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Laptops with Big RAM?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the beyond-the-2Gb-barrier dept.

Portables 172

Fubari wonders: "Anybody know when laptops over 4gb might be coming out? Some of the dev-tools I want to run are just obscene RAM-pigs. On the desktop I'm using now (Win2003), it sucks up 1.6gb just to boot. By the time I log in and start doing work, it is stretching 2Gb. Move that to Vista, add a VM-Ware session or two, and I'm worried I'll be pushing 4Gb. I'm torn between buying a 4Bb-max laptop now, or some mini-desktop that can fit in a set of luggage wheels. A friend of mine suggested something like this, but my first choice would be something designed to be portable. Any suggestions?"

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172 comments

Easy Answer: May (2, Informative)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170770)

You can get a Santa Rosa platform Centrino chipset in May, which will allow for 4 GB of RAM, with 2 x 2 GB sticks. However, 2 GB SODIMMs aren't cheap...

GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170780)

GNAA PWNZORZ U

Dell? (-1, Troll)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170782)

ehh all of the Dell XPS laptops can take up to 4gb of ram...and I assume most high performance laptops can as well...Did you even bother looking?

Re:Dell? (0, Redundant)

jamieswith (682838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170858)

I think so far the comments missed the point.

He's not looking for a laptop WITH 4gb, he knows he can get those now, he's wondering about a laptop with MORE than 4Gb of memory.

Re:Dell? (0, Redundant)

_Swank (118097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170876)

did YOU bother reading the first sentence?

Anybody know when laptops over 4gb might be coming out?

Re:Dell? (0, Offtopic)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170916)

i get this strange feeling that this post was made just for more vista bashing. i'm using vista on 1 GB of RAM right now and there's no issues that i've seen with speed. it's just as quick as XP, and actually starts up and shuts down quicker than XP.

i will admit that it sits at about 50% memory usage all the time, but i haven't noticed any slowness. granted, i don't do any vmware stuff. i haven't attempted at firing up any memory intensive programs, other than maybe dreamweaver (which isn't bad from what i can tell). this is also only my second day using it (i did an in place upgrade from XP pro).

my other question is why he's got windows 2003 installed... i imagine he means XP, in which case, maybe he doesn't really know what he's doing? sounds like he didn't even bother trying to find laptops and just wanted to bash vista.

Re:Dell? (2, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170980)

Its completely plausable he's got Win 2k3 installed, depending on what he's developing.

Re:Dell? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171092)

He is probably doing some development work that requires W2k3 thus his dev platform is W2k3. There are a few SDKs from Microsoft that will not work on XP (home or pro) and basically require W2k3 if you want to be able to build and test on the same box. He didn't tell us what exactly he was doing, or why he needed W2k3, just that he was using it. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion he doesn't know what's he doing just because he has W2k3 installed instead of XP.

Re:Dell? (1)

Bastardchyld (889185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171100)

I am sure that he knows enough of what he is doing to be able to accurately determine if he is using Windows 2003 or Windows XP. Just because 2003 is server class, does not mean that there is no reason to install it on a laptop.

Re:Dell? (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171232)

I'm wondering what he's doing that requires that much memory! I'm running my house server just fine off of an old Dell PowerEdge Server with only 512k of memory- Win2k3 doesn't actually *NEED* 1.6GB just to boot up. I think he's been Pwnd.

Re:Dell? (3, Funny)

jim3e8 (458859) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171320)

I'm running my house server just fine off of an old Dell PowerEdge Server with only 512k of memory

Wow. Apparently 640K is enough for everybody.

Re:Dell? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171490)

Damn- I messed up. I meant 512MB......a single stick though.....

Re:Dell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171994)

What does how many sticks it has have to do with it? Does having 2 of 256 give you more memory than 1 of 512? And if anyone mentions dual channel or NUMA, I will hit them.
They didn't have those in the early 90's when his server was made ;P

Re:Dell? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172146)

Mid 1990s, it's a Dual Pentium II. I guess I just mentioned it because that single stick looks awfully lonely alongside the 20 or so memory sockets right next to it...:-)

Re:Dell? (2, Insightful)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172258)

He probably meant that it takes 1.6GB to load up the dev-tools.
I mean, he can't see how much RAM he's using at the login-prompt anyway, can he? =)
He might be getting his numbers from some source that doesn't subtract the system cache, though. ;-)
It's not uncommon for people to rant about how much RAM they're using when 70% of it are just cache that are still available for applications.

Re:Dell? (1)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172814)

I agree.

