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PC Laptops: What models are best for GIS?

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#1
Alex_zoonoticmap

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Does anyone know PC laptop computers that may be better suited for cartography?

These days, there are so many PC laptop options that the search has quickly become overwhelming!

I am a PhD student doing much spatial analysis work on spatial epidemiology. That is, I use GIS, network analysis tools, and spatial statistics to map and predict spatial patterns of disease. Spatial modeling and simulations of wildlife movement are exemplary tasks I need to perform.

I am trying to zero in on a laptop that will be suitable for software and high performance of these types of analyses.

Any techies out there that can suggest a few models that might suit my needs?

Thanks very much,

Alex

#2
SaultDon

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Does anyone know PC laptop computers that may be better suited for cartography?

I am a PhD student doing much spatial analysis work on spatial epidemiology. That is, I use GIS, network analysis tools, and spatial statistics to map and predict spatial patterns of disease. Spatial modeling and simulations of wildlife movement are exemplary tasks I need to perform.

I am trying to zero in on a laptop that will be suitable for software and high performance of these types of analyses.


Because you will do lots of analysis (probably raster based), you should not compromise on the RAM or the GPU.

Get a good GPU with at least 1GB dedicated memory. Check to see if your software will make use of the CUDA cores! I noticed a lot of laptops come with this type of GPU stock nowadays.

Try for at least 6GB (8GB is better!) or RAM. 16GB would be ideal. When getting RAM, 4x2GB will show slower cache/access times then say 2X4GB. The larger sticks really make a difference here even though both are 8GB total.

The CPU shouldn't really matter much (only if you are counting micro/nano seconds...) unless you have models that take considerable amounts of time to finish (+4 hours...). Getting a decent CPU will help in those cases.
Also consider what software you are using to do the analysis:
  • Does it support 64-bit processing and
  • Will it support multi-threading (to make use of the multiple cores/threads).

As for the harddrive, don't get anything with an RPM lower than 7200. If you can get a solid state drive, that would be the best. It has a very quick read/write time and is most likely where the bottleneck in your system will occur. It rarely happens in the RAM or CPU.

Ideally two hard drives would have you see considerable performance increase where one HD is for reading (input data) and the other for writing (output data) to avoid bottlenecks.

Screen size is up to you! Though you may end up getting a monitor with at least 17" because of the hardware requirements.

I don't know of any specific models, but ASUS and MSI tend to make solid higher-end laptops (though more expensive).

You should also consider getting a cooling pad, it will extend the life of your whole unit by having it run cooler.


Dell has a good warranty that can be appreciated in your darkest moments...

#3
antoniolocandro

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Nice specs! Let me know on the wallet, I think for a PHD student the cost would be prohibitive.

The most important question is what softwares you plan to use, then visit their website for the minimum requirements and check if you can meet them or have better ones with your budget.


Does anyone know PC laptop computers that may be better suited for cartography?

I am a PhD student doing much spatial analysis work on spatial epidemiology. That is, I use GIS, network analysis tools, and spatial statistics to map and predict spatial patterns of disease. Spatial modeling and simulations of wildlife movement are exemplary tasks I need to perform.

I am trying to zero in on a laptop that will be suitable for software and high performance of these types of analyses.


Because you will do lots of analysis (probably raster based), you should not compromise on the RAM or the GPU.

Get a good GPU with at least 1GB dedicated memory. Check to see if your software will make use of the CUDA cores! I noticed a lot of laptops come with this type of GPU stock nowadays.

Try for at least 6GB (8GB is better!) or RAM. 16GB would be ideal. When getting RAM, 4x2GB will show slower cache/access times then say 2X4GB. The larger sticks really make a difference here even though both are 8GB total.

The CPU shouldn't really matter much (only if you are counting micro/nano seconds...) unless you have models that take considerable amounts of time to finish (+4 hours...). Getting a decent CPU will help in those cases.
Also consider what software you are using to do the analysis:
  • Does it support 64-bit processing and
  • Will it support multi-threading (to make use of the multiple cores/threads).

As for the harddrive, don't get anything with an RPM lower than 7200. If you can get a solid state drive, that would be the best. It has a very quick read/write time and is most likely where the bottleneck in your system will occur. It rarely happens in the RAM or CPU.

Ideally two hard drives would have you see considerable performance increase where one HD is for reading (input data) and the other for writing (output data) to avoid bottlenecks.

Screen size is up to you! Though you may end up getting a monitor with at least 17" because of the hardware requirements.

I don't know of any specific models, but ASUS and MSI tend to make solid higher-end laptops (though more expensive).

You should also consider getting a cooling pad, it will extend the life of your whole unit by having it run cooler.


Dell has a good warranty that can be appreciated in your darkest moments...



#4
Alex_zoonoticmap

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Thanks so much for the feedback! Indeed, these specifications make for expensive models.

The software I will be using certainly satisifies most basic machines, and I am trying to account for future advances in software that may need a more powerful machine.

In my research the ASUS machines have been the most cost effective and manage to complement powerful elements. Right now I'm battling with the extra bucks for a better quality display resolution... those maps will look much prettier the better the screen quality. Hmm...




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