Will a Quad-core i5 processor significantly speed up development on Linux or Mac?

I am looking at getting a new Thinkpad with an i5 processor.

I was curious to what extent this would speed up developing a Ruby on
Rails
app. I am guessing that this depends to what extent multi-threading is
utilized,
but I am not sure---hence the question :^)

If it is not that significant, my other choice would be to get a used
Thinkpad
or Mac Pro, duo-core.

So is there a significant difference in the speed of, for example a
2.4Ghz duo
core, versus a 2.4 Ghz i5?

I have nothing against getting a used Thinkpad. They have been good to
me.
For what I am looking at, it will cost about $400 more for a T410, and
I am not
a rich man.

Thanks,

  Jet

I recently upgraded from a 2.0 GHz Core Duo (without "2") to a 1.83 GHz
i7. The change also involved going from 3GB RAM to 8GB. Effectively a 4
year technology jump. There is a noticeable speed improvement, but
nothing to get excited about.

I have a hunch that an SSD instead of the spindly drive would have been
more effective, and possibly even more cost effective. I'll try this
when they come down in price some more. The reasoning behind my hunch is
that ordinary web apps just aren't CPU-bound and well-behaved
development tools aren't either (so Eclipse/RadRails and NetBeans don't
qualify all of the time).

Both mentioned computers are notebooks (Dell D820 and M6500) running
Debian Linux.

My advice: For your purposes, there probably isn't a noticeable speed
difference between a 2.4GHz dual core and a quad core of the same
generation; 4GB RAM is the minimum; see if you can try out how an SSD
affects speed (and tell us about your experience).

Michael

Jet Thompson wrote:

I was curious to what extent this would speed up developing a Ruby on
Rails app
So is there a significant difference in the speed of, for example a
2.4Ghz duo core, versus a 2.4 Ghz i5?

For rails development? Nah, you won't see much of a difference in the
CPUs unless your app do a lot of lengthy pure ruby work with delayed
jobs or something.

Best invesement is in RAM. Lots 'o' RAM so you can keep all your dev
tools and test browsers open at the same time.

-- gw

For development speed, the best investment is knowledge. I would bet
a rails guru on an iPhone could out develop a person worried about ram
on a Mac pro.

If you are looking for speed, turn off twitter, irc, facebook, and
gmail. I find those are the biggest users of ram.

Chris

My own $0.02...

Buy the best machine you can afford to today, or wait. There will always
be a better deal in a month, it's the nature of the beast. And price vs
performance is always a subjective matter. The i5 will have a longer
useful lifetime, but I don't know how often you change your rig (I run
about a 4 year cycle, and try to buy with that in mind).

During development, 99.999% of the time either machine will be waiting
on you...

I've watched my quad-core Phenom II's work loads (who hasn't popped up
that cpu usage window and left it there for a while?) and it rarely
spikes above 30% in aggregate except when running automated test suites
- at that point, it is satisfying.

Cores/processor speed aside, when I bumped the RAM in my rig from 4Gig
to 8Gig, now that was satisfying. If you can load up the used Thinkpad
with 8 Gig, that might be the winner for me.

Michael and Greg, thanks for the info. You have saved me some money! I
will go for lots of RAM, and not be concerned about the latest
processor.

Chris, I couln't agree more on your comment that knowledge is the best
investment. However, the speed you are working at does come into play.
I was developing in Windows XP with Cygwin. When it took over 5
minutes to run a Cucumber scenario, I started to get real concerned.
Switching to use Virtual Box with Ubuntu changed running the same
scenario to 6-8 seconds. There are is a need for using the right tools
if you want to work competitively.

Thanks again to all.

Cheers,

   Jet

Indeed, that's why you better go for a OS change :). I think that you
don't need a very strong pc for rails development, just a pc with
linux and you are ready for action!

I believe 2gb can also do the work. If you are designing thinks and
need something for design then ok buy a strong one, if you just want a
rails development pc you can go with a cheap one.

Right-o Jet. I didn't think anyone was trying to develop Ruby on
Windows anymore :slight_smile:

Chris

Quoting BlueHandTalking <jet@whidbey.com>:

I am looking at getting a new Thinkpad with an i5 processor.

I was curious to what extent this would speed up developing a Ruby on
Rails
app. I am guessing that this depends to what extent multi-threading is
utilized,
but I am not sure---hence the question :^)

Ruby (at least for 1.8) does not use multiple cores. However, the database
server may. And test suites usually hit both.

A talk was given at Lone Star Ruby on how the speaker reduced the run time for
the test suite from 13 minutes to 18 seconds. Part of the changes involved
running pieces of the test suite in parallel on multiple CPUs. I am pretty
sure the talk is on the Web somewhere. Google for "Grease your Suite: Tips
and Tricks for Faster Testing".

HTH,
  Jeffrey

the presentation can be found at http://confreaks.net/events/lsrc2010, but it’s not available just yet.