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After an initial claim that the fully loaded new MacBook Pro will save Reddit money and engineering time, the company has broken down the numbers to show when the shift will pay off.
Just as Uber and Twitter have given their engineers fully loaded M1 Max MacBook Pro models, so has Reddit. Now, Reddit contributor Jameson Williams has detailed how the company came to its conclusion — and why the new machines are making such a difference.
“The premise of the tweet was to weigh the initial cost of buying some new laptops against the opportunity cost of not doing so,” he writes. “For starters, I estimated that an average Android engineer spends 45 minutes on builds every day.”
“We found that the new 2021 M1 Max MacBook completed a clean build of our Android repository in half the time of a 2019 Intel i9 MacBook [Pro]he continued. “That means an Android developer can save about 22 minutes of build time every day.”
Williams does emphasize that it is nearly impossible to truly estimate a software engineer’s costs over the length of a project. “Let’s be honest, I honestly don’t know what this is on Reddit,” he says.
However, he says he used an overall estimate of $150 per hour for a software engineer — based not just on salary, but also on “recruitment, office rent, support staff,” and much more.
Then there’s the cost of the new MacBook Pro. “In terms of upfront costs, Apple.com is offering the M1 Max MacBook for $3,299 plus shipping,” Williams says. “Taking into account shipping, taxes, etc., let’s call it $3,500 to get a round number. So if you buy nine (that’s about an average team size), that’s $31.5k. The question becomes : how long does it take to recoup $31.5 k?
According to Williams, “we can see a fairly immediate break-even point,” which for this fictional team of nine “would happen after three months.”
In Williams’ full piece, he addresses the criticism he’s received, including accusations that he’s doing “shillings for Apple.”
“So, hey, let’s be clear,” he responds. “The fact of the matter is I shill for Reddit.”