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My mom has a degree in CS, but hasn't worked in the field for a while. She is looking to get back into it, and has drafted me to find her a good laptop.
My question: is core i5/ryzen 5 and 8GB memory enough, or should I go for more? I know it's enough for now, but how soon, if ever, will she need more? What dev fields will require more/what should I take into consideration?

Comments
  • 0
    Although I’m just a student, I’m surviving on and i3 and 8 gb ram, so that should be enough.

    I mostly do front end, and nothing super ram intensive like running virtual machines.

    My workflow is mostly vscode, zoom, a terminal window and a few browser tabs
  • 13
    I definitely recommend 16 gb minimum at this point. Choice of cpu depends on whether she prefers battery life and portability or performance. i5 or Ryzen 5 tells little about performance if you don't know the power target and generation. Ryzen 4000 series is the king atm.

    Then there are the other parts of a laptop like can you see the whole screen at once properly or are the viewing angles terrible, and how fucked up is the keyboard layout. There is simply no flawless laptop.
  • 1
    @electrineer My preferred dev env under windows can take 60GB of space. So lots of storage (1TB SSD) is a good idea too.
  • 2
    @electrineer It would be intel 10th or 11th gen or Ryzen 4000 series. I would've said 16GB memory, but the problem is that many laptops don't have a 16GB option without a core i7 or Ryzen 7, and the prices end up being almost double.
  • 1
    This is a "how long is a piece of string" type of question.

    What part of the market is she trying to get into? This may give some insight of the expectations this new laptop will have to deal with.

    But without that, any mid level laptop would be enough, i5 or higher, 16GB+ ram, but yea really depends if that's enough, plus a few GB of GPU never hurt anyone - but again, need to know what it'll be used for.

    Will it be plugging into power 24/7 or be portable? This matters to help reduce the selection on battery life.

    Once you've worked out those specs, go actually look at the monitors of laptops in your short list, not all screens are equal.
  • 1
    @10Dev however you can do that on an i3.

    @electrineer @guitargirl15 imo it depends. If you use linux with a fast ssd and swapfile, I made very good experiences with 8gigs ram + ~12gigs swap (yes that's way too much but eh, why not).
  • 0
    @guitargirl15 Just search 16GB Ryzen 4000 and you get better options. Still have to filter out the 8GB tards, but you can find deals. Also, adding ram is not hard if you buy from a decent vendor.
  • 0
    CPUs with H are high power, ones with U are ultra low power. Look at benchmarks once it comes to deciding between exact models.

    You can upgrade memory yourself on some models but not all.
  • 1
    @nitwhiz you can try enabling zram or zswap for even better experience. But I wouldn't recommend buying a new laptop with 8 GB at this point if you're a power user.
  • 0
    more performance is always nice but in the end it depends on what kind of development you'll do
  • 1
    I'd also consider a desktop if mobility isn't a primary goal: better and bigger screen, real keyboard, no annoying smallish fans, more flexibility with the components.
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop I plug my lappy into a 43" at home via hdmi. I really don't like the small screen.
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop I plug my lappy into a 43" at home via hdmi. I really don't like the small screen.
  • 1
    I think it depends on the type of development, like if she'll be using the likes of docker then the beefier the system the better. Also for instance if she's going to be doing some native android development then an Intel machine will be better for Android virtualization as ryzen CPUs suck at it and you'll have no other choice than to use your own android phone as a guinea pig
  • 1
    @Demolishun Sure, and a docking station is also a thing - but not for someone seriously considering an 8GB machine. That's because docking station, monitor, keyboard, mouse would come on top of the laptop budget.
  • 0
    8 gb is fine, not generous but fine if you run Linux. On Windows only ok if you don't need docker or any kind of virtualization.
  • 1
    Go Ryzen, 4000 series if possible. Nowadays is better to have more than 8gb of ram, just get any laptop that has at least 1 ram socket available for you to buy a bigger module separately.
  • 0
    @Razakii afaik android emulator works perfectly on amd cpus, just not on Windows.
  • 1
  • 0
    @Demolishun as I said, just not on Windows
  • 0
    @electrineer Those instructions are for windows. What do you mean? Confused?
  • 0
    @Demolishun wait... Are you saying that android emulator no longer sucks on Windows after all these years if you have an AMD cpu? Nice.
  • 0
    @electrineer I don't have an amd to test. So I don't know. But that article seems to indicate this.
  • 1
    @Demolishun looks like they first launched the feature in March 2012, so it was about time
  • 0
    @electrineer The draw back of using hyper-v would be not being able to use other virtual machines right? Because hyper-v is type 0 hypervisor?
  • 1
    @Demolishun However Hyper-v is not available for windows 10 home. Instead you use windows hypervisor platform though windows virtual machine platform(which is required for wsl 2 ) also seems to work. I can enable hardware accleration in android studio on my android emulator in android with windows virtual machine platform enabled. I am using a ryzen 4000 series laptop.

    https://superuser.com/questions/...

    However virtualbox seems to not work if you have windows virtual machine platform but docker works and you can use docker with wsl2 backend but wsl2 has some network issues. However wsl by itself hogs more than 1 gigabyte of ram as the vmmem process so if OP's mother uses dockerm with wsl2 backend docker will be short of some memory

    https://stackoverflow.com/questions...
  • 0
    Ryzen 5, 16gb ram minimum, ssd m.2 256GB min, full hd display (IMPORTANT), touch display (optional)
  • 0
    @h4xx3r any specific recommendations? Been looking for something like this
  • 0
  • 1
    @guitargirl15 I would recommend the tuf a15 or tuf a17 for the machine @h4xx3r suggested. Though it is a gaming laptop and the battery life on the 48 watt hour version is trash. Get the 90 watt hour version seems to have really good battery life. Also the wifi cards in them is kinda trash. If you can get the machine and replace it with a good one. I had some problems with wifi. Reinstalling drivers fixed the problem mostly. Also if you get one of he laptops I recommended make sure to go into device manger, right click the wireless card -> properties -> Power management and uncheck all this computer to turn of the card or something similar. It solves most conmedtion dropped problems.

    Also @Fast-Nop was looking for a similar system a while ago so he might have recommendations. Also @Fast-Nop suggested a desktop if possible as a option which is a good option too
  • 0
    @Sony-wf-1000xm3 Yeah I'm after this one: https://tuxedocomputers.com/en/...

    It's built around an AMD 4700U (i.e. low power APU) with integrated graphics only, but that still offers a lot of computing resources. Plus that it has excellent Linux compatibility because it comes with Linux pre-installed.

    The status changed to "components in stock" only yesterday. The config is built to order with quite some flexibility (for me: 32 GB DDR4-3200 and 2 TB Evo 860 SSD), and I expect it to be delivered before the end of the month.

    However, that's a German company, so shipping to US might be costly, plus customs and stuff.
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