I primarily develop ASP.NET 2.0 on Windows 2003 Standard Server. When I boot Windows, with IIS and SQL 2000 starting by default, my RAM usage is at 150MB. This guy really needs to disable a lot of his unused services.

Windows 2003 can be as fast and use as little memory as XP. It's very easy to do - and a developer should already know how to do this.

SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 are slow bloatware. I'm not impressed at all.

Re:Dell? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172880)

OK - that's easy - run a supply chain planning full system, end to end. The model alone for some companies were over 20GB, while the super scaled down dev model usually came in around 1GB. And that's in-memory. Besides that, you'll generally be running at least 1 full fledged DB, several servers (appservers, webservers, various daemons, etc) and potentially an entire SOA on a single machine. Another one would be developing management and maintenance software that also integrates with existing systems such as Tivoli and HPOpenView, including some resources to monitor (usually a full instance of whatever you're trying to manage and monitor.

Ever want to see your memory usage skyrocket, try either of those scenarios. Is a laptop the best venue for development of that sort? No. However, when you need to be portable to show things to potential clients, it's pretty much the only way.

I should also mention that this type of code only runs on server OSes, because it requires over 2GB of RAM, which no client OS supports - that would be MS Windows, BTW, all other current OSes in this class support 4GB or more. MS OSes only supply a max of 3.5GB in user space unless you're running 64bit MS OSes. I'm not sure what 64bit XP is limited to. I'm sure MS is still smarting from the 20bit kernel -> 32bit counter for memory paging that guaranteed BSODs on NT 4.0 prior to SP1.

When you're doing this sort of work... (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170802)

Doing work this memory-intensive is probably much better suited to the desktop. Windows XP (home edition at least) doesn't support more than 3gb of memory, and I've never seen a laptop with more than 2gb of RAM preinstalled. Your friend was probably right - a computer on wheels or some similar idea would be more effective, or more practical at least. It will also leave you with much more choice for upgrades.

Re:When you're doing this sort of work... (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170832)

The link in the article works now, although it didnt when I first posted. If you have a link to a place to buy a system with 8 GB of ram, where does the "ask" part of "ask slashdot" come in?

Harder than you think (5, Interesting)

HardCase (14757) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170838)

You've got a couple of problems to deal with. The first is power consumption - two 2GB modules will consume a crazy amount of power. It's quite surprising just how much power a couple of modules require. The second is space. Current DRAM components are too large to fit 2GB worth on a single SODIMM. Take a look at the space on a DDR2 UDIMM and you'll see that there's almost no extra room on one of them.

2GB SODIMMs are built - I've worked on some creative designs that stacked DRAM components to achieve the necessary density, but the modules aren't suited for laptops because they're too thick and a notebook can't provide the necessary cooling.

It seems to me that you're a year or two ahead of technology, I'm afraid.

-h-

Re:Harder than you think (5, Informative)

HardCase (14757) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170888)

Oh crap, here I am replying to my own post. Where I said 2GB, please substitute 4GB instead. D'oh!

Re:Harder than you think (2, Informative)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171220)

Oh crap, here I am replying to my own post.

There's never been anything wrong with replying to your own posting when you have something new to add, unless of course you use a sock puppet [wikipedia.org] to do it.

MOD PARENT UP!!! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172760)

I totally agree with Lost Race, and think that the parent posting deserves lots of merit.

Re:Harder than you think (2, Informative)

Chryana (708485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172256)

I verified recently if RAM was a power hog on a laptop, and the consensus was that it did not make that much of a difference (although I will concede that 4GB is a lot). One benchmark was stating that doubling the RAM from 512MB to 1GB reduced the battery life by 8 minutes, which is not too bad on a total battery life of over 2 hours and a half. Additionally, having more RAM, especially when it is used, may result in lower hard disk usage, and the hard drive draws far more power than memory (it was placed second only to the display in terms of power consumption). So yes, there will definitely be a difference in terms of battery life if he installs 4GB, but given his memory requirements, it may turn out to be better than to abuse the swap file constantly. Also, if he really uses that much RAM it will be much more pleasant for him to use his computer than to wait wait wait while the computer is crawling, constantly swapping content in and out of the page file.

Disclaimer: This comment is meant to be funny (2, Funny)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173766)

There's another problem that's not in your list... He's moving to Vista!

(This comment is not meant to inspire hatred of anything. It is meant to make people laugh.)

(Normally, I wouldn't have to explain that... but this is Slashdot!)

strange requirements (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170872)

4gb, 1.6gb : grambits?
2Gb, 4Gb : translates to 250 MB and 500 MB, but 512 MiB is pretty usual for a laptop.
4Bb : 32 bit^2 ?

