I am looking to buy a new Apple laptop or desktop for running Mathematica. What Mac is best, especially if I want to run numerical simulations in Mathematica?

(A similar question was asked a few years ago, but obviously that is decades in computer time).


closed as primarily opinion-based by C. E., Henrik Schumacher, m_goldberg, José Antonio Díaz Navas, Kuba Feb 16 '18 at 20:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you link mentioned topic? $\endgroup$ – Kuba Feb 15 '18 at 7:26
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    $\begingroup$ I would say buy the biggest mac you can afford. As much RAM as you can afford. I am stuck on my PC with 16GB since I use windows 7 home edition which does not support more than 16 GB. Mathematica loves RAM. It will eat as much RAM as you can give it and more. $\endgroup$ – Nasser Feb 15 '18 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ If you plan to use Dataset then you need a lot of RAM, e.g. 50MB mixed type csv become ~300MB when imported, which becomes 2.1GB as an association. $\endgroup$ – Mike Honeychurch Feb 15 '18 at 7:49
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    $\begingroup$ Oh come on: Fast CPU and big RAM is always helpful if you can afford it. If you want to save some money, try to get a 15 inch 2015 Macbook Pro. The Haswell CPUs do quite well in number crunching although their memory is a bit slower than those of the Skylakes. If you don't plan to use neural networks or to do dedicated CUDA or OpenCL programming then the GPU doesn't really matter because Mathematica cannot really use it for numerics (and for symbolical computations neither). Plus they still have an escape key which comes in quite handy. $\endgroup$ – Henrik Schumacher Feb 15 '18 at 8:38

Extremely dependent, or maybe only dependent, on your budget!

5000\$+: go for iMac Pro.

\$3000 to \$5000: go for Mac Pro,

\$2000 to \$3000: go for 15 inch MacBook Pro.

As you go higher, you have more options to choose for CPU and RAM capacity, i.e.

With MacBook Pro, you only get a maximum of 4 cores with 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM.

For Mac Pro you can have 6, 8, or 12 cores with 16, 32, or 64 GB DDR3 RAMs. based on your choice, the price would be different.

With iMac Pro, you can get 8, 10, 14, and 18 cores with 32, 64, or 128 GB DDR4 EEC memory.

Note that as you increase the number of cores, you will get less GHz on each core, as usual!

You can see them on iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro.

P.S. the more equipped your system is, the more years it will last from a technological point of view. I mean, it will take longer to become obsolete! This is my view BTW and it might not be true, but it comes from my personal experience.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a good writeup. I would consider iMac instead of Mac Pro, however. Mac Pro comes without a display and that will set you back another $1000 if you buy one that is as good as the one in iMac. A 27" display is great for working with Mathematica because you can have many notebooks, such as documentation, open side by side. The CPU and graphics cards options are still good. $\endgroup$ – C. E. Feb 15 '18 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ @C.E. and Navid, I don't see how this addresses Mathematica context. If summary of what Apple has to offer is what OP needs then this thread is off topic. Or did I miss a point? $\endgroup$ – Kuba Feb 16 '18 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba It answers the question as it is written. I voted to close the question, because I don't think it is specific to Mathematica. A more powerful computer is always better for computation. The answer is right; it only depends on your budget which computer you should choose, the "Mathematica context" is irrelevant. $\endgroup$ – C. E. Feb 16 '18 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @C.E. There is a context: "What Mac is best, especially if I want to run numerical simulations in Mathematica?" so surely the better the better and it depends on the budget but the distribution of focus on different parts of hardware relevant. $\endgroup$ – Kuba Feb 16 '18 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba Buying a Mac is not like buying a PC. There aren't a lot of choices when it comes to hardware. If you want to get a better CPU or a better graphics card, then you also have to upgrade from Macbook Pro to Mac Pro or to iMac Pro in the order that this answer suggests. You can't decide to "go all in on the graphics card" or "go all in on the CPU". There are some choices you can make, but those fit within the dollar ranges mentioned here, I think. $\endgroup$ – C. E. Feb 16 '18 at 14:07

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