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I use visual studio extensively, often with three instances open plus a browser. 16GB has been adequate for me but if you can afford it 32 would probably be good to have.
As for the display, I would avoid 4K in a laptop. The pixel density just gets too high and you might finding yourself using large fonts. For me, since I use the laptop so extensively, I insist on a 17-inch display - 43cm.
I went for a gaming laptop. It has a 2070Q video card in it, 17-inch display and a good amount of storage (16GB RAM, 512MB SSD, 1TB HD). Best of all, it weighs about five pounds or 2.3kg. It's power brick weighs more than it does. I highly recommend this configuration. It is an MSI GL75 but other companies have similar products. I really like this one.
"They have a consciousness, they have a life, they have a soul! Damn you! Let the rabbits wear glasses! Save our brothers! Can I get an amen?"
If you're going to develop on that laptop, sooner or later (if you haven't already) you'll probably be thinking of using virtual machines. And being a laptop, if you're going to be away from (and can't reach) a beefy system hosting VMs, you'll probably want to be hosting them locally. That means getting all the RAM you can afford. If the laptop maxes out at 64GB, go for it. I don't have a laptop with that much memory, but once I started using VMs extensively, 32GB turn out to be wholly inadequate.
Since I started using VMs, in fact, I haven't had a system that didn't have its RAM capacity maxed out.
I suppose it all depends on how extensively you rely on VMs. I'm all in.
In my job-related tasks, I need to run 3 different versions of server software that each requires 8GB of RAM, at a minimum. Then I have VS, a dedicated SQL server, WSUS, a DC, and a bunch of small-ish VMs I use for testing on various versions of Windows.
If, at a given time, I'm down to 10 VMs running simultaneously, it's because I've run out of memory and had to power down a few of them.
I like to tinker with various distributions of Linux, but had to put together a second VM host just to run them. Otherwise sharing 64GB was a constant juggling act.
If you don't max out the RAM the day you get the machine, at least make sure you get a board that supports a ton of it. Otherwise you're stuck with it.
Incidentally, what used to be inadequate as a VM host--with 32GB--has become my gaming machine...I've yet to come across any game that requires, or benefits, from more.
But of course this whole discussion was about laptops. YMMV.
I could give each VM less memory to run with, but that means each one would start paging a lot more frequently, and I have very little tolerance for that nowadays. My time's more valuable, and the extra memory pays for itself.
I can't imagine a situation in which I would need more than 32GB ram, but in any case, when I buy the laptop I'll get it with the 32 GB in one slot and one extra RAM slot free, just in case I need to expand the memory in the future.
I can't imagine a situation in which I would need more than 32GB ram
I thought so too. I started "seriously" using VMs on a system with 16GB, and quickly outgrew that. Fortunately the motherboard could handle 32, so I maxed it out then.
It didn't take long before my VM use habits made it clear 32GB was also not going to be sufficient--the more you have, the more you'll use. Nowadays, my main VM host has 64GB, and I wish it had more - while the CPU (i7-4820K) is not a bottleneck and could handle some more, that's all its motherboard will take.
Eventually I wanted to play with multiple Linux distributions, so that had to be moved to an Intel NUC with 32GB. Just for tinkering, most Linux distributions are plenty happy with 4GB (I run most with just 2). It's an i5 rather than an i7 (though newer than the i7), and frankly I notice the difference. Though I don't suppose it's fair to compare an i5 in a NUC with an i7 in a desktop system.
Joan M wrote:
when I buy the laptop I'll get it with the 32 GB in one slot and one extra RAM slot free, just in case I need to expand the memory in the future
That's a wise approach. Take a good guess as to what it is you'll need, then buy hardware that can accommodate more if it turns out you need to turn it up to 11.
The Thinkpad X1 seems to be a favourite on Slant too: best-laptop-for-programming[^]
I had a lot of laptops of different brands in the medium price range but after some years of intensive usage they all had problems, never had a Thinkpad though so this might be an interesting option.
If you jump into Thinkpads be aware they have the left Ctrl key swapped with the Fn key...
I've been super happy with them since the first day.
Their keyboard is super nice to type in, as in other business laptops you have the "nipple" in the middle of the keyboard to assist you in summer days when you don't want to put your sweaty fingers into the touch pad, the software updater they include is super easy to use and (as other brands out there) they can come to solve any problem in your device at any place in the world in 24 hours, which is very nice if you travel around and your work is done in your laptop.
Before the "extreme" versions appeared the X1 were more focused on travelling and being ultra light, and therefore much more expensive than a T series laptop. Nowadays the extreme version is much more powerful than the others (it's exactly the same than a P1 workstation with a different processor and graphic card) and it makes it a good choice as a laptop that must last +/- 5 years.
A big disadvantage of the X1 is that it has no ethernet port, the "ordinary" Thinkpads do have one though. So if weight is not your main concern, the ordinary Thinkpads seem to be a better and cheaper choice.
At work lately we have been having difficulty with the newer Lenovo docks. Sometimes the laptops inexplicably go to sleep and won't wake up. Sometimes none of the USB ports work on the dock. Very intermittent and with everyone WFH very hard to debug.
I bought a Dell XPS 15 for my SO with the thunderbolt dock and she loves it. She switches it between her work machine and home machine all the time and it works flawlessly. My 2 cents.
Yes, eventually I saw the "manually" recommendation. The automatic method clearly missed many updates. I think the USB dock is now stable. We only have one like the model you mentioned. We have 3 of the previous model that is a "dock style" but the connectors slide in from the side (very problematic). And we have quite a few more of the older docks with the connector on the bottom of the laptop (very reliable).
Perhaps the USB dock is an improvement over the cheesy slide dock. It is hard to judge with just 1 and I am having other driver problems with it (logitech USB camera causing BSOD, not the dock); so, I am probably being overly harsh.
P53 is too bulky for the kind of job I do, some times I end up programming/monitoring things on top of a ladder.
P14s and P15s are very similar to P1 / X1 extreme, once you configure them with all the bells and whistles they end more or less at the same cost.
And I don't need the Xeon/Quadro items those laptops offer.
That's why I thought going for the X1 extreme... up to 64 GB RAM (who knows what I will need in the future), the most powerful processors, a NVIDIA graphics card and 2 SSD HDD slots up to 2 TB each... The pity is that there is no RJ45... but there's a dongle that can help and (when on a ladder) I end up using an access point to have wireless connection to the machines.