many desktop versions of Photoshop are known to work well in WINE on Linux.

I tried! I tried running Ubuntu natively. Spent a month of my life no kidding. I was unemployed back then and spent 4+ hours a day trying to get Ubuntu to work for me, instead of me working for Ubuntu. It didn't work. No point getting into it. Has it gotten much better ? I doubt it. My VM still doesn't do the most basic quality of life features like apps restoring their last window position when you open them. Some do, some don't. And of course there is always a "reason". I'm done with that. In a VM I can deal with that because it's just for development. As a native OS, I'm done with this.

Anyway back to Photoshop. Well it's possible. I had to use a really old version. But I found exporting the files was very cumbersome. Photoshop in a VM was sluggish too and that really makes it less usable. Photoshop uses lots and lots of complex keyboard shortcuts so I felt like it was performing siginifcantly worse inside a VM. Just my experience though.

Hence I gave up and work the other way around, where I have Photoshop natively, and development inside the VM.

Thing is, the VM really ought to perform better but it doesn't. For example Google Chrome is very laggy inside a VM. It gave me drawing issues as well until I turned off the hardware acceleration.

Interestingly here the VirtualBox layer may behave differently on OS X.... if it works better than I would continue to develop inside a VM as it's much more portable and easy to backup.


chamcham Wrote:The keyboard uses scissor switches, which are the switches that most laptop keyboards use.
So it's a laptop keyboard for your desktop computer.

Doesn't the Apple Aluminium Keyboard use scissor switches as well?

I'd love to upgrade the keyboard. It's a daily quality of life thing.. but what exactly do you prefer about this keyboard over the chiclet one? If i understand correctly, chiclet is where the keys tend to be flat on top?

What I'm looking for in the keyboard is that you don't need to push the key down so much. And I like the sound it makes which is quiet.

I much prefer the Aluminium Wired keyboard over the ones they ship with the iMac though (the small one). For one you have the keypad, but also it feels more study and stable, and that changes the sound too. I really didn't like how the bluetooth one kind of bounces when you type because it's too light, and that also changes the sound it makes, it felt flimsy and cheap to me.
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#25
Ahh, it sounds like the Fusion Drive in an iMac can be disabled, so you get control to the separate HDD and SSD portions:

https://www.lifewire.com/split-fusion-dr...rt-2260166

Can you make sure that the OS is on the SSD though? So ideally the HDD doesn't spin at all unless I access music and backups and whatnot I would store on it.
Edited: 2017-02-13, 7:13 am
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