Re:strange requirements (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171758)

Mod parent up.

The submitter apparently doesn't even know how to use units.

Thinkpad (2, Informative)

NaNO2x (856759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170878)

I sugest a Thinkpad. They are durable, small, ment for portible offices. Most allow a preinstalled 4GB or more of RAM. I know some go over 6. They are pricey but they are worth it I feel. So check them out.

Re:Thinkpad (1)

Bastardchyld (889185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171200)

There is no market (yet) for a laptop with over 4GB of RAM, you have to remember that in order to have a MS OS and over 4GB of RAM you will have to have 2003 Server Enterprise Edition (or 2000 Advanced, etc). While I am sure it would be nice to have, you may want to look at purchasing a high powered workstation/server and having that host your vhds so that you can simply develop on the laptop and test on the VMs (hosted on the other box).

Re:Thinkpad (3, Informative)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171718)

Please explain again the usefulness of Windows XP 64bit edition, then?

<quote>
Description of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is a near feature-complete version of Windows XP Professional that runs on x64 processors. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition supports 128 GB of RAM and 16 terabytes of virtual memory address space, as compared to 4 GB of both physical RAM and virtual memory address space for 32-bit Windows XP Professional.

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition runs 32-bit applications in the Windows on Windows 64 (WOW64) subsystem providing compatibility with the more than 10,000 existing 32-bit Windows applications while enabling new 64-bit applications.
</quote>

<Url:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/64bi t/russel_exploringx64.mspx>
<url:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/over view.mspx>

Find new dev tools. (0, Troll)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170906)

There are already enough comments telling you what I imagine you'll actually do -- desktop on wheels, or a laptop with 4 gigs of RAM when they come out. I'll make the unreasonable suggestion, then -- stop tolerating something that needs so much RAM! Go back to vim/gcc -- or whatever, there are certainly some saner options for you.

I wouldn't mind a laptop with 8 or 10 gigs of RAM, but I'd much rather have a reasonably efficient system so I don't have to pay for that much RAM.

Re:Find new dev tools. (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171566)

Go back to vim/gcc -- or whatever, there are certainly some saner options for you.

I think it's a safe bet that a developer looking for a laptop with more than four gigs of RAM would find more efficient tools if that were an option. But vim/gcc? Anyone doing stuff complex enough to need that much RAM would be lost if he had to do everything with just vim and gcc, unless he's some sort of savant.

Re:Find new dev tools. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172426)

Indeed, which is why I also said "or whatever, there are certainly some saner options for you." I like vim/gcc, you might like something else, but the fact remains, dev software is insanely bloated for no good reason.

Because the fact is, he's not "doing stuff complex enough to need that much RAM." He's just using tools written badly enough to need that much RAM.

Re:Find new dev tools. (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171764)

I'll make the unreasonable suggestion, then -- stop tolerating something that needs so much RAM! Go back to vim/gcc -- or whatever, there are certainly some saner options for you.

But, he's said he's running specific development tools. It's not like he can suddenly change them en masse. He may have no choice but to run Vista, which by all accounts wants memory like you wouldn't believe.

He's also making the valid observation that he can forsee one or more virtual machines being hosted on this machine (I have a whole separate machine to host virtual PCs). Virtual machines are a huge help in development since you can wipe them out and start from scratch without any down time. it's a realistic thing to plan for. They're great for sandboxes and doing all sorts of testing.

The reality of it is, the tools he is running are probably something he can't escape -- those are the tools, and you can't replace Visual Studio with vim and gcc easily, as much as people like to think. Sometimes, you're stuck using those tools you're given, because that's what your company is going to use no matter what you like.

I wouldn't mind a laptop with 8 or 10 gigs of RAM, but I'd much rather have a reasonably efficient system so I don't have to pay for that much RAM.

Well, with the overheads of Vista, I can see it becoming such that a laptop can't possibly be used as a development machine. I know within my company, when I used to say I want 2GB or so on a machine, they would look at me like "who could possibly need that much RAM?"; now, it's commonplace. The reality is, 1GB of RAM on my development machine (older, needs an upgrade desperately) is a joke (cause using 1GB of RAM on a Windows machine means you're using >= 1GB of swap space).

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of vi (been using it for about 20 years), and I have good memories of using gcc back in the day -- but, I just never understand why the advice on Slashdot is to always migrate to tools which aren't applicable for the person at hand. If you write Windows software, you're probably using some big software to do it in.

Unfortunately, laptops have always trailed behind desktops in terms of how big you can make them. But, if you need the big-honking machine, and also need a laptop, you could be SOL.

