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Can you do serious programming on a laptop?

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Hi, I have only ever used desktop pcs in my computing life but am seriously considering getting a laptop. I have absolutely no experience with laptops so this these questions may sound a bit stupid. Is it possible to install ides like vs 2005 and netbeans ect on a laptop and does compiling and debugging work the same way as on pcs. Do real world programmers use laptops or are they too slow? Also, i keep seeing notebooks being advertised and their specs seem to be good enough for software dev. Are notebooks just smaller sized laptops? Basicaly, i just need to know if there is anything that cant be done on a laptop that can be done on a pc. Also, do laptops require a different operating system or will it run xp straight from an install cd for pcs and is it possible to set up a dual boot of xp and linux? I know i should do more googling but it isn't clear what the downside to laptops are from a software developers point of view. If it is poosible to do all i have mentioned, anyone know what the best brands are in the laptop world, are there any to avoid? Thanks for any info :)

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I do all my private development work on my laptop, and I really like it as I can take it with me wherever I go. So yes, it's completely possible.

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Laptops can run the same software as a desktop computer, and you can set it up for dual booting if you wish. Just be sure to look at the performance specs to make sure it'll be up to the task of running a C++ compiler. ;-)

I don't think there is any distinction between a 'laptop' and 'notebook'. I've seen the words used interchangeably.

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the only disadvantage i see is the screen size (i like to see a lot of code when i'm working, to have a good overview over it). but if that it's ok, then, why not. another issue would be the video card(from a game developer's perspective), but there are quite good solutions out there, although quite expensive.

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As far as the end user is concerned (including most programmers), a lap top is the same as a PC. i.e. all the same software will run, it will feel the same to use. The only differences are in the under-lying hardware, which unless you are doing system level programming (device drivers and the like) will be irrelevent.
I have a laptop which I used to use for programming. The only reason I don't use it anymore is that it isn't powerful enough.
If you are developing graphic intensive games then I would suggest a desktop would be better, simply because the graphics cards available for laptops are fairly weak (they are the equivalent of an onboard graphics chip).
Also a seperate mouse and keyboard would probably be a good investment if you do get a laptop.

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I use both my desktop computer and my laptop, when I'm out, for programming. I see absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be able to use a laptop for programming. Most come with WinXP already installed and you can run the same software as on a desktop including the VS IDEs.

The only thing you should bear in mind when using your laptop for game programming is that they often don't come with a high-end gfx card. So when buying one, look for a good card such as an ATI X700 with 128 MB VRAM. Those machines are usually a bit more expensive and keep in mind that you can't simply change the card if you want to upgrade or try your software on another vendor's hardware.

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Quote:
Original post by meeshoo
the only disadvantage i see is the screen size (i like to see a lot of code when i'm working, to have a good overview over it). but if that it's ok, then, why not. another issue would be the video card(from a game developer's perspective), but there are quite good solutions out there, although quite expensive.


Right, screen size or resolution is another drawback. Mine has a 15" 1024x768 screen. You should better buy one with a 1400x1050 or 1680x1050 (widescreen) resolution.

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my notebook is in all components equal or better than my old pc was. even screenresolution, 1400x1050 against the 1280x1024 before. of course, the screen itself is smaller.

but the portability makes it much more productive (it's an nx6125..). i use it for coding (and replacing myself for coding helps much in getting work done faster..), for djing with finalscratch in clubs, well, for everything. much more than i used my old pc, as i have wlan access at all my main life-points, and thus use it as free-phone as well.

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oh.. and yes, i have a 100gb 7200rpm hd in it. 43MB/s max troughput. feels like a 'real' pc :D

getting a fast hd is worth the effort, really!

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