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We'll all want to be able to develop on our own 64 bit laptops and Windows 7 (at least I will). What is the ultimate rig? I've seen some folks buying the Dell Studio 13 XPS with an SSD (@bluedude, others). Other opinions? Memory (max it out, but is 8Mb good)?

M.

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9 Answers 9

If you ask me, "SharePoint development laptop" is an oxymoron!

Sure it can be done, but mainly for demo purposes, not serious development where you want fast reloads and not sit and wait for ages after you recycled application pool or did an IISRESET.

I had a pretty decent DELL with loads of RAM and external disk for VMWare/HyperV images, but after i got my dual xeon quad core workstation with SAS disks and 16mb ram i never looked back! The beast is running 2k8 R2 and HyperV on it, and it outperforms any laptop by miles!

The only time i do sharepoint development on a laptop if im stuck on a plane, in a train with slow or no network (we got fast wireless on train in denmark) or for demo purposes.

Else i connect to either ESX or HyperV run on corporate/customer network or my own dev-rig via VPN or Live Mesh (got live mesh on all my hyperv MOSS servers, that rocks!)

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Assuming you are running a non-server OS and launching SharePoint in a virtual, having a dedicated disk for virtuals is as important as memory when planning a SharePoint development machine.

For this reason, the ideal laptop would have 2 disks with one dedicated to virtuals only, or a high-speed external disk. Nice thing about an external disk is you can hook it up to multiple machines in case you want to run from a tower or laptop depending on the circumstance. Currently eSATA is the best performing external disk (better than USB 2.0).

There are laptops with eSATA external drive connections to support running virtuals off a high-speed external disk dedicated to virtuals only, example from Dell: http://www.dell.com/us/en/business/notebooks/workstation_precision_m4400/pd.aspx?refid=workstation_precision_m4400&s=bsd&cs=04

USB 3.0 is due to start appearing early next year and surpass eSATA in performance, it will be interesting to see how soon it's equipped on laptops and at what cost.

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Look the Andrew Article on the Development Setup he has done a nice analysis

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I've found that 8GB is plenty of memory for me.

True story: At the conference last week, I had one Hyper-V machine running with 2GB that showed the browser-based demo and a second Hyper-V machine running with 4GB for the Visual Studio demo.

All on a laptop with 8GB running Win2008R2.

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were you using an SSD? or standard internal HDD for location of Hyper-V machines? –  Anonymous Oct 28 '09 at 14:31
    
From what i heard, HyperV running on a laptop isnt a supported scenario by MS (which i guess is also why you kill those virtual servers everytime you forget to save them before laptop goes into hybernation). Not sure tho' if by that they mean "dont run your production server on a laptop" ;-) –  Anders Rask Jan 18 '10 at 22:35

Just got my HP EliteBook 6930p w 8GB RAM and waiting for an SSD. Running Windows 7 and VMWare Workstation 7 makes this lappy smooth as a kitten. As said in other posts here; SharePoint Server in VM's and SharePoint Foundation on main OS complemented with a Windows Server 2008 R2 VHD boot will make this one a great SP2010 dev laptop. Running the SP tech preview works find, except the bugs, in VM's with 4GB ram - remember to not enable those services that you do not need - and that will go for a real installation also.

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Another good take on this from Eli Robillard's World of Blog: How to Build a SharePoint 2010 Development Machine (Part I)

Not specific machine recommendations, but a great overview of the software required and other options.

M.

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I'm using a Lenovo ThinkPad W500, 6GB RAM, Core2 Duo 2.8Ghz, 320 SATAII HDD running Windows 2008 R2. This thing SCREAMS. Granted it's not a workstation, those will always be faster. But it's not an oxymoron.

Boot time is fast and I have about 4-5 hours of battery life on the one 9cell. When I'm at my office, I have two 24" HD monitors plugged in (VGA and DisplayPort). I'm running SQL Server 2008, Office 2007 and a plethera of other apps. My only complaint is that it doesn't sleep well, but with these boot up speeds I can't complain.

Lenovo really stepped up their hardware with the W series. Take a look at the W700!

I'm anticipating keeping Windows 2008 for 2010 development, but I'd imagine running Windows 7 would be faster than this is now.

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It would be nice to do a head to head benchmark on a top spec W500 against a quad core Dell Precision M6400... Maybe even a specific benchmark targeting virtualization and real development tasks. –  Anders Rask Jan 18 '10 at 22:25
    
The dell would win. Doesnt make the ThinkPad less of a development machine, just makes the dell a more powerful one. –  David Lozzi Jan 21 '10 at 20:12

I looked at the DELL Studio 16 and 17 and also Lenovo T500. DELL has it with the i7 core and also the RGBLED screen is incredible.

The SSD is definately a must for performance too.

Minimum 4Gb RAM but realistically you need 6/8Gb to run a guest (4/6Gb) and the host (2Gb).

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I bought a 17" MacBook Pro earlier in the year to become my ultimate rig. I say "become" because since then I haven't been able to afford to upgrade the RAM from 4GB to 8GB or buy an SSD drive!

That aside, I've found the machine to be very fast and enjoyable to use. The aluminium finish is slick and rock-solid. And I've never worked on a machine with such a stunning screen and beautiful colours.

Mac OS took a bit of getting used to but I now (mostly) enjoy it. Similar to Windows 7 for most features but they both have pros and cons that tend to even out. VMWare Fusion is great and very fast provided I don't want to swap from one VM to another or a lot of disk swapping occurs.

For a business it's probably not economical to purchase a Mac because of the "Apple Tax" however a high quality machine is great for motivation!

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well AC was there and left that path again because of the deficiencies regarding virtualization: andrewconnell.com/blog/archive/2009/11/03/… –  Anders Rask Jan 18 '10 at 22:23
    
The MBP I have supports 8GB of RAM and with an SSD hard drive perf is no longer an issue. However: to upgrade both of these things is freaking expensive. But when I have the money it's worth it to me with the benefits I get from it! –  Alex Angas Jan 18 '10 at 22:58

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