Granted, I come from an era where having 8GB of ram on any machine (let alone one with a single user) would be absurd (unimagible in fact) -- but, it's awfully tough to develop enterprise software on mickey mouse machines. I bet there's quite a few people who could benefit from a laptop with > 4GB. I do agree with you that this is partly the fault of the OS for becoming so damned bloated. I just don't think it will help this particular gentleman's problem.

Cheers

Re:Find new dev tools. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172742)

He may have no choice but to run Vista, which by all accounts wants memory like you wouldn't believe.

You must be referring to the article which said "4 gigs is the sweet spot", which is frankly BS. By all accounts, Vista is faster than XP, and we know it's needed for 64-bit, unless you want to try XP 64-bit, or move away from Windows.

He's also making the valid observation that he can forsee one or more virtual machines being hosted on this machine...

Fair enough. Then again, how many VMs do you need running at once? Especially given that you can "hibernate" the VM, with or without OS support, I don't really see needing to run more than one, maybe two. And I can definitely see 2 gigs being sufficient there -- 1 gig for the VM, 1 gig for the OS.

I understand that in another few years, that may be nowhere near enough, but if he's willing to spend that much for a laptop, he may well consider buying a new one in another couple of years.

but, I just never understand why the advice on Slashdot is to always migrate to tools which aren't applicable for the person at hand. If you write Windows software, you're probably using some big software to do it in.

Well, as I said, I'm deliberately making the unreasonable suggestion, since everyone else made the reasonable ones (mostly involving how to actually fit that much RAM into a laptop).

And, as I said, I'm not attached to vim and gcc, I'm just pointing out that vim and gcc can work comfortably in 64 megs of RAM, so it's absurd that the tools he's using need that much. Job or no job, there should be some alternative there -- and from what I can tell, the compiler is NOT what's using all the RAM, that'd be the IDE and debugger (but not so much the debugger; see gdb), so there should be alternate IDEs that don't suck down so much RAM, but still use the same backend tools.

I do agree with you that this is partly the fault of the OS for becoming so damned bloated. I just don't think it will help this particular gentleman's problem.

Not so much the OS... And if it doesn't help, it doesn't help. I just think that anytime anyone finds themselves with a non-multimedia app wanting more than a gig of RAM for a single user, they should start asking questions and looking for alternatives. (If you're reading this 20 years from now, I'm sure you'll say something like "more than a terabyte of RAM" instead, but the principle is the same.)

Re:Find new dev tools. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173156)

You must be referring to the article which said "4 gigs is the sweet spot", which is frankly BS.

Not specifically really. I know 1GB is way too small for me, and I've seen some of our older dev machines trying to run Vista, and, to be honest, we have a lot of complaints about speed. (Yes, it's probably true there are optimizations we've not applied.)

Fair enough. Then again, how many VMs do you need running at once?

What are you doing with them is my short answer. Imagine trying to simulate a multi-server environment using VMs on a single big honking box -- we've needed situations like this in the past (though, we don't have a big jeezus box with 8GB of RAM on them.) Things like setting up an Exchange environment, or a really big cluster or whatnot are so much easier if you can ave several VMs that you move about.

Anyway, you make a bunch of good points, most of which I agree with. Just trying to point out why it's not always feasible to do change tools, or how you might have a situation which requires a lot of beef. God knows, I'd be extatic to have 4GB. But, I can envision some poor bugger who might need more. ;-)

Cheers

Re:Find new dev tools. (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171888)

Go back to vim/gcc -- or whatever, there are certainly some saner options for you.


Perhaps he is debugging the dev tools using the dev tools.

Notebooks with up to 16GB ram already here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173794)

http://www.tadpole.com/products/notebooks.asp/ [tadpole.com]

I am sure the poster knows his hardware needs and has exhausted all alternatives. Since 16GB notebooks are available now there is obviously a market/need for them. So a hardware upgrade might indeed be the best course of action for the poster.

t60p (1, Redundant)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170910)

You can get an IBM T60P from the factory with 4G of RAM. You will want to make sure you get a 64-bit CPU as well, otherwise you will have issues. Be warned, the 2G SIMs will set you back ~800 each. Much better as a workstation, however. The P also use a higher clocked RAM, 7200 RPM HDD, and some other perks that make it a bit faster than most laptops.

No you can't. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171342)

There is no way you can get an IBM T60P from the factory. Used yes, from the factory, no.

Maybe a (nearly) identical with (possibly) lower quality Lenovo T60P, but not an IBM T60P.

Re:No you can't. (2, Informative)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171722)

I'm typing this on an IBM Thinkpad T60p. One has to look very hard to find the word Lenovo on it. It says IBM in big bright letters. Levnovo has the right to use the IBM brand for 5 years and is partly owned by IBM. I should add that until 10 days ago I worked for IBM.

