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The best notebook computer for field programming

imsocoimsoco Junior MemberPosts: 46
What notebook do you like for field programming?
It is time to update my old core 2 duo boat anchor and was wondering what do others use.
It is hard to get rid of my old notebook since it has a db9 connector that will always connect to these old systems I run into. How compatible are the new thin notebooks using USB to 232 adapters?

Comments

  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    I'm using a Dell i7 (whatever the current fastest thing is) with a 17" screen and a solid state drive. I'm one of those guys who uses it as my main machine even in my office. When home, I plop it behind my big monitor on my desk and hook it into my KVM switch and pretend it's a desktop. So, I don't have a separate machine for office/remote. I don't store anything on it, however, and keep everything on a file server here. So, when I go abroad I put a GIT clone of the project on my desktop and sync up that way.

    On the DB9 port thing. I begrudgingly gave up on that a while back and have gone with the rs232 USB dongle. It works just fine. The one thing, however, that can be annoying is, where when you have a built-in DB9 port, it's alway ports 1 and/or 3, with the USB the ports can and do change.

    So, when using one, you add the step of opening up Device Manager and seeing what port ID the USB serial adapter pulled up today; this because the apps we use cannot tell us where it is, they only give us a list of possible ports. But, like most things, it just becomes part of the muscle memory of doing work.

    So, moving to a machine without a DB9 is an adjustment. But, it does work and is not too big a deal.

    Lastly, (and I'm sure there are those here who would roll their eyes and disagree) I'd see about running Windows 7 Pro. I have machines of higher OSs. Win 7 has almost zero issues with drivers/crashes/etc... If you go Win 10, there is just some things that don't work for whatever reason - or their flaky.
  • zack.boydzack.boyd Smacks Keyboard Repeatedly Posts: 94
    Myself and some of the guys in our office have switch over to Eluktronics. Small company in the US, but they ship a clean install(no nagware/manufacturer-ware/advertising) - nicely built machine - and the features/ports are amazing. I've been very happy with it and when I had an issue(operator error), their support was phenomenal. Very pleased with them.
  • pdabrowskipdabrowski Aussie Guy Posts: 184
    I'm on the lookout for a new one too.

    Current one is a Toshiba Satellite Z30-A and I've found another with similar interfaces and size/spec

    HP EliteBook 830 http://h20386.www2.hp.com/AustraliaStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=V6D66PA&opt=&sel=NTB
    Core i5-6300u
    8Gb Ram
    256Gb SSD
    14" HD Screen (1920x1080)
    USB3 ports
    VGA
    Display Port
    RJ45 on board (this is a show stopper if the notebook doesn't have one!)

    RS232 is ok. I have a method to get my USB adapter working on Win10 (connect the converter, access device manager and downgrade the driver to a working one.)
    ericmedley wrote: »
    On the DB9 port thing. I begrudgingly gave up on that a while back and have gone with the rs232 USB dongle. It works just fine. The one thing, however, that can be annoying is, where when you have a built-in DB9 port, it's alway ports 1 and/or 3, with the USB the ports can and do change.

    So, when using one, you add the step of opening up Device Manager and seeing what port ID the USB serial adapter pulled up today; this because the apps we use cannot tell us where it is, they only give us a list of possible ports. But, like most things, it just becomes part of the muscle memory of doing work.
    I know you aren't using Win10 for reasons, but since Win8 there has been the Win+X key shortcuts to access all of the "superuser" panels (Network interfaces, device manager, computer manager, classic control panel etc..) and this alone has been worth the move to Win10.
  • fogled@mizzou[email protected] h4x354x0r Posts: 549
    I'm not recommending, but I use VMWare on a Mac laptop. It's a "single machine for everything" rig, like Eric; I plug in a 2nd monitor & kvm in the office and run dual monitor. Still running Win7 in the VM environment. Since I don't use the Windows enviro for much besides using windows-only apps for AV work, I can stick with 'easy and most compatible' OS in the VM. USB-RS232 can be a problem sometimes, the port number likes to change. Also, the VM wants to run at native Retina Display resolution, so I have a huge (pixel-count-wise) desktop, crammed onto a 15" screen. Hard to read, unless I really do have the thing in my lap within 2 ft of my face. It works well for me. But again, I don't recommend it unless you're a really mac-centric person, which is probably rare to non-existent in the AV world because all the apps are windows-only. Don't ask how I got here, being a Mac guy but having a job that uses primarily Windows-only apps; it's turned out to be a huge career mistake on my part.
  • tadem2ktadem2k Junior Member Posts: 4
    if you are looking for computer that can take abuse and perform well go with Lenovo P or T series. Been using them for past 10 years and they survived a lot of stuff. 6 foot drop on concrete, blow to Ethernet port by 110 (dont ask how). also check out ISS pictures you will not see dells and toshiba in there. if I am not mistaken its all thinkpads.
  • TUTechTUTech Junior Member Posts: 70
    I have a Dell Latitude, i7 that works for me. I'm using Windows 7. The biggest problem was the USB to 232 adapter. It wasn't the adapter as much as the driver. Is uses a Prolific PL2303HX chipset and the driver that works is from pluggable.com. Once I got the driver installed the other adapters worked for me.
  • bwestlakebwestlake Junior Member Posts: 82
    I have an Asus ultrabook with a 500Gb SSD, 8Gb Ram, 15" display and my favorite thing is my AOC 15" portable USB powered monitor. I always have my 2nd monitor with me.:)
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    pdabrowski wrote: »
    I'm on the lookout for a new one too.

    Current one is a Toshiba Satellite Z30-A and I've found another with similar interfaces and size/spec

    HP EliteBook 830 http://h20386.www2.hp.com/AustraliaStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=V6D66PA&opt=&sel=NTB
    Core i5-6300u
    8Gb Ram
    256Gb SSD
    14" HD Screen (1920x1080)
    USB3 ports
    VGA
    Display Port
    RJ45 on board (this is a show stopper if the notebook doesn't have one!)

    RS232 is ok. I have a method to get my USB adapter working on Win10 (connect the converter, access device manager and downgrade the driver to a working one.)

    I know you aren't using Win10 for reasons, but since Win8 there has been the Win+X key shortcuts to access all of the "superuser" panels (Network interfaces, device manager, computer manager, classic control panel etc..) and this alone has been worth the move to Win10.

    Thanks for this. I'm sure I'll scootch on up at some point. I'm the classic "Late Adopter" Being an old recording studio audio engineer, I tend to not be so enamored by the latest-greatest bleeding edge shiny new toys. I tend to be very production oriented and I can get my work done with my current gear, I tend to stick with it. But, I'm usually forced to move along at some point. :)
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