Taking suggestions for new laptop

I recently started a new job(hooray) which issued me a brand spanking new 15" MacBook Pro to use as my work machine the only problem is, I already have a relatively new(2 year old) MacBook pro thats pretty powerful. I don't see the point of having 2 MacBook pros, but I still want a personal machine so I can keep side projects and stuff separate from work, since technically I believe my employer owns everything I do on my work machine.

So I'm looking for suggestions on a laptop to replace my personal MacBook, with good enough specs for me to do some side projects on the go, but nothing ridiculous since I plan on eventually building a fairly powerful desktop down the line for when I'm home and extra power. Would appreciate any suggestions you all have.

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DISCUSSION (20)

Congrats on the new job Omar!

First, your employer most certainly owns anything you create using your work laptop. They may even own everything you make on your own time, but I'm NOT A LAWYER and it comes down to what docs you signed.

Second, there's nothing wrong with having 2 MacBook Pros, at least I hope not because that's what I have!

It sounds like the 2-year-old MacBook is perfect for the kind of side-work you have. I have a similar personal laptop and it's perfect for the weekend hack sessions.

An MB Air or non-Pro MacBook are also valid options. I just held one of the new non-pro MacBooks and omg they are amazing. Granted you throw away all the ports, which would be a deal-breaker if you're doing Arduino or mobile app development, but they are impressive.

Thanks for the congratulations. I'm looking at some of the non pro MacBooks now. It seems like it would be a nice portable weekend work station. I'm not so concerned about the ports. At some point I'm going to get around to building a desk top which I can use if I need ports. But I'm still thinking, after listening to a lot of the folks here having 2 MBPs doesn't seem as weird as I thought.

This has to be one of the most frequently discussed topics here, and not without good reason. Now I don't know what you plan on working on, but the 2015 MacBook Pros are no slouches by any means. Mine probably has some different specs, but it keeps up with 12 active applications and a Windows VM running multiple Visual Studio solutions, being pushed to a 22" screen via DisplayPort all day.

I say this only to discourage you from getting rid of it (though I'll gladly consider taking it off your hands.) If you feel you really need something more powerful, here are the commonalities that seem to keep popping up in specs today:

  • A CPU at most two generations old (i.e.: 6th-generation Intel i5 or i7)
  • At least 8GB of RAM, and more from there if you plan on anything power-intensive
  • At least 256GB of drive space, and more from there if you're dealing with larger files and datasets
  • Any graphics card will do for code, unless you're working with graphics or design applications.
  • Whatever operating system you're most comfortable with working in.

The truth is that it all depends on what you're developing. Front-end web developers technically don't even need what I've prescribed above, but that doesn't mean it's not nice to have.

Also, beware planned obscelescence. Many Big Box store machines are basically built around this.

Congrats on the new job!

You may consider System 76 laptops.
They come with Ubuntu and have the latest hardware components. Also the Galago that I linked comes with an M2 SSD so you still get the hard drive bay empty, so if you ever want to add windows or do a hackintosh you have that option.

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Hi Omar!

I'm on the go a lot so I actually found the 12" MacBook (not MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.. simply, the MacBook as they call it :P ) to be wonderful as my "side machine". Yes, the smaller screen may bother some people, but I got used to it pretty fast. What I absolutely love the most about it is that it is SO LIGHT! I carry it almost everywhere, which has allowed to me to work whenever/wherever. Because of the small size, I can usually place it anywhere and not be too intrusive in public spaces where many people may share a space.

I'm not up to date with Apple's latest MacBook Pro line, so I'm not sure what the price difference between the Pro line and this is, but I believe it should also be a little cheaper.

Lastly, I have to admit the rose gold color option was extremely enticing ;) Happy hunting!

I was considering this, especially since I wouldn't mind staying in the Apple eco system. My one concern was whether or not it would be powerful enough. Do you ever get any noticeable bottlenecks while using it?

Depends on what you're doing really. It's fine for me but I wouldn't want to load up A solution in visual studio with more then 20 projects in it :)

The one port is not so much of a problem for productivity, as it is a problem for potential failure. My port doesn't grip cables as tightly as it used to and sometimes loses the connection, which is pretty frustrating when you've got a second monitor hooked up.

Have you considered a machine running Linux?

I'm planning to buy a new laptop in a near future and I'm thinking of the Dell XPS 13 or 15.

I'm currently writing on a 2013 Dell XPS 13 running Fedora 26. Battery life is really bad lately I have to say, but other than that, I love it.

Agree with Marko
I d go for a Lenovo T470 or X1 Carbon(No docking), depending on the config you won't be that far from the price of a macbook
Personally I use it with Linux installed, the only drawback would be shorter battery life than MacBook Pro

  1. What type of development do you do?

  2. Whatever decision you make consider the environmental impact.

I'm still using my 4yr old MacBook Air and see no reason to switch, it's powerful enough for most things and light enough to drag around.

I don't see the point of getting rid of your personal MBP. What happens if you get canned?

Well I don't plan on getting canned haha, but if I did eventually I plan on having a desktop at home for more power intensive activity. So I don't think I'll need my MBP long term.

May be it's just me but the only thing my desktop at home gets used for is gaming. I much prefer to keep the option of having my dev stuff on my laptop, so i'm not tied to the house.

If you are planning on building something soon, just keep what you have and build your power desktop later. Why waste the money. Also I come from the school of work is for work. So yes you have a mac laptop, but that is for your work not your personal stuff

Hey! Congrats on the job. I just recently bought a Lenovo ThinkPad T460s. It's rather cheap compared to a similarly specced MacBook Pro, and an awesome work horse. Have in mind it has all the ports you would ever need. Running Ubuntu on it is blazingly fast. It's made out of a magnesium alloy, making it much lighter than the MacBook equivalent. And that alone just sounds so cool.

If you're comfortable with using Linux instead of MacOS as your primary OS on a personal machine, it's worth checking out.

Although Razer is well know more for gamers the Razer Blade 14" offers NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and look as sleek as a MacBook Pro also I think it has the same battery expectancy time.
I don't own one but recently I saw a video review and looked like a good option to explore.

Agree with Liam. I have had no problems so far and I have viewed/edited large photoshop and illustrator files while developing at the same time with no issue.

Try Thinkpad with Docking Station. You get both laptop and desktop.

I've been looking at the Razer Blade Stealth, Thinkpad X1 Carbon, and the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (I've actually used this one and it's not bad, but is still a Dell...) Best of luck!

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Omar White
My name is Omar and I'm an Alum of Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing. I'm a Software Engineer at Target, recent graduate, and nerd who's always looking to learn more.
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