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Looking to upgrade the laptop, i find that since using Alteryx Designer, the screen size on 13inch laptop is really not ideal. Wondering if anyone has found the perfect balance between portability, weight and screen size on a laptop. Just need some shopping ideas :D
If you want to maximize your $; don't get a new laptop. Continue to use the one you have.
Instead, get a desktop or workstation and use RDP to connect to it for using Alteryx.
I wasted money on new laptops for too long before realizing I needed to just invest in a solid all-purpose workstation.
Now, I rarely find myself ever using the laptop itself (rather using RDP), and most of the time I use a tablet to RDP into my workstation.
If you do go after a workstation, here's what I would recommend:
High end: Xeon E5 with at least 8 cores and hyperthreading.
Low end: Core i7 (my fourth generation i7 still runs like a champ)
RAM: minimum of 32 GB; but you can't ever have too much.
Disk: SSD! SSD! SSD! I cannot emphasize this enough. At least 512 GB, although ideally more. And if there's an opportunity to use an M2 or U2 - do it!
Now... you've saved enough money to buy a cheap laptop with a bigger screen, you'll have more durable and longer lasting hardware, and never have to worry about your workflows not being saved when your battery runs out!
1. Which one? I have a few (they had to be physically separate for a very specific security reason).
CPU: Xeon E5-2643v4
RAM: 32 GB
M.2 Samsung 970 PRO
Intel DC3500 Series Enterprise SSD
CPU: Intel i7-4770K
RAM: 32 GB
Samsung MZ Enterprise SSDs (x5)
2. Tablets: iPad Mini 4
Amazon Fire HD10
3. Sure, the general application itself uses four cores. However, there are tools that can use multi threading (where you would need more cores) and do you plan on JUST running Alteryx and nothing else? You're going to need more unless you're specifically limiting yourself to just building the machine for one purpose. Also, I wouldn't assume Alteryx doesn't have plans to move to a larger multi threaded platform soon. That's my future-proofing advice of the day.
And yes, you would need more cores for the RDP connection unless you have a very good GPU and want to use RemoteFX or set up a VM with GPU pass thru.
4. M.2 and U.2 are solid state drive forms that typically use NVMe (most of the newer ones do). They connect using the PCIe controller and can have read/write speeds of around 3,500 MB/s whereas a SATA connection interface maxes out around 600 MB/s. The SATA actual experience will be even lower if its not an SSD and then lower yet based on a disk spin rate if its a physical disk drive. Basically with disk interfaces like SATA, it doesn't matter what types of speed your drive specs say they can read or write at because the SATA controller itself is limited and creates a bottleneck for data movement. The PCIe controller is going to widen that up and get rid of the bottleneck.
Wow... that is an old machine. I'm impressed you've kept it running this long.
If you want to get into the higher end workstations without breaking the bank, check out eBay. I would search for "Xeon workstation". Some big corporations have policies about replacing equipment after every X number of years of use regardless of condition (to prevent emergency replacements when something just wears out). There are a number of companies that buy those cheap and refurb them to sell on eBay. You can get a $5k machine for $1-2k.
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed response. That really great information. I imagine that Alteryx has a little giddy-up with 32Gb of RAm - A far cry from the 8Gb I'm running in my Mac mini. Based upon your advice, I'm not deciding between three options:
Purchase a Corsair One - 6 cores, 32 GB of Ram and VR ready
Try to pickup a used, refurbished or discounted (New Mac Pro coming out) Mac Pro with 8 Cores and 32 GB
See what the New Mac Mini that Apple is rumored to be introducing tomorrow has to offer.
One additional; question for you. Do you think there would be any benefit to configuring two of the M.2 drives in a Raid 0 configuration and then using a regular SSD drive as a backup. Or are the M.2 drives so fast that there would be negligible performance pickup with Raid 0.