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What is the best Laptop for programmers?

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    Any suggestions for a good and not too expensive laptop?

    Cheers,
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    One that runs Linux. Other than that you don't need too much. A fast processor would be nice though with ample RAM.
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    One with a keyboard. And a screen if you're lucky.
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    macbook
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    macbook pro
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    (Original post by hungrymind)
    Any suggestions for a good and not too expensive laptop?

    Cheers,
    Why do you need a laptop? You're most likely better off with a desktop with a decent sized monitor.
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    firstly it depends on what OS the programs run on that you use to code, then base your purchase based on a laptop that has the OS you need. As a bare minimum it should have a 2ghz+ core2duo and 2gb ram
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Why do you need a laptop? You're most likely better off with a desktop with a decent sized monitor.
    To code on the move?
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    (Original post by aspiringmathematician)
    To code on the move?
    Nobody does this. I assume the OP will be starting a uni course in the next few weeks and I guarantee that the vast majority of people at uni will get a laptop with the incredibly twee intention of taking it to lectures and coding some Java while sipping coffee in the SU...

    In reality, the laptop will be either firmly rooted to the user's desk, or, in the unlikely event that they do take it out of their room, they'll use it to browse facebook on campus/get distracted by it during lectures.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Nobody does this. I assume the OP will be starting a uni course in the next few weeks and I guarantee that the vast majority of people at uni will get a laptop with the incredibly twee intention of taking it to lectures and coding some Java while sipping coffee in the SU...

    In reality, the laptop will be either firmly rooted to the user's desk, or, in the unlikely event that they do take it out of their room, they'll use it to browse facebook on campus/get distracted by it during lectures.
    How cynical. I see many a software engineer in the UCL libraries frantically coding, be it C, Objective-C, Java or any other language, so while it may be a bit of a cliche to do so whilst sipping coffee in the SU, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
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    As someone who dabbles in it myself I'd suggest a reasonable desktop with a 22" screen - enough room to fit some notes/plans on the screen as well as your IDE of choice.
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    Anything that runs Linux. I'v found that programming on a mac this year has also been really good. Most of the terminal commands are the same. Comes installed with JDK so you don't have to screw about with classpaths etc for Java which are a pain in the ars tbh.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Nobody does this. I assume the OP will be starting a uni course in the next few weeks and I guarantee that the vast majority of people at uni will get a laptop with the incredibly twee intention of taking it to lectures and coding some Java while sipping coffee in the SU...

    In reality, the laptop will be either firmly rooted to the user's desk, or, in the unlikely event that they do take it out of their room, they'll use it to browse facebook on campus/get distracted by it during lectures.
    I agree, laptops at uni are generally a waste of time. Everywhere you go on campus there will be computers available and you'll most likely have some network storage. Combine this with a decent flash drive and you'll never need a laptop.

    For programming though, it's always good to have a decent processor. 2 decent sized monitors is a huge advantage as well.
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    I already have a laptop that I bought last year. It has a max. resolution of 1200x800
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    (Original post by Arturo Bandini)
    I already have a laptop that I bought last year. It has a max. resolution of 1200x800
    Laptops with big resolutions isn't necessarily a good thing. The maximum you really should be running is 1440x900 on a 15" and 1200x800 on a 13". Anything higher and you end up having to squint at everything.
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    When my laptop was my main machine, it never left my halls/house. Since I bought myself a desktop during my year in industry, my laptop often made the trip to campus with me. It never got used for coursework though, but it was handy for some of societies I was involved in.
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    I have a desktop with 2 big monitors (22" & 23" wide screens) which I use to do coding when I can. It is by far and away the nicest environment available for extensive coding work as the size of the monitors mean I can have 4 usable windows open at the same time which is great as you will invariably need to look stuff up as you go and will likely have a couple of editors/ ide screens open at the same time. Plus I can chuck the odd game on when I fancy it as well ... However! A laptop is essential I would recommend a laptop over a desktop every time for these reasons:

    * So much of Comp Sci is group work - I couldn't tell you the number of hours I spent in group work areas on campus with the rest of my group coding together on a joint project, It is a lot easier when you are all in the same place, this is so much easier to do if everyone has a laptop!

    * Portability is useful when you need help and you likely will at some point either from your mates or tutors/lecturers, It's much easier to bring the problem to them.

    * If you don't have accommodation on campus (and most uni's don't beyond the first year) you will likely be on campus most of the day most weekdays - having a laptop with you is far better than fighting for a library PC and far nicer (I personally hate the library PCs with a passion) if you want to use your day working constructivly it's a must!

    * It might not apply to everyone but I can take constructive notes in lectures (onenote is great for this btw and it means you get a searchable revision resource come exam time).

    A laptop doesn't need to be powerful either I did most of my second year using a 10" eeepc running XP no issues! Coding is not a demanding application I did a graphics coursework piece in visual studio 08 coding in C using the openGL libraries just fine on a 1.6 atom with 2GB of RAM. That is not to say that you should buy a netbook (I did because carrying my 17" laptop to uni everyday was killing my back) but to illustrate that it is possible to do a CS course on minimal hardware. I would say the most important thing is battery life (another reason why I went for the eee) power points aren't always readily available throughout the day!

    If I were to spec out something I would say screen size is a personal choice, 13-15.4 is a good compromise, but go bigger or smaller depending on what you are prepared to carry and work on all day. 2GB+ of RAM and a modern CPU will be more than adequate and go for something with as longer battery life as possible. Then get a big external monitor for when you can be at your desk.
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    tbh, I'd place the most emphasis on the keyboard. A good size, comfortable keyboard (with keys in normal places) is essential imo
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    Not a netbook. I installed Visual studio 2008 pro on mine and although it seemed to be pretty usable for some reason compiling took a very long time.

    Ok I didn't realistically expect it to work but it might be feasible with more light weight IDEs

    I've found my laptop usefull at uni. I've had to demonstrate programs ive written quite a few times and its much easier to work on the laptop and bring it to the demonstration than transfering and recompiling it on the university machines.
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    I've used Macs ever since I started CS... had an iBook first and then replaced it with my current Macbook Pro about 3 years ago. The most important things I've found are weight and battery life, coding isn't hugely resource-intensive at undergrad level (apart from the odd huge group project or your final year project). For the next laptop I get, I'd like to go smaller than 15" (I find 12"-13" perfect because I've got small girly hands which suit a small keyboard) and preferably under 5lbs in weight. I'd also like something with a longer battery life than my MBP - even when it was new the battery life wasn't as good as I'd like, and at this stage it's down to about 20-30 minutes because I'm still on the original battery.

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