1

I'm a professional web developer - and I'm looking at buying a new laptop.

The common tasks I'm doing are:

  • Running webpack dev server
  • Running jest tests
  • Running nodemon
  • Building docker images
  • Having Slack/Multiple Chrome Windows/VSCode/Spotify open at the same time.
  • Potentially running a VirtualBox VM.
  • I use Ubuntu 18.04.

My current pain points are:

  • Waiting for webpack to recompile and reload (might take 2-10 seconds, and I'm really looking to make this as little as possible).
  • Computer starts maxing out CPU if I'm running dev server and jest and other things at the sametime.

As far as I can see - webpack only runs on a single thread while Jest tests will run in paralell.

The question is - if I'm looking at a high-end laptop which kind of processor do I need to be looking at?

Are some of the newer i9/threadripper type CPUs going to be good for the single threaded processing - or should I be sticking to something like an i7?

Are there any benchmarks that most closely approximate running webpack dev server and jest tests?

As an additional consideration - how relevant is the GPU?

As it currently stands - it looks like the computer I'll be getting will be some kind of gaming computer - just because those are the most cost effective for processor, memory, SSD etc.

Gaming computers put a lot of emphasis of the GPU - and I'm wondering for that extra $200 kind of thing, how much value I'll be getting.

I know that GPUs are relevant in some aspects of computing (like machine learning, which to be honest, I'm not likely to be getting into), and that some GPUs have the ability to share CPU load.

  • Are there any GPUs/types of GPUs I should be looking out for?
  • Are there any tasks I should be aware of where a good GPU would provide value?
2

On a laptop, I would recommend an i7 8th gen for your use case. These CPUs are 4 cores for the U (low power), and 6 cores for the H (high performance) series. They have decent single thread performance (only desktop CPUs would have better single thread performance), and have enough cores such that they work very well for multi threaded workloads as well.

I would recommend the ThinkPad T and P series, to be specific the T480/T480s or the P52/P52s. Generally for most development, a T480 or T480s would suffice (note: the "s" variant is thinner and lighter, but sacrifices the removable battery). But if you want the fastest performance, go for the P52. Make sure you use an SSD and not a hard drive because that will make a lot of difference in the performance of the machine.

| improve this answer | |
  • Hi thanks. I generally agree with your assessment about CPU from what I can see - and will likely be going for an 8750H. I've added a bit to the question about GPU. – dwjohnston Dec 12 '18 at 2:23
  • An important consideration for your suggestion - Lenovo have been caught multiple times including hardware spyware/adware on their machines - and as a rule I would never buy one of their machines. – dwjohnston Dec 12 '18 at 2:24
  • @dwjohnston The malware has only occurred in their included utilities/drivers, if you reinstall Windows/use Linux, you won't be affected. – Peter Zhu Dec 12 '18 at 2:26
  • Regarding your question about GPUs, the T480 has an optional add on for the MX150 (which is not very powerful), and the P52 has a Quadro (very powerful workstation GPU). In software development, GPUs are mostly used for Machine Learning, Neural Networks, and rendering. You can also use GPUs to play video games. – Peter Zhu Dec 12 '18 at 2:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.