Forum General

Mac Mini Build Machine

Naresh.2672Naresh.2672 USMember
edited April 2015 in General

I am planning to buy Mac Mini to setup as build server, can I go with

1.4GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz)
500GB Serial ATA Drive 5400 rpm
Intel HD Graphics 5000
Mac OS X Yosemite

or do I need to go for

2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive
8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 memory
Intel Iris Graphics
Mac OS X Yosemite


  • JasonAwbreyJasonAwbrey USInsider, University, Developer Group Leader mod

    I think either will work fine. More RAM and a faster disk (SSD) is always a good idea, but for a build server I don't know that it's a huge concern

  • Only thing I would add, is that if you are planning a build machine with VMs for different build environments, then you might want to ramp up your RAM

  • Naresh.2672Naresh.2672 USMember

    Thank you Jason, that's what I am trying to figure out whether it's OK to go with lower configuration as it's just gonna be a build server

  • Dan_MirandaDan_Miranda MXMember

    Have you decided which CI server will be the backbone for your implementation?

  • Naresh.2672Naresh.2672 USMember

    sorry for the confusion, I will do all my development on windows machine, want to put this Mac Mini in the network so that I can build and compile the code

  • Dan_MirandaDan_Miranda MXMember

    ok :),

    then go for the 8GB RAM model, in the newest Mac Mini models the RAM is soldered to the board so it is not possible to upgrade it later, also more RAM is better with latest OS X versions.

  • Naresh.2672Naresh.2672 USMember

    Thank you binamonk

  • nurfarazinurfarazi USMember

    you don't need any more power or ram to just build machine , this configuration is perfect , as you said you are gonna use the windows pc as a development purpose and mac only for build , than your configuration is good man , no need to waste money any more :)

  • Naresh.2672Naresh.2672 USMember

    Thank you, I bought the low configuration one, for next future upgrade I will go for Mac Book Pro

  • I am thinking of buying lower version & using windows in parallel, what you guys suggest?

  • BjarkeSogaardBjarkeSogaard USMember ✭✭

    I am currently using Parallels on a Mac Mini with the following specs:

    OS X Yosemite 10.10.5
    2,8 GHz Intel Core i5
    16gb 1600 MHz DDR3 Memory
    Macintosh HD (SSD)
    Intel Iris 1536 MB

    I have Windows 8.1 installed as the Windows aspect, and I say that it runs pretty well. That is to say, I still encounter all of the regular bugs/annoying situations with Xamarin (slow build time, slow during debugging, unable to find variables during debugging, etc.), but I believe they are unrelated to the fact that I run Windows through Parallels.

    One thing you should know though:
    A lot of the keybindings you'd usually use in Visual Studio (specifically with Resharper), are unavailable, due to the Mac OS taking control of said keys.
    One example is CTRL+Tab. While in Visual Studio it would jump between files, the Mac OS acts on it, and changes through open windows... Another one is CTRL+R + CTRL+M for Extract to Method. That minimizes Visual Studio instead. Again, cause of the Mac OS
    So you'll need to learn some new shortcuts. But if you're fine with that, I definitely recommend it.

  • ThomasBurkhartThomasBurkhart DEMember ✭✭✭✭

    Are 4GB really enough as Build Machine and running the emulator on it? Right now there is a special offer here in Germany for 449€. Unfortunately you cannot upgrade the RAM.

    Is it correct, that I can use any DVI-Monitor with the Mac Mini?

  • DaveHuntDaveHunt USMember ✭✭✭✭✭


    4GB should be enough for a build machine and running the emulator. Current Mac Minis can be upgraded to 8GB or 16GB after the fact, but it's expensive. If you buy the memory from anyone except Apple, you'll likely have troubles.

    Mac Minis have an HDMI port and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. You can get adapters for just about any monitor type you can find. The HDMI-DVI adapter is $20 US.

  • ThomasBurkhartThomasBurkhart DEMember ✭✭✭✭

    @DaveHunt Thanks a lot! What would be the cheapest iPhone Version for doing minmal testing on device?

  • rmaciasrmacias USBeta, University ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2016

    Also note that on the newer Mac Minis, the memory is soldered onto the motherboard. The older ones are not soldered, so you can upgrade as necessary. I don't remember when Apple started doing this, but I would research which specific one you're buying to make sure you don't buy extra RAM and find out the internal RAM is soldered on.

    Quick Google search says 2014 Models and above, the RAM is not upgradable:

  • ThomasBurkhartThomasBurkhart DEMember ✭✭✭✭

    @rmacias Would be an older used Mini also be sufficient for my purpose? Or would be new 2014 with 4GB the better choice?

  • DaveHuntDaveHunt USMember ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2016

    @rmacias said:

    Quick Google search says 2014 Models and above, the RAM is not upgradable:

    Thanks for the correction. I was not aware of that (obviously).

  • rmaciasrmacias USBeta, University ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's going to be subjective. If I were a hobbyist and only worked on iOS app occasionally then either would be acceptable. I would get the higher RAM either case.

    Since I'm a professional developer that spends 8+ hours a day building and maintaining apps, I would make the investment in a little more powerful machine with at least 8 gigs of RAM (or 16 GB if you want to run a Windows Virtual Machine too) with an SSD. Installing an SSD is night and day and a good investment as it makes me more productive than working on a 5400 rpm hard drive.

    A higher end Mac Mini I believe is sufficient for iOS/Android Development. However, since I've made a career out of mobile app development, I believe that one should make the investment on something a little more powerful, as the specs for XCode will increase.

    With buying older hardware, you run the risk of the next version of OS X not being supported. And XCode always supports the current version of OS X, and the previous, and that's it. For example, XCode 7 only supports El Capitan, and Yosemite. It does not support Mavericks or below. And with the upcoming XCode 8, it will only supports OS X Version.Next and El Capitan (dropping support for Yosemite). So if you buy older hardware, there is a higher chance that you can't run the latest OS X, which means you probably can't run the latest version of XCode, which means you can't compile against the latest version of iOS, which means Apple may reject your app because it's not compiled with the latest SDK. Apple is pretty aggressive when it comes to this.

    So my suggestion (and it's only a suggestion) if you're looking to limit your economic cost, get a Mac Mini, but with the higher end specs. Get the SSD if you can and get at least 8 GB of RAM. If you're going to run a Windows VM via Parallels or VMWare Fusion, the get 16 GB of RAM. I think that would be a good compromise between upfront financial investment and having decent performance to be productive.

  • ThomasBurkhartThomasBurkhart DEMember ✭✭✭✭

    @rmacias Hi Ruben, thanks for this insight. I have no experience ith Macs so far so that I didn't know how much performance Mac OS and the devleopment tools need.
    I just ugraded my development PC and I will do my main development on it. My focus is Xamarinforms, so I will always first implement Android and then IOs.
    But you are right, we are talking here of 200€ more or less. At the moment I will wait what will be the pricing of Xamarin Business for Indies in the near future before subscribing for the IOs Version too.

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