Author Topic: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?  (Read 786 times)

Offline ENAY

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Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« on: September 02, 2018, 02:55:52 AM »
Hey guys, I'm a laptop buying virgin, no seriously.

The last few laptops I was given, by Idigicon when I was working with them. The Windows 7 laptop I've been using has been going soso but now the 3,4 and r keys in the top left have stopped working. Well they've been broken for a while but I have been using a USB keyboard plugged in but I have only 2USB, one always have a mouse in it and I have to keep unplugging the keyboard to put USB sticks.

Not bad for a laptop from 2006 but I think it's time to move on. :)

Thing is, I have been looking at Amazon and have NO IDEA what is good, last time I bought a PC we were talking in 1GB of RAM and Pentium 3 MMX mebobbins. Does anyone have any tips.

Since I live in Japan I am going to get something off Amazon.co.jp

I have been looking at this

https://www.amazon.co.jp/Jumper-EZbook-%E3%83%8E%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88%E3%83%91%E3%82%BD%E3%82%B3%E3%83%B3-1600%C3%97900-1-44GHz/dp/B07BF8VVZ7/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1535851632&sr=8-14&keywords=windows10+laptop

Seems quite cheap but is it any good? Since I've been using a laptop a decade old I dare say even the oldest cheapest laptop is going to be better than this one. Although, 2GB doesn't sound like a lot.
Also a lot of the laptops, many have low ratings. So I'm really confused.

I plan on continuing my game dev in Unity which was going pretty decent even on this old laptop, my game in Unity is still running at 60fps so I don't think I will need a super computer or anything. And still use this laptop for Internet. I finally need a dedicated dev PC.

I probably need a laptop with more than 2USB slots and a USDMI slot to plug it into a separate monitor and it be 64bit.

So there we go, any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)

PS My current laptop specs are

Intel Core Duo CPU T5450 @1.66GHz, 1667 Mhz Core(s)
x64 based PC 4GB ram, Windows 7 Ultimate

This one

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.91-img.com%2Fpictures%2Flaptops%2Fdell%2Fdell-m1330-dydwtr1-core-2-duo-2-gb-160-gb-windows-7-128-mb-73391-large-1.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.91mobiles.com%2Fdell-m1330-dydwtr1-core-2-duo-2-gb-160-gb-windows-7-laptop-price-in-india-73391&docid=pOA4aScIXLnmOM&tbnid=Qsvhfczc2AC2aM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwiD0_v6nZvdAhWL7WEKHRZiA6MQMwg6KAcwBw..i&w=297&h=240&bih=654&biw=1280&q=XPS%20M1330%20laptop&ved=0ahUKEwiD0_v6nZvdAhWL7WEKHRZiA6MQMwg6KAcwBw&iact=mrc&uact=8

so I guess anything along these lines or slightly better. Right now I'm more into price than performance.

Offline therevills

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2018, 05:05:51 AM »
Quick question: why a laptop? Do you intend to do game dev on the go?

Personally I hate developing on a laptop without an external devices... monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Offline Derron

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2018, 07:28:52 AM »
Usb hubs cost 1-2 eur and allow to plug in input devices without a hassle (drives need more power so you better use the unextended usv slots of the laptop).

SSD and RAM prices are finally dropping so you should not pay that much more for a 4 (or more) GB RAM device.
RAM helps when running virtual machines (dev PC).
If you plan to upgrade RAM on your own then make sure that the original memory sticks only occupy one RAM slot and not both.

@Keys
Opened up the Laptop and cleaned keyboard foils? Had done this when I threw a beer over it. Except one key all otgers were usable again after the cleaning.

@ laptop
If you only buy a laptop to save space in a room you might consider to buy a 17 inch laptop to not stare on a small screen.
Resolution: the higher the better (dev tools plus preview) but this also needs more ressources.

Bye
Ron

Offline Xerra

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2018, 10:42:16 AM »
I had this dilema a while back and bought a laptop which was cheap but, I thought, not too cheap - and the specs seemed to be ok. I'm way behind on the old PC specs, however, as I've been a Mac user for the last three years. Even though I looked around and researched a bit, the machine I ended up with was around £300 and the biggest pile of shit I'd ever bought. It was an Lenovo Ideapad 110 and PC world don't even appear to even sell it any more. Here's a thread I later found where people were moaning about how slow the thing was after they turned it on.

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/forums/v3_1/forumtopicpage/board-id/ll01_en/thread-id/44435/page/1

The missus uses it now just for web browsing as it would have driven me nuts trying to use a dev system with it. I'd have taken it back to Argos but I left it too long before using it properly to realise no matter what i did it wasn't going to run any better.

Moral of this story: Take a friends recommendation if you can and don't always think you can get away with buying cheap. I've now got a desktop PC at home just for development stuff when I need to use programs like CBM prog studio for messing around with emulation that don't run on Mac's.

Offline ENAY

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2018, 02:28:06 AM »
Problem I have is that I live in Japan, and I have very little space. Yeah, at work, I have two big wide screen monitors and at home I have a 13 inch laptop, the one I am typing on now. I would probably prefer to have a desktop, but I keep having to move around where I work due to lack of space. Sometimes it's on my desk, other times I am on the floor, I might even need to take the laptop with so I can do some work in other room or outside my apartment.

The fact that I developed two games on my other laptop since I moved here probably means that I can develop ok with a laptop.

Internet, e-mail, youtube etc none of that, I would be doing ONLY game on this a new laptop, just Unity and game dev, I'd probably have two laptops open on my desk for that reason.

But yeah I am indeed having second thoughts a bit after reading everyone's comments. It's cooled down a lot today, has been Japanese summer 35C and higher everyday for the past 6 weeks and today my laptop hasn't been overheating and the performance has been great, so erm I dunno. Might end up staying with the old and crusty and giving it some more thought.

