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Josheir

Visual Studio Hardware Requirements Seem Lower

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I an getting ready to purchase a computer dedicated to just Visual Studio c++ express and maybe vb express.  It won't be on the internet except for the installs and maybe virus protection.  I will be using DirectX.

 

These are the hardware requirements by Windows for Visual Studio 2015 express:

 

Hardware requirements

  • 1.6 GHz or faster processor

  • 1 GB of RAM (1.5 GB if running on a virtual machine)

  • 5 GB of available hard disk space

  • 5400 RPM hard disk drive

  • DirectX 9-capable video card that runs at 1024 x 768 or higher display resolution

 

I want to buy a laptop or a desktop for the IDE and debugging.  Of course, with an additional graphics card to run the program and debug it at the same time.

 

I want something pretty quick and I just can't believe that a 1.6 GHz processor is going to do what I need.

 

So these are the requirements (I guess.) but what are your recommendations?

 

My project is just 2D, but I also want a nice affordable graphics card for if I start programming 3D later or if the system is retired much later to gaming.

 

Thank you,

 

Josheir

Edited by Josheir

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Keep in mind those are the minimum specs - the least you will need to get a (barely) tolerable experience. Often with minspecs you don't even get a smooth experience, it just "works". Sort of.

You'll also notice that the Windows 10 minspec is suspiciously close to the VS2015 minspec.


Just because you "can" doesn't mean you'll have a good time :-)


The typical rule of thumb is get enough beef in your machine to play a game like the one you want to make. Then give yourself 30-50% more power to get "headroom" so you can debug, run unoptimized builds, etc.

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I have VS2015 running fine on my surface pro 3 (i5, 4GBRam, SSD)

Any half decent laptop will be above the min requirements and should be ok,

Get SSD if in your budget and the fastest CPU and the most ram your budget will support :)

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Most any new laptop these days should be enough -- you probably want an i3 at a minimum, you probably want 8GB at a minimum, and you probably want an SSD drive, and it sounds like you want at least 1 external video port (easy) if not two (many -- if not most -- laptops have this) -- Even with one external port, you should still be able to use the laptop's display for debugging while your program runs on an external monitor.

 

On the topic of GPUs, even integrated graphics are quite capable these days -- You can play a game like Bioshock Infinite on modest settings at lower resolutions at 30FPS or more with a mid-tier integrated Intel GPU, and the Skylake ones, at least, are Direct3D 12. They're more than enough for 2D, and more than enough to experiment and grow into modest 3D graphics. They'll just never be a 3D powerhouse.

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I want something pretty quick and I just can't believe that a 1.6 GHz processor is going to do what I need.

 

As above the minimum specs are minimum.   However, look at those specs for real.

 

I had machines back in 2003 that exceeded those specs.  

 

This is 2016.  Even cheap cell phones have better processors than that.  

 

That's a single core 1.6 GHz processor they're talking about, so anything beyond a Pentium 4 era (2002 or so) has you covered.  I don't think you can even buy 1GB memory sticks any more, looking around online the cheapest sticks I can find ($14.99) are 4GB. Having a 5GB hard drive is nothing, even disposable USB thumb drives are bigger. DX9 graphics card is probably the biggest thing on the list, but again that is technology from twelve years ago.

 

Any reasonably modern PC -- basically anything built in the last decade -- can meet those specs.

 

Thinking on it, it would actually be an expensive trip to museum-type stores specializing in old hardware in order to build something that DIDN'T meet those specs.  Any cheap walmart special could meet them.

 

 

 

Look at the product you are building on the computer and use that as your guide.  

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What is the best edition of Win10 for me?
 

 

If you have to ask, then the one that comes pre-installed on the computer you buy will be adequate.

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What is the best edition of Win10 for me?

 

 

 

The key things that pro offers over home are

 

1) Run VMs using hypervisor, Can get around this with 3rd party software like virtualbox but on laptop you will probably not be running VMs

2) Remote onto the machine using MS stack and remotedesktop software, can use other software to get similar effect but if laptop doubt you want to remote to it.

3) Join a domain, unless you are using in an enterprise environment then not required.

As frob pointed out, if you are having to ask then what pro offers over home are outside you requirements :)

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I want something pretty quick and I just can't believe that a 1.6 GHz processor is going to do what I need.
Part of the specs is marketing. Clock speeds are decreasing, and you don't want to loose customers by giving too high required specs.

 

On the other hand, Visual Studio does editing and compiling only, where the former is about 90% of the time. You cannot type fast enough to keep up with any processor. Compiling will be slow obviously at a low level spec computer. But minimum means "the compiler produces a proper result", without having an upper bound on time.

 

Finally, compiling code is something very different from running the compiled result. Visual studio doesn't do the latter, so that's not included in the required specs.

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These are the hardware requirements by Windows for Visual Studio 2015 express

I suggest you look at the "Community Edition.

It will give you all the features of the Pro version for free as long as you have 5 or less people working on the project IIRC.

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Any reasonably modern PC -- basically anything built in the last decade -- can meet those specs.

 

Thinking on it, it would actually be an expensive trip to museum-type stores specializing in old hardware in order to build something that DIDN'T meet those specs.  