RAM cost is probably limiting Factor (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170940)

The cost of Laptop Ram is probably a limiting factor here, 2GB so-dimms are already obscenely expensive, laptops currently for the most part only accomodate 2 dimms currently so 4 GB requires the 2GB dimms. Larger SO-Dimms would probably have a stratispheric price. The market is probably so limited as to prevent RAM and laptop makers from building platforms to support this yet.

server unavailable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170956)

has it suffered from too many connections already?

More than 4 GB?!?! (4, Funny)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170966)

good god.


4 GB should be enough for everyone.

Re:More than 4 GB?!?! (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172074)

4 GB should be enough for everyone.

I know why this got modded funny (Billy G mockery), but really, we should consider it insightful rather than funny.

Yes, for servers, you (sometimes!) have a reason to run with huge amounts of RAM. For a desktop machine, even a high-end developer's machine, if you need that much memory, you need better tools. No "but the project requires it" allowed. If the requirements demand more than 4GB on a laptop, you have a problem long before reaching the "physical availability of suitable hardware" phase of development.

Now, I don't mean to say that situations can't exist where you would need that much memory. But you don't stick it on a laptop. You host the build environment on a "real" server, and either connect remotely or even (gasp!) do the work at work.

Re:More than 4 GB?!?! (1)

koan (80826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173052)

"You will never need more than 64k"
Get it? You can never have to much proc power or to much hard drive space or to much RAM, and some of us can never have enough.

32 bit windows can't have even 4GB RAM (3, Interesting)

S3D (745318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170990)

Max addressable memory on 32bit XP pro (and probably Vista too) is 4GB, but that is with together videomemory. So actual useful RAM from 3 to 3.6 GB, depending on the board. Some system even only report 2 GB from 4. To have complete 4GB you have to use 64bit Windows. There exist 16 GB laptops, but they run Solaris IIRC.

Re:32 bit windows can't have even 4GB RAM (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171208)

He's running Windows 2003. And moving to Vista soon. It says right in the summary.

Re:32 bit windows can't have even 4GB RAM (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171514)

You need to install the Win XPBigMem Kernel to take advantage of the full 64-bit addressing space.

The Answer is Obvious... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170998)

...By a laptop you like and upgrade it with 2 2GB ram sticks. Couldn't be much more simple than that, eh?

16GB Dual-Proc SPARC (5, Interesting)

KatTran (122906) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171062)

http://www.tadpole.com/products/notebooks/bullfrog dp.asp [tadpole.com]

FEATURES AND ADVANTAGES:

        * Powerful Performance and Processing:
                    o Dual CPU 1.2GHz UltraSPARC-IIIi, 1 MB level 2 Cache with 1GB-8GB memory per CPU (Up to 16GB total)
                    o Solaris 9 Operating Environment
                    o Full-length PCI slot supporting Windows co-processor, network adaptors, high end graphics and many other options
        * State of the Art Mobility:
                    o Mobile server consolidation - the 22 lbs Bullfrog Dual Processor replaces a typical 450 lbs server box (with power backup modules) with no loss in performance or connectivity
                    o Permits a "work from anywhere" environment
                    o Consolidation of Solaris and Windows onto one box
        * Redundancy:
                    o Dual Disk Drives with capacity of up to 200GB (100GB + 100 GB)
                    o Built in UPS
                    o Dual Processors
        * Efficiency:
                    o Total costs reduced by as much as 50% over equivalent conventional server system
                    o Total weight savings of as much as 90%
        * Reduced Complexity when deployed with Comet 12/15 Thin Clients:
                    o Wireless Solutions are simple to deploy
                    o Reduced System Admin overheads
                    o Manage services not desktops
                    o Reduce desktop productivity licensing by a factor of 10
        * Accessories & Upgrades: A wide range of accessories that enhance Tadpole Bullfrog usability

Re:16GB Dual-Proc SPARC (2)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171382)

If it is for Windows work, that won't do it because the Windows machine is on a PCI add-in card, and Windows won't work on Sparc.

But anyway, I don't know of any Windows notebook that can do 4GB. Most of the notebooks I've seen that can accommodate 4GB don't have PAE support so that it can actually use 4GB, they often only leave a little over 3GB that the system can use.

Maybe I'd suggest lugging extra notebooks instead, rather than running oodles of VMware sessions on one, split them down a bit.

Re:16GB Dual-Proc SPARC (4, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171424)

With this solution the poster would have to switch to unix, but then he/she probably wouldn't need such obscene amounts of RAM.

