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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I develop for a micro-ISV. Our main product was developed on a Dell laptop (connected to external monitor and keyboard) and Dell desktop computer, which when they were in their prime I thought were good computers.
It is about time to buy a new development computer and I will probably wait until Microsoft publicly release Windows 8.1 or perhaps just install it myself over Windows 8.
So what should I get? Should I get a new desktop computer to replace my Dell desktop.
I don't really move about much, but I would somewhat prefer a more portable or even luggable laptop to a desktop. Of course, for development it will be connected to an external monitor and keyboard.
So if I buy a laptop should I get Sony, Samsung or Toshiba?
I have used a Sony laptop before and it worked fine, although Sony do charge more for the same specs as Samsung and Toshiba (or they used to).
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
In short, I was asking for a recommendation whether to buy a Sony, Samsung or Toshiba laptop from people with experience of them.
Laptops do have problems. Some have bad keyboards. Some have poor build quality.
I was just asking who currently makes the best laptops.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I don't get the joke either, and I don't feel like debating why you are asking the wrong questions, so I'll give you a serious answer.
For a laptop, none of the above. I always recommend Lenovo laptops, they have the best keyboards, the strongest cases and shells, and the most reliable components. The top of the line Thinkpads are only available online, but the pricing is competitive with other premium laptops.
You need to ask yourself "Do I really need a laptop". Be honest. Do you really, really, really need a laptop? Not WANT a laptop -- NEED a laptop.
A laptop is a poor choice for serious dev work. Slow CPU, less RAM, etc. And if you are connecting a real keyboard and monitor to it -- what's the point? You might as well go all the way and get a desktop.
For the same price as a high-end laptop (and probably for less) you can get a killer desktop with a lot more power.
If you think need a laptop for occasional portability, you should probably buy a (much higher spec) desktop and use the money left over to buy an iPad.
IMHO, YMMV, etc.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I needed a new laptop a few months ago and found that trying to find objective reviews can be frustrating and time consuming. I finally said screw it, and decided to treat it as a commodity purchase. I bought a $500 Lenovo (Intel i5, 500 GB HD, and only 4GB RAM).
I kind of expected it to run VS 2012 a bit slow or have long build times. I was pleasantly surprised to find that everything runs quickly and smoothly. This may sound funny, but looking at a PC as a semi-disposable commodity is liberating. I'm not worried that this thing will crap out or won't be up to snuff in a year. I'll just go buy another one.
[NB: I don't do PC gaming, run VM's, use Eclipse, or keep 10+ tabs open in the browser. Your system requirements may be different than mine.]
I picked Lenovo because it had the best keyboard. I've used Toshiba's, HP's, and Sony's in the past and did not like their keyboards at all. A lot of them have half-chicklet arrow keys and inconvenient placement of the backspace, delete, and navigation keys.
I'm running Windows 8. I have to admit I hated it at first, but since I immediately go into desktop mode, it hasn't been an issue. Plus I felt it was important to have at least one Windows 8 system around for testing.
Richard McBeef: "A laptop is a poor choice for serious dev work. Slow CPU, less RAM, etc. And if you are connecting a real keyboard and monitor to it -- what's the point? You might as well go all the way and get a desktop."
I connect a full keyboard and mouse to mine. Its performance is better than my XP desktop. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to make XP Mode not work on Windows 7 Home which is what my laptop came with. It is *that* which makes the laptop much less useful to me for development, because I have some 16-bit utilities that I use in developing.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I used a laptop for years for all my development work. When I stopped travelling frequently a couple of years ago I moved to a desktop. It is much, much better. Having three full sized monitors and not having the laptop cluttering up the desk is worth it.
I still have a laptop for when I travel and remote back to home with it using LogMeIn but I never want to go back to using one full time.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I wouldn't touch a Samsung laptop. I've recently been using a Samsung ultrabook some of the time and some of the little details are very annoying:
1) No backlit keypad, something I expect in a mid-high end machine these days.
2) No hardware off button for the trackpad - annoying as hell when the mouse is moved by my wrist and I end up typing in the wrong place.
3) This one is crazy - no caps lock light. I never knew how necessary they were until had to live without one.
