Ivailo Ivanov3,401 Points
Suitable laptop for Front-End Web Development
Hello my fellow treehousers, I need your trusted advice on a dilemma I am experiencing. Alright the title already gives it away, I am looking to purchase a decent laptop for front-end web development soon. I am only a beginner as of yet but I know this is what I want to do and I will do what it takes to make a career out of it.
I am aware that the Macbook Pro is definitely the favorite in this field because of several reasons: usability, support, runs certain programs and plugins that windows cannot and a better general coding environment.
However, here is my issue... I would like to play some games in my free time as well (not necessarily the latest but some like GTA 4, sleeping dogs, Mafia II etc.) and I know Macs don't really do well as gaming laptops. I have had my eye on the Lenovo y510p and it is way more affordable than any of the same level Macbooks. Will I still be able to perform successful front-end work on this windows based laptop as opposed to the favorite Macbook?
Please let me know what you think and why :)
Stone Preston42,007 Points
Being successful as a front end developer doesnt depend on the kind of computer you have. You can do just as well with a PC as someone with a Mac. Almost everything a front end developer would use on a mac you can use on a PC (sublime text, illustrator, photoshop, etc) So if you want to save some cash and get a PC id say thats a smart choice and you can be a successful developer with it and enjoy your games as well.
Amr Tag5,429 Points
I'm doing it with a linux desktop and an iPad...I'm still learning on here, so I don't know if that counts
Ian Svoboda16,639 Points
Good question, glad you posted.
Just to provide context: I have about 6 years of retail experience selling both PC's and Macs, addition to 3 years of servicing PC's/Macs, so I've had extensive experience with each.
Firstly: remove the concept of "Macs aren't good gaming computers" from your mind. Why? Because a Mac is more or less defined by the software it uses, not so much the hardware. Why do I say this? Because the components found in a Mac (Intel Processors, nVidia Graphics Cards, Foxcon LGB/mobos, etc) are found in any number of other computers (Windows, Linux/UNIX, etc).
A computer isn't good for gaming by virtue of its default OS (operating system), but rather by what hardware it has and how it's configured (which is mostly a non-issue).
You can get a Macbook pro (starting at about $2700) that features hardware that would absolutely support a majority of modern games (and the games you mentioned are actually a bit older anyways). Also, you can setup Bootcamp (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5639) for a Mac which will allow you to run both Windows (natively) and OSX.
Note: when you run windows inside bootcamp, the mac effectively becomes a Windows machine, since the host (your computer) cannot really tell that there are multiple OS's installed.
Now, a Mac is often considered a better purchase for doing development (front end, backend, or full stack) for a couple of reasons, but the main ones (IMO) are:
- Better support for development frameworks
- More developer friendly out of the box (i.e. with little to no installation of extra software)
- Adobe CS (Creative Suit) products are optimized for OSX
- Terminal > command line for overall extensibility
Ultimately, if you're getting into this type of work, purchasing a Mac would be a wise choice. If you want something that can do alot of stuff (including game well) you'll be looking at about a 2500-3k for a quality laptop, plus the cost of whatever software you need.
Protip: If you need Adobe products but don't want to fork over a couple hundred bucks for a specific version, check out Adobe Creative cloud. Just remember that they want to get you into a 12 month contract, so be sure that you'll be ok with a monthly fee (usually $19.99-$29.99).
Hope this helps!
Matt Trussell9,661 Points
Hi, I'd like to chime in with my experience with different tasks on different types of machines. I am a web developer and android programmer. I also do a fair amount of photo and video editing. And I play a lot of games too.
I have an HP Windows laptop, a Windows desktop pc that I built, an iMac, and a Macbook Pro. I have used them all for all types of development and design tasks, but I have grown to prefer different machines for different tasks.
-For video and photo editing and Android development I use my Windows desktop pc because it's just wicked fast and the graphics card is magnificent. Adobe products and Android Studio are notoriously slow loading, but on my desktop they pull up in just a few seconds and run really fast.
-For coding I like my Macs because of the way the multiple desktops work with multiple screens. I can have several desktops open and I'm able to easily switch between them. I know that Windows 10 has this functionality, but it's clunky and will need some work before it is on par with Mac's OS.
-My Windows laptop wins for writing, computing on the go, and presenting to clients. It has a longer battery life than the Macbook Pro and it has a touchscreen which is pretty cool if I'm giving a small presentation to one or two other people.
-As far as games go, there is no contest. The PC wins all the marbles. Why? Better graphics, faster, Windows 10 is optimized for gaming, and many game studios don't even bother creating a Mac version of their releases. So, I don't even bother installing Steam on my Macs.
So, what would I do if I had to pare down to just one machine? I would have to get rid of all of my current devices and get a Windows laptop that would compare to the speed and power of my Windows desktop machine. That would be my all in one. You could just get a middle of the road gaming laptop for around $1000 and that would take care of your game needs as well as all the design and development work you can throw at it.
I hope this helps!