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Need help on computer

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No affordable notebook (less than $800, and usually less than $1000) is going to have decent decdicated graphics ... but that's not going to hurt your development at all, just your debugging / playtesting. So your dev machine will be a good machine to use to ensure you have reasonable minimum video specs for your game.

All current shipping CPUs except ones with the "celeron" brand are great for all uses. The only reason the Celeron chips are not good is that they have disabled speed-step technology so your notebook batery life will be eaten up in notime (especially since cheap notebooks come with 4 or 6 cell bateries - instead of the double sized 8 or 12 cell that more expensive offerings often have). Also, if you can get a dual core in your price range (even the slowest AMD Turion X2, or Core Duo 2050) it will be better in the long run than a much faster single-core for all development / office type-tasks, because development is a heavily mult-tasking operation .. in fact, Visual Studio 2005 compiles in the background, so a dual-core stays nearly 100% responsive even while compiling.

Memory is the key. A computer in that range will have 512MB RAM. Quite simple that is "enough" but not in any way enjoyable. This is the one and only feature you will desperately want to upgrade. If money is tight now, use the 512MB for 6 months, but plan to buy either another 512 MB stick, or even an additional 1GB if the price is right (for a total of 1.5GB). I use 1GB on my development notebook and am quite happy, but I use 1.5 GB on my desktop because the price was not bad. This is doubly important for notebooks because notebook hard-drives are SLOW, and power-hungry compared to memory. And NO MATTER WHAT make sure that it has a totally empty slot if it only have 512MB - so you can upgrade without throwing out the existing memory. AND before you buy additional memory, use something like CPUz to see the timing of the memory you have installed, to but something with identical specs for near guaranteed compatibility.

40 GB HD is more than enough for all development tools you will dream of installing ... so I prefer at least 60 or 80 GB so I can install a lot of games (which these days often take 2-5 GB each).

Look for Wireless G networking built-in because its just easier to manage that way (and remember, turn off the wireless using the button or whatever when on battery power, because wireless uses a decent amount of power (about 20% decrease in battery life on my computer)).

Operating System. This doesn't matter unless 2 things ... 1) do you intend to do web development with visual studio 2003 or earlier, ... if so you cannot use Windows XP Home (but you can use XP Home with Visual Studio 2005 or the express edition products) - because XP Home does not have IIS server for running web applications. 2) Do you need to connect to a Windows Domain (such as at medium to large businesses), then you cannot use XP Home. So you will likely want to get Media Center or Professional. I use Media Center on my dev laptop and home machine with no problems at all. I avoid home unless I cannot help it (in which case you can install 3rd party server software like Apache and Mono).

Monitor. 1024x768 (XGA) is a minimum for running Visual Studio, 1280x800 (WXGA) is good - but widescreen formats are actually not prefered (but you can't really avoid them thesedays). I like my 15" and my 15.4" fine, but even a 14.1" would be ok (usually the smaller laptops are more money though, 15 and 15.4 are the cheapest sizes). 17" would be good if you are using it as a desktop replacement, but they are heavy and more expensive.

DVD player required, CD-R required. DVD-R nice, but not really important.

So to recap ... ANY CPU, but Dual-Core is strongly prefered. 512 MB Memory (in 1 slot), but upgrade if you can. 40GB or more HD, 80+ prefered. Wireless G.

Here's a few examples:

Acer Aspire 5102WLMi

Acer Aspire 5050-5410

Toshiba Satellite M115-S3094

HP Pavilion dv2035us

Compaq Presario V3019US

(I buy from Best Buy as well as circuit city and compusa, but their website add is slightly less browsable, and they don't have customer feedback). Cheap the weekly adds for the current instant and mail-in rebate offers.

Feel free to do to and and customize one for your needs. Also you can go to and read many customer feedbacks of common models.

Good luck.

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Original post by Jettoz
If you're making high end 3D games a notebook in the price range wont do you any good, however for 2D anything out their should do fine.

and the above quote acts like there nothing in between "high end 3d" and "2d". Integrated video sucks, but it will do "low end 3d" great and can handle "mid grade" 3D graphics just fine if you turn detail settings down. Things like Unreal Tournament 2004 and Warcraft 3 are what I'm calling "Mid Grade". Things like FEAR, Doom 3, SpellForce 2, etc .. they are NOT going to run on integrated graphics, and even if they don't crash, the experience will be so bad you'll tear your hair out.

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