I also used a Toshiba ultrabook for a while. The build quality was a little flimsy but otherwise I couldn't fault it - all round a very nice machine.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Nowadays there are 17" laptops with Core i7, 8-16 GB Ram, proper graphics card, 256 SSD+ 1TB HDD.
Such a laptop works really well together with FullHD monitor, external keyboard and mouse for office mode and in addition you can take the laptop with you on exhibition/demo, or bring home from the office while you are on holidays.
I don't know why anybody wants to purchase a desktop PC in 2013.
Friday, August 23, 2013
The ergonomics are better for some of us. I much prefer a desktop system. I bought a laptop last year. If I use the trackpad much, it irritates my finger so I usually use a mouse. The keyboard is awkward so I use a full keyboard.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Today's laptops are high-powered and perfect for dev work and are not slow and poor performance as some people might suggest. Plus you get portability to take your work anywhere, and you can still use external mice, keyboard and monitors if you like (I hate touchpads!).
The biggest advantage, to me, about laptops is the battery: no more data loss if a power outage occurs! :) It's basically a UPS for your work.
Why not stay with Dell? Not sure how it goes where you are but here the customer service is impressive (on my previous one, they replaced the motherboard for free, 3 weeks after the end of the warranty period even though it was destroyed due to water damage and mud - major inundations).
Since I travel quite a bit, I got used to working outside, in cafe shops and the like... just like it better that way and I haven't even had a desktop in the last 10 years or so.
Currently I use a mid-range Dell, which is about 1-2 years old (as well as a small backup laptop with the same set-up, just in case). Paid about $1,000 at the time. and I am fairly happy. CPU is a I7, 8gb RAM, decent graphic card and 1T disk drive. Full size keyboard. I am running VS 2010, about 40 browser tabs open, Outlook and a handful of other programs as well as apache/mysql server and netbeans. All open at the same time.
System is responsive and compilation is takes 4-5 seconds (largely because my projects are on the small side - 35k LOC for the biggest).
While I can understand that some programmers just have to have a desktop, many M-ISV can do just fine with a mid-range laptop in terms of processing power and the price is not that different.
Not saying that working on a laptop alone is as nice as getting 3 big monitors with a tower and a nice chair in a private office, but then the issue is ergonomics and bragging rights, not processing power.
Friday, August 30, 2013
My computer has no problem driving 2 27" monitors (plus a really nice 15" screen. Great for shoving stuff like email and messaging that you look at oftenbut want off to the side) , has a pretty fast 512gb ssd drive (only like 500mb/s), and standard keyboard and mouse that don't need to be plugged in. The processor is a bit slow (only 4 cores at 2.7 ghz) and memory is somewhat limited (only 16gbs). Yeah the setup cost like 5k but over 2-3 years (more for the monitors), that is a trivial amount of money.
The downside is that it is a bit slower cpu wise (doesn't really matter. Compiles are <2secs right now since they are pretty much done in the background), ram (16 is ok now but 32 would be nice), and GPU (I don't play games so I don't care). The tradeoff is worth it for the half dozen times a year when I am traveling I pull out the power and monitor cable and I am good to go. You are not going to write code on the airplane using an iPad. Being able to program for the 12 hours(round trip) between SF and NY pretty much paid the difference in price between the lap top and desktop I could get by with a second computer and clone the needed folders but right now that isn't worth it. YMMV.
@I don't know why anybody wants to purchase a desktop PC in 2013.
Having just moved continents, and been without my (somewhat old) desktop PC for a few months while it was shipped, I moved all of my dev to a laptop. No problem - a pretty decent machine, i7 Samsung thing, but what a relief to get settled in again and set up with a (new) Dell PC. I have a complete dev environment on both machines now, giving me some redundancy (not backups so much, which are done elsewhere - but if one machine fails, I could carry on working fairly seamlessly on the other).
The thing is, the desktop PC cost peanuts for what it does - 12GB ram, i7, fast memory, good graphics card, 256GB SSD, and of course I can use a big monitor and my mechanical Cherry keyboard (what a difference that makes!). Strangely, the PC seems lightning fast compared to the laptop, even though they are similarly specced.
If you are going to plug your laptop into a proper monitor/keyboard, why not just spend the 4-800 on a dekstop box as well, and keep the two in sync?
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