Offline bsisko

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2018, 04:20:56 AM »
I live on the west coast of America, and boy do we have choices.  Too many choices I must say, so it is difficult to recommend a system.  However, laptops that I own are from Hewlet-Packard  (HP) and Dell.  I deal with no other laptop manufacturer.    The hP streams are a pretty nice machine, low in cost (under $200.00 heree in America) but unfortunately, not much hard disk space.  Be prepared to buy external drives.  It also has an slot to place and Micro SD card inside.
Prepare to be assimilated !  Resistance is futile!

Offline Qube

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2018, 06:43:20 AM »
Depends on what type of games you want to develop.

If you want to do high end 3D games that have high poly count models and high res textures then you'll definitely be looking at a laptop with a dedicated GPU that has at least 2GB of GPU RAM ( preferably more ) and capable of holding its own to at least an NVIDIA 1050. The NVIDIA 1050 is probably the best current budget GPU on the market that is very affordable and packs a decent punch. This is the minimum spec I'd aim around if doing higher end 3D indie titles.

If you are not planning on doing high end 3D games then any half decent specced laptop has enough GPU grunt to handle basic games, especially 2D ones. Even the latest SoC Intel chips are pretty impressive on the 3D side.

To recommend a laptop we'd really need to know exactly what your goals are.

As a complete guess without knowing what you want to achieve :

Quad core CPU, 8GB of RAM, 1TB HDD ( sacrifice space for speed via SSD ), latest iteration of integrated GPU or dedicated GPU.
Until the next time...

Offline Pakz

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2018, 06:54:48 AM »
I used a 2gb memory laptop for a while with windows. It was NOT a great experience. (Using monkeyx) Also some kind of SSD greatly improves the experience.

They now have those AMD Ryzen for laptop processors. The Ryzen 3 2200U is the low end one. Pretty good performance. Should run things like minecraft at 100fps. I had found one in a a laptop over here in europe for around 500 dollars with 8gb,1.25tb hdd/ssd fhd win10

Offline Derron

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2018, 07:24:13 AM »
SSDs will help a lot as most current tools work with thousands of files instead of big ".dat"-stuff. So file access defines compilation times (just think of the whole .java-bang when doing Android stuff).

A 480GB SSD costs about 65Eur. If you can use less, then it will even become cheaper. Data grave can get plugged in via USB (or NAS and an 1GBit-LAN-Connection - only useful if you have TVs/Kodi/... attached to it too).


While CPUs are still differentiateable "somehow" for most "development processes" you can buy one of the 4+ core CPUs. Cores are good for virtualization (eg. running an old Windows OS to run your favorite old-incompatible-tool, to check out 2D applications ...).

VRAM of the GPU is needed if you want to pack big textures in it - or eg. use Cycles with GPU acceleration (scenes need to get packed into the VRAM for it).
 

bye
Ron

Offline Pakz

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 07:59:25 AM »
I currently have one laptop with a previous generation amd cpu(amd a8) It can run things like skyrim and minecraft. I do find Unity to not to be that smooth on it. The laptop has 8gb of ram so windows runs pretty snappy on it. I got this one early last year(400 euro) and was a lot better than the celeron 2gb model(250euro) I used before that. I remember having to wait tens of minutes after opening the lid before windows 10 was responsive to be able to use it for anything. (virus scans and cloud syncing etc)

I think Unity does require a pretty amount of storage space. Do go with more than 256gb of storage space!

One thing I know is to buy somewhat more expensive laptops. Anything below <400Euro(dollars) would probably be not that great.

A lower mid range gaming laptop has my preference for gaming and development. Those are around 800 euro's and up(msi) My first one still works after almost 5 years of use. I Noticed the new i7-8750 6 core models(msi) have gotten into the 900Euro range here recently.

Offline Qube

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2018, 10:58:26 AM »
I used a 2gb memory laptop for a while with windows. It was NOT a great experience.
I bet it wasn’t. No way would a 2GB RAM laptop be good for anything. I was referring to 2GB of GPU RAM minimum for any half decent game dev.
Until the next time...

Offline Derron

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Re: Looking to get a laptop for game dev, any ideas?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2018, 11:23:19 AM »
No way would a 2GB RAM laptop be good for anything.

To test your game it could still be of use. Or as a secondary screen to have additional tools opened / watching videos without affecting GPU performance (eg. I get stuttering video playback when doing GPU-computed renderings in Blender).

I also use my HP Elitebook for surfing - and the digitizer there to directly draw on the screen. On my home computer (7 years old AMD...) I use a classic drawing tablet (so screen-resolution independend). Yet the laptop is still of use. Also it runs Windows 10, which my dev computer doesn't (VMs of XP, 7 and 8 on a linux host).
If I booted a special linux iso on my HP laptop I could use its screen as "remote digitizer" (so I see on the laptop what happens on the dev-screen and can draw with the digitizer into the there-running application including pressure sensitivity). So the slow laptop is still of use "somehow". Honestly I have to commit that I rarely use the above described features and most often just use the laptop to have a second screen to reply to forum posts while working on computers with no internet access - or to have some of my tools with me which I am not allowed to run on 3rd parties computers.


Aside of "usable with 2GB RAM" I need to repeat myself: RAM price crisis ended some time ago and prices finally get lower and lower again (7 years ago my 8 GB Kit was way cheaper than now...). So no excuse to save on RAM (shared memory when using an intel IGP solution).

You might also save 10 bucks or so if you buy a laptop without OS and install the OS of your current device (might be an "free upgrade"-windows10 of your windows7 pre-install).


bye
Ron