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laptop for programming

padraig dillane
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 25, 2011
Posts: 3
Hi all,

Im looking to invest in a laptop for programming. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would 4gb ram/2 duo processor/2.2ghz do the job? My eyes are going numb looking at specs of various laptops and i dont even know would they do. So if you guys program on a good laptop please let me know and put me out of my misery.

Thanks Guys
Padraig
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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  65

Best? In my opinion, a MacBook Pro -- you can run all of the 3 important platforms: OS X, Windows and Linux.

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Hussein Baghdadi
clojure forum advocate
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Joined: Nov 08, 2003
Posts: 3476

Bear Bibeault wrote:Best? In my opinion, a MacBook Pro -- you can run all of the 3 important platforms: OS X, Windows and Linux.

+100
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

What do you mean by program? The machine you propose is fine for someone taking my college Java 101 class. Its nowhere near good enough for my professional work.
I tend to write large programs that use a database, tomcat or glassfish, apache, assorted libraries. I run with two or three browsers (Safari, Firefox and Chrome) for testing, all with Netbeans.

A minimal laptop for me has a quad processor and 8GB of ram. I am using a 15" MacBook Pro. It was very expensive, but I need OS-X for IOS work.

Frankly, its not fast enough all the time. My desktop machine runs rings around it for Java development.
Akhilesh Trivedi
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1526
Bear Bibeault wrote:Best? In my opinion, a MacBook Pro -- you can run all of the 3 important platforms: OS X, Windows and Linux.


and I thought if only thing that run on Apple machine is from Apple.


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Jesper de Jong
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  16

padraig dillane wrote:Would 4gb ram/2 duo processor/2.2ghz do the job?

It depends on what kind of development you want to do, but I'd say yes, those specs are good enough for developing Java software on a laptop.

Pat Farrell wrote:A minimal laptop for me has a quad processor and 8GB of ram. ... Frankly, its not fast enough all the time.

Really? What is the bottleneck? I can't imagine that a quad-core processor and 8 GB RAM are not enough. If it's disk I/O, try installing an SSD, it is much faster than a harddisk and it will make your computer feel much faster overall.

Java IDEs tend to use a lot of memory, so I'd say 2 GB is the bare minimum, but you'll really want to get 4 GB or more (the difference between 2 GB and 4 GB is noticeable with Eclipse on Windows). In my opinion a fast harddisk or SSD is even more important than the CPU. Note that the Intel Core 2 Duo is an older generation CPU. It would be better to get at least a Core i5, or maybe a Core i7.

I have a Dell Latitute E6520: Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, running 64-bit Ubuntu 11.10. It's more than fast enough for me for Java software development.
Akhilesh Trivedi wrote:and I thought if only thing that run on Apple machine is from Apple.

Windows and Linux can be installed on a Mac too, however you will probably need to find drivers and not everything might work as well as under Mac OS X. And you could ofcourse also install Windows and Linux in a virtual machine (using for example Parallels, VMWare or VirtualBox virtualization software - you'll need enough memory to be able to do this though).


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Akhilesh Trivedi
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Jesper de Jong wrote:
And you could ofcourse also install Windows and Linux in a virtual machine (using for example Parallels, VMWare or VirtualBox virtualization software - you'll need enough memory to be able to do this though).


Except for VitualBox, others seems to be 'paid ones'. And do they bundle Windows or any OS with virtualization software? Else for virtualization on personal computer, its not only extra memory but also extra money.
Pat Farrell
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Jesper de Jong wrote:Really? What is the bottleneck? I can't imagine that a quad-core processor and 8 GB RAM are not enough. If it's disk I/O, try installing an SSD, it is much faster than a harddisk and it will make your computer feel much faster overall.


I think its OS-X, but its hard to tell. As I wrote, I run a lot of heavy duty programs at once. Most of the time, my MBP is fine. But when I write bugs, eat up all the memory with Java, then everything slows to a crawl, including non-Java things. I don't know if this box will go above 8GB. When I have SQL bugs and Java bugs, memory goes away fast.