Re:16GB Dual-Proc SPARC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173612)

Geez, just think of these in a Beowolf cluster!

Why go with a 4 GB Windows box when... (-1, Troll)

martinezfive (851862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171104)

You could get a Mac? Really, Mac apps run sooooo much more efficiently, CPU-wise and RAM-wise. If you can get away with it, I highly recommend doing so. Macs cost more, but work *better*.

It's all about bandwidth (2, Informative)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171134)

Why not have a big behemoth server sitting on the net somewhere and access it remotely using a nice wireless OSX machine?

Re:It's all about bandwidth (2, Funny)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171586)

Because he comes from a less sophisticated world (windows) and does not know about such things. :) Quit given away all our secrets. :)

Re:It's all about bandwidth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171896)

You're a complete idiot, and I'm posting this from a mac.

Re:It's all about bandwidth (3, Informative)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172900)

I'm posting this from a mac.
You can wriiiite and hav aannnnnnnnal sex at the same tim e????????///////?

Re:It's all about bandwidth (1)

jaymzru (1005177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172028)

I'm going to guess that if a big hard drive doesn't suffice, then the latency between a web server and his laptop would be far too bad.

Well... (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171164)

...you could always hop on Ebay and buy one of those old-school lunchbox style portable computers...just gut the innards and install your own stuff...

Heavier and larger than a laptop, but capable of carrying around a tower's computational power...not very convienient, I know, but still...it is an option...

Stop Suggesting alternate Platforms, OSes, Tools (3, Insightful)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171242)

I think its pretty safe to assume that given the initial info the user is probably doing Windows development. Thats really only going to work on a x86 or x86_64 machine running windows, and windows development tools. Anything else is just fracturing the issue, and not contributing to a solution. Face it Open Source, MAC, Unix, and all the rest are wonderful, but some of us....ALOT of us are stuck in a WinTel world.

Re:Stop Suggesting alternate Platforms, OSes, Tool (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171482)

He's already doing virtualization with VMWare, so what's a little bit more?

Obligatory car analogy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171672)

submitter: How can I install a 120-gallon gas tank on my car? I need to drive New York/Los Angeles *FAST*.
slashdot crowd: Have you considered taking the plane?
you: Stop suggesting alternate forms of transportation, some of us are afraid to fly.

Re:Stop Suggesting alternate Platforms, OSes, Tool (2, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172622)

On the desktop I'm using now (Win2003)
I think its pretty safe to assume that given the initial info the user is probably doing Windows development.
Thank you for that insight, Admiral Obvious, Sir!
/me salutes

Re:Stop Suggesting alternate Platforms, OSes, Tool (1)

namityadav (989838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173424)

'Using Windows machine for development' and 'Windows development' are two different things, my dear friend ! For example, he might be using a platform independent language IDE (Bloated with plugins / tools for his specific development requirements) on Windows, which doesn't necessarily mean 'Windows development'. So, I would say that the parent's comment about 'safely assuming Windows development' was more sensible than your high-schoolish 'Uhhh .. Obviouslyyyyy' comment.

Re:Stop Suggesting alternate Platforms, OSes, Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18173760)

...ALOT of us are stuck in a WinTel world.

You cannot free slaves. They must free themselves.

Quick fix or "Overkill" (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171526)

Some of the dev-tools I want to run are just obscene RAM-pigs. On the desktop I'm using now (Win2003), it sucks up 1.6gb just to boot.


Based on that alone, the best fix is to find out what occupies that 1.6GB, as that amount of memory would pin similar desktops that use three times the "recommended" memory amount. Otherwise, I might as well use an "Overkill" tag.

Move that to Vista, add a VM-Ware session or two, and I'm worried I'll be pushing 4Gb.


Okay... If necessary, you could use virtual memory for your two VM-Ware sessions.

VNC? Remote Desktop? (2, Informative)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171658)

Instead of creating a portable development environment/lab on your laptop, why not setup a secure network, and use something like Remote Desktop or VNC to access your big-beefy-box (BBB) at the office?

Use the laptop for light file editting and whatnot, then upload the files to your remote BBB for compilation and testing.

I used to do this at a former job when telecommuting. It was a lot easier when I could simply access "my desktop" exactly as it was as if I were sitting in the office. Well, OK, I only had 1 monitor when telecommuting, but I could still be productive.

