What laptop do you have?


Psychic in Training
would a 1366x768 resolution on a 15.6 inch screen be low for programming? I am talking about HP Pavilion dv6 here.

I honestly can't deal with anything less than 1920x1200 (it took a leap of faith to go down from 2x monitors to just one on a laptop). Once you have the resolution, and you realize just how amazingly useful it is, you never want to go back to not having it. But those don't exist anymore :( I suppose 1920x1080 will be ok replacements because they're still as wide (and width is more important than height).

I can't imagine writing code on something I can't fit three rows of information across though.
My work setup: 4 lcd. Obviously, once you go multiple screen, the production level will take a sharp drop if you go back to a tiny laptop LCD, let alone one that is of low resolution.


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Older and Wiser
You will be paying a premium if you consider Mac. Those things are delicate, nice and shiny out of the box and will not bode well, if you will have it thrown around a lot.
I think you are somehow mistaken. I lug my Macbook pro around inside my bag with gazillion of other things (people who know me has seen my bag - it's huge). So far, no problems whatsoever. These machines are solid.

Alain used to be TP fanboy until he converted recently

I used to love my X61 tablet with high resolution but they stop making it. Nobody makes something close to it. BTW, the X61 tablet cost almost as much as the Macbook Pro. Also, I got tired of windows. I think it is a disgrace of OS.

do not get engineers buying MacBooks... they were not meant for that kind of work, I know MATLAB, R, and probably some other apps run on OS X , you can dual boot Win 7 but who wants that, I do not know if you can boot Ubuntu.

Well, a lot of top engineers use Macbook Pros. To the point that now, when you join Google, you get the choice to get a MBP if you want one. A lot of software engineers use MBP just because is BSD with a pretty interface. I use Ubuntu on VBox to develop. It runs nicely.

Regarding dual boot, you are correct. I don't know who in their sane mind would like to boot windows at all.

would a 1366x768 resolution on a 15.6 inch screen be low for programming?

It's not bad if you don't know any better. As soon as you get more resolution on the Y axis (that's the only one that matters), you realized you have been missing a lot. My displays at work are 1280x1024 but I rotate them so I get 1024x1280 so I can see more stuff.

I don't know if the TP are still as good as they were before but if you can't get a MBP, a TP is a very nice choice. Sony makes good looking laptops but the drivers could be painful and currently they have this policy that you can't upgrade the OS (let's say from home to professional) because Sony won't let you install the driver (this is done in hardware).

Dell has its share of problems. I used to like the Latitude line of laptops (all the others are crap). I don't if they still make them.

HP could be a hit or miss. I know their home line of products is a disaster. I have first hand experience with one of them (as recent as last year).
Unfortunately, it's time for me to get another laptop. My trusty Thinkpad T60 which I got in mid '06 got a small crack in the screen (my son probably stepped on it or was it me, I don't know). This is definitely one of the most durable machines I ever had.

I'm curious to see what kind of laptop Quantnet members currently use. I would like to stay with the Thinkpad line but the newer versions seem to have lower resolution, wide screen which gears toward multimedia users.

So what would you suggest to have as my next laptop?

IMHO, there is not many options. I feel Mac is great for personal entertaining but might not be the top choice for a working laptop, especially if you consider the budget. For PC laptops, Thinkpad seems to be the only choice left. Some people said the quality of Thinkpad is no longer as good as it used to be. True or not, it is still the best out there compared to Dell/HP/Sony/etc. BTW, Sony might be cute for a personal entertainment laptop or for girls, because it's light and has fancy exterior -- a PC alternative to Mac.

I say you wait for some deals on T510 (e.g., a slickdeals.net front page deal) and go get it !
I know T510 is their top of the line right now but its screen size is a big turn off to me. I found the 14" 4x3 ideal for all my task.
One thing I should point out about Alain's post is that Alain is a big dude and his backpack probably is half my weigh so it may make sense for him to lug that 17" Mac around all day, it may not be for me or others.

I carry my laptop around the house and work any place I can so that factors in the choice a lot.


Older and Wiser
Another laptop to consider is the Panasonic ones. They Y series was perfect for me (they are expensive though).
On the same note, do you, guys, buy your laptops with discrete or integrated graphics card?

I am thinking about getting lappy with Intel integrated graphics card that comes with Arrandale - it is quite potent. I do not do any graphics intensive work, only usual stuff: C++, MATLAB, etc. That will save on battery life and Ubuntu installation will probably be easier, it will eat into the memory though.
My 7+ year old T40 is misbehaving , probably due to a "bubu" I did while replacing the cmos internal batery. Since that happens even after reinstalling win xp and all drivers , running diagnostics ... I need a new laptop. Although I like Alain's MBP I am still not decided. I looked for one with nvidia cards and found HP EliteBook 8740W has the new nvidia quadro FX 5000M based on the new fermi architecture but that looks too expensive so I have to scale down. After experiencing a good ride with Thinkpads I want to give a try to HP. Envy looks nice too but it has ati not nvidia. So, I am still looking.


Quant Headhunter
A lot goes to what you want to do with it. When writing code, I occasionally find my 17" slightly claustrophobic, and having used smaller screens, know that would be even worse.

But most web surfing doesn't need so much, and when I write text 15 can be fine.

Being a perfect physical specimen I sneer at those who complain of the weight of their laptops :)
Weight is a serious factor in the life expectancy of a road warrior laptop. If you look at the back issues of PC Magazine you will find a cover with a pile of broken laptops from when I devised stress tests for laptops that were used outside the office. The square/cube rule applies here big time. A small drop that would not hurt a light one could kill a heavyweight.

The last stats I saw showed that laptops that were used outside the office lasted on average 16 months before they broke seriously. HPs are so delicate I've often thought that I could break the HP laptops of people I didn't like merely by staring hard at them.

But most laptops aren't used on the road, they are used to take up less space on your desk, or at home, HP know this so economise brutally on build quality to make their margins better, relying upon their evil support staff to so exhaust customers that they don't make warranty claims.

Thinkpads are not as well built as they used to be, but they have amongst the best build quality which you do pay for.
Toshiba's are also pretty good, and some people would put them ahead, I bought a few for my
god children and they survived very well in a seriously hostile environment.

Personally though I'd go for cheap over tough for a student laptop because:
a) no laptop is that tough, if you drop it hard, they all die, Drink spills are also life threatening and expensive.

b) a depressing % of student laptops are stolen, and more expensive/attractive kit is more of a target, so the extra cash doesn't help much
>Yes, I want workhorse laptop, not eye candy. I do lot of web development on my laptop >so a high reso screen is necessary.

According to your requirements, you wanted a computer with processing power and a high resolution display. The Alienware laptops can provide 1080p resolution in a 15.6 screen along with the CUDA / OPENCL enabled video cards ,and quad core i7 CPUs with single core throttling. These laptops have amble cooling mechanisms. And since you mentioned that you carry your laptop around the house, the laptop's form factor should not matter. If you were to take the laptop to a business meeting, you can simply turn off the LED lights, and it will look like any other retail laptop. Alienware, being a niche company, also provides excellent customer and tech support.
> If you were to take the laptop to a business meeting, you can simply turn off the LED lights, and it will look like any other retail laptop. Alienware, being a niche company, also provides excellent customer and tech support.

and if you go to a business meeting .... turn off the led lights, cover up the skull logo with a duct tape... lol

Alienware used to be of a poor quality until Dell took them over.
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