Mac vs Windows for programming, computer science degree at Unisa

Weso_P

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Good day,

Apologies if this question has been asked before. I’ve been reading the forums but there are mixed reviews.

I have completed some small Python projects using my girlfriends mac and have been accepted to study computer science through Unisa next year.

I’d like to buy my own laptop and wanted to find out what companies generally use these days or if anyone that studied through Unisa, what they recommend using?

Thank you.
W
 

Urist

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Anything with windows should be fine.
Thinkpads are reliable, have good keyboards and are bad for gaming., which is a good thing. Carbon X1 would be the ideal if you like mac and you can afford it.
Get code blocks, python, Qt creator, pyqt , mysql and pycharm
 
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scudsucker

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Just buy the best machine you can afford.

Mac vs Windows vs *nix - it's not such a big deal anymore.

If you have a good budget, the new Macbook Pro is really nice, but I doubt the cost/benefit ratio would suit a student.
 

Nerhzelok

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As a student, wouldn't bother with Apple hardware. Those are luxury items when you have the money to spare. And even these days, they're worth is debatable, considering issues with their butterfly switch keyboards and inadequate heat dissipation, two deal breakers for me, to be honest.. It's rather easy to achieve a heavy CPU load with Docker, a couple browsers running, debugging tools etc.

Better bang for buck going Windows machines and loading Linux if you're that way inclined.

+1 on Thinkpads. Go for a laptop that compromises on aesthetics for better choices in internal hardware and an adequate thermal solution that doesn't sound like a jet engine under a heavy load.
 

krycor

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Get a decent CPU & lots of ram that supports virtual machines, use Ubuntu and other variants of *nix and headless servers, play with containers, orchestration etc

Like using a mac is not such a big thing, being able to use a terminal is.. and windows terminal use to be the most limited (changed lately). Going MacBook while cool as a student is a high entry cost which is unnecessary for use case.. only reason to get one is if you can get a hand me down cheap and keeping it for 3yrs. A cheaper spec’d out windows machine will be new and last 3yrs but battery may need to be replaced.

Don’t get a gaming laptop unless u want to be a gaming dev and have a serious lead to a job. It’s a good start when you know u can’t trust yourself
 

Nerhzelok

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Go for a mac but don't break the bank for it.

Problem with that is he may save and get a decent second hand one but if it fails on him it’ll cost a small fortune to fix I imagine. Apple products in this country aren’t ideal for young people who are on a budget. If you’re in the states it’s a different story. Too pricey here.
 

Barbarian Conan

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The last time I used a Mac, it was noticeably slower than a similarly specced, cheaper Dell, but that was quite some time ago.

For university, use whatever they use. Sure, these days you can run .Net on Mac and Linux and you get the Linux Subsystem for Windows, but they time comes when there is just something that doesn't work quite the way on one OS as it does on another, and you are stuck having to troubleshoot.

As for what is used in the workplace, in SA afaik it's mostly windows. But I'm a .Net dev, so Windows is obviously what I'm exposed to.
 

krycor

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Again.. new cheapie with decent cpu, sdd, motherboard and ram is more that ok just maker sure it’s got enough power to run vms.
 

airborne

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The last time I used a Mac, it was noticeably slower than a similarly specced, cheaper Dell, but that was quite some time ago.

For university, use whatever they use. Sure, these days you can run .Net on Mac and Linux and you get the Linux Subsystem for Windows, but they time comes when there is just something that doesn't work quite the way on one OS as it does on another, and you are stuck having to troubleshoot.

As for what is used in the workplace, in SA afaik it's mostly windows. But I'm a .Net dev, so Windows is obviously what I'm exposed to.

Are there any corporates in Sa that run Apple/MacOs as their core IT?

Does Apple even offer any server type solutions and if not what is used with enterprise type MacOs deployments?
 

Barbarian Conan

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Are there any corporates in Sa that run Apple/MacOs as their core IT?

Does Apple even offer any server type solutions and if not what is used with enterprise type MacOs deployments?

The previous company I worked for had a couple of US offices as well, where I spent about 3 months. They were more into the design/ web dev side, and exclusively ran Macbook pros. I don't know what they used on the server side, but everything worked well.
I think they still used Exchange, as we were part of a much larger corporate that ran Exchange.
 

Ancalagon

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Just be careful when you look at laptops - its very easy to get old stock unless you are very familiar with CPU model numbers.

It wouldn't be that unusual to find Intel 4th processors, which are positively ancient by now. You should go for 8th gen at a minimum.

Basically - you need a quad core, minimum, and 8gb of RAM, minimum. 16GB is better but that gets expensive quickly.

SSD preferable - even a 256GB SSD would be fine.
 

Rickster

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Dont get HP, they are not so good. Build quality and specs arnt so good.

Check out a second hand i7 7/8th gen Dell.
 

Barbarian Conan

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Just be careful when you look at laptops - its very easy to get old stock unless you are very familiar with CPU model numbers.

It wouldn't be that unusual to find Intel 4th processors, which are positively ancient by now. You should go for 8th gen at a minimum.

Basically - you need a quad core, minimum, and 8gb of RAM, minimum. 16GB is better but that gets expensive quickly.

SSD preferable - even a 256GB SSD would be fine.

I would say SSD is non negotiable. If it doesn't come with one, make sure it is upgradeable.
 

John_Phoenix

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What is your budget?

When you say Python... You mean linux, probably ubuntu... And for that, any i5 or i7 with 16Gb Ram and a ssd will do.

If you're looking for a beast machine, with a good warranty, get a Dell.

If you wanna game on the machine as well, get a Asus.

And if you want a machine to keep you warm in winter? Then the Acer or new Macbooks are made for you!

And for the love of Christmas, get something with a CUDA gpu...
 

aleksandar

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Lenovo Thinkpad gets my vote, often they get advertised here, demo models for a good price.
I think they are best value for money (have 4 of them), used for occasional c++/python dev.
I would go for T480.
 

cguy

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Get something with Linux on it so you can debug your kernel.
 

Ancalagon

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I would say SSD is non negotiable. If it doesn't come with one, make sure it is upgradeable.

He's a student though. He might not have a choice - SSDs are coming down in price, but still not that cheap.

Although, thinking about it, it is more likely that he will get an SSD than 16GB of RAM. 16GB of RAM tends to push the price up quite a bit, for some reason.
 
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