Laptop for development


I would like to get a laptop for development work. Mostly Java SE and Java EE. It will be running Eclipse IDE and maybe Visual Studio 2012, also a web server, MS SQL 2012, MySQL and one or two VMs in Oracle Virtualbox. I would like to be able to do some lite gaming on it, mostly MMOs. My budget is in the range of 750-900$.

I like the laptops from HP and Dell. My current choices are:

HP ProBook 4540s:
Price: 750$
I5 3210@2.5Ghz
Ram: 4Gb@1333
HDD: 750Gb@5400
Video: AMD 7650M 2Gb
Bonus an External HDD 1Tb

Dell Inspiron 5520
Price: 885$
I7 3632QM@2.2 Ghz
Ram: 6Gb@1600
HDD: 1Tb@5400
Video: AMD 7670 1Gb
No bonuses

Both laptops are 15.6"@1366 x 768

The budget is really an issue and it will be great if the laptop is in the lower range.

6 answers Last reply
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  1. I also got a look at the Acer Aspire V3 (2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, 2GB).
  2. Those are both kinda low resolution for development, your vertical resolution is going to be most important for coding. If you primarily use the PC with external monitors, not such a big deal though.

    A nice keyboard and touchpad are important as well unless you're going to be stationary most of the time.

    Depending on the size of your projects, adding in a bit of extra RAM can be handy for increasing the indexing capabilities in each editor.

    It maybe worth it for you to swap out your HDD for an SSD if you can, coding doesn't need much drive space in my experience, and you'll likely benefit from the extra responsiveness.

    The i7 is probably a good idea, since your looking at mobile the extra clocks will help, and there are lots of compilers that will support hyperthreading (I assume, I've never really looked because I have no control over my work machine), but I would consider it less important than some of the other factors since RAM and storage are more neccessary for general editing, the CPU is only heavily taxed during compiles.
  3. Well, I know your budget is an issue but definitely look at a higher res screen and a ton more RAM. I'm a Sys Admin and create virtualized test VM's on my laptop. It is an Alienware M17x R2 with 20GB of RAM, the fastest i7 I could buy, an SSD boot drive and a fat regular storage drive on the second bay for storing all those VM's. Even then I sometimes stress out the memory so I plan to ramp it up to a full 32GB when I get a chance. Not trying to say your build is insufficient but VM's take up a lot of resources depending on what they run and how many you have.
  4. I figured that vertical resolution will be a problem when coding. I've seen the difference on my work laptop that is a T430 with HD+ screen. The thing is that in my budget I need to cut something to get anything else. If I get a bigger resolution screen I need to go for the I5 3210 processor. And about the Ram, all of them will have a limit of 8 Gb in my budget. I've seen some ASUS that would be great, but I don't know if ASUS is as reliable as HP, DELL of LENOVO.

    From what are you saying and what I want I need to get some more budget. Can you recommend something withing the range of 1000-1200$ that will meet my requirements. I have no problem upgrading at a later date the HDD and Ram.

  5. You probably should cut the CPU to get more screen space imo, as I said, the CPU isn't as important as many other factors. An i5 is going to be only slightly less computing power, but a larger screen will give you a broader view of your code, which is priceless :)

    A good monitor, keyboard and touchpad are paramount (unless you are using externals of any of those), since those will impact your productivity more than a 10% faster CPU. The RAM and CPU maybe more important if you have very complex environments, but for individual programming anything is fine. SSD is just a nice to have no matter what :)

    Asus is as reliable as any other, they are a well respected company for PC hardware. I've got a 4 year old Asus laptop at home that I was MUCH happier with than my previous HP laptop (which is now ancient, but it was overpriced junk from day one, frankly I'll never buy another HP after seeing the problems some other people have had with them).

    Earlier this year, I got my wife a Sony Vaio S, and that has been a great computer so far, the keyboard is nice, touchpad is great, full HD, etc.

    Not sure how it stacks up to other manufacturers prices now, but it was well priced when we bought it.
  6. Thanks for the answers. I'll wait to get some more budget and go for more screen space with an i5 with a good touch and keyboard. I like the feel of the ASUS touchpad and if you say they have good quality laptops I'll go for one of those.

    Again thanks.
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