 

Actually, there has recently been an upswing in really cheap hybrids (as in tablets with keyboards) with very low specs. They focus more on battery time, low price and low weight, and can easily drop below those requirements. I bought one for my mom with 1.44GHz cpu, 2GB ram and 32GB storage for ~$150, including attachable keyboard and Windows 10 license. 

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I bought one for my mom with 1.44GHz cpu, 2GB ram and 32GB storage


Why do you hate your mom so much?

 

:lol:

 

She wanted a tablet and had an extremely limited budget. Apple stuff is 3-4x that price, at least over here, so that was pretty much ruled out. Then there are lots and lots of different Android based tablets/hybrids, but they typically rely on manufacturer for updates and stuff which means you'll want to stick with a known brand. Those are also in the upper price range. Then there are the Windows based ones with a familiar interface and familiar applications, that I can properly support (I'm an all in MS guy), for a really low price, with rather good support/maintainance from MS. As someone who has owned and used a Windows 8.1/10 tablet for years now, I can honestly say it's a pretty nice platform. The one I got for my mom is probably gonna be a bit slow, but not sure anything else would be better in the same price range, and she's a very casual user so. I guess time will tell though, she got it very recently.

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I hope this page can stay here, I need your opinion. 

 

I was going to purchase an Acer Aspire E5-575-72L3 sold only at Walmart online ($469) :

 

This is a link to a datasheet:

 

http://www.acer.com/datasheets/2016/4876/E5-575/NX.GE6AA.010.html

 

And then someone recommended the Acer ES1-572-357C ($345) because it is less cost, here are the specs:

 

http://acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.GD0AA.001

 

 

It looks like I might need to buy a monitor adapter for the second purchase.

 

 

I want a really nice experience, no lag, etc.

 

Thank you,

 

JoshuaE

 

I would use an external SSD with either.

 

It was said to get the most ram and processing power for my money so thats what I tried to do.  However now I'm looking at the i3s and the money is less and the display is 17" and beyond.

 

What do you all recommend is the larger screen still much better or is the smaller laptop screen (15.6 ") just what's used now, and just as good for amount viewed?

Edited by Josheir

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I want a really nice experience, no lag, etc.

 

 

I would use an external SSD with either.

 

It was said to get the most ram and processing power for my money so thats what I tried to do.  However now I'm looking at the i3s and the money is less and the display is 17" and beyond.

 

What do you all recommend is the larger screen still much better or is the smaller laptop screen (15.6 ") just what's used now, and just as good for amount viewed?

 

Honestly, you're going to have to make some compromises at the price-point you seem to be targeting, you can get a pretty decent computer experience out of a $350-$400 laptop these days, but its not going to be the nicest experience.

 

The machines you linked to have low-resolution displays -- 1366x768, and that's really too low to be very productive with Visual Studio or other productivity tools, and the pixels will be quite chunky on a 15.6 inch screen. Plus, its not screen size alone that gives you usable real-estate, its having a balance of screen size and resolution -- I find that you really want 1920x1080 or better, and that its a good fit for most screen sizes (though, its too many pixels for anything smaller than 13.3 inches, and even that is stretching it) -- 1600x900 is a good resolution for a 13.3" screen too, though I'd say its the bare minimum resolution for on-the-go productivity. Screen quality and viewing angles are also important considerations for your comfort and ergonomics.

 

You also want an internal SSD. You can get some pretty speedy external SSDs, but they're not inexpensive and you could have an internal SSD for the same price. Try to find a laptop with a 128GB SSD inside or larger; or get one with a mechanical drive that you can easily change yourself without voiding your warranty -- and then buy an SSD and install it yourself --  afterwards, you can put the mechanical drive in an external USB enclosure and use it for extra space and backups. Be aware that if you install your own SSD this way, you'll need to jump through a couple hoops to get your OS on it, but its doable.

 

In a laptop, screen-size also directly affects portability. A 17" inch screen sounds good at first, but you might not feel that way after lugging the thing around for a day. If its too heavy or bulky that you never want to move the thing, you might as well have built/gotten a desktop instead, since you'll usually get more computer for the same money and have more options to expand and upgrade. If you're going to pay the laptop premium, it needs to be portable in practice, not just portable in theory.

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Also, depending on where you live and whether you can wait on a good deal, you can really get a lot of bang-for-your buck. At least in the US, late fall seems to be a great time to get a good deal, because computer sellers are blowing out old stock before the late-fall hardware refresh cycle. If you can wait, consider that, but don't hold yourself back if you can't. Sales typically start around a month before school starts back up, and again after thanksgiving/black Friday.

 

Lenovo seems to always have pretty great deals around that time, and makes excellent machines.

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Well its been awhile but I did end up buying the Acer.  Its pretty quick and I use a large eighteen inch monitor for the debugging (vga.)  I'm happy with everything.  It also has the two usb 3 ports which is nice.

 

I like the old time monitors better anyhow they are taller which is better for debugging.  They use more power though which is true.

 

Oh, and the screen on the laptop is high definition so I didn't notice to much pixelation except the blue circle cursor that goes around and around had some.

 

Well that's the update, thank you all for your help,

 

JoshuaE

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