Good Coding Computers

What are some good computers specifically for coding? I am looking for one that has vertical display support. It would be even better if it is simple to switch the display between horizontal and vertical. Please recommend some good running computers. I havent really set a budget, but nothing TOO expensive, please.

P.S.: I am only looking for the desktop part. I am going to pick my own display out…

um, I use a old single core athalon64 with windows xp on it as my electronic workbench table

a good keyboard to me is more important than the machine (unless I were to start writing stuff that took days to compile) aside from the display

Well, yeah… A comfortable and responsive keyboard is a must, but I am pretty sure what I want… If I had enough monty, I would get a mac mini… But I dont…

a good keyboard to me is more important than the machine (unless I were to start writing stuff that took days to compile)

Nothing does it for me except a Model M (unless I don’t have AT or PS/2 connectors - then its a Model M from Unicomp!).

What are some good computers specifically for coding?

Depends on what and where you are coding.

For my workshop, I have planned a BookPC form-factor machine with a 1 GHz Celeron and 512 Mb of RAM (though this may change to mini-ITX if I find it too slow - then again I started out programming with a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 w/ 16K and a cassette tape drive running at sub-MHz speeds -mumbly- years ago, so nothing is too slow for me!).

Unless this is going to be your main PC to use in addition to coding, any machine made in the last 10 years will probably be OK.

For your display though, choose carefully. I personally have on my office machine dual 22" LCDs with matte-finishes for glare reduction. I prefer a dual display for coding, since most of coding outside the Arduino has been web development with LAMP; having two monitors let me keep a browser open in one, and my code window in the other; change the code, SFTP to the server, and refresh, without having to juggle windows.

If I had my druthers and the desk space, I would have a 42 inch LCD front and center, and two 22-24 inch LCDs in portrait mode on the “wings” in a triple head config, but that’s not happenning any time soon…

:wink:

If, however, this is primarily for Arduino development, keep in mind that if you plan on using another environment for external interfacing (ie, Visual Basic, Python, Processing, etc) where you might need both the Arduino IDE open and an IDE for the other environment, a multi-head setup can be useful there, so if you can afford it, and you like the sound of it, then do it. You’ll probably like it (some people don’t, though, so if you have doubts, see if you can demo such a system first).

If you are just talking about coding for Arduino, then you can go dirt cheap. As far as the vertical display, you are probably best off finding a graphic card that supports it and a monitor with that kind of stand.

If you are talking more than Arduino, then you will have to say what kind.

Well, yeah… A comfortable and responsive keyboard is a must, but I am pretty sure what I want… If I had enough monty, I would get a mac mini… But I dont…

Now that I think about it, if I really had the money I would invest in a high-resolution, large FOV (field of view) HMD, rig up my Ascension Flock to a customized 3D window manager on my *nix box, and not worry about multiple LCDs…

I just can’t afford the HMD portion (the HMDs I do own are all too low of resolution - my best is 800 x 600, but with a small FOV - and my large FOV HMD is only 640x480 - and has a PAL signal format!).

;D

I can’t even imagine writing code with a HMD. Seems like a crazy idea. Although I haven’t had one on in I don’t know how long, so maybe trying it would make me feel different. Let me know when you get that setup cr0sh, I’ll come give it a try. :wink:

Yeah, I prefer slim keyed keyboards (like laptop keyboards). No idea why… I also prefer laptop mice over full sized mice… Maybe becasue I am a 12 year old kid with normal sized hands…

As far as usage, I plan on mainly arduino for now, but as anyone else does, I want to expand to other programs in the future… I will definately look into dual monitors… They would be hany to have…

I can’t even imagine writing code with a HMD. Seems like a crazy idea. Although I haven’t had one on in I don’t know how long, so maybe trying it would make me feel different. Let me know when you get that setup cr0sh, I’ll come give it a try.

You’d probably have to have an augmented-reality setup of some sort, so you could continue to use a keyboard (although if you are a perfect touch-typist, which I am not - it wouldn’t matter). You would also have to set up some means to “lock” the displayed data to your gaze, and allow unlocking to gaze around (or maybe not - I am not sure which would be better?).

It would definitely be an interesting environment to try - like I said, though, I have all the components except the “perfect” HMD - but maybe I should give it a shot with the stuff I have (I do have a plan to build a telepresence interface for my UGV once I get back to work on it, so maybe that will be the time to try?)…

Yeah, I prefer slim keyed keyboards (like laptop keyboards). No idea why… I also prefer laptop mice over full sized mice… Maybe becasue I am a 12 year old kid with normal sized hands…

I just prefer the “solid” feel of a real keyboard; the Model M is one of the most solid keyboards on the planet (though nothing like an IBM 5150 keyboard!). You buy one of those, and you can probably hand it down to your grandkids. Those el-cheapo $5.00 cheezy throwaway keyboards just don’t cut it for me.

