8
Kage
73d

Is it better to buy a cheap laptop and work by remote connecting to a powerful PC, or to just buy a powerful laptop?

context:
I like playing video games, I also sometimes program using Visual Studio + Unity which is also pretty heavy. Because of this I know I need a powerful machine.

my thoughts:
Now I could buy a "gaming" laptop, It's portable (useful for LAN-parties) but it's expensive and doesn't last as long as a PC.

I could also buy a powerful PC with a cheap used laptop, I could do most work on this laptop and if I need to do something more powerful I could remote to my PC.
But this would require internet at all times and i'm worried that working over remote might not be the smoothest experience.

Comments
  • 0
    further context:
    I have been using a gaming laptop (~1200€ BTO laptop) for both professional and personal use for the past 5 years or so.
    Im starting a software engineering study in a few months and my current laptop won't last the entire 4 years.
  • 5
    while a high-end gaming/development laptop has its' merits, it falls short over time and has built-in limitations (like limiting power because of heat)

    personally i would always choose a powerful PC with a lightweight laptop. main issue with this is if your pc is turned off or you are otherwise without contact to it and rely on it for remote access to code/produce.

    personally i sometimes use the combo at home for steam inhouse streaming games from my powerful pc in my home office to a laptop elsewhere in the house, but i haven't attempted remote work as such, though i'd expect it to be quite possible and know it's easy to set up with teamviewer to allow one-way access. this relies on you having a stable internet connection for any work on the laptop of course, so that's probably the main question you want to ask yourself.

    if it's just VS to edit code and not graphical work though, i'd expect almost any laptop with an SSD and git to be sufficient.
  • 1
  • 1
    @ArcaneEye Thanks for giving your insights (:

    I would keep the PC on at all times, except when I'm asleep.

    How good the internet is will depend on both my uni, and wherever I'll live (im still looking for an apartment). I don't need to buy anything before my study so this is something I can test.

    I always use Git so I'll always have access to my code on both devices.
    I also assume most work I'll do during my software engineering study should be able to be done on a craptop.
  • 2
    Ive had same choice, I went for powerfull laptop that acts as also PC and tiny cheap laptop for lightness (if I want to watch yt on bed or something) but I never use VNC etc. becouse it can lag quite badly.

    It's up to you to be honest, what you value most. If longetivity but your nerves are stable and nothing can drive you annoyed, go for remote PC pilot combo, but if you require your hardware to work top notch, avoid this combo (ie, I can easly get triggered when some operation is going slowly, depends on operation. reboot takes more than 15 seconds? annoyed. Chrome opens in more than 2 seconds, annoyed. Mouse lags by fraction of fraction of second? Absolutely triggered.)

    It depends on you. Choose wisely.
  • 1
  • 3
    @Kage

    seems it depends on your temper then - do you want to be able to do everything all the time with the caveat that you will probably have to buy a new laptop in 2024 or so, or can you live with just doing graphics when you're home and only messing with code and web stuff on the go?

    also: what a magnificent doge :D
  • 1
    @ArcaneEye
    I don't want to be limited when I'm not at home. At uni I'll have to do many group projects and I don't want to be the guy that's always at home or can't perform tasks because his hardware is shit.

    @DubbaThony
    I am pretty patient. Most my life I worked with shit hardware, my current laptop is the first good computrr I owned. I enjoy the few seconds startup but I don't mind it taking a minute or two. So the slowness of the cheap laptop would not be an issue.

    However, I would mind constant input lag, which is what I'm afraid I'll get working over Teamviewer or similar software.
    I don't want to write a few lines of code, stop typing, and see it get written in front of me. Such a large amount of lag would slow down development.
  • 0
    @DubbaThony Why did you get a powerful laptop instead of a powerful PC?
  • 2
    Try shadow tec if it is avaliable in your country
  • 0
    @JackToolsNet Haven't heard of that before, looks cool. Thanks for sharing. (: It's not available here yet sadly.
    But this is just for gaming isn't it? wouldn't help when requiring to do stuff in Unity.
  • 1
    Personally I'd go with the light laptop + workhorse pc combo.
    Mostly because any poweful laptop is quite heavy, and the power bricks that come with them are heavy too. Add a bunch of books + other random stuff, and you've got a very heavy backpack weighing you down all the time.
    My back is definitely not enjoying it.

    The only caveat is, as others have pointed out, that you'd need a decent low-latency connection if you wanna work remotely.
    With that said though, tools like Visual Studio and other IDEs are actually mostly bottlenecked by disk speed, so as long as you get an SSD in there you won't have many issues. And if you need to run a computationally intensive workload, there's typically a way to offload it to a separate device.

    Also, I don't think you'll actually have many issues with your hardware (as long as you pick a semi-decent laptop): no course could ever expect every student to have top-of-the-line hardware specs (*cough* macbooks *cough*)
  • 0
    @Kage you can do nearly everything. Not allowed is virtualbox and bitcoin mining.

    I tried it for tensorflow. It works. But you have just 8gb gpu ram.
  • 0
    @Kage I got powerfull laptop becouse I need powerfull PC in few places:

    - work (yes, I use private hardware but company gave me part of money back for machine so not complaining + i allways have argument that I wont install XYZ app like timecamp becouse its my hardware)
    - home where I code, play games and sometimes I need some computing power.
    - at friend's place

    Yes, its bulky laptop, its far from bang for a buck, BUT it gets the job done AND it fills all of my checkboxes for requirements. If I wanted go PC way, I would need to buy like 3 or 4 PCs and setup some fancy sync scripts or something. Would be generally pain.

    And yes, I played around VNC, it has some input lag, not too bad though, but its really all about your connection. VNC in LAN is OK, VNC over internet is... risky to say at least (ofc dont forget to encrypt it if you will do!)
  • 1
    @endor I think the best thing for me to do is to wait until I'm actually in uni. I can then test the internet at school and in my apartment.
    The PC+laptop combo sounds the most interesting to me rn
  • 0
    Wait for google stadia
  • 0
    I go for the most powerful laptop I can get my hands on. Pricey but I'd rather go on laptop shopping as few times as possible.
  • 0
    Buy a decent mid range laptop with a GPU and slap some-more RAM onto that.
  • 0
    Laptops can turn out to be very bothersome to drag around after the few months of shiny/new period. I hated carrying around my laptop in uni. Never go with the 17 inch and above versions, that's for sure. You can always have an extra monitor as big as you want.
    Later I actually worked a lot remotely, but from another old gen PC in an office, not a laptop/wifi. I would connect through team viewer to my own PC to do graphics-intensive work and it worked like a charm. Never had a problem. I combined that with a dropbox account and I could work from anywhere, any pc without carrying a laptop. Chrome remote desktop and google backup&sync are good too but not as seamless, little frustrations tend to appear here and there. But setting a chrome account up is the easiest way to work the other way around, from home on somebody else's PCs. (eg. to save yourself from a useless tech support trips or access remote internal networks)
  • 0
    @borzaszto my current laptop is 15", I don't mind carrying it around. 17" would be another story tho. :p
    thanks for giving your insight. I think I'm gonna try to remote but I'll first have to internet check my apartment and uni wifi.
  • 0
    @Kage yess definitely check the wifi, otherwise it's a deal breaker. Laptop + big monitor at home isn't bad at all otherwise. Be prepared for a battery change maybe and just don't ever drop the laptop. It happens in uni and it hurts :(
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