4Gb may be enough for you (1)

njchick (611256) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171668)

A laptop with 4Gb of RAM may actually work better than you expect. Lots of memory is used for caching. Once there is little free physical memory left, the disk cache start shrinking, but it doesn't affect the performance very much until the cache is reduced to less than 10Mb. At this point, the OS may start swapping some rarely used memory to the hard drive. Given 4Gb, I don't think you'll see swap used very often if at all. And the way to compensate would be to get a faster hard drive. Hybrid flash-magnetic drives are going to appear on the market soon, perhaps before the 4Gb memory modules.

You may also want to move whatever you want to run in VMware to a separate machine. I don't know if it has to be mobile. Even if it has, it's easier to move two laptops than one desktop. It would help if you have all accessories (power cords, mice) at every site where you use the laptops, so you don't have to lug them back and forth every time.

Similar Issue (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171774)

I recently purchased a Toshiba Satellite XP Tablet PC. It came with 2 512MB modules and it is expandable to 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) modules. However in my case, here in Van, BC, Canada, a 2GB($500-600+CDN) RAM module costs more than 2 1GB RAM ($187-200CDN) modules. Anyone know why?
My laptop is mainly for surfing the internet, using regular MS Office apps and programming in .NET and Java.

Re:Similar Issue (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172212)

Higher density RAM has always cost more than lower density RAM, no surprise there.

What is the real question (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171794)

You could wait, spend a fortune, lug a desktop, or even buy a mac as everyone here has suggested, perhaps.

But the real question is, What is it that you need a +4GB laptop for? Sometimes, (many times perhaps) we have a problem that we get an idea how to solve that may or may not be the most effective way to do it. We then go and as questions about how to accomplish individual steps in our not particularly effective method.

But depending on the problem, it is sometimes better to ask about the actual problem. Someone is bound to have solved it or something similar or have an insight that would make many of our steps (hopefully the hardest ones) unnecessary.

Interim Solution: Use a USB Flash drive as Swap (1)

veggiespam (5283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171828)

Buy yourself a fast USB flash drive with 8GB or so of ram. Then, plug it into to a fast USB port (some Dell laptops have one set of fast ports and another for slower devices, so YMMV). Run some sort of speed test, make sure the Flash really does transfer faster than the internal HD - you never know what your motherboard will do.

If it is faster by a big enough factor, then create a new or second swap disk in Windows (search MS's KBs). You can make this your primary disk and remove the C: swap to make sure you only go to the faster swap disk. Since reboots are required, you may have to make sure the drive is in the same port the machine each time you boot up.

I kept running out of ram and used this trick with XP and Linux. It worked for me and I hope it will for you. There is rumours that Vista will have the Flash-as-Swap(tm) ability built in.

Re:Interim Solution: Use a USB Flash drive as Swap (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172042)

There is rumours that Vista will have the Flash-as-Swap(tm) ability built in.

It's called readyboost. It's not the same as the swapfile, it's actually more optimized.

Flash not fast enough (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172646)

Buy yourself a fast USB flash drive with 8GB or so of ram. Then, plug it into to a fast USB port (some Dell laptops have one set of fast ports and another for slower devices, so YMMV). Run some sort of speed test, make sure the Flash really does transfer faster than the internal HD - you never know what your motherboard will do.

I was thinking the same thing, but according to Crucial the very fastest flash you can buy does 25MB/s, which isn't going to be faster than a SATAII/NCQ drive in a good laptop, unless you have a tremendous amount of seeks to do.

Now, take that idea one step further and give me an ExpressCard (2.5Gbps) 34 card with 8GB of DRAM in it... now we're talking swapspace! I don't see anybody actually manufacturing this though.

Save money with the notebook (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171874)

Just install Ssh on the notebook and then install ssh on a superfast desktop like the quad core macs that can have more than 4 gigs of ram and run Windows. Of course if you want any gui's you will need X and I do not know if your development tools are win32 only or not? Then if you can use nmake you wont need the ram to begin with.

Terminals began when early microcomputers sucked and were just mere toys. They are used for situations like what you described. Maybe you can also install vnc on the other computer and you can have gui access as well.

Re:Save money with the notebook (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172578)

Hmmm.

If only Windows 2003 Server came with some sort of terminal server software, like a VNC for Windows or something. Then he could run a termserver client on his laptop and connect to a monster desktop / server tower in the same room via wireless, and remote control the big beefy box over his wifi network.

They should invent something like that.

1.6GB on 2003 server? Something is screwy... (2, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172006)

...I'm running 2003 Server with SQL Server 2005, a bunch of our services, and IIS 6.0 all running and I'm using less than 600 MB.

Maybe you should figure out what's wrong with your machine that requires 1.6 GB of RAM just to idle.