Then again, I miss beige PC cases.

As far as usage, I plan on mainly arduino for now, but as anyone else does, I want to expand to other programs in the future… I will definately look into dual monitors… They would be hany to have…

Like I said, they’re not for everyone - see if you can try a setup somewhere before you commit the money (both to the monitors and to the video card(s))…

I once saw for bid on Ebay (long while back, right after the dot-com collapse) a stock-broker bidding workstation for sale; the thing had something like 4 networked PCs in a cluster config tied to 16 monitors on a multi-armed stand - it was a data behemoth; it looked like something off the Matrix or Serial Experiments Lain.

I didn’t have the $10,000 it eventually sold for, though…

:’(

I have sort of used dual displays before… I had a small monitor on my laprop for a short time, before the monitor broke… It was hard to adjust to, but when I did, it was sweet! I just dont wanna spend a grand on a dedicated computer…

I have abandoned the “desktop” and have gone all laptop now. With a 17" laptop and a 24" monitor I am all set. My company laptop is 15"+ and I find it a little cramped for writing code alone, but you can get away with it on 17".

As far a performance, my 17" HP quad core i7 laptop was $1000 and has confirmed that I will never need to go back to a box sitting on (or under) my desk.

I am on my laptop right now, and I love it… It works great for code, too… I am building a desk, and I would like to integrate usb hubs and stuff… My laptop is not really the ideal system for this…

Meanwhile, does anyone recommend any computers?

Coding is just text editing, so pretty much any PC you can get your hands on. Anything you buy new now will be plenty enough, even if it’s entry level.

As for twisting the display, I believe intel extreme graphcis chipsets has a keyboard shortcut for rotating the screen through 90 degrees. You’ll probably have more difficulty finding a monitor that will rotate but pretty much all screens are vesa mount compatible so you could buy or make your own rotating mount.

As for twisting the display, I believe intel extreme graphcis chipsets has a keyboard shortcut for rotating the screen through 90 degrees.

All of the old graphics cards I have are able to do this. I think all of the nvidea cards support it or at least some of them.

Mowcius

All of the old graphics cards I have are able to do this. I think all of the nvidea cards support it or at least some of them.

Good to know. I’ve never seen the setting, but then I haven’t looked. I knew about the intel extreme chipset cos of the email that told you to press ctrl+alt+up and it flipped your screen :slight_smile:

Good to know. I’ve never seen the setting, but then I haven’t looked. I knew about the intel extreme chipset cos of the email that told you to press ctrl+alt+up and it flipped your screen

Well generally you go into the nvidea graphics options (from control panel or screen properties) then they seem to have an option for rotating the display. Then windows just picks it up as portrait res monitor and you can just forget about it.

Mowcius

Nothing does it for me except a Model M

yep, I love my 89 model M

I use a 17" laptop now, still haven’t gotten used to the screen… (still used to a 15.4" screen).
Have had dual-screen setups before, they’re nice for webcoding and anything requiring regular toggling between screens.
For arduino it’d be massive overkill though, you wouldn’t even be able to use a 2nd screen… and if you do keep switching over to the reference that often, keep in mind that after a week or two of intensive use, you will have memorised that stuff.

As someone mentioned, any computer made in the last “10” years (I’d go with any computer made in the last4~5 years, anything older is likely to die of age at any time, imo :stuck_out_tongue: ) will meet your criteria.
Keep in mind that it is best to use an OS from that time period, and if you want a newer one, linux is the better choice (windows will likely take far too long to boot, can’t say about mac).

For arduino it’d be massive overkill though, you wouldn’t even be able to use a 2nd screen…

I can tell you two ways you can use a dual-screen setup for the Arduino (I am going to miss mine once I get my system done for my shop - since I don’t have room for dual monitors out there - maybe for those instances I’ll just have to code in my office):

  1. One screen has the Arduino IDE for coding, the other has a browser open to a server web form for controlling the Arduino (assuming the web form/backend works OK). You might be writing code for the Arduino, but testing it with the browser GUI.

  2. Library development - I know in the 0017 world (not sure about 0018?), you couldn’t open the .h and .cpp files for a library, so I used a separate text editor for those, with my main code including my library open on another window. Helped immensely.

I am sure there are other possibilities; basically, the idea is to minimize window juggling and flipping. Some people like it, some don’t. I personally love it, and like I said, will miss it out in my shop.

Alternatively, some of this can be minimized if you have a high enough resolution monitor that is big enough to allow sufficient screen real-estate so-as to allow you to have multiple windows open on one display with little or no overlap between them.

For me, that would be a 42 inch 1080p LCD (if I had the desk space)…

:slight_smile:

For me, that would be a 42 inch 1080p LCD (if I had the desk space)…

Just go with a 15 or 17" 1080p LCD

1080p is a pretty standard resolution on a computer monitor.