Is mac a good coding choice?

I’m saving up for a computer, but don’t know what to buy. Because the new coding system for vex says that it is compatible with mac. what are your opinions on how macbook airs preform with vex.

Well it largely depends on your software of choice and the hardware that you have decided to use. If you are using V4, macs aren’t the greatest choice because robotc isn’t supported unless you use Bootcamp or Parallels. PROS is supported on macs and on V4, so if you decide to use that as your software of choice then you can use a mac.

If you are going to be using V5, then it really comes down to a matter of preference. VCS is supported on both mac and windows, and PROS is also supported in V5.

As for performance, I have used a mac for PROS and it works great. I wish robotc would have been supported on macs from the start, but I am now looking forward to using VCS on my mac for the coming year.

If you’re planning to use this computer for programming, you’ll probably want to keep in mind that this must be a computer that can withstand somewhat rugged conditions - being taken to competition, possibly hit with game objects and metal parts, tossed around on fields and work tables, etc. Definitely not making any comment about the ruggedness of MacBooks :wink:

This is a good point. Durability is important. I personally have not had any issues, but that was mainly because of extra caution.

If you have any plans to use SolidWorks for doing CAD, then you’ll probably want a PC.

I’ve used MacBooks for coding in VEX for a while, they should stand up well if you are reasonably careful with them, I would definitely recommend getting a clip on plastic case for a Macs to protect it from scratches.

You might also want to consider the port situation with MacBooks at the moment, it’s not great to carry around several adapters and they could easily get lost at competitions

Personally, i wouldnt let anything valuable near robots (learnt the hard way).

So either get a protection case or use some old potato.

Our school uses only Macs. We used PROS last year on the Macs just fine. I’ve looked at VCS, and it seems to run fine on Macs as well. For coding the robot, I don’t think it’s really going to make a difference, so go with what you prefer. Personally, I prefer being able to run both Mac OS X and Windows (insert version) natively on the same machine so I go with a Mac and use Bootcamp when needed, but that’s just my personal preference and what I do with my own laptop; I can’t use Bootcamp with school computers.

For the purposes of vex, I think that a PC edges out a Mac. PC’s have solidworks, Macs don’t.

However, if you’re looking for a machine that you’ll use for programming in college and beyond then - in my opinion - a mac is a much better choice. There’s one simple reason: the Mac OS X operating system is Unix based while Windows is not. This means that programming on a PC requires an IDE (integrated development environment; an application to program in). This may be fine for some projects but not others. Also, as far as I’m aware, PCs don’t have Linux applications such as GNU, command line compilers, VI, Emacs, ssh, and much more. Macs, which are Unix/Linux based, have all of these things. With that said, if you get a PC then you can install Cygwin. Cygwin creates a ‘Unix like environment’ on a PC. I’ve used Cygwin for a while, and it seems to work fine. With that said, however, I do occasionally run into issues with Cygwin that make me wish I was working on a true Linux based machine (Mac). Having spent many years programming on both, I think it’s much easier to write, debug, and work with code on a Mac.

Thanks for all of your replies. Has anyone using a mac run into CPU problems, running speeds and performance issues?

Performance shouldnt be an issue if its just for programming. Ive seen teams use ancient Mac books to run RobotC or any coding software for VEX.

Windows has come a long way with the Windows Subsystem for Linux. With it, you can use many of your favorite distro’s applications, including all those listed.

In any case, I don’t see the point in arguing these points for Macs when one can just run Linux on any machine of their choice. I switched from Windows to Linux and was quite astonished to find that most people, admittedly after spending a fair amount of time setting up their OS and applications, would be able to use Linux for all their daily computing needs. For those less inclined to fully ditch the more mainstream OSs, dual-booting is always an option.

Given how abominable Macbook keyboards have been as of late, I would advise against buying a recent-model Macbook, especially for programming, unless you’re sure you’ll be willing to put up with the almost-nonexistent key travel.

Robot Mesh Studio is browser-based, and does not care what your OS is.

I am going to start off by saying that you should not buy a laptop just for the sake of coding in VEX. There are so many pros and cons for all types of systems that prioritizing the compatibility of various coding software is not the smartest choosing factor.

