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#1 sortingAlgorithm   User is offline

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Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:27 AM

Hello fellow programmers,

I'm searching for a laptop to use in my university. I'm majoring in Computer Science and have concluded that a laptop is a great tool for programming when away from my desktop computer.

The following is a list of abilities I'm expecting the laptop to have:

  • Develop applications using XNA GameStudio/Visual Studio, Eclipse and any other IDE
  • Play video games created in XNA Game Studio
  • Watch YouTube videos
  • Listen to music
  • Surf the internet
  • Create graphics using Adobe Photoshop


My price range is a laptop below $850 (excluding tax/s&h)

I've been recommended to shop for a laptop made by either Asus or Fujitsu, the processor must be I3 or I5, and the laptop must include a video card made by a popular brand such as Radeon.

Which laptops on the market do you guys recommend me buying with the abilities I described above?

Thank you,
wrench

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Replies To: Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

#2 hookiethe1   User is offline

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Re: Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:33 AM

I always recommend Asus, but your price range will limit your options if you want a dedicated video card. If you don't need high end gaming performance and can live with an onboard video card then you options open up substantially. If you're set on the options you listed, the only thing I would add is a monitor with the highest possible resolution, when staring at a laptop screen even the difference between 768 and 900 vertical pixels is huge to overall appearance in my experience.
This is what Newegg has to offer for laptops with dedicated video, i5 CPU, under $850 and with a minimum resolution of 1600x900:

http://www.newegg.co...ptops-Notebooks

Notice they're all 17.3 inches, as you pack a dedicated card and high res monitor into a smaller package the price shoots up pretty quick. If you're ok with lugging around a 17.3 inch behemoth then go for it, you'll get the benefits of a full keyboard with number pad and a nice big monitor as long as you can find somewhere to plug in. If you want to go smaller, you'll probably have to sacrifice something or maybe look for a second hand or refurb.
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#3 Gavisann   User is offline

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Re: Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:04 AM

I just bought an ASUS Laptop. It works great for programming. The only cons I noticed so far is that is slow to boot (My desktop has an SDD so that opinion is biased) and that sometimes when debugging it hangs for about a second. For for $640, you can't beat it.
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#4 lordofduct   User is offline

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Re: Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:05 AM

To do XNA development you're going to have to avoid integrated video for the most part. The 'Reach' profile of XNA will allow you to develop, but it lacks a lot of features (it's mostly used for Win Phone 7 dev).

Thing is video cards in laptops suck balls, they drain your power and heat up the machine. For the most part making your laptop a desktop that is easy to carry to another desk.

SandyBridge and AMDs 'APU' technology might be a better choice. They aren't as powerful as a dedicated videocard, but they're more powerful then run of the mill integrated video. The intel i3 and i5 have sandybridge models for laptops. These support D3D 10.1 which is above what is needed for proper XNA HiDef profile support.

You aren't going to be playing the new Battlefield 3 or Witcher 2 at full spec on these of course. Although a laptop, let alone one less than 850 dollars, will never do this. Sandybridge with enough memory (go 64-bit so you have more than 3.5 gigs) will do for development and for playing most XNA games (which usually aren't that graphicly impressive anyways).
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#5 lordofduct   User is offline

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Re: Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:19 AM

note: "intel graphics 3000" is sandybridge, the laptop Gavisann linked is a sandybridge i5 with 6 gigs of RAM. It's probably right in the realm you're looking.

And really, just doing a search on newegg, price for punch... that ASUS is the laptop I'd probably purchase as well.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16834230067

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 06 September 2011 - 07:25 AM

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#6 revnam   User is offline

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Re: Searching for an Ideal Programming Laptop

Posted 16 October 2011 - 03:42 PM

I have 2 asus laptops. Portable and gaming. Great prices and hardware, makes you wonder how they do it O_o
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