The expected uses include desktop GIS, geospatial programming, and database or web server development but not deployment. I am not a Mac user. These recommendations are targeted at Windows and Linux. Mac uses Intel processors, so most of these hardware specifications should translate, but you should get Mac-specific advice elsewhere. Processor For this kind of work, go with a top tier processor. This will be particularly helpful for any geoprocessing you do.
Similar processing power is more expensive for laptops, which are trying to squeeze similar computing power into smaller spaces while reducing the heat output. Pricing is the only reason I suggest i5 as acceptable for laptops, and if you can afford the i7, go for it.
For a desktop, go with the i7. Benchmarks on 8th generation indicated by s after the processor class, e. A newer generation i5, or even i3, will often outperform an older generation i7.
You might also see computers with AMD processors. An AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 should be very roughly equivalent to an i5 or i7, but you will have to search online for specific benchmarking. Although the site is primarily geared toward gamers, their processor benchmarking is of more general use. If you want more info, see for example CPU Hierarchy I am recommending 16 GB minimum for two reasons: Web browsing: Google Chrome, the most popular web browser, is notoriously bad at memory management.
And our web browsing habits make it worse, as we often have dozens of tabs open at a time. Everything is going fine and then you open one more ad-heavy website, or launch a GIS application, and your computer is brought to its knees.
An additional consideration is the maximum RAM the computer can support. Also, while memory is a fairly easy upgrade on a desktop computer, laptop manufacturers have started soldering their memory to the motherboard, making some newer models difficult or impossible to upgrade.
Storage As computing moves to the cloud, it is increasingly common to find computers—especially laptops—being sold with fairly small hard drives. If you are working with data, you still need a decently sized hard drive. If you are working with GIS data, you need a larger hard drive. If you are working with raster data, you need the largest hard drive you can afford. Solid state drives can also boost performance, particularly at boot time and when launching software. For a desktop system, I recommend using a solid state drive as your boot drive, and a bog standard hard drive or drives for storage of documents and data.
The storage drive will use a SATA interface. The boot drive only needs enough room for the OS and software. You will probably be fine with about GB. If you intend to dual boot, or know you will use particular software that requires a lot of storage gaming software in particular , consider increasing this.
For a while, with the introduction of the M. You just have one M. But with laptops getting smaller and lighter, it seems less common recently. Going with a single drive is fine, as large as you can afford.
A GB hard drive is a minimum, larger is better. SSDs are more expensive, so you might try to get away with GB, particularly if you also have access to a desktop computer where you can store most of your data. Things to remember: More is better. Getting a larger hard drive will not make your computer run faster. For a laptop computer, unless you know you need a GPU, I would recommend against getting one, mostly because a GPU will reduce your battery life and probably make your computer run hotter.
Further Considerations Computers can be divided into three broad classes: Gaming computers are excellent computers, but probably go beyond the needs of most geospatial analysts. You have to know your own use cases. However, for laptops, business models give you additional benefits, even when they have the same processor, memory, etc. They are designed for professionals who travel frequently, rather than to just be occasionally moved from the living room to the dining room.
To this end, they use higher quality components, often have aluminum bodies instead of plastic, and have been designed to better withstand shocks and drops. Every manufacturer has a business and consumer line. The business models do come at a premium, but for a GIS student or professional, I would recommend purchasing a business laptop. If you are trying to save money, a good strategy can be to buy a refurbished business laptop from a reputable seller. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Prof.
Hachadoorian at Lee. Hachadoorian temple.
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