Over the past 40 years, slow computers are caused by too little memory at least 90 percent of the time. Add enough memory, and you don't need to do disk I/O.
Bear Bibeault
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Hmmm, I'm running with 4G and never experience such slowdowns.
Pat Farrell
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    5

@Bear probably writes fewer bugs that I do.
Bear Bibeault
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Pat Farrell wrote:@Bear probably writes fewer bugs that I do.

Jayesh A Lalwani
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Actually, I am moving away from using my laptop for development and moving towards using company hosted VMs. My company has a huge VM farm. I have an image with eclipse, maven, jboss, blah blah installed. I start a VM using my image and VNC into the machine from my laptop.

Start working on a new branch? Start a new machine! :lol: Don't know what the eff is this machine doing? Start a new machine! I need to test a process that runs on 4 machines? Start 4 machines! Oops my windows laptop gave a BSOD? Doesn't matter because my VM is still up. No data lost. Need to run a long running process? Start the process on my VM, shut down my laptop and go home and it will keep working on the VM. Working from home? Absolutely no connectivity issues since my "work" machine is right inside the local network.
Pat Farrell
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Actually, I am moving away from using my laptop for development and moving towards using company hosted VMs. My company has a huge VM farm. I have an image with eclipse, maven, jboss, blah blah installed. I start a VM using my image and VNC into the machine from my laptop.

I have heard that this is a winning approach. The VM can run on a serious machine, and your laptop can be inexpensive.

I don't have any idea how to set this up. Got any links to articles or how-tos?
Bear Bibeault
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  65

http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/

This turns out to be more expensive than my current dedicated hosting so I don't use it. But it works out for a lot of people.
Bert Bates
author
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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    5
and of course, my old saw...

the laptop's speed is of course very important, but getting as many pixels as possible is, arguably, equally or more important.

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Pat Farrell
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Bert Bates wrote:the laptop's speed is of course very important, but getting as many pixels as possible is, arguably, equally or more important.


No laptop has a screen big enough for serious work. These days, the minimum is two 23" monitors, and they are cheap, at least on desktops. I plug my laptop into a 23" which almost is enough screen real estate.

If I could work on my desktop as a main machine, I'd probably add a third 23" display.

In general, I think laptops are terrible developer's machines. A desktop and three monitors is tons cheaper and lots faster.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 16, 2005
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  16

Pat Farrell wrote:But when I write bugs, eat up all the memory with Java, then everything slows to a crawl, including non-Java things. I don't know if this box will go above 8GB. When I have SQL bugs and Java bugs, memory goes away fast.

Yes, but in that case having more memory just means that it will take two seconds longer for your bug to have eaten all the memory...

Akhilesh Trivedi wrote:Except for VitualBox, others seems to be 'paid ones'. And do they bundle Windows or any OS with virtualization software? Else for virtualization on personal computer, its not only extra memory but also extra money.

Ofcourse not, you need to pay for a license for the OS running inside the virtual machine, just like you would when you'd be running the OS directly on the hardware. (Unless you're using a free operating system such as Linux).
Joe Harry
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Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9345
    
    2

Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Actually, I am moving away from using my laptop for development and moving towards using company hosted VMs. My company has a huge VM farm. I have an image with eclipse, maven, jboss, blah blah installed. I start a VM using my image and VNC into the machine from my laptop.

Start working on a new branch? Start a new machine! :lol: Don't know what the eff is this machine doing? Start a new machine! I need to test a process that runs on 4 machines? Start 4 machines! Oops my windows laptop gave a BSOD? Doesn't matter because my VM is still up. No data lost. Need to run a long running process? Start the process on my VM, shut down my laptop and go home and it will keep working on the VM. Working from home? Absolutely no connectivity issues since my "work" machine is right inside the local network.


Looks interesting. Can you provide some links or pointers for further information?


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Joe Harry
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Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9345
    
    2

I have the following installed on my Lenovo Thinpad machine which has a 2 GB RAM and runs Ubuntu 10.04

Eclipse
Java
Oracle Client
Apache Tomcat
JBoss
Apache Web Server
Squirrel SQL Client

I never found any issues related to performance when I have all of them running at a time.
Akhilesh Trivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1526
Joe Harry wrote:I have the following installed on my Lenovo Thinpad machine which has a 2 GB RAM and runs Ubuntu 10.04


How about Lenovo all-in-ones from ideacentre? Do you know someone using b520?
 
 
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