DEV Community

Annie Taylor Chen
Annie Taylor Chen

Posted on


Slimbook pro x AMD vs. MacBook Air M1, which to choose and why?

I am comparing two laptops for web developer. I don't need much storage as it'll be used mainly as working computer. So the focus is other performance.

Image description

Slimbook pro x AMD (Linux)

  • AMD Ryzen 7 4800 H with 8 cores and 16 threads 8M cache 2.9 GHz Turbo 4.2 GHz
  • AMD Radeon ™ Graphics Vega 7 1600 MHz Compatible with 5.5 kernels
  • Display: 14 inches FullHD IPS LED high definition and high color range True Color cover 100% sRGB - 300 nits
  • Keyboard: backlight
  • Material: Aluminium
  • USB 3.0 Ports: 2
  • USB-C Ports: 1
  • USB 2.0 Ports: 1
  • HDMI Ports: 1
  • RJ45 Ports: 1
  • RAM: 32GB 2 non-soldered DDR4 slots 3200 Mhz
  • SSD: 250GB SSD NVMe
  • price: 1,169.00 EUR | 1,353.88 USD

Tuxedo Pulse 14

Have almost exact the same with Slimbook pro above, just color is dark gray and is a bit ugly....

  • price: 1,090.00 EUR | 1,261.87 USD

Apple M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 8-Core GPU 512GB Storage

  • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage¹
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • price: 1 078,50 EUR | 1,249.00 USD

Which one would you choose and why?

Top comments (11)

annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

@joelbonetr Hi there, I read your post too and still couldn't decide... the goal is for mainly frontend but possibly transitioning to full-stack. Can you help a bit? Thanks!

joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇 • Edited

Then pick the Macbook. The M1 has better average speed than intel or amd laptop CPUs for compiling tasks like when you do npm run dev or yarn start in frontend projects or when you compile Java artifacts and so on.

It also provides a screen with 100% sRGB coverage.

Just make sure you pick 16Gb RAM along this M1 :)
for me 256Gb is more than enough SSD to work but this depends on the usage you plan, maybe 512Gb or 1Tb if you want to use it for non-work stuff as well, that's up to you.

By the way MacOS is a Unix based system so the terminal API is 99% the same than what you can find in Linux terminal /bash which is always nice (at the end your VM instances will probably be Debian based Linux OS) or Alpine as much if you use Node with Node-Alpine docker image (but this is a choice, you can still use debian or deb-based distros).

Note that DCI color coverage is just for video editors, nothing to do as a dev with that, just 100% sRGB is fine to discern quick differences between colors that come along designers concepts and designs.

By this means and to clarify, the reason is the M1, which is way faster compiling code so it equals to less lose of time, the rest is nothing critical. You'll need 16Gb RAM at least in Macbook as well so check if the price of it with 16Gb RAM is ok to you, if it's not, pick the other.

annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

Thanks Joel.

I checked that MacBook Pro:
Apple M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and 8‑Core GPU 8GB unified memory 256GB SSD Storage for 13 inches costs $1,299.00
and 8-Core CPU 14-Core GPU 16GB Unified Memory 512GB SSD Storage for 14 inches costs $1,999.00

Apple is really not flexible when it comes to RAM or you just have to throw in way more money...It might exceed the company budget.

Thread Thread
joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇

Can't you pick the first one and simply add 8 extra Gb of RAM?

Thread Thread
joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇

just checked it, you can choose Macbook Air and in the next step you can choose 16Gb RAM, which is $1,449.00
I don't know if it exceeds the budget or not.
If it does, you can look at Huawei Matebook D14 AMD or Matebook D16 AMD which comes with a 4800H and 16Gb RAM for around 800-1000 bucks

Thread Thread
annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

Yeah I also checked and here it costs 1 463,61 EUR | 1 695,35 USD for 16G RAM. Prefer not to use Huawei though.

So it's either Slimbook or MacAir M1. I hope the above budget is fine, esp if company has deal with Apple, then I guess problem solved.

I personally still prefer Linux and if I were to buy my next personal laptop I'd choose Slimbook or Tuxedo.

Thread Thread
joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇

I've never used any of those so I cannot recommend what i did not try.
On the other hand I learnt that you must not be a fan of any company, instead pick what fits better to you. If it costs more but is better, pay it (unless you're gonna get zero benefit from it) and if it costs less, you got some money for other -or related- stuff.

This Slimbook with 4800H and 32Gb of RAM is a beast and probably a good decision as well (even better depending on the rest of the tasks you'll perform) in comparison with the macbook (windows does not run properly in macs, that's no secret and using windows + WSL is a very good option nowadays).

alaindet profile image
Alain D'Ettorre

Never heard of Slimbook but I'd buy that. Despite the M1 being cool, you need to buy the M1 16Gb version to fully appreciate the CPU and it will you cost much more than the Slimbook.

At the end of the day, you're trading some performance, some battery and a good monitor for a cheaper valid alternative that you can also game on, your choice

annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

If it's a personal choice yeah, especially I already have a huge monitor and I will unlikely use that beautiful but small 13" of the mac. WFH doesn't require the battery to last forever either. Jumping from 8G to 16G in ram is indeed expensive in mac series.

ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

The Slimbook, for a couple of reasons:

  • RAM is actually really important for web development as most browsers are serious memory hogs, and many of the local development tools (Node.JS especially) are also pretty serious memory hogs. I’ll guarantee the 8GB in the MacBook is not upgradeable and that you would have to pay a few hundred USD more for more RAM.
  • The SSD in the Slimbook is almost certainly end-user replaceable, and therefore almost certainly upgradeable. Upgrading an NVMe SSD in a laptop is not exactly easy (more because of the difficulties of finding a useful external enclosure so you can clone the SSD than anything else), but it is doable.
  • You probably do not need Thunderbolt, and probably also do not need USB 4, but likely will at some point be very happy about having 4 USB ports and the dedicated physical HDMI port (speaking from personal experience here).

The MacBook has a couple of things in it’s favor though:

  • Current model Retina displays are full-gamut DCI-P3, as compared to the sRGB display on the Slimbook. This may not matter for a web developer, but if you need to do any real graphic design work, it’s kind of important.
  • The MacBook almost certainly has a better battery life (not what the OEM quotes, but actual battery life from everyday usage).
annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

Thanks Austin. Indeed that 8G RAM is a bit bothering for me... although if you do design work on bigger monitor and don't work in cafe or on the train, the benefit of Mac screen and battery life is a bit less used.

Timeless DEV post...

Git Concepts I Wish I Knew Years Ago

The most used technology by developers is not Javascript.

It's not Python or HTML.

It hardly even gets mentioned in interviews or listed as a pre-requisite for jobs.

I'm talking about Git and version control of course.

One does not simply learn git