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Computer advice request:

My friend is going to be doing GIS computing work for a grad program and asked for advice on a good computer that could handle the graphics heavy workload. Since I'm not mega-familiar with the latest and greatest personal computers, I'd appreciate if the community here could recommend something reliable.

The hardware requirements she was provided are listed here:

gis.e-education.psu.edu/gis/te

She would prefer a laptop form factor if it all possible.

We also found a "list of best laptops for GIS and ArcGIS 2021" type article, but neither of us can really evaluate if these are good selections or not (or if them would be equally good):

salisonline.org/best-laptop-fo

Thank you and boosts welcome.

@vortex_egg any newer i5 or better should support this. I7 or ryzen7 with a discreet Nvidia or AMD vid card should work fine.

@vortex_egg you can't go wrong with a decent Thinkpad.

You might also be able to save money by purchasing from a licensed recycler (they are often on eBay), as Thinkpads are built like tanks but get replaced every few years for company policy reasons.

@vortex_egg To be clear, the company spoils its employees. I re-reviewed the links provided, and while the laptop I linked would be considerably above the specs of those in the recommended, a 15” and (slightly) more affordable equivalent would be the Blade 15. https://www.amazon.com/Razer-Blade-Gaming-Laptop-2020/dp/B086MGYM49/

@sev Thanks, that's good feedback. My friend had mentioned that the Razer was popular with other people they asked, so it's good to have options to recommend.

@vortex_egg is there a budget?

i was never deep with arcgis / gis but back then gpu only rarely sometimes helped. usually work was cpu bound. i expect a modern Ryzen laptop with a 4800 cpu would be great. there are some great $600 offerings about!!

my second & third laptops were MSI & they've held a very respectable, value oriented market segment. the gf65 has a nvidia 360 gpu for a little over $1000 which is incredibly sweet, and only a little hard to find. they have nicer product lines but this is a great system still.
notebookcheck.net/MSI-GF65-9SD

at the higher end, asus's upcoming Asus ROG Strix G15 G513QR will have a newer cpu & a significantly bigger nvidia 3070. expected to be around $1750, but comes nicely equipped.
notebookcheck.net/Asus-ROG-Str

@vortex_egg if they are going to be doing much remote sensing, depending on the data they will be given, mind the ssd recommendation and probably budget more than 60 Gb free. A single assignment could eat a big chunk of that. I’d also recommend a big external drive for archiving data if they expect to want to keep it (the original data that is, not so much the results).

@vortex_egg that article is recommending generic stuff (i5 8th gen CPUs). I'd recommend a desktop with an i7 4770 which is cheap, will outperform most laptops, last longer plus GIS on a 24" monitor is much more fun than a 15" laptop for my taste. Might have to replace a whole laptop in a fee years.

Also second hand is the place to go, for cost during this time and the environment for the world-time. Lenovo thinkpads are well loved laptops

@vortex_egg that salisonline article doesn't seem very helpful, unfortunately. Based on asking some GIS users, I would recommend 16gb ram, a ssd, and a quad core cpu (i7, i5, or ryzen) ... In that order of importance. For most gis tasks integrated gpu is fine, but there's some stuff where having a discrete gpu is a big help.

As far as specific models, I do like thinkpad, even tho they're not as solidly built as they used to be, they're still better than the competition. It looks like refurb t470 quad 16gb are $400 ish on ebay.

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