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Purchase Template: Laptop for programming and development

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#1 Vectron


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Posted 01 January 2018 - 03:36 PM

Laptop or Desktop?

My budget for the new computer is:
Not relevant; Any. Lower is better ofcourse.

What are the primary uses for this computer?
Programming and development.

What software do you intend on using on the computer?
Various. Linux and Windows.

Do you play games? If so, what type of games?
Not on this device.

Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it?
I need about 8GB or 16GB of RAM for compiling and data processing.

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer?
No, but I'm going to install a 2TB HDD I already have.

Will you be overclocking?

Location for online shopping/shipment/prices?
Any (EU).

How many monitors are you planning to use?
The built-in one and optionally another external one.

Do you need peripherals? OS?
USB3 slots; see below. Windows/Linux

Any particular reason why you are upgrading?
Migrating from a desktop device to another I can actually carry about.

I'd love to hear some suggestions. For example things like... You should avoid HP because they have poorly implemented ABC. Asus is good because they have YXZ. Stay away from Dell because their ASDFG is broken. Etc.


Custom specs:

I made a list of wishes and requirements I'd also like to share.

  • CPU: Some recent Intel i5/i7 for heavy data processing. Must have 4 physical cores, not 4 virtual cores (hyperthreading). Must be without Intel vPro AMT and without the "hidden" cellular modem that some devices ship with. I will use me-cleaner on the device after I buy it.
  • Screen: 15" or 17", optionally matte. Without touchscreen.
  • GFX: Appropriate for graphics design, 3D applications (i.e. Solidworks) and processing (i.e. OpenCL). GeForce or Radeon?
  • Storage: Room for 2,5" SATA HDD. Will remove smaller disk and install my own 2 TB.
  • RAM: At least 8GB DDR4/DDR4L. Optionally 16GB. If 8GB, then should have a spare empty SoDIMM slot.
  • Peripherals: Gigabit Ethernet RJ45, 802.11b/g/n WiFi (802.11ac not needed). At least 3 USB Type-A sockets - at least one of them must be USB 3.0 (blue socket). Bonus, if all three sockets are USB 3.0. Without fingerprint reader. With SDHC or better SDXC card reader. Optionally without CD/DVD unit.
  • Battery: I originally wanted a detachable battery, but I'll withdraw this requirement. Battery should be long-life 4-cell or better 6-cell.
  • Misc: Easily removable bottom cover for fan access (cleaning).
  • OS: Should come with either FreeDOS or Linux. Will format it later ind install custom OS. If it has Windows then it should be easily removable. Firmware should support UEFI booting with unlocked secure boot (I can enroll my own custom keys - PK, KEK, db, dbx).
  • Keyboard: With flat keys. The Fn button should be to the right of the CTRL button - the bottom row left-most button must be CTRL, not Fn. The up/down arrow keys should be on separate rows - some models have squeezed both keys into a single row.


Comments, thoughts, suggestions, critics?

Thanks in advance.


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#2 RecursiveNerd


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Posted 02 January 2018 - 12:25 PM

I'm a Software Engineer by day, so I'll give you a few pointers from my experiences.


Don't skimp on RAM or processor power - you'll regret it. Running multiple IDEs, along with different build environments and running other VMs is a must on a daily basis for myself. My previous machine was an older Dell with 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, and an Intel Xeon (can't remember specs). It was an absolute snail, taking 20-30 minutes to build all of my platforms, ranging from large desktop applications to embedded applications. Very slow to respond when trying to debug as well as maintaining several applications open at once without hitting the pagefile and a lot of swap.


My new machine is a Dell Precision 7710 Workstation (purchased by company) and it flies. 32GB RAM, 4-core i7-6820HQ (8 with hyperthreading), and NVidia Quadro. Environment builds in about 5 minutes and I can have 3 instances of Visual Studio, VMs, and plenty of browser tabs open and it doesn't hesitate. My only complaint - no SSD. I would recommend getting an SSD for your applications that you use the most. One instance of Visual Studio for me takes up anywhere from 2-5GB of RAM at any given time (higher RAM usage when running parallel builds).


I don't have any advice for specific manufacturers, just stick with Dell or Lenovo, look for business class hardware.

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