Ten years ago, I didn't foresee a time when I would want another big, bulky server again. Laptops were plenty fast for all of my development work. MacBook Pros just kept improving with every generation, secure in their well-deserved status as the developer's machine of choice.
Now things are different. Clock speeds have long been stuck on a plateau for most of the past ten years, and the number of cores available at a reasonable power budget is not making up for it. So I got a machine that sits on the floor in the new office and lets me forget about the power budget:
It took a little learning on my part because I was unfamiliar with all the CPU options for a Windows machine. But now I have a dev box that well outpaces my MacBook Pro, and it cost all of $600. From http://theserverstore.com. A good experience, would repeat.
I've long been compiling on both Windows and Mac OS—each environment has its pros and cons. Visual Studio looks kind of ugly, if you're used to XCode, but the debugger actually works. On the other hand, its C++ compiler is a lot slower.
I have no plans to move away from Mac OS—not only does it do some things I can't live without, but cross-platform development, more fundamentally, is a crucial aspect of making good code here. I am scripting both XCode and Visual Studio from the command line so that building just means typing "build," both on Windows and Mac OS. This will hopefully pave the way for Linux support in the near future.
I've had some reports of problems from people using Mac Pros, with Kaivo in particular. These will hopefully be gone with the update coming very soon, and having a seriously multi-core machine to test on has helped with that. It also means I'm chomping at the bit here to make all the instruments able to distribute their voices across multiple processors.
Did I mention this thing was $600? I had more budget I could have spent on a new development machine, but there was no current offering from Apple at any price that seemed as exciting to buy. I hope Apple will astound me again with the shiny one day. Until then, I'm way more excited about making Aalto run on some little quad-core ARM (say) appliance I can throw in a bag and take to shows.
congrats! $600 is a steal. i recently bought a 2010 mac pro 12 core with warranty because new mac pro is dumb and this way i get more longevity out of my non-thunderbolt peripherals. Hopefully this means i can weather (sit on the side lines during) the next several years of apple confusion.
Considered Hackintosh? randy :P
apple have positioned themselves in a place which makes it very hard for me to respect their business model these days, it's always welcome to hear of these stories of 'life going on' post-apple (particularly, if like me, that seemed impossible at one point)
hopefully a tipping point has been passed and other developers will be as enthusiastic about supporting other platforms too, that gives us all a bit more choice and promotes competitiveness again but apple won't need to look out for the creatives who probably kept them afloat when times were toughs their money comes in from many other directions now
I guess it breaks license terms, which I can't really do as a grownup developer. Also with all operating systems wanting to auto-update these days, I wouldn't feel like this is a stable platform for getting work done.