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New Laptop for Computer Programmer

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Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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June 27, 2011 5:52:14 AM

I just graduated from college with a CS degree and am now looking into getting a software engineering position. My old Toshiba laptop just died and thus I need a new one which I will primarily use for programming. I have been weighing my options whether or not to switch over to a mac since it seems like most people in my field use one. However, now I am not too sure and would like to get your opinions.

BTW, I like the fact that Macs have the Linux command prompt (with built-in language support) but not sure if I'll absolutely need it. I primarily will work with Web Apps (html, php, ruby etc.) and then Mobile programming in Java, C, C++ etc.

Here is the faq I filled out:

1. What is your budget?
Up to ~$1800 but obviously the lower the better

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Don't really mind... I don't play games, but will watch movies, shows etc.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable

5. How much battery life do you need?
Atleast 5-6 hrs

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
NO

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
A little graphic design, maybe Photoshop here and there

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
This is an area where I'm torn. I really want an SSD but this really jacks the price up.
Most likely will be using an externel hd anyway so if I can get a ~128gb ssd for a reasonable price I am ok with it. If not, I am fine with 500gb or more. BTW, if I don't go ssd route, how much of a difference does 5400rpm vs 7200rpm really make?


9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
If purchasing a Mac, I'd probably purchase from:
1. Mac store - bc of ability to customize with ssd
2. Amazon - no tax
3. Bestbuy - free $100 gift card


10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
at least 4-5 years depending on price
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Not necessary, but wouldn't mind dvd rom/writer

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Dell - reliability, pricing, familiarity with windows
Apple - reliability, linux
I'm really open to any brands.

13. What country do you live in?
US - California

Any assistance regarding this matter will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
a c 244 D Laptop
June 27, 2011 9:34:40 AM

Dell XPS 15z/MBP 15" (base model)are both great
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June 27, 2011 3:40:44 PM

Actually, as far as I've seen, most people in CS don't use macs, because there's almost no reason to. Sure they have a unix terminal, but it's NOT a replacement for linux. Many programming environments are Linux based, esp. in the web field and so running linux might help. The other most popular platform for software development is Windows w/ Visual Stuido (more common for desktop software development like apps and games). A lot of my friends (upper level or recently started working CS students) dual boot Win/Lin because of this.

tl;dr: Macs aren't linux. If you want linux, dual boot Win/Lin (unless you don't need windows at all, then just boot Linux :p )

edit: as for at least some form of recommendation, having the fastest cpu you can afford would greatly behoove you. Make sure you'll also have enough RAM for any VMs you may need to run (I've never had a problem with 6GB of ram, you can probably get away with 4 as long as you don't need a Windows VM).
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