My ideal computer at the moment
- 519 words
- 3 min
Chris Siebenmann recently wrote about how is ideal machine isn't in an existing category. Interestingly, I find myself in the same sort of situation, however with an almost entirely different conclusion.
As I have previously mentioned, I am of the opinion that as the number of machines you try to do work on increases, the ease of synchronization between those machines increases exponentially. This means that for me, an ideal machine would be easily portable so that it can be used anywhere with minimal effort to transport. This effectively pushes me into a being left with the options of either a laptop (as in an ultrabook) or a tablet.
Tablets are in an interesting position right now where they are continuously increasing in power and ability, but still lack many of the features that I'd require in a daily driver machine, namely the ability to easily compile code locally, easy access to the terminal and a keyboard-driven UI (tiling window managers truly have gotten the better of me). Thus, I am left with the sole choice of a laptop.
Now the nitpicking starts, what sort of specs do I want in a laptop? Well, as you may have picked up from my rant about why esports will never be mainstream, I play CS:GO on a regular basis, and also enjoy casually playing a number of other single-player games such as BioShock and Civilization. As such, I would quite like to be able to continue playing these games as I use them as my primary source of leisure.
Say what you will about their power, but gaming laptops are both (generally speaking) incredibly heavy and immobile, and very difficult to upgrade. I have no intention of needing to update my laptop every 1-2 years just so I can upgrade my GPU. So for me, the option that makes the most sense is a laptop with an external GPU enclosure, so the GPU can be upgraded independently of the rest of the machine. This would also allow me to dock my machine when I get home and be able to get use out of the high refresh rate monitors that I own - something that would be extremely valuable for gaming. External GPU enclosures do exist on the market (although they are not widely used), however they are almost all based on Thunderbolt 3. This leads me to my next problem.
I'd much rather use an AMD-based than an Intel-based CPU, as the current generation of Ryzen-based laptop CPUs run circles around their Intel equivalents. With the addition of their extra cores, both compiling and gaming would be significantly better on an AMD-based laptop than Intel-based laptop. This comes with the issue of USB 4 (the equivalent Thunderbolt 3 standard which can be used for external GPU enclosures) only being supported on the next-generation of AMD chips.
Thus my ideal machine doesn't yet exist, but I fully expect that in a year or two it might.