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What's a good laptop for coding?

If I'm to continue taking programming classes (and I'm pretty sure I am), I'm going to need something with a larger screen and more power than this netbook I'm using.

I hope to get something else for fall term, but I'm pretty out of the loop regarding what's out there. Here's what I'm thinking:

15" screen. Being able to see only a couple of paragraphs at a time in MS Visual Studio is driving me bonkers.

Middlin' processor, at least. I don't do any gaming, but it would be nice to de-sludge VS a bit. And I do watch short HD videos from time to time.

Matte display, NOT widescreen. Does this even exist anymore? I want to violently shake the person(s) who decided on all-gloss-all-the-time, and a view of about 3" of your portrait-oriented document. I need to look at words all day, not long-form cinema.

Nice keyboard feeling. I like the action on my Aspire One pretty well for my tiny elf fingers. I saw something (at system76.com, maybe) with a numeric keypad -- that would be a nice bonus, but not at all required.

Which reminds me: what about running VS in VirtualBox on a Linux host? School stuff is really the only thing I use Windows for. I'd rather have Linux for my everyday personal stuff. And no, I don't want to run it the other way around.

Quiet. +Andrew Heckman had a big, honkin' HP laptop that we dubbed Gigantor, and it blasted the jet-engine fan constantly. Though it was a very nice machine, I couldn't stand it for that reason.

I'm not too concerned about weight. I'll mostly be using it at home, but would like the option to take it to school or a coffee shop once in a while.

Budget: Not the cheapest piece of junk, but not $2K, either.

So...medium everything, I guess.

Suggestions? Comments?

#laptops #linux #microsoft #visualstudio #coding #win7 #windows #programming #students
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Eph Zero's profile photoChristopher Carr's profile photoKevin C. (KevinC)'s profile photoTom Brander's profile photo
15 comments
 
I'd avoid visual studio like the plague, you live in Portland for ** sake, it is the land of open source, Python, Javascript and all that is good.. a simple $600 Gateway or the like will do fine I do most of my dev on such a machine,, Actually an older Toshiba 15inch laptop with Linux , I also have a similar Win machine but don't use it much for development anymore since I got happy with Linux..
 
+Tom Brander You don't have to convince me, but that's what we have to use in class. Some leeway this term, but not in the next.
 
On the high end, maybe the bottom configuration of a W series ThinkPad? ~$1,300, and ain't the most portable thing. Anti-glare, but don't know what to tell you about the aspect ratio. Plenty capable, and you would likely enjoy the keyboard.
 
Find another course/school, seriously....
 
The Udacity CS101 "Creating a Search Engine" class does a really nice job introducing Python. Anyone can start that class whenever they like now, there are just periodic windows when one can take the final exam.
 
While the question was about hw the implications of wanting really powerful iron is one of the issues with the MS stack...
In any event I think one can get a perfectly adequate laptop for development for $6-700 should have 6+gig ram and 1tb disk.. I've seen plenty avail for about those $$ at that price range..
 
I still have the PC Jr I learned to program on. Not a laptop though
 
Oops. I inadvertently deleted my comment, Tom.

For continuity's sake, it was before Tom's "While the question was about..." comment and was to the effect that +Eph Zero probably has a good reason for taking the class, and we should address the hardware question.

As for that WW article, "Portland’s software industry is booming. ..." Huh. That's news to me.
 
Let's just pretend that I need a laptop for any old random reason, and my primary concern is a readable, non-glossy screen.
 
This has a 1600 x 900 ("anti-glare") display, as opposed to your typical 1366 x 768 :

http://goo.gl/KBA90

Perhaps a little more machine than you need, but you might have to spend more than $600-ish to up the vertical display real estate.
 
My opinions about the quality of a school that requires use of Visual Studio aside, you'll definitely want 1600x900 for it and all its toolbars eating up your screen. I'd also recommend 8 GB and a 64-bit OS install if you want to run Virtualbox. It is painful in 4GB, especially if you want to dedicate enough ram to the VM to run VS. (2 GB min for the VM settings, I run mine with 3 GB for the VM.)

Laptop brands I don't know much on, the company I work at is a HP shop and they seem alright, but that's business class machines and I don't see the price tags. I do know that lately HP is into 16:10 displays, and that widescreen is atrocious for normal coding unless it is like 22".
 
sorry to take off track... Agree with you'll definitely want 1600x900 for it and all its toolbars eating up your screen. I'd also recommend 8 GB and a 64-bit OS install but beyond that shop on price!. I would just head to Costco (since they stock reputable stuff and stand behind it) and get as close as I can.. Brands don't make much diff..
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