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Looking for a programming laptop.


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11 replies to this topic

#1 narcotic buzz

narcotic buzz

Posted 22 November 2008 - 01:00 AM

I'm going to college soon and I'm gonna be doing a good amount of programming and I need advice on what kind of laptop to buy. What kinds of things should I look for? Is there a certain brand that is geared towards this kind of use?

Also battery life and multi-tasking is a must and I expect to be running Ubuntu on it. Portability wise lighter is better but I can with a bit of bulk. Also my price range is around 1,200 but can go over if necessary. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

#2 cdietschrun

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 06:17 PM

I don't even have one, but my friends' have wireless and it helps so they can remote terminal into the school's network to work on programs wherever they want, that helps.
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#3 NinjaPenguin777

NinjaPenguin777

Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:45 PM

You dont need an amazing laptop to program. My brother was using a dell inspiron 1525 from like 3 years ago. As long as you get Dual/ Quad core, intergrated wireless, 2-4GB ram if running vista and thats really it

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#4 Koggit

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 08:13 PM

What's this "have wireless" talk? I haven't seen a laptop in years that didn't include wifi... we're talking about wifi, right? I'm just confused.

Re: programming, you don't need anything special. Will this be your only computer, or will you have a desktop as well? Long battery life and portability are both important for me, so I went with an Acer Aspire One and love it, it's perfect for school -- most people don't pay as much attention to size/weight/battery life as they should and just go with something big and powerful... I always feel sorry for the people lugging around big 6lb+ machines, bringing their power adapter and having to sit near an AC outlet.

IMO, with $1200, the way to go is a netbook for ~$400 and a good desktop for ~$800.

#5 narcotic buzz

narcotic buzz

Posted 22 November 2008 - 08:22 PM

Yea I will also have a desktop. I was just looking at the Acer model and it seems like the battery only powers for around one and a half hours. Also the keyboard seems cramped. But thanks for the suggestion I'll prolly check it out more later.

#6 Holy_Headshot

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 11:20 PM

any laptop with a 17" screen has a full keyboard, don't know if that's still cramped or over your budget, but it's somthing to keep in mind if you will be primarily using the laptop. There are some good alternatives with that screen size, but are you really going to be that far from an outlet? I mean if this is for school, what about dorm and library outlets? Just saying, I kind of agree with Koggit, drop your money on a good desktop, and spend less on the laptop, my cousin programs on outdated laptops and never seems to have a problem. You'd be hardpressed to buy a laptop that fits your specs and doesn't already have wifi built in, and most programming languages are not graphics intensive, so you don't have to get the high end gaming machines.

#7 narcotic buzz

narcotic buzz

Posted 23 November 2008 - 12:16 AM

No I guess I wouldn't be that far from an outlet but I just feel as though it would be cumbersome to carry around an adapter all the time. That's why battery life is at the top of my list so I can get through all my classes without having to charge. But I think I might go with one of the Lenovo ThinkPads but I'm really not a fan of the design but everything else is near perfect so I might just have to deal with it.

#8 silent h3ro

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 12:41 AM

I don't know how the new Thinkpads are but I have a T61 and the battery life SUCKS on it and I have integrated graphics. Also the LCD is really terrible.

#9 JetTone

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 12:55 AM

I carry a 15" notebook all day. I hate the damn thing. Along with all my books and everything else. I would go for a 14" or 13.3" notebook if I could do everything over. I don't live on campus so I have to carry everything with me and I'm there all day long. If you live nearby or on campus and won't be carrying everything. The bulk and weigh issue won't matter much. For $1200 you can get a badass notebook. but it really depends on what you'll want to do with it, any gaming? You can probably do find with any notebook in the $600-800 range unless you need a beefier graphics card or something, since all notebook will basically be the same, maybe one has a gig more of ram, maybe another a bigger hdd or slightly fast cpu. All depends on what you want and need.

#10 thespamofpower

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 01:40 AM

I don't know how the new Thinkpads are but I have a T61 and the battery life SUCKS on it and I have integrated graphics. Also the LCD is really terrible.

Damn what are you doing on it? I have a T60 with a 14" 4:3 screen that I got in February 2007 (i think) and it gets ~5-6hrs pretty easily with wifi on ~8 without. I think I got like 3 or so while playing some games on it (like early Steam engine games and Diablo II). It has a x1400 and I used it in class all the time. It's an excellent school/work laptop. Since the OP is using it for programming, whatever the current T series is probably ideal for him as they have some of the best keyboards on a laptop.

#11 Koggit

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:19 AM

Yea I will also have a desktop. I was just looking at the Acer model and it seems like the battery only powers for around one and a half hours. Also the keyboard seems cramped. But thanks for the suggestion I'll prolly check it out more later.


1.5hr battery life? No way.. maybe the 3cell battery watching a movie or something. Even watching a movie with wifi on, which seems to be the highest power consuming task, I'll get about 2 and a half hours. Typical battery life (surfing the web, Office, Mathematica, etc) is more like 5 hours. I have the 6-cell version, but the 3-cell should be half that.

Regarding the keyboard, it's quite near full size. Give it a try in a store if you're concerned. I have big hands and the keyboard's fine.

#12 narcotic buzz

narcotic buzz

Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:46 AM

No I won't be doing any gaming except there might be a slight chance of Diablo 2 be played on it. Also I'm going to be in the same position as you Thongsy where I will be carrying it all day. O thanks Koggit for clearing that up I'll definitely go check out the Acer again. I haven't used laptops that much so whats a good carrying weight? Like under 5lbs?