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Laptop a good choice for developing?

Posted on 1999-07-29
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I am a member of a programming team about to develope a database system for a company.  I was wondering if laptops are stable enough for programming such a system.  I would be using the NT or Windows 2000 operating system along with a database such as Access and Visual Basic or C++Builder.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a laptop over a desktop other than portability and price?  I would appreciate a detailed answer and am givnig this question a high point value.  Thankyou very much for your time.
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Question by:nexguy
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mazelon earned 1000 total points
ID: 1872790
Well the major detail that you would want to make sure of is power... The laptop batteries somtimes don't last very long... especially if you are going to use it all the time..  

A good thing about laptops is that they are easy to bring along with you wherever you go rather than trusting a disk with your information while you drive home.  Another thing about laptops is that 90% of the time they are just as stable as a desktop computer.  

You can also get a docking station and trasform your laptop into a desktop computer by simply plugging it in.

There is only one more thing that I can think of off the top of my head that is a bit harder in a laptop, and that is upgrading. The small ammout of space makes almost impossible on some brands for you to do it yourself.

Hope this helps you in your descision of getting a laptop or desktop computer.
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Author Comment

by:nexguy
ID: 1872791
It looks as if power would be the only major downfall.  I wouldnt be worried about upgrading, I plan on getting a laptop that would not require upgrading during the lifetime of this project.

As for power.. are there external power sources that could be carried around..and recharged at outlets?   What are the average battery charge times on laptops?

I do plan on getting a docking station.  That just consists of a monitor, keyboard and mouse?  please explain a docking station.  Thankyou

Chris Blue
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Expert Comment

by:mazelon
ID: 1872792
well the battery life and charging all matters on what kind you get... there really isn't a standard.  But I would say that Life can be anywhere from 1-3 hours and recharge time can take as much as 1-7 hours all mattering on what type you get.

But the docking station just lets you use your laptop like a desktop computer... it has ports for sound, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and can even hold other components inside it in some cases.  you just have to make sure that your laptop it built to use one.  also in some docking stations.  they will recharge your battery while using it since it is plugged into the wall.


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Author Comment

by:nexguy
ID: 1872793
my last comment..

what type of laptops would you personally recommend for my situation?  long battery life, docking capability, rugged design?

Thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:mazelon
ID: 1872794
Dell makes some top of the line laptops that may be high in price, but are equally high in quality..  most of their laptops can have 2 batteries or one battery and an extra component installed (CD-ROM) but to change you just shut off the laptop take out the component and slide in the extra battery.  I believe most of them come with the docking station option too but I would check on that.  Most of the time you want to go with a well known brand name when it comes to laptops for quality assurance.  So i would give people like Micron and Gateway a call and compare prices before your purchase..  Glad I could be of assistance.

Mazelon
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Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1872795
I've developed on laptops and on desktops and by far I prefer desktops. There are several reasons, first and foremost I use a "natural" keyboard and those cramped mini's on laptops simply are too tough to type on for extended periods of time.

Second issue is HD speed. Generally laptops have "ruggedized" HD's that can take a jolt without crashing but tend to be smaller than desktops HD's. Additionally laptops pretty well like to spin down the HD to save on battery whereas I want my HD up to speed at all times. Development time is too valuable to lose a train of thought waiting for the HD to come back up to speed. This will also lengthen compiles and other disk intensive activities.

The LCD's on laptops are razor crisp, but a nice 17" is not normally available. CRT's also make it easier to change video resolutions back and forth to check screen appearences at different rez's.

Network connectivity is a big issue, esp with a large project. Gotta have a NIC and a hot connect 100% of the time.

Printers, can't lug a laser, won't print on anything else. 'nuf said.

CD Burner, ever try to put one in a laptop?

Mouse? Ever try and do precise work with a laptop's mouse - quickly? I've never been able to get the speed & precision with a laptop pointer that I have with my cabled rodent.

Anyway, I like laptops, I just wouldn't replace my *big iron* desktop with one. For *me*, a laptop just don't cut it when you spend 50-60 hours/week welded to a kepboard.

FWIW

M

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Author Comment

by:nexguy
ID: 1872796
I would have access to a regular keyboard and monitor by pluging it in to a docking station.

NIC?  I dont think i would be able to have 100% internet connection time anyway.

dont need to print anything out unless at home..where we have a printer.

dont need a cd-burner

mouse comes with the docking station

I think your points are valid though
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1872797
You're not talking about using a laptop, your talking about using a laptop plugged into a docking station. So effectively you're back to "big iron" at laptop prices! Save a few bucks (or get a bigger HD) and just go straight to the desktop!

"Don't need a CD-burner"? How do you deliver your software and docs? On 147 3-1/2" floppies?

M

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