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I am looking for a new laptop for development. Mainly for .NET and SQL server and GIS applications. My applications are usually quite I/O heavy. Since my funds are not limitless, I wonder what compromises I should take.

I have my eyes on two different laptops similarly priced, and specs are pretty much identical except that:

  • One has a faster processor but only a conventional disk
  • The other has a slower processor but a Hybrid disk

Given my expected use, and that the two laptops are identical except for the mentioned, what would be the smart choice? It should be noted that i use Test Driven Development (TDD) which means that I do a lot of repetitive test runs of my code. This (I guess) is an argument for a hybrid disk, but I am not sure, if it enough to chose hybrid disk over a larger processor.

What do you think?

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closed as not constructive by Brad Patton, Zoredache, CharlieRB, David Schwartz, Tog Apr 24 '13 at 20:43

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I voted to close this question as buying recommendations are off topic here. Then I answered it as I think there might be a good generic question about CPU vs HDD for development. You might want to reword the question to be more generic and less about specific products. –  Brad Patton Apr 24 '13 at 19:22
    
@BradPatton: I was just having the exact same thought. This question is outdated in a week or so. But the generic issue has been interesting for years, and will be in the future as well –  Morten Apr 24 '13 at 19:26
    
@BradPatton: Edited question as you suggested –  Morten Apr 24 '13 at 19:41
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The smart choice is to compromise on the pieces that you can change, since when you have additional funds - you can absolutely make the change (for laptops, that is). So - I would go with a better processor and save toward a good SSD. –  nerdwaller Apr 24 '13 at 19:46

3 Answers 3

I think it is better for you to buy the lapatop with better CPU for these reasons:
1. You can add SSD disks later, it's an easy upgrade, but you can't change the CPU.
2. When you are running and testing the code, it is very important that how fast it is. Usually, it is not important how much time it takes to load gigabytes of data. It depends on your job, but if it becomes important, you can add SSD later.

Afterall, I should point that hybrid disk reduce the boot time a lot. It means 10 seconds vs 1 minute boot time for a laptop with a normal hard disk.

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You mention this is for development. ScottGu has a great blog post about HD speed and Visual Studio performance and I think the same factors would apply to whatever development you are doing.

Why does hard drive speed matter?

Multi-core CPUs on machines have gotten fast enough over the past few years that in most common application scenarios you don't usually end up blocking on available processor capacity in your machine.

What you are much more likely to block on is the Seek and I/O speed capacity with which your computer accesses your hard drive. If you are using an application that needs to read/write a lot of files, it is not atypical for your CPU processor utilization to be really low - since the application might be spending most of its time just waiting for the disk operations to complete.

...

When you do a compilation of a solution, Visual Studio will check for updated assemblies from multiple disk path locations, write out multiple new assemblies to disk when the compilation is done, as well as persist .pdb debugger symbol files on disk with them (all as separate file save operations).

Modern processors are mostly 'fast enough' go for HD speed.

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Whatever is judged most robust. You want something that won't go haywire easily and which (with appropriate backups that you MUST take) can be relatively easily recovered when it does fail.

From what I've seen, a standard hard disk is more reliable.

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