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Great laptop for game development? (Budget of +1200,- euros)

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Hello,

 

In 4 weeks I will have my exams; after that I want to do Game Development.

I have found a school and found out everything that I have to have.

 

Most things weren't a problem, headphones, external hdd, the basic stuff.

However, you also need to provide your own laptop.

 

I got a list saying what kind of specs the laptop should have, but it wasn't really.. clear...

Intel I7
8Gb ram
500Gb HDD
2Gb video memory
1920*1080 screen

Approximatly 1000,-

Now, I've been saving up a little bit, got about 300,- euros now.

My parents will pay 400,- for the laptop, and the school will pay 10-20% of the price too.

 

I'm getting a lot of pocket money; 85,- euros a month.

This means I'll have atleast 1200,- euros, and I am going to work in the vacation too, because money is always handy.

 

 

 

Now, I know a little bit about computers, and I made a list of specs that I want atleast:

Generation 4 I7, Octocore at ~3.5 ghz.
16Gb DDR3 ram at 1600Mhz
500Gb HDD
120Gb SSD
1920*1080 screen
3Gb video memory, preferably Nvidia because I am very used to that.
Windows 7

I dont want a HP, Dell or Alienware, as I really dont like those laptops.
Preferably I want a black laptop that is an ASUS.

I don't mind if what I can get is slightly worse or better for the money that I have.

Again, I have atleast 1200,- and can probably add another 300,- to it if needed.

 

 

 

The laptop will be mostly used for Game Development; Unity, Maya, Photoshop, and I want to go the route of Programmer later on.

I also want to play a few games on it; Minecraft, Kerbal Space Program, maybe even Tomb Raider 2013.

 

 

 

Can someone recommend a good laptop?

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Not sure where you from but if you can read this Dutch Tweakers bi-montly laptop guide might be a good start for you. http://tweakers.net/reviews/3479/laptop-best-buy-guide-april-2014.html the ranges you are looking at this would be either a multi-media laptop or main stream laptop. Do you mean to have 8 real cores in the CPU or is a hyper threaded quad core good enough, because there are no 8 core(as in not hyper threaded) intel chips at the moment.

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You won't be taxing the processor or graphics cards with any of your homework, only for playing games.

While I agree with the general gist, it's not entirely clear from the OP whether or not he is planning to attend a program specifically geared towards game development.

If so, the recommended specs provided by the school are probably a solid guideline.

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A larger T or W series Lenovo Thinkpad would be a good bet. Either a 15.6 or 14.1 inch screen would be good, you should be able to find either in 1080p. You can choose between discrete or integrated GPUs, you'll be able to have a larger GPU in 15.6" models (heat dissipation and size considerations).

 

In most laptops smaller than 17" you can't fit more than one HDD -- but some have an mSata slot in addition to their 2.5 inch HDD bay, so you can have your SSD and mechanical drive too if the SSD is mSata. That said, If you can afford a 512GB (or even 256GB) SSD it might just be better to do that alone -- people always get these big mechanical drives for their media and such, but then they play music from it and drain their batteries. Also, get a *good quality* SSD -- Like a Samsung 840 pro or intel drive. These have great reputations for reliability, the last thing you want is a flaky boot drive.

 

Do go with nVidia for the GPU, but you don't need the highest-end thing. In fact, try to get the 860m specifically -- its a mid-range part, but unlike the more-powerful entries in the 800m series, its based on the newest Maxwell architecture, which draws about half the power of Kepler-based parts, and also improves the architecture to support the latest CUDA features, etc. These parts won't be out until May or so, though. Going with nVidia in general for a laptop is important because of Optimus, which AMD doesn't do.

 

Yes to 4th-gen Intel -- either quad-core i5 or i7 (+ 4 hyperthreads) which are the lowest-power i-series CPUs, and they support AVX2.

 

Yes to 16 GB of RAM -- Most laptops have 2 so-dimm slots, you want dual-channel, so you can't have 8GB now and upgrade later without tossing the original sticks. Just max it out now and be done with it.

 

Regarding the specs overall -- everyone is right to point out that you don't need a high-powered machine to take notes, or even for any of the programming you're likely to do in the next 2-3 years; but the school is probably advising you based on specs they think will carry you through the entire length of the program, and even a little beyond. I know Digipen recommends similar specs to what you're saying for their new students.

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I'll also add, I like the T or W-series because you can dock them properly (no silly one-cable USB video adapters) when you're at home. Laptops are great, but when you're not mobile, having a great big monitor or three, a mouse, ethernet, and a full-size keyboard with proper key-travel is so much more comfortable.

 

I have a powerful gaming desktop that I use for some development things -- mostly testing out higher-end discrete GPUs; but my primary working machine (game programming) is a maxed-out Lenovo W530 that I dock into my 30" monitor + 2x 20" monitors. I have everything I could want spec-wise from that laptop, everything I could want comfort-wise when I'm docked at home, and I can scoop up my laptop at a moment's notice when I have to work somewhere else.

 

I've probably got $1500 US into the laptop itself, a $250 into the dock because I got the fanciest one, and another $1200 into the monitors (they're all high-end Dell monitors), you could get 2x 27" Korean imports for about $300 each, or a pair of 24" for under $200 apeice (or a single 39" 4k monitor for < $500).

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Hi,

 

I feel that most laptops are great for game development, obvious that some much more than others.

 

Multi-core processor (Quad or more is great but at least Dual), Gigabyte motherboard, and NVidia dedicated graphics card are my personal recommendations. Processor needs to be at least 3.0 Ghz these days, get DDR-5, and look for plenty of ports such as for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

 

You will use storage faster than you now realize, but not an urgent issue for a while. Getting a 64-bit has performance advantages while 32-bit might be compatible with more legacy applications and software.  If you are not going to dip into legacy issues then no problem - go 64-bit.  The higher bit is the way of the future sooner than people realize.  Microsoft, for example, is turning the "32-bit needs to die" drumbeat up and more frequently, as are a number of other industry leaders such as the creator of Mantle.

Edited by 3Ddreamer

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Processor needs to be at least 3.0 Ghz these days

That is only relevant as far as desktops are concerned, but I believe that most mobile processors are somewhat lower to save battery.

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Multi-core processor (Quad or more is great but at least Dual), Gigabyte motherboard, and NVidia dedicated graphics card are my personal recommendations. Processor needs to be at least 3.0 Ghz these days, get DDR-5, and look for plenty of ports such as for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

 

There is no DDR-5, DDR4 will be supported on the next round of Intel (and probably AMD) processors. Ghz is hard to measure by, most times the speed on the box is the single-threaded boost speed. The nominal speed of an Intel CPU is a fair bit lower -- 2Ghz is pretty much a given, 2.4-2.6 common, 3.0-3.2 on the high-end. AMD has a different architecture and achieves higher Ghz, but has lower single-threaded performance (basically, they aren't able to extract as much parallelism from the instruction stream as an i-series CPU, or issue/retire as many instructions). I would say that 4 physical CPU cores (or two compute modules in AMD-speak) is minimal these days. going to an i7 doesn't give you more physical cores, just enables hyperthreading. Some low-end i5s are dual physical cores + hyper-threading, particularly in the laptop space.

 

Storage actually goes by pretty slowly unless you're the type that has a 80+ GB music collection that you *just have to* have on your laptop at all times, or you install many modern high-end games. Certain single games can occupy around 50GB (*ahem* Titanfall), but most are in the more reasonable range of 20GB. I've got around a dozen games (most of them circa 2005) from my steam collection, along with Windows 8, Office, and VS 2010 and 2012 installed on a 256GB SSD, around 30GB of music, and I've still got some room to spare.

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