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  1. #1
    Which cheap old Mac for development?

    Member Since
    Apr 02, 2009
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    Question Which cheap old Mac for development?
    Hello,

    I'm a Windows dev, and I have to port my Windows program to Mac OS X. I've had no luck with OSx86, on VMware Xcode just won't start and natively no DVD will boot without rebooting.

    So I'm considering buying a cheap old Mac computer to use only for porting this program. My requirements are, it must have enough RAM to run both Xcode and the program which takes about 60 MB of RAM, and it must be able to compile Universal binaries. And it must be the cheapest possible!

    So what sort of machine would you recommend? What would be good enough? A G3? A G4? What minimum OS X version must it be able to run? How much RAM?

    EDIT : Surely something like that should do? APPLEPOWERMAC G4 450MHZ, 512MB,20GB, DVD, ZIP DRIVE - eBay (item 250399807754 end time May-01-09 06:20:20 PDT)

  2. #2
    Which cheap old Mac for development?
    xstep's Avatar
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    A G4 with a Gig of ram should be fine. BUT, check the spec requirements for the version of OS X you are going to run. Leopard requires a G4 running at 867Mhz. You'd have to do some digging for specs for older versions of OS X. As far as I know, Universal compiling support is not limited by the box, but I think that came out when Tiger (OS X 10.4) was released. Here are the requirements for Tiger.

    The minimum OS X version I consider for development is Tiger, 10.4.x. BUT, then you may have to check if you are limited to a version of XCode. Tiger because you grab a larger audience. I believe the most current version of XCode can limit your target to Tiger and above.

    You can join the ADC (Apple Developer Connection) for free where you can download the appropriate version of the development tools, join the mailing lists, and find more answers.

    If you are considering iPhone programming, then I think that requires an Intel Mac and Leopard if you wan to run the iPhone emulator. Although I thought I saw that someone came up with a work around to get PPC machines to work.
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  3. #3
    Which cheap old Mac for development?
    vansmith's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure Xcode >= 3.0 requires Leopard (10.5). If so, you are going to want to take that into account as getting Xcode <= 3.1 will be tricky unless you have the discs that came with the Mac (which you should get regardless of whether it is new or used).

    My recommendation would be to see if you can get a cheap Mac Mini. This will be suitable for running Leopard and Xcode 3.1 which will be most useful if you are targeting newer Macs.
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  4. #4
    Which cheap old Mac for development?
    dtravis7's Avatar
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    I second the Mac Mini. If you can spring for an Intel Mini instead of a G4 mini you will be able to run the OS and apps even when things get upgraded for sometime to come.

    To get a G4 that will run leopard will cost a bit and the bit extra for a Mini would be worth it so you will not be out of date really fast.

    The Powermac G4 in your URL will run 10.4 Tiger well enough for what you want but like Van said, newer versions of software need 10.5 Leopard and that will not even install on that system.

  5. #5
    Which cheap old Mac for development?
    xstep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
    ...getting Xcode <= 3.1 will be tricky unless you have the discs that came with the Mac...
    Via the ADC account I suggested, he can download the appropriate older version.
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  6. #6
    Which cheap old Mac for development?

    Member Since
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    Thanks a lot for all the replies. So yeah, apparently if I went with the one G4 in the URL (88 euros shipping included, I doubt I can find an Intel Mac for that cheap), I'd be limited to Mac OS X 10.4.11 and Xcode 2.5.

    Why does it matter that I couldn't run Xcode 3.x? What does it change regarding what it can build? (Disclaimer, my code is entirely C and I think I'll replace my WinAPI calls with Carbon API calls). It sounds like if anything I'd get the broadest sort of compatibility by sticking to Tiger and Xcode 2... I'd even get the possibility to test on 10.2 or 10.3 to see how well things work there

  7. #7
    Which cheap old Mac for development?
    louishen's Avatar
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    Well, as you say, its a cheap intro to the world of OSX, you can always upgrade later if you find that version of Xcode is not enough

    As for programming, you might want to have a look at these articles

    From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X - Ars Technica

    From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X?Part II - Ars Technica

    From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X?Part III - Ars Technica
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  8. #8
    Which cheap old Mac for development?

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    Quote Originally Posted by louishen View Post
    Well, as you say, its a cheap intro to the world of OSX, you can always upgrade later if you find that version of Xcode is not enough

    As for programming, you might want to have a look at these articles

    From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X - Ars Technica

    From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X?Part II - Ars Technica

    From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user's conversion to Mac OS X?Part III - Ars Technica
    Good read, although after reading that I still don't know whether I should go with Carbon or not... I guess I'll make it a new thread since that's a very different question.

  9. #9
    Which cheap old Mac for development?
    louishen's Avatar
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    Carbon was really created so that developers who had coded for the old non-Unix OS (7-9) could easily port their apps to run on OS X. The Cocoa framework is what Apple wants to push for new applications coded for OS X, and in the up and coming snow leopard, Apple is moving all its own code to Cocoa, getting rid of any lingering Carbon code its its OS and applications
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