OT - small computer selection

OT - small computer selection

Old forum URL: forums.lhotka.net/forums/t/9723.aspx

Q Johnson posted on Sunday, November 07, 2010

I'm buying a small-ish computer this week and I would love some input.

My choice seems to be between one of two strategies:

Get a "real" notebook computer that has the horsepower to run VS and Sql Server at a pace I can deal with

Get a netbook and just use a remote connection to my desktop when I need to use the VS and Sql Server environment.

Of course, if there are netbooks in the 3 or 4 pound range that can run a development environment, that would be great.  And I'm only guessing that this is not the case.  So I ask you .... have you tried running VS 2008 or 2010 on one of the popular netbook offerings (ASUS, Acer, Dell mini, etc?).  Was it abysmal as I suspect, or can you work with it for a few hours and not lose your mind (assuming I have access to a real monitor for that work).

Thanks in advance.


RockfordLhotka replied on Monday, November 08, 2010

I have an Acer Aspire 1420P. It is a small, lightweight dual core Celeron running Win7 Ultimate x64. It has 4 gigs of memory (8 was too spendy, but would be better).

For low-end dev work it is OK, but I'm use to full-blown 4 or 8 core machines with 8+ gigs of RAM, so I must say the Acer always feels quite sluggish.

Still, it is my go-to-meetings and travel machine because it is so lightweight (and it does multi-touch, which is really nice on a plane) and the battery lasts around 5 hours. Sluggish or not, if I'm not doing heavy dev work or demos at a conference it is workable.

I find RDP to be a little iffy when working with modern development. XAML and HTML5 are too animation-heavy to do well via RDP in most cases - but then again, perhaps that's because I'm usually connecting from a hotel where the bandwidth is saturated and unreliable...

You mention a monitor - and that's a big deal. The Acer is only 720 vertical, which is way too small. My new desktop monitor is 1024 vertical, and that's not enough either. This fascination with "HD compliant' computer monitors is really dumb, and I hope the industry moves past this quickly - apparently only Dell still sells real monitors with decent vertical resolution (I want at least 1200) :(

Q Johnson replied on Monday, November 08, 2010

Same situation for me. My desktop is quadcore and 8GB of RAM. So I know I'm going to be stepping down significantly in a portable machine.

I agree on the monitor size issue, too.  In my office, I always work with two.  So just being limited to one on the road is a relative hardship.  So that ONE has to offer decent performance.

Thanks for this input!


rxelizondo replied on Monday, November 08, 2010


This fascination with "HD compliant' computer monitors is really dumb.

Lets not forget Glossy screens. I personally hate those things with all my hart, If you what a laptop with a matte screen then you need to get a "business" laptop, I don't get it.

RockfordLhotka replied on Monday, November 08, 2010

Yeah, the glossy screen thing isn't great. But touch screens are glossy, so mine is glossy - it is a tradeoff.

But I'm with you - I'd pay extra to get a business laptop to get a matte screen unless I was after touch (and I must say that multi-touch is really nice).

Jav replied on Monday, November 08, 2010

I have an LG Flatron monitor with 1920 x 1200 resolution attached to my dell studio-xps,  I just walked into best buy and picked up the monitor.  I think it was in $300-380 range. I am pretty happy with it.


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