Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 69 - Building aDeveloper PC

June 23, 2007 Comment on this post [13] Posted in Podcast
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My sixty- ninth podcast is up.  In this episode, Carl and I talk about building the ultimate developer PC

If you have trouble downloading, or your download is slow, do try the torrent with Āµtorrent or another BitTorrent Downloader.

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 24, 2007 8:26
uhhh scott you might want to rethink the 520W PSU. That's just not going to cut it. Very helpful site below. Hope the build goes well!

The lite version works fine.
June 24, 2007 12:00
Aaron - Interesting...thanks for the link, I've got some calculating to do...
June 24, 2007 17:49
A decent episode, but I went in expecting to learn a lot more than I did. Carl's question about the special needs of a developer rig vs. a gamer rig vs. a video and audio rendering rig were what I was hoping to hear more about. The only thing that explicitly spoke to developers was your sentence or two on parallel compiling in Orcas. I would have loved to here your thoughts on the MacBook Pro (which I recently ordered but it is delayed because of the 7200rpm hard drive) as a dev machine, but your justification for not getting it had more to do with your Mac Mini than with its suitability as a dev machine. You could have spoken about the pros and cons of a notebook as a dev machine. I would have thought you might focus on comfort being a high priority, then recommending specific keyboards, displays (resolution, matte vs. glossy, etc.), mice, etc.

I would love to learn more about what you specifically look for in a dev machine. How does the machine you've specified differ from the typical gamer or media rendering rig?

Sorry if this sounds like whining.
June 24, 2007 19:06
Totally valid points...that's kind of the risk you (me, actually) take when you have TWO people on a show...if I had a one person outline, that'd be different, and I'd just rattle off each thing you listed.

I'll do a MacBook Pro specific post...
June 25, 2007 20:46
A few comments:

- A fast games machine will also make a fast developer machine. All you need is fast IO, CPU and enough RAM. So best optimize for games if you're a gamer also.

- Image software and RAID should be used together for the best backup process. If the system crashes due to, say, malware messing with system files, the RAID won't help you. Also if you depend on imaging only and your only drive crashed, you lose everything since the last image. Together they solve all data loss problems. Adding a remote location backup will add another layer in case your house is lost.

- I heard you a few times mention taking your wife's permission to buy something (your WAF). I have a simple arrangement with my wife, I am free to spend any monies I make beyond my full time job. That's how I get all my hardware and gadgets without touching family money. I assume you make enough money from your blog to build a nice rig once every few months? Otherwise, considering the popularity of your blog, blogging is not an exciting business model. (I understand you're not blogging to make money)
June 25, 2007 21:51
abdu: re: optimizing for gaming.
Wouldn't it be great if you could utilize the GPU for background compilation or just general compilation when you are developing? A'la Folding@home.
June 25, 2007 22:56
Scott: That's why I said you get a gamers machine since a game is the most demanding piece of software on a PC, vs developing and compiling. You get a fast GPU, (although I didn't know you can use a GPU for background compiling.. Can Visual Studio do this?), fast drive, fast bus, fast memory, fast CPU... basically fast everything. That's why I don't get the gamers machine vs developer machine idea? Just get a gamers machine.

I don't think Scott H. explained what a developers machine is exactly? A machine that has VS2005 running on it? All the dev tools I use work nicely together if I have enough memory, fast memory and fasy HDs.
A developer machine is usually running XP so I am not sure what a dual or quad core will buy you much if XP with VS will not optimize themselves well when they see more than one CPU on board. I don't believe XP does parallel jobs well. It's not a server OS.
The best performance for the least money is by adding memory to your current system. The goal is reach enough physical memory where the system is doing very little paging to HD. Paging is a slow process.
June 26, 2007 1:14
Abdu - Valid points about Gamer machines vs. Developer machines...I guess I would simply summarize and say that a Developer machine is disk hungry, while a Gamer machine is GPU hungry.
June 26, 2007 2:16
Carl is such a girl about overclocking :)
July 13, 2007 19:47
I think it would be great to also do a show on selecting the ideal developer laptop. I am particularly interested in a laptop which I can use while commuting on the train which is powerful enough to run VS 2005. Scott, I remember you referred to the Mac Powerbook in one of your other podcasts, I beleive it was the one titled Hanselmintea.
August 05, 2007 17:05
I agree with Mike's comments about a developer laptop. As a web engineer, I split my time between development, meetings, engineering, etc... As such, I need a laptop in order to be mobile. I also split my time between working in the office, and working from home. While I could maintain multiple PC's between home and work, it just isn't mobile enough and I would lose productivity keeping sync between them. [Even with Maxthon, Google desktop, Mozy, and portable drives, it is still too cumbersome.] Though when I come back to my desk to develop, I would like to be as productive as possible.

I would love to be able to have a laptop that I can dock at home or work with multiple monitors, but still have the laptop for mobility to meetings and travel. I believe that now that I have a new manager, that I could make strong case for my team for this setup, but I would need to be able to provide a solution to back it up.
August 05, 2007 17:06
Oh, I forgot to mention, I have really been enjoying the shows lately. Keep up the great podcasting!
August 21, 2007 4:04
Hi there,
I use two mice with my system (really enjoying the improvement of my control over my left hand). is it possible to have two pointers to save traveling time from monitor to monitor?


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.