Reddit engineer details how the new M1 Max MacBook Pro can save devs time and money

Following the announcement of the new M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pros last month, a trend quickly emerged with several major technology companies rolling out the new machines to their engineering teams. At the time, the companies that made the upgrade included Uber, Twitter and Reddit.

Now, Reddit’s HR engineer Jameson Williams has shared a detailed overview of the improvements the company expects to see with the new MacBook Pro models.

In a post on Reddit this week, Williams elaborated on his initial claims about the effectiveness of the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros. In a viral tweet released earlier this month, Williams had said the cost of upgrading a team of nine engineers to the new MacBook Pro would be $ 32,000 and that the break-even point would happen after three months.

In today’s post, Williams says that Reddit has observed that one 2021 M1 Max MacBook Pro can complete a clean build of the Reddit app for Android in about half the time as an Intel i9 MacBook Pro from 2019.

The basic premise of the tweet was to weigh the upfront cost of buying some new laptops along with the alternative cost of does not by doing so. In other words, I wanted to compare these two formulas:

Net cost ($) with 2019 i9 MBP =
(No upfront cost) + (Time loss awaits builds with 2019 MBP) * (Hourly rate for an engineer)

And

Net cost ($) with 2021 MBP =
($ 31.5k upfront cost) + (Time loss awaits builds with 2021 MBP) * (Hourly rate for an engineer)

To start with, I estimated that the average Android engineer spends 45 minutes waiting for builds every day. (More on this later.) My colleagues and I then benchmarked our builds on some other hardware. We observed that the new 2021 M1 Max MacBook completed a clean build of our Android repo in half time for a 2019 Intel i9 MacBook. This means that an Android developer can save about 22 minutes of construction time each day.

For a clean build of Reddit for the iOS application, the 2021 MacBook Pro can reduce build time even more.

The full post on Reddit is worth reading with further details on some of the other considerations involved in these types of decisions. In the end, however, Williams concludes:

There’s an old saying about being “penny-wise but dollar-stupid.” Engineering departments sometimes fall victim to the saying, believing they are “saving” $ 1k / laptop, while dozens of engineers sit idle and stare at progress bars.

Developer time is almost always more expensive than hardware, which I have hopefully demonstrated here. If you extrapolate the results of this article to your entire department, you may find that a targeted hardware update saves you $ 500k- $ 1M in productivity per year.

See the full post right here.

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