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Game Development Laptop

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What would be a good recent or upcoming laptop I could purchase for use in game develop. I mostly like to program, but in the future I want to deal with things like 3D graphics and animation. There are a lot of debates as to whether windows/linux/mac is the best development environment. I pretty much only ever used windows, but if there is something better out there I can easily cope to and learn it. Personally I want a laptop with really good build quality that won't easily overheat or get damaged. As for a price point, it doesn't really matter. Thanks to anyone that can offer me any help or suggestions.

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Depends on your priorities. If portability and battery life are important, the Razer Blade is a great choice. When I bought mine, they were expensive, now they are batshit insane expensive.

Im looking to replace mine shortly and I dont think I can justify the pricetag this time when so many other thin powerful laptops exist. Personally ill be looking at the Asus G50(?) and maybe an Acer Zenbook.

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With a laptop, you are paying more money for a weaker machine. Laptops are designed for portability first, performance second.

 

If you already understand that, good! Most people don't seem to understand that it's not merely a choice between Desktop X and Laptop Y, but that you're sacrificing power for portability. If you want real power and portability, you have to shell out double or triple the cost - cost that could've been re-invested in a more powerful desktop or a second monitor.

Portability is nice, but make sure you understand the tradeoff, because you don't get it for free - you pay for it by ending up with a weaker machine.

 

You might want to explicitly list out your priorities, and figure out how near the top or bottom 'portability' falls into that list.

 

For example:

  • "I want a laptop" -> Laptop
  • "with really good build quality" -> Desktop (assuming you meant "build speed"/compile-time)
  • "that won't easily overheat" -> Desktop
  • "or get damaged" -> Desktop

 

And I'd add in:

  • "permits later performances upgrades" -> Desktop (if you want to upgrade your videocard later)
  • "longer total lifetime" -> Desktop (lasts you 6+ years easily, verses laptop ~2-4 years average)
  • "capable of supporting alot of harddrives" -> Desktop (important if, by "animation" you meant video-editing)
  • "more screen real-estate" -> Desktop (important for any kind of work. You can plug in a second monitor to a laptop... not quite the same thing though)
  • "I want to lay on a couch while working" -> Laptop (not to be underestimated!)
  • "I need to bring my work to many different locations" -> Laptop

 

You said, "I want a laptop"

I answer: How much are you willing to sacrifice in other areas to gain portability?

 

</biased_desktop_user>

I fully understand where you are coming from and thanks for this comment because the only reason I wanted a laptop was solely for that ONE bullet point you mentioned, "I want to lay on a couch while working". I already own a desktop with two monitors. So I thought I might as well have a laptop, but I overlooked one very important reason for even having a desktop computer, which you also mentioned, "permits later performance upgrades". Although it would be godly to be able to start programming right as I wake up without having to leave my bed, maybe the money would be best spent on upgrades for my existing desktop setup. Especially after realizing a desktop suits most/more of my needs other than, of course, programming in my bed.

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I recently bought a 14" Gigabyte lappy.

Recent NVidia GPU, Intel i7 CPU, loads of RAM, SSD, 2TB HDD... Pretty close in power to my desktop (as long as the power cable is plugged in) biggrin.png

When actually using it without power (e.g. on the train), you can't really make use of the NVidia GPU or it will drain the battery in 10 minutes, so you want to let it fall back on the Intel integrated GPU.

 

We're in a weird situation now where the laptops with larger screens are actually cheaper! I went with the 14" (and paid extra for it), because I wanted one that I can actually comfortably carry with me every day. If you're not going to be carrying it, you may as well go bigger smile.png

 

I used to use a 12" netbook, which was amazing for portability, but was a bit cramped ergonomically. I find the keyboard and screen on the 14" to be perfectly usable, though 17" would be more of a near-desktop experience.

Edited by Hodgman

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The cost / performance ratio has shifted, as 10x more laptops or all in one desktops ( which are essentially laptops ) are sold, so economy of scale works in your favour.
You certainly have to make sacrafices but nowhere what it used to be.


Perhaps my info is outdated then, thanks for the intel!

I hadn't heard of portable desktops before now; interesting.
 

Really outside of hitting 60fps at 1080p+ in the latest AAA games, many desktop builds are stupendously overkill for most game devs.

I'm not one who cares much for high-fidelity graphics. I don't mind dropping resolution to play games.

What I do greatly care about, however, is application responsiveness (something OSX does better than Windows or Linux IMO, despite me being a Windows fan) and reduced compile-time. That last one is killer as a programmer, because having to pause for more than 30 seconds waiting for a project to incrementally compile leads to me getting distracted and ultimately less productive.
 
I'm not sure if the OP means skeletal animation or 3D video editing when he says "animation", but if he means 3D video editing and pre-rendering scenes, he'll likely want all the performance he can get.
 

I already own a desktop with two monitors. So I thought I might as well have a laptop,


 
Ah, well, if you can have your cake and eat it too, that's a different story! laugh.png Edited by Servant of the Lord

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I've a custom 11'' laptop for development with a dedicated GPU (really hard to find !) and it works great when not home, but it is not comparable to a desktop setup. It isn't really the power, but the missing screenspace. Using several tools concurrently on a single screen limits the usage of my laptop to some scripting or modelling. But the heavy works need to be done at my desktop PC wub.png .

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I use a 15" MBP retina.  At home I hook it up to a 27" display at work I connect it to a 5k display.  Macs are supposed to be more expensive than PCS but I've found that since making the switch it has cost me less.  My previous MBP lasted me for 5 years whilst my desktop would last me the same but due to the amount of upgrades or repairs I used to continually do to keep a cutting edge PC desktop it ended up costing easily double that of a MBP.

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Why are all "professional" / "corporate" marketed laptops dual-core processors? And expensive as hell for crappier hardware? Something like Asus Zenbook which is marketed more as a "gaming" laptop is both cheaper and outperforms many "professional" laptops...

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