Okay, so a little background here: I am a software engineering student who spends much of his time developing mobile apps with Flutter. As of right now, my main machine is a Surface Pro 4 with a dual-core Core i5 and 8GB of RAM, and I have a few gripes that probably aren't surprising: The screen size is a little restrictive, running Android Studio pretty much consumes every resource the PC has to offer, compilation times are pretty slow, and of course, I am unable to build/test for iOS due to platform restrictions.

In light of this, I am in the market for a MacBook Pro (I'm a student, so I need the portability), but as I was doing my research, I have struggled to find any general guidelines for what truly impacts things like compilation time. I guess the real question here is, will having the 2 cores (or 4 if you consider hyper-threading) really have a impact on compilation time (i.e., is compilation a single-threaded or multi-threaded workload)?

Due to the need for a Mac for my purposes, I am going to buy one regardless, but I would like to know if it's worth it to throw my money at more cores or not.

Unsurprisingly, the single-core GeekBench scores for my current PC and the new 2019 MBP base model are almost identical (ballpark 4000), while the multi-core score for the MBP beats my PC by about 9000 points.

Here's what I have found out already from my research:

  • SSD R/W speeds are very important for compilation speed, but Macs have had a good track record with this
  • RAM is also a big factor, so I am going with 16GB as a minimum
  • Different compilers can have different workloads
  • Project size is closely related to build times
  • Macs are not the only portable PC, there are plenty of small windows PCs with fantastic battery life, see: Spectre X360, XPS 13, Thinkpad T480.
    – Rubydesic
    Jul 23 '19 at 22:50

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