Re:1.6GB on 2003 server? Something is screwy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18172690)

...I'm running 2003 Server with SQL Server 2005, a bunch of our services, and IIS 6.0 all running and I'm using less than 600 MB.

Maybe you should figure out what's wrong with your machine that requires 1.6 GB of RAM just to idle.

I'll second that. I'm currently using Server 2003 with 3 instances of Visual Studio 2005, an instance of VMWare, IIS , SQL Server and FireFox - 1297 MB, with FireFox eating 155 MB. If it's taking 1.6 to idle, I'm thinking something might be wrong with his setup.

China Calling (0, Offtopic)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172136)

Dear Fubari

We have a bed here at the Beijing Internet Addiction Clinic with your name on it....

Well.... (2, Insightful)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172524)

On the desktop I'm using now (Win2003), it sucks up 1.6gb just to boot. By the time I log in and start doing work, it is stretching 2Gb


You don't mention what tools you are using but:
- There's probably a lot of file caching going on so that doesn't matter as it will discard unused cache to fulfill your memory allocation requests as you run (low overhead).
- If you're running SQLServer, for example, by default it grabs a huge chunk of memory for caching. You can control how much it uses for this (set the max value) in the configuration tool. At one time, it defaulted to as much as all your memory minus 128M for the OS or something similarly large. Step 1 was to drop it down to a more reasonable level (like 256M total).
- Look for lots of other 'tools' that start on boot or on login and grab up memory... things like indexing services and the like.

I'd examine your applications and work habits (1)

20oz (970887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173382)

Can your dev tools be tuned to be more efficient with memory use? I'm not sure what you mean by "dev tools", but if we're talking IDE's and such, a lot have bells and whistles that you may not even be using, that you can turn off. I'd also look at your own work habits and see what you have running that can be turned off. For example, on my laptop I was frustrated with the long boot time when I had apache and mysql installed, when I wanted to use it for purposes other than development. What I did was created a developer account which turned those applications on, and a generaluse account for when I just wanted to surf or play games. Try exiting out of things when you don't need to be in them. Unless you're really pushing your memory limits with a single application, chances are the applications you close will be cached to load quickly enough for use without becoming too much of a time sink. If all that doesn't help, it might just be time to stop and realize that you're using a system developed for portability and lower power consumption, when you in fact need a system tuned specifically for performance.

My gosh. (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173496)

2 Gig running Win 2k3 Server and a developement enviroment? No ease of use is an excuse for that.
Whatever.
I'd suggest you take a Laptop, put 2 gig in it, install one of those new nifty 2.5" Samsung SSDs and crank up virtual memory. Being the performance hog it is allready and considering that these SSDs have an access time of 60ns you'll hardly notice any difference to RAM I presume. And you'll have a bizarely fast boot-up. Allthough Windows will eat most of that away.

That specific problem aside ... It's been said a million times in this story allready, but still:
Do check out OSS enviroments in a quiet moment. They really can be worth it. And switching from Windows Server Stuff to Linux Server Stuff really isn't that difficult. Besides, if you have a mature Appserver like JBoss or Zope eating up 2 gigs of memory you'll get your share of ease of use for that in return - and you can test those two on Windows beforehand btw. You'll never look back and you'll never have to learn something that becomes obsolete after 5 years or less. That's on of the main reasons I try to avoid proprietary park myself. Be it in the OS or the Applayer.

Stop using Windows (0, Troll)

kramulous (977841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173606)

Suggestions? Yeah. Stop using Windoze. I'm not trying to take the elitist role, but it sounds like you need more control over your computer's resources. If you still need to test apps, buy a second, crap laptop for testing purposes. I suspect it will be cheaper in the long term.

Technical Consultants too (2, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173624)

I'd love to be able to get something like this. I'm a technical consultant who travels and I have to remote into a lab server anytime I need to test / demonstrate something or the like.

I could easily run W2K3 server, SQL 2005 and host at least two VM sessions. One of these VM sessions would be a W2K3 server, with the other an XP client.

Since many of my clients tend to be places that are fairly paranoid I cant always access my lab remotely or hook up to their network. In essence I need a "lab in a box".

Laptop Idea (3, Interesting)

jwilhelm (238084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18173838)

How about a small, light laptop that you are comfortable using, paired with a powerful server back in the office. Pair the laptop with either an internal or external EVDO card (we use the Sprint Novatel EVDO cards), IPSec VPN back to the company, and then RDP into the server. Of course you could still run some applications (email, web, etc...) locally, but the really beefy stuff should run on the server. This has many performance advantages, but also reliability advantages in that your works can be on a server that is RAIDed and backed up. Additionally you can compile code and run tests on the server when you have to turn your laptop off.
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