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#1 iDEAF  Icon User is offline

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Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 27 February 2011 - 03:19 PM

Hello everybody. I am new here, and I love it so far. I am a high school senior who is graduating this year and will attend a college this fall.

Since I am going to a college this fall to obtain a degree in Software Engineering, do you have a suggestion about suitable laptops that software engineering students should buy? MBP may be a good one, but I want to see other suggestions, and I am not a Macbook user. And also, I've heard about IBM Thinkpad T series.

This post has been edited by iDEAF: 27 February 2011 - 03:24 PM


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#2 pryogene  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 27 February 2011 - 03:24 PM

Depends on the tools you'll be required to use. I've always stuck to Windows based computers for my work, as I can use just about any tool on here.
As for specifications, my development machine has 3GB ram and a dual-core 2.1GHz AMD processor. Really zippy for Visual Studio 2010, XNA and that.

You don't really need anything that special.
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#3 iDEAF  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 27 February 2011 - 03:52 PM

Are you saying the best way is to build my own laptop or find a cheap laptop and add more decent things into it?
What kind of laptop do you have? What about processor?
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#4 pryogene  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:00 PM

View PostiDEAF, on 27 February 2011 - 03:52 PM, said:

Are you saying the best way is to build my own laptop or find a cheap laptop and add more decent things into it?
What kind of laptop do you have? What about processor?


I have an Acer Aspire 5535-G32. Have done for 2 years, though I'm going up to a better one soon.
AMD Turion x2 2.1Ghz, 3GB Ram, 320GB HDD, ATI Radeon HD3200 w/ 256MB Vram dedicated + Upto 1.5GB Shared.
I'm saying that you can engineer on pretty much any set of hardware.
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#5 RLB31384  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:50 PM

I personally just upgraded my desktop last summer and it made all my classes much easier. However I was using a really slow computer made like 5-6 years ago. Having two monitors helps me a lot, having quad core processor also helped a lot in Parallel programming. Really you can program on pretty much anything though
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#6 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:15 PM

Yup, you don't need a hardcore machine to compile the little programs you'll be writing, but non computer science people, like wives and parents, don't necessarily need to know that! ;) When I first started school I had a single core compaq running xp on 768 MB of RAM, and that did just fine. Then after a while I upgraded to an Asus G60 because I "needed" the extra power, now I have a HP elitebook from work with an i5 and 4 gigs of RAM. Apparently we're going to Windows 7 soon, still on xp now.
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#7 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:46 AM

If you need a laptop, and don't want a desktop, then power really isn't your highest concern right now. Most mid-range laptops will have the power you need. Dual-core, 2-3 gigs of RAM, plenty of storage space.

Just don't think you'll get away with some 400 dollar cheapy, and use it for both dev and pron.


What you're bigger concern, or well at least mine, would be:

screen real-estate:
laptops tend to have smaller screens. If you're writing only a 10 line script this isn't a big deal, but when you get into larger projects larger screens, or even multi-monitor setups will make a huge difference.

keyboard comfort:
coding means typing a whole shit load, make sure that the keyboard is comfortable. I've always had the problem with laptop keyboards being horribly uncomfortable, so play with them all... get a feel for them... find somewhere that has them on display and actually sit down at different laptop layouts and test it out.

possibly mouse:
this is personal preference, but touchpads and mousenubs both suck giant ballsacks. Thankfully you can get away with out needing a mouse in most dev. But if you don't like hotkeys for stuff, or you are going to be using gui editors or the sort, get a mouse.


I know here in the office all the guys who have laptops also have external mouse, keyboards, and monitors. When they come into the office they hook their laptop up to them and use it basically like a desktop. Then at the end of the day they can disconnect and bring the laptop where ever they want.
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#8 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:09 AM

^ Everyone at my work gets a docking station for their laptop, along with a wireless keyboard/mouse and a 1920x1200 24 inch monitor.
He actually could get away with a $400 cheapy, we've had a couple of compaqs, the latest of which is a $400 17 inch dual core with 3 gigs of RAM that's been performing solidly for about 3 years now, and believe me when I say it doesn't get looked after (it's my wife's computer).

I would suggest to the OP that you buy a laptop with the expectation of spending some time on it, I know that for the first few years of my schooling my workload was light enough that I did all of my assignments on my laptop at school during gaps between classes, and didn't have to do anything at home. During that time my desktop was fairly well neglected.

This post has been edited by hookiethe1: 28 February 2011 - 10:11 AM

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#9 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:55 AM

View Posthookiethe1, on 28 February 2011 - 10:09 AM, said:

^ Everyone at my work gets a docking station for their laptop, along with a wireless keyboard/mouse and a 1920x1200 24 inch monitor.

He actually could get away with a $400 cheapy, we've had a couple of compaqs, the latest of which is a $400 17 inch dual core with 3 gigs of RAM that's been performing solidly for about 3 years now, and believe me when I say it doesn't get looked after (it's my wife's computer).

I would suggest to the OP that you buy a laptop with the expectation of spending some time on it, I know that for the first few years of my schooling my workload was light enough that I did all of my assignments on my laptop at school during gaps between classes, and didn't have to do anything at home. During that time my desktop was fairly well neglected.


Note I stated that a dual core w/ 3 gigs isn't what I considered a cheapy.

That's a good price for it, I'm actually not on top of the prices of laptops right now, so I guess 400 gets you a relatively OK laptop these days. Then I should say don't get a 200 dollar cheapy in that respect.

I was referring to something with like 1-2 gigs of RAM, a celeron or atom processor, etc. Though yes technically they could get away w/ this, especially first year or something. Over the long run this would just be masochistic torture.



[edit]
::looks on newegg::

jesus christ laptops have severely dropped in prices. I guess that's the netbooks driving the prices down.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 28 February 2011 - 10:59 AM

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#10 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:24 AM

Yeah, they're pretty cheap, and if you don't mind lugging it around it's usually cheaper to go a 15.6 or 17 inch over a 14.1 too.
Funny thing too, we've had 2 compaqs around the $400 range, both been solid workhorses, while both my mother and my wife's mother have bought HPs > $1k that have been total pieces of shit.

If your morals can handle it go and check out best buy or walmart, that's where us poverty stricken folk do our laptop shopping.
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#11 RLB31384  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:11 PM

Id actually encourage you to check out ebay...thats where I got my desktop. Most people say not to get computers on ebay, however check out the users ratings and feedback. My PC was def a lot cheaper off there then if I built it myself. CPU: i7-875k, 4 gig of ram, 1tb hd with 150gb raptor boot drive, Radeon HD 5770, Blu-ray burner for about $800 last summer. That was without a monitor..had to use a couple older monitors for a bit, but got a new 23 inch Samsung HD TV for about $170 that im using now.

I don't like laptops though, but id say theres some good deals on there.
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#12 iDEAF  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:17 PM

Thank you for the suggestions, everybody! Unfortunately, I am not going to buy a laptop until my birthday, which is June. I can wait, though.

Guys, who have not posted yet, if you have other suggestions, please post! I'd more than happy to hear and remember I am not going to make a final decision until two weeks before my birthday.
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#13 RandomlyKnighted  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptops for Software Engineering students

Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:31 PM

Last January I got an Acer laptop dual core with 3GB of RAM for around $350. I worked that thing to death learning how to use use threading in programming. I've had times when I thought it was going to catch on fire it was so hot, but it never slowed down one bit. Funny thing was that I got it from Wal-Mart.
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