Now, from a more practical standpoint, I am a certified sales consultant for all computer brands and have been involved in the industry for the past year or so.

The 5 most popular brands of today are Apple, Asus, Lenovo, HP, and Dell.

While the Apples are known to be long-lasting, I can tell you that based on customer reviews, they are not too ergonomically pleasing. The keys on a Macbook are slightly misaligned compared to those of your average laptop, and overall they can take a while to get used too. Typing grammatically incorrect sentences (code) is especially effected by this. However, if you plan to do any studio work such as producing music and such, Mac is the way to go. The software available are extremely user friendly and bug free, and I have never had a customer not be satisfied when they purchase an Apple for that specific task.

The HPs are very aesthetically pleasing, especially the newer models, however they have been known to have extremely poorly implemented hinges when it comes to the connection between the keyboard and screen. I have received many returns and as such have never been too fond of them. Keep in mind, the high end HPs will be the same price as a mid end Macbook.

The Lenovos are great computers when it comes to portability, and they are very slim as well. However, whether you choose to buy in-store or from their website, they are known for containing the most bloatware out of any computer packages. Their gaming line was so poorly optimized and structured that most stores stopped carrying them, and I can tell you that it will take them a while to recover.

The Asus laptops are great when it comes to durability, however even the non-gaming laptops are too heavy for the purposes that they are used for. Asus actually released a replica of the Macbook with their logo slapped on it, and other than its flimsiness its a great alternative if price is the issue for a Macbook.

Finally, we have Dell. Dell has ruled the market for a while now (aside from Apple), and I can say that they deserve that spot. Their laptops are clean, compact, and consistent. They create the best business laptops today. I have never heard any dissatisfaction from any of my clients, and I heavily encourage you to look into a Dell for your new computer. The bloatware is practically none, the weight is extremely reasonable (not including their alienware line), they are very well designed in terms of button layout and mousepad placement, and their speaker systems are very crisp.

For my programmers, I would always recommend the Dell Vostro for a more portable solution or a Dell Latitude for a more stationary. The best Vostros run for less than a thousand dollars and as a owner of one, I could not be more satisfied. Its specs are great for gaming as well!

Do not let the operating system make or break your decision. Each one has its ups and downs, but seeing how you are most likely a student, I would recommend Windows since many schools nowadays may use software which is not yet compatible with Macs.

Hope I Helped! @James Rosen

@James Rosen
Fusion 360 works on MacOS, and is not too intensive on the computer. I know quite a few people that like using Fusion 360 for vex CAD. If you do end up buying a mac, make sure to get a plastic case like @Download Complete said. During competitions or practice your computer is prone to getting scratched or dented especially since macs are aluminum. As the others have said above, if you are working with v5 this season, then you have programming environments available on all platforms. Personally, I prefer MacOS for the productivity, but I have been using a Dell for the past few seasons because RobotC is only available on windows.

Macs are overpriced, the only thing its good at is web surfing. It also really depends on what else you might use it for. If you are going to do anything else than coding such as CADD and still want a mac, the best choice would be one of the 15in MacBook Pros. I still don’t think they fixed the keyboard issue where is something gets in your keyboard it’s basically dead. I have listed some Windows laptops that might be a good choice

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For the purpose of just coding and web surfing if you want a mac then this probably the best value:

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I call BS :slight_smile:

Ok maybe a little bit harsh - but the sweeping assertion “only thing its [sic] good at is web surfing.” is clearly false.

Now focus on limited assertions would be a better tactic :slight_smile:

I might’ve exaggerated the web surfing part, I still don’t think it’s worth it for the price they list it at. You definitely can’t do anything too hardware intensive. Also one thing I wanted to add the new i9 MacBook pro thermal throttles and runs slower than the 2017 i7. Just a note if you do end up getting that.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Your video encoders, scalable formats, and file formats. used in MPEG, DVD, Quicktime, etc all have roots in systems developed in the late 80s on Macs at MIT and other labs at the time. The first web browser and server were developed on MacOs X predecessor NeXTstep - so there is an actual irony in your statement that it is only good for web serving, given that the Http and Html protocols were developed on Nextstep environment… Underlying Mac OS today is a unix os and a UI development environment that has a rich history.

Yes, I was an early adopter of the web